Friday, October 7, 2011

Apps for the RVer

Once again, I want to talk about my Apple toys. As you're probably aware, Apple announced the new iPhone 4s just the day before the untimely death of Steve Jobs. They also announced an upgraded operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad. These will offer a ton of new improvements, but I'll cover that at a later date.

My phone is now two years and two generations old. The new iPhone 4s has a truly amazing camera (the main reason I want one), so I'm getting the new iPhone 4s! Pictures will surely follow.

Today, I want to talk about how very useful these devices have been to us as RVers. For starters, there's the obvious fact that it's a telephone. Remember when we had to look for a phone booth, then when you found it, the phone wasn't working?

Back in 2005 when we started full timing, a GPS was a new found delight. Not always completely accurate, at the time it seemed like a miracle. I remember when I got my first one (named Edna), asking the people at Garmin about how it worked. I was amazed that there was this satellite system in place that anyone with one of these devices could access!

Technology, I love it.

Well, now I no longer need a GPS because there are all kinds of apps that access the embedded GPS chip in both my iPhone and my iPad.

For keeping records on the car and the motor home I use an app called Road Trip. Not only does it keep track of your gas mileage, but all tuneups, insurance, etc. giving you a complete record of your vehicle expenses. It also exports for backup in case you ever lose your device. If you want to try it for free, you can try Road Trip Lite, or you can buy the complete app for $4.99. I've been using it for quite a while and am really pleased. When I purchased it, the price was $2; however if I didn't have it I wouldn't hesitate to purchase it again.

Then there's the apps that help me find campgrounds. When I was recently up at the LaDeze get together, this was a hot topic of conversation.

There you are, driving down the road. It's getting late and you want to stop for the night. I remember when I would sit there, going through three or four books, trying to decide where we were and where the next campground was.

But now there's all kinds of apps that will help you with this. As I mentioned, the iPhone (from the 3 on out) has a built in GPS chip, as does a 3G enabled iPad. This means that it knows where you are, so that when you ask an app for a campground, it gives you the one that's closest to you at any given time. This is just too cool.

I got some of these when they were free or cheaper, but we use all of these and consider them worth the cost. The campground apps that I like, in no particular order, are

CampWhere ($4.99)
I was turned on to this (Thank You Calicia) at the LaDeze event. While it costs a bit, it is location aware and gives you tons of information about public campgrounds nearby. This is great because many apps focus on private RV parks
Oh Ranger! ParkFinder (free)
This is a really great public campground app that includes a ton of information, including park phone numbers, information on permits needed, links to campground websites, info on events at each park and guides to what kinds of activities are permitted in each park (biking, hiking, camping, fishing etc.).
AllStays Camp and RV ($5.99)
This one is pretty comprehensive, and was my favorite before I found Campwhere. That said, when you buy one of these apps, they're yours forever, so I'll be keeping it. I like that it includes both public and private campgrounds.
This one includes over 19,000 parks, and it's free!
This one focuses on National Parks. It comes with the Grand Canyon and the Blue Ridge Parkway installed. If you want to add other parks, there's a fee.
National Parks Companion ($.99)
More info on our National Parks
Cal Parks(free)
A great app if you'll be camping in California (if you can afford it!) Includes camping information, pictures, hiking trails and info on marine life.
Sorted by state, this offers a ton of information about our National Parks, including information on indigenous animals, plants, and other things you might want to know about your National Parks.

There are also apps for both Escapees and Passport America, but I wasn't able to find the links right now, sorry.

Anyhow, you can see how very useful these apps make these devices for the RVer. There are also many, many more (Gas Buddy, Yellow Pages, WiFi Finder), but I think that's enough for now (assuming anyone is still awake and reading).

I'm sure some (if not all) of these are available on other platforms, but since I'm an Apple girl, I'm writing about apps that I know, from personal experience, will work on these devices.

Please, feel free to let me know of other apps you find particularly useful when you're out on the road.


Donna K said...

You almost make me wish I had an Apple. Lots of toys out there...maybe someday. someday.

Jim and Sandie said...

We have Androids but there's a couple of apps that I'm going to see if they are available. For fun I really like Sound Hound. Point it at your speakers and it will tell you the name of the song, who's performing it, and give you the lyrics. Just fun.

Linda said...

I'm so excited after reading your blog today! I ordered an iPad 2 and it is supposed to arrive tomorrow...can't wait! I will be purchasing/downloading some of the apps you recommended as soon as I figure out how to work it :)
A co-worker who seems to be an expert on the iPad promised he would tutor me.
Hope to visit with you and Terry again soon, Mando loved Felton and wants to go there again when we have more time to explore the area. Hope to see you both in Morro Bay in March?