Click the link below to download the notes for Carolyn Beardshear’s presentation, “Smart Apps for Smart Travelers.”
Or, you can read the notes here. I have had no time to import images or clean up spacing. That comes later, after the rally is over. But you have the basic information. Warning, it’s lengthy, so you may want to have it on your computer instead of eating up data. – Carolyn
Smart Apps for Smart Travelers
Lewisburg International Rally 2016
By Carolyn Beardshear, WBCCI #7982, firstname.lastname@example.org Electronic Communications Committee, with substantial borrowing from Rich Luhr’s presentation at Alumafiesta 2015. Feel free to contact me or email@example.com with questions.
THESE NOTES WILL BE POSTED IN PDF FORM ON lewisburg.wbcci.net after the seminar.
Most of these apps are available for both Apple or Android / Windows devices. I do not use all these apps personally, but they have been recommended by Airstreamers. Do read the reviews before making a purchase. I have highlighted those I feel are most valuable.
To Download an App
To your iPhones or iPad: Open the App Store. There should be an icon on your desktop/home screen that looks something like this:
Tap the “Magnifier” icon to Search for your app by name or category. You’ll see ratings (stars), reviews, and prices. Many are free. All are fairly inexpensive. Often there is a Free or Lite version with ads and an ad-free Pro version for a fee. Click on Get the app. Click on Install. Enter your Apple ID number. This will charge your credit card on file with Apple. Wait for the circle around the box to complete and the app icon will appear on your desktop. From there you can place it where you wish – on any page, in a folder, etc.
If you want to move or delete an app: Touch the icon for a few seconds. All / most of the icons will start wiggling. Now you can tap and drag an icon to any page/screen on your device. If you want to put two icons in a FOLDER, just drag one on top of the other and it will create a folder. You can name the folder whatever you wish. Now you can add any icon to that folder just by dragging it in. Folders can have multiple pages. When one is full it creates another one.
To your Android / Windows or other non-Apple phones: Select “Google Play” from your home screen. Sign in using your Gmail / Google account information. Select “Shop” and choose from the many categories of apps available or enter the app’s name in the search box.
WBCCI PDF Membership Directory
To protect our members’ privacy, the digital directory cannot be downloaded from any online source. If you have not received an email with the digital MembershipDirectory attached, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and membership number and we’ll send you a copy.
AllStays Camp&RV – Best $9.99 you’ll ever spend! Links directly to RV Park Reviews. You set the filter for what you want to see on the map. Campgrounds of all kinds: Army Core of Engineers, city/county park, Elks Places, Forests, Independent, KOA, Military, Moose Places, National Park, Overnight Parking, Public Lands, State/Provincial Parks, propane dealers, dump stations.
Allstays massive directory holds more than 28,000 campgrounds. You can easily find what you are looking for by filtering amenities and by type of park, i.e. private, national or state park, BLM land. Once you have found a campground, you can view their website, phone number, and directions. One of the best things about this app is that you can use it with or without Internet!
Available for iPhone and Android devices.
AllStays also has a “Big Truck” app that locates Flying J and Pilots (Good Sam discounts) plus other travel centers. – Richard Girard
Walmart Overnight Parking Locator – also Walmarts with no overnights. Additionally, low clearances, RV dealers and service centers, Rest Areas, Scenic Turnouts, Road Grades, Stores, Truck Stops.
Allstays RV Dumps – $2.99
Allstays Rest Stops Plus – $1.99 Rest Areas and Welcome Centers
RV Park Reviews – rvparkreviews.com (Not an App, but a website) Extensive information on campgrounds, but only those that have been rated. “AllStays” links directly to RVPARKREVIEWS.COM for reviews and is more comprehensive.
Overnight RV Parking – Free or almost free overnight parking. “This app is a subscription service $24.95 per year that has 12864 places in US and Canada where you can spend the night at little or no cost. I have found this to be invaluable on occasion when we were desperate for a spot to stay.” – Tom Smithson Needs iOS 8.0 or later
Camp Where $4.99 “Great app for locating state and federal parks.” – Tom Smithson
This app sounds great, but the reviews are very poor.
Identify locations for emptying the gray- and black-water holding tanks in your trailer, camper, or motorhome.
Trip Advisor – Hotels, Restaurants, Things to Do (ranked according to popularity), Flights, Nearby Attractions
Around Me – Banks, Bars, Coffee Shops, Concerts, Gas Stations, Hospitals, Hotels, Movie Theatres, Movies (Fandango is better), Nearby Sights, Parking, Pharmacies, Pubs, Restaurants, Supermarkets, Taxis, Theaters, etc.
iExit Interstate Exit Guide – $2.99
iExit helps you find the best exit ahead on the highway for all your travel needs. The app automatically locates you on a highway and lets you look hundreds of miles ahead to discover spots at upcoming exits. It can be quite frustrating depending on utilizing highway signs to find your next stop so this will help you save time by planning ahead, whether it’s finding somewhere for gas, food or even free Wi-Fi!. Good results for gas stations and filters for type of fuel. Excellent search for amenities around your location.
State Lines- $4.99
Every state is different. State Lines helps you locate the highly variable laws and regulations. App covers all laws of concern to RVers as well as tax structure, gas prices liquor laws etc.. State Lines tracks over 55 pieces of travel-relevant information for each of the 50 states, including towing, RV specific laws, phone & texting bans, gas/diesel taxes, default speed limits, seat belt & child safety seat regulations, alcohol sales & taxes, rest area overnight parking laws, and much more.
Myscenicdrives.com – A website, not an app, yet. Can be accessed from your device’s browser. Choose scenic routes around you by entering zip code or just search by state. There’s a wealth of information that you can add to your map: i.e. museums, hikes, bridges, activities, state parks, side trips etc. – from Sandy Langell
AAA Mobile This app is reportedly very good at summoning roadside assistance from AAA, but not much else. Many of its touted functions simply don’t work.
Coach-Net Mobile app enables our members to quickly and easily request roadside assistance in just a few simple steps. Enter and save your Member information one time only, select the type of service you are requesting and then push the ‘Call for Service’ button.
Google Maps, of course. The free Google maps application is almost a no-brainer to have handy on your phone. It can replace your paper map altogether while helping you find destinations and businesses along the way, and provides directions, all with the ease of turn-by-turn navigation.
Waze – The world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute. This app can help you avoid traffic by being alerted of upcoming road hazards, traffic jams or accidents. You can also view notes from the report such as how long others have been waiting, how fast the traffic is moving and what the exact situation is. If you create an account you can also report road conditions to help other drivers. Also locates gas stations. “Since the GPS is on, the battery life shortens. Considered using it on caravan as you can determine location of others who are using WAZE.” – Jay Thompson
Maps.Me – “This is an offline map app to download maps for specific areas you are going prior to your departure (or during if you will have access to the Internet.) These maps are crowd-source updated so they are reasonably updated and the app & maps are free. The file size is very large, so you may want to download the maps with a strong internet connection. This app is great if you expect to be in a location with no Internet access but you still need access to reliable maps. I used this extensively in Death Valley and never needed an Internet connection. It even had all of the back roads we went on!” – Tim Kendziorski
MotionX-GPS – $1.99 – Nice offline maps/GPS app, which can be very useful on hiking trips, etc. This is not an app for street navigation, but rather for hiking. The User Interface is clunky and not very intuitive, but the offline information is valuable when you don’t have cell phone connection. – Tim Kendziorski
GasBuddy lets you search for gas prices by city, state, zip code, with listings for all cities in the USA and Canada. The prices are updated in real-time and show the time it was located, allowing you to fill up on the cheapest gas near you with ease. Filters for type of fuel – gas, diesel.
Love’s – Find Love’s Travel Stops around the country.
My Pilot – Find Pilot Truck Stops
Gas Cubby – $1.99 Keeps track of your gas purchases, mpg, etc. Reviews are very mixed on this app. Be sure to read them before downloading.
Food and Drink
Yelp – Restaurants and more with reviews from real people Need to find a shop that sells RV parts? Not sure where to eat for dinner? The Yelp app is a great way to find businesses and restaurants near you. You can read and write reviews, get directions, and even view menus and photos!
Open Table – Allows you to make restaurant reservations from your cell phone. Seems to work primarily with up-scale restaurants in larger cities, not your local eateries.
NorCal Unit Website “Eats!!” page – Developed by Harold Higgins and highly recommended as a resource for apps, websites, and other ways to find food on the road. http://norcal.wbcci.net/tools/restaurants/
This is a great resource for any beer lover! Discover new locations along your travels by utilizing the app to find nearby popular bars and beers. Sometimes it can be hard to find or decide on which local brewery to visit, and this app makes it easy by showing ratings of bars around you and what’s being poured there. You can also share what you’re drinking and where with other beer lovers around the world! Reviews of this app are excellent but a few bugs were reported recently. You do have to create an account or sign in via Facebook.
Find Craft Beer $.99 Great for locating microbreweries
A very handy app for creating shopping lists at groceries, pharmacies, home improvement stores, really anywhere you shop. Items you’ve purchased are deleted with a single tap. You can email or text the list to a spouse/partner/friend.
Key Ring- Free
One of the great things about RVing is that you find new things in every town, which could potentially lead to several loyalty cards to different stores (especially grocery stores) in order to receive discounts. Those pesky cards can fill up your wallet quickly, and this handy app helps you avoid an overstuffed wallet. On top of storing all of your cards in one place, it has coupons for over 15,000 retailers that you can redeem right from your phone. There’s also a shopping list function. A few users report spontaneous deletions.
AppBox Pro: A great app with such things as currency conversions, translator, days calculator, unit converter etc.
Coverage? $2.99 – Know where cell phone service is, even when you don’t have any. Get updates for life.
Coverage Map –Shows you how strong the coverage is in your immediate area. There might be coverage just a block away,
My Altitude uses GPS signals to determine your current location, altitude (height from sea level) barometric pressure and water boiling point.
Dual Level – Level in two directions at once. Note: Many Compass apps have this function as well.
Sightseeing Apps – Along the Way
Peak Finder – $3.99 An AMAZING app that will outline and name mountain peaks all over the world – offline. It also gives GPS co-ordinates and MAPS of the area, including secondary and tertiary roads for those marvelous off-main-roads experiences.
Roadside America – $2.99 – app icon?
Biggest Ball of String, the Beer-Can House, Carhenge…etc. There’s a map function, so you know if you are close to something strange.
Historical iMarkers includes a fairly comprehensive database of roadside markers, with data on almost 130,000 local, state, and national historical markers. Data comes from participating State Historical Preservation Offices, the National Register of Historical Places, as well as other sites and users.
History Here – by The History Channel Sights of historical significance in your area.
National Parks by National Geographic
For State Parks, search “Americas State Parks” in App Store and select the state.
“Pocket Ranger” apps are very popular for many locations.
Clio Locates historical spots around your location. Named after the ancient Greek muse of history, Clio puts history at your fingertips. Similar to locator ‘apps’ that help you find a nearby restaurant or repair shop, Clio picks up your present location and guides you to landmarks, museums, and historic sites. It also acts as a virtual time machine, allowing a user to see images and videos and hear and read about historic events that happened around them.– Jay Thompson
RV / Airstream Related
CampingWorld – Store Locator Map, online shopping
Airforums.com – All things related to Airstreams. The go-to place for advice on maintenance, renovation and repair of your Airstream. Also a WBCCI discussion forum.
Harry’s Camper – This is app is for the very technologically savvy who want to know what’s happening under the hood and behind the hitch. It is complex and requires extensive set-up, but monitors every facet of your vehicle and RV. One function provides a map of recent routes and stops that you can post to Facebook and share with your family and friends. This app was developed by Harald Schlangmann, member of WBCCI Europe.
Skype – Free or nearly free voice and video communication around the world.
Viber: Similar to Skype,but with much better audio
Facetime (iPhone) – Video calls without cell phone service
Weather Apps and Alerts
MyRadar – Great maps of incoming weather
Wunderground – One of many weather apps, but a good one. Lots of information
Accuweather: “One of the best weather apps I have used. –“Tom Smithson
Wx Alert USA: Weather app to alert you to tornados, freak weather, etc.
Storm Shield – Weather alerts for locations you pre-determine. Loud enough to wake you up, even if device is turned off.
Red Cross Tornado (also Flood, Earthquake, Wildfire apps available through the Red Cross) Enter your locations of interest and also your current location to receive Tornado Warnings and Alerts.
Star Chart – Free Plots the night sky in your location. Some reviews report recent bugs.
Night Sky – “”A great app to determine what stars, planets, satellites, etc are in the sky above you. – Jay Thompson
Geocaching: A great way to explore an area: being in Nature with a purpose. Wonderful for keeping kids entertained on long drives.
Amazon Travel – “Since having Amazon Prime allows “free” viewing of certain films if you search “travel Utah”, many travel videos are found i.e. Antelope Canyon, Canyonlands, Arches, Zion, etc. which are 1-15 minute travelogues of the subject. A neat way to preview your next location.” – Jay Thompson –
Family Car Games $2 – Over 100 family car games, searchable by category and difficulty level. – Sandy Langell
Geoguessr (NOT Geoguesser). Not a navigational app. You get a Google Street View of some place in the world and using clues from road signs, vegetation, etc. you try to guess where you are. Play alone or with friends. Warning: it’s addicting.
Organizational Apps File Sharing for Work, Family, Friends
Dropbox – Shares files easily, but only allows one person to access at a time without creating a conflicted copy.
Genius Scan – document scanner, organization and sharing, can store as jpg or pdf – free
- Password protect ALL your mobile devices
- Don’t use the same password (get a password manager, like Dashlane, Msecure ,but there are many to chose from)
- With iPhone, set up “Find My iPhone” via Apple so you can track a lost or stolen phone and wipe it remotely.
- Be cautious with public wifi networks – Your own cellular hotspot (MiFi, Jetpack, etc.) is safer.
- Don’t use public or borrowed computers for any site that requires a login.
Audience Recommendations – Lewisburg, 2016
Out of milk – grocery list
My Fitness Pal – food, calories
Apps gone free – free apps
Msecure – passwords
Days End – overnight parking
Camscanner Pro – scanning software
Maglite – For those of us “of a certain age” who appreciate larger type and good lighting when reading maps, fine print, etc. It’s a magnifying glass and a light. How did I live without this?? – recommended by Sue Heist