Planning an epic road trip is HARD WORK!
I have struggled on and off to plan our upcoming 2-month road trip out to Utah. So much of me wants to throw caution to the wind, hop in the van and GO! But, the practical part of me tells me to put on the breaks and PLAN. Better to KNOW what is coming (on some level)! I have found that these apps below are my top 10 road trip planning apps throughout the planning process.
My top 10 road trip planning apps… and why
Most of these apps have a lot to do with overnight location/campground stays. It is essential for someone traveling in a van to have a safe place to park overnight. This part of my planning journey has been the most challenging and time-consuming. I have long desired to make this trip, but had no idea the amount of time it takes to drive daily and where we would be stopping along the way. Some of these apps might feel/seem redundant, but they offer different places, locations, advice, and more. I use often use them to cross-reference areas.
Without further ado… the list.
Roadtrippers – this app/website has been FREAKIN GOLDEN. It has been, hands down, the best travel investment for my planning needs. I can see the route, landmarks, parks, activities, restaurants, and more! This allows me to make selections for things to add to our trip as stops along the way. Adjusting for time as I add/subtract items on the journey. Roadtrippers offers a free but limited option. The paid-for full version is available and well worth it!
Harvest host – This is a paid-for membership app/website that allows travelers to stay at unique locations along their travels—sites such as farms, wineries, brewers, and other businesses. In exchange for a “free” place to stay, it is suggested that you make a purchase at the place of business. It’s a great alternative to a parking lot. Though locations can sometimes be off the beaten path -it is an excellent way to break things up.
recreation.gov – This is THE SITE to go to for booking State and National park campsites, permits for the parks/trails, tours, and passes. If you plan to travel this way, you need to use this website/app.
All stays – Over 37,000 Campgrounds: Independent, KOA, National/State Forest, State Parks, Public Lands, Army Corps, National Park, Military, County and City Parks, casinos, and more. It is a great way to look at a map on your phone and see what is there!
RVParky– RV Parky is an RV Park directory built by a full-time RV’er with the help of the RV community to help others on the road. I like RVparky because it includes Walmart, cracker barrels, low clearances, state campgrounds, private campgrounds, rest areas, truck stops, larger gas stations, and more! They will also list those locations’ amenities, which is incredibly helpful!
iOverlander – I use this app to MOSTLY find free/stealth overnight parking when traveling. Travelers can use the app or add to the app and find spots to park and where to find water, propane fill-up stations, showers, campgrounds, etc.
Cracker Barrel – I recommend downloading the app, as it is more helpful than the website. I use this app to look at the map for locations for an overnight stay. Each CB will list at the bottom of its site if they are RV overnight friendly. It’s a great resource!
KOA – KOA is a private campground company with locations all over the US and Canada. It is a great place to start when you begin your camping/RV journey. KOAs are everywhere, and they are usually reasonably priced. Offering amenities of all kinds, from pools to splash pads, showers and toilets, kids’ activities, and more. I like to balance out my National park or freebie nights with a KOA stay. You can also pay a small fee (around $60) to become a KOA member, which gives you nightly discounts at all their properties, and you accrue points toward free nights every time you stay. We have stayed at a few KOA in the past, and more to come in the future! For a list of campsite reviews check them out HERE.
Sekr – Sekr is the app I’m the newest too. It allows you to find campsites, pitstops, vistas, events, wi-fi breaks, oil changes, and more all on their one map. What I find most cool about Sekr is the meetup and community aspect of the app. You can create a profile, put together meetups, or join meetups taking place, which is a beautiful way to meet other travelers. In addition, their goal is to help travelers not need to sift through multiple apps to plan their trip. I haven’t used it so much for that JUST yet.
HipCamp– Book unique camping experiences at campgrounds, ranches, vineyards, public parks, etc. These places are usually small businesses or people’s private homes/land or a, very small boutique or up-and-coming campgrounds. Most are quite affordable for a night’s stay. You can often find a location that can allow you to create a small gathering or somewhere fun and different to go to within all types of budgets.
There you have it! My top 10 road trip planning apps! Happy planning!!