Road Trips can go one of two ways. They’re either smooth sailing or they’re filled with bumps in the road that make you ready to call your trip quits early. After living full time on the road for the past two years we’ve learned a few things that might help make your next trip a bit easier.
We’ve had our fair share of “bad” days on the open road, but adding these apps to your tool bag will help minimize your stress and struggle. Not everyone has the same traveling style or preferences, but everyone does have the same need for a place to sleep, a spot to fill up and dump your rig, and a little bit of all the other stuff in between.
We hope you find a few good takeaways from this blog to take with you on your next adventure. Saving money, time and energy are always our priorities, and these apps help us do just that.
The number one app we recommend to anyone living full time on the road or anyone who plans on taking a long road trip is Allstays. “From resorts to hike-in spots. Amenities, truck stops, rest areas, Wal-mart and casino parking, RV services, dumps, propane, clearances and much more.”
Compared to most of the other apps, Allstays has been around for a much longer time, giving you many more options and coordinates on the map to choose from. The price point is $9.99 per year, which is very reasonable for all the time and headaches it will save you.
The app is only available for Apple products, but if you want it for your laptop or desktop, the pro version is available for $36.95 per year. We haven’t personally tried out the pro version, but if you’re looking for even more information on places around you, give it a try!
Allstays does have campsite locations, but for the most part we use Allstays in cities. There is a large group of users on this platform, so it’s always pretty up to date on whether or not places are allowing overnight parking, places that have propane, and anything else RV related you might be thinking of. This has saved us so much time and energy, especially with store policies and rules changing all the time.
When it comes to finding camp spots we always take a look at our iOverlander app. Users are allowed to submit information on their camping spot including: road conditions, pet friendliness, big rig friendly (y/n), etc. There are locations all over the globe, and with the app being free (they do accept donations) there’s no reason not to have it downloaded on your phone.
We have found some really awesome free camping spots on this app, and it’s great to read other people’s comments before searching for a campsite.
Once you have the app downloaded on your phone, find a spot that you want to go and click on the location. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “view in mapping app.” We just found this, and it’s saved us even that much more time in getting to our camp spot.
If you’re looking for more of an experience along your route, then it’s a must to join Harvest Hosts. We are surprised at how many people, especially people living full time on the road, haven’t heard about them yet! Harvest Hosts now has over 3600 different wineries, farms, museums and breweries that will let you stay for the night!
The way it works? For a yearly fee of $99 you get access to all of these different places, and for an extra $40 ($139 per year) you get even more options at golf courses, country clubs, and spas. While the businesses allow you to stay for free, the catch is that you help support the business during your stay (typically $20+). Live music and a couple of beers with a place to sleep for $20?? Count us in!
Our favorite part about Harvest Hosts is that every experience is different. We’ve tried breweries in Arizona, wineries in New Mexico, and hopefully one day here soon an alpaca farm! We love that Harvest Hosts gives businesses extra exposure to travelers like ourselves, and we love that we get an experience we never would have gotten otherwise!
Gas has gotten dang expensive! To fill up our 30 gallon tank, about 315 miles worth, we are spending right around $100 every time we fill up. Thankfully, we found the UpSide app which gets you gas discounts all over the country!
The app doesn’t work everywhere and sometimes the cash back is only 1 cent per gallon, but if you’re traveling for an extended amount of time you’ll find enough gas stations to make it worth your while!
They also encourage telling your friends about the app, and every time your friend fills up with UpSide you get a little kick back as well! Want to save money on gas and be our UpSide friend?? Click HERE!
We knew that since our bus didn’t have a built in shower we would need to find a way to stay clean. While you can usually find a shower at most campgrounds or RV parks, if you’re visiting a city or trying to avoid paying for campsites you’ll need to find another solution.
If you’ve ever looked up anything relating to showering on the road you probably found that gym memberships can be a good way to go. The two main gyms we considered before hitting the road were Planet Fitness and Anytime Fitness because they are both all over the United States and they both are usually open 24 hours a day. Despite hearing great things about Anytime Fitness, when it came down to it our main factor was pricing and we couldn’t pass up the Planet Fitness prices.
|Planet Fitness||Anytime Fitness|
|$10 per month (1 person) or $20 per month (+1 guest), no cancellation fee||$41 per month, cancellation fee|
|2039 locations||2500 locations|
|Communal Bathrooms||Individual Bathrooms|
From a financial standpoint, Planet Fitness is the way to go 100%. But if you are not hurting in the pocket book we would recommend looking into an Anytime Fitness membership. We don’t have a lot of personal experience with Anytime Fitness, but because they are far less busy than Planet Fitness, have private bathrooms for showers and getting ready, and have nearly 500 more locations nationwide, if we had the funds it would be hard not switch sides.
We have nothing but good things to say about Planet Fitness and will continue using them for the time to come! If you’re like us and looking for an affordable shower option nationwide, here’s a link to get your gym membership started!
Still can’t find a camping option?!
It’s good to have a tool for every job and sometimes it’s good to have two or three of the same tools for backups. Campendium is another app we have downloaded because it’s free, has additional camping spots, and generally has pretty solid descriptions of the campsites.
Campendium is probably our last app we use for finding a place to sleep, but it’s not a bad idea to have it downloaded. You may like it more than some of the other apps we’ve suggested!
For those of you who are always worried about whether or not the land you’re on is okay to camp on, don’t worry we’ve got you covered.
The onX app is advertised as a hunting app, but if you wanted to add in some free camping in the National Forests or public land along the way this is the best app that clearly shows public vs private land. It’s also a decent app for finding trails if you like hiking or riding ATV’s.
Other apps like iOverlander and Allstays might show you popular camp spots, but when it comes to showing general areas of public land onX might be a better choice.
Unless you’re planning on doing a lot of camping on public land, we would not recommend purchasing this. The cost is either 29.99 per year for one state or 99.99 for all 50 states which is a bit expensive unless you’re spending an extensive amount of time in a certain state.
Every bit of advice helps when you finally get out to being on the road. It can be draining and a bit daunting when you first start, but with the right tools you’ll be sure to have a great experience!
We hope you found this article helpful and can takeaway one or two things with you for your next trip! If you liked this blog make sure to subscribe to our email list and follow along with our real time adventures on all platforms @theggoldenroad.