1. Home
  2. /
  3. RV Navigation, etc

RV Navigation, etc

Table of Contents


Left to our own devices (no pun intended), Brenda would likely discover some cool places to visit via YouTube (e.g. Searching for “great places to visit in South Dakota”) and pretty much be ready to hit the road immediately, figuring out as we go.
I would likely retreat from life and spend about 296 days planning every road, gas stop, and entertainment option along the way.  I would have tickets in hand for concerts, conventions, and museums, as well as dinner reservations.  =)

Alas, we have to find some sort of middle ground and this page outlines how we are currently planning trips.  

Rough Plans

I guess first we figure out how much time we have to work with, as that gives us a radius of distance we have to stay within.

We might pick a few destinations within that radius and look for anything appealing to us – anything from “haven’t been there before” to hiking or riding opportunities. 


YouTube and Google

We frequently turn to YouTube and general Google searches to learn about a destination once we have settled on a direction or general area.  We might start with “things to do in [wherever]” or “things to see in [wherever]”.

Local Websites

Seems that most places these days have an official website for the area (even small towns) and we’ll search those sites for local event calendars and travel information.

Trip Advisor

I’m not sure I trust the ratings on this site, but it can be nice just to list a bunch of attractions in the area.

Event Sites

Websites like EventBrite.com, TicketMaster.com, and local venue sites may provide a nice list of events that coincide with your travel dates.

Road Trippers

Even with the free level you can put in start and end points and see places to stop along the way.  This one has some filters to help narrow points of interest.

Google Docs

Most of the time we keep a jot list of ideas.  If we  use Google Docs (free) we can both edit it from any device. 
Google docs also allows us more formatting options including links to websites.
For example; I prefer to identify the hiking paths in the area that match our criteria for length or difficulty, and I usually link to the websites (or AllTrails.com) for each trail so we can quickly get more information.    That way we don’t burn trip time (especially if we have slow or no internet at the campsite) trying to look something up last minute.
Sometimes I will also figure out on Google Maps where the trailhead is (or any other potential destination) so we can easily find it.   
Note: If you use Google Maps you can download map areas before the trip so you won’t need internet connectivity to navigate once you are there. 


We have often wished someone would build a comprehensive, all encompassing website that could search and filter on EVERY campground out there!   
Until someone does that we are relegated to using multiple websites.  sigh.

  1. RV Life (CampgroundReviews.com) – we often start with this one, because it has some great filters available  and it updates as you scroll the map.  It also has a direct link to the campground website for more information and booking.  A search for North Carolina returned 516 hits.
  2. Harvest Hosts – We love these for quick overnight stops en route.  It is generally cheaper than campgrounds, and often safer, quieter, and nicer than a WalMart or Cabelas.
  3. Campendium – Another site that updates as you move the map around, and has reviews (though perhaps not as many as CampgroundReviews).  A nice feature is the filter to show only campgrounds that are bookable online, and also by RV length!  A North Carolina search showed 343 locations.
  4. Good Sam – can search by location (e.g. distance from a specific town/zip code), but I did not see a map.  Can filter by three different ratings (restroom, appearance, and facilities).  Can also show just RV parts, repair, sales, storage, etc.  North Carolina came up with 237 results.
  5. The Dyrt – Another with a good map system that updates as you scroll.   This one too has an RV length filter.  A subscription seems to unlock free camping options (I have not tested yet).  North Carolina shows 880 results.
  6. Campspot – Seems a lot of campgrounds use this as their reservation system, so searching here can list all those campgrounds for a given area that have sites available for the dates you are targeting, as well as some basic filters.  North Carolina returned 135 campgrounds.

Mapping & Routing

When planning the route on a trip we often use Google Maps to show the campground relative to features around it.  We toggle the Terrain layer to view elevation and slope, then the Satellite layer to view natural features such as forests and essentially a birds-eye view of the campground.   
When it is available for the area we also use the street view (also available as a separate phone app) to get a sense of the general condition of the area, or to see sharp turns, parking lots for stops along the way, etc.
For the actual route planning we really like  RV Life (we have a subscription) which is great for helping us avoid bridges, tunnels, and other restrictions that won’t support our rig length, height, and height.  But it’s also great for putting in all our stops so we can see the entire trip in one place.

Apps While Driving

These are some of the phone apps we use while on the road.

I never weighed my travel trailer but with the fifth wheel I want to keep closer tabs on it.  I want to be sure we stay within the GVWR for the trailer, but I also want to know which bridges we are safe to cross, ensure I am inflating the tires to the recommended pressure, etc.

  1. WeighMyTruck app (CAT Scales) – please see this video for a great explanation of the weigh station.
  2. CAT Scale app (scale locator) 

Fuel locations
Some of the truck stop chains have their own app to help you find them (as well as list services available at that stop).  I am currently testing Trucker Path and Hammer too, to see which we like better.  I am not paying for either and using them only for finding fuel, not for GPS routing.

  1. Love’s Connect
  2. Pilot Flying J: myRewards Plus
  3. TruckSmart (TA – Travelcenters of America)
  4. Trucker Path: Truck GPS & Fuel
  5. Hammer: Truck GPS & Maps