As full-time RVers, our fifth-wheel camper is our home on wheels, mobile office, and adventure vehicle. In the past 2 years, we have traveled to over 25 states, visited 21 National Parks, and are coming up on our first international trip to Canada. RV travel is our everyday lifestyle, which means we rely on apps to help us find places to stay, navigate safely to new locations, and plan out our trips so that we can plan out each year of travel in a way that is efficient and optimized for experiences. We have tried and used many apps throughout our journey thus far, but there is one app that we feel reigns supreme due to its variety of features that all RVers need. The best RV travel app that we have found that includes features for planning, a GPS, and finding campgrounds is RV LIFE.
About The RV LIFE App
As RV owners, we feel RV Life is one of the most useful travel apps you can download as it provides multiple tools for your RV adventures in one package. And we are not alone – the app is used by over 1.6 million RVers!
This is NOT a sponsored article, just a couple of full-time RVers sharing their experience with an RV travel app that has saved us plenty of time and heartache in our 30,000 miles of RV travel.
Getting from planning to traveling while towing or driving an RV can be stressful, and RV LIFE helps make the whole process a lot easier. We value our time and are always looking for ways to spend more time exploring out in nature and less time behind a computer or on our phones and the RV LIFE resources help us do just that, at a really great price.
RV LIFE has both a paid version and a free version of its mobile app and web-based planning tool:
Free RV LIFE App Features
- RV Forum Communities
- Campground Reviews Access
- RV Classified Access
- RV LIFE App – Basic
- More Ads
Download the FREE RV LIFE App: https://rvlife.com/app/
RV LIFE Pro Features
- All of the above free features
- RV Safe GPS with turn-by-turn directions
- Offline access to download maps and campground information for use without service
- RV LIFE Trip Wizard Planner
- RV LIFE Maintenance Tracker
- Minimal/Disabled Ads
- $59/year for an annual subscription; as an added bonus this includes a 7-day FREE trial
- $19.99/month for a monthly subscription; does not include a trial
Click here to download:
Next, we will break down exactly what you can expect from the RV LIFE app and web-based features.
RV LIFE Offerings & Features
RV LIFE is our top choice for an RV travel app because it offers all of the key features that every RVer needs, in one well-designed and easy-to-use tool. It’s a one-stop shop for planning routes, choosing campgrounds, navigating along RV-safe routes, learning about RV camping, keeping up with important maintenance, and connecting with other RV travel enthusiasts!
Resources offered by RV LIFE:
- RV LIFE: RV Safe GPS
- RV LIFE Trip Wizard: Trip planning
- RV LIFE Campground Reviews
- RV LIFE Maintenance Tracker
- RV LIFE Masterclass (online courses available for purchase separate from the app about all things RVing)
- RV LIFE Communities (20+ RV-specific forums to ask questions and get support from other RVers on topics ranging from brand specific to Skoolie and Truck conversion groups)
RV LIFE: RV Safe GPS
When it comes to RV travel, size matters. At 13’4″, our RV has some bridges it cannot fit under. And at 57′ long, there are some roads we are not able to travel on.
Other navigation apps like google maps are unable to take into consideration the limitations you have when traveling by RV, which makes the RV LIFE GPS the perfect solution for finding the best route for your RV road trip. Learn from our mistakes and be very cognizant of the routes you are taking.
As rookie RVers, we got ourselves into our fair share of wrong turns and sticky situations which required a bit of stressful maneuvering. While no technology is perfect, having the right tools at your disposal can make a big difference.
The RV Life app is perfect for RVers as it allows you to input your RV details and get RV-safe turn-by-turn directions to your intended destination. It will help you avoid roads with certain restrictions and low bridges, and also does a great job of estimating time, based on the fact that you are traveling in an RV or towing.
It even allows you to download offline maps so that you can continue to navigate, even if you are venturing into areas without service (which can often be the most fun)!
Other RV GPS devices come with a high price tag and are often not updated as frequently as you can expect with the RV LIFE app. In addition, downloading the app allows you to take advantage of a device you already have – your cellphone, rather than adding another bulky device.
As RVers, we value minimizing stuff on our journey to maximize our experiences. Less is more and this is no exception!
Information You Can Input into the GPS:
- RV height
- RV length or total combined length*
- RV width
- RV weight
Pro Tip: We recommend putting in your total combined weight if you are towing an RV. We originally put in the length of our RV only and ended up towing down a scary windy road in Arizona that was limited to 40 feet (we are 57 feet while towing) and it was not fun.
What the RV Safe GPS will help you avoid:
- Low bridges or other low clearances
- Roads or bridges with weight restrictions or weight limits
- Narrow roads
- Tolls, if desired
- Highways, if desired
- Steep grades
- Areas with Propane restrictions (such as tunnels)
One thing to keep an eye on is steep grades. We recommend looking closely at the RV-safe routes the GPS suggests so that you can choose a route that you feel comfortable traveling along. In places like Colorado especially, there are some routes that while technically RV friendly, you might prefer to avoid due to their steep grades, high altitude, or winding nature. We ended up towing over Teton Pass with our big rig, and while it was fine we definitely would not choose to tow that way again and would have opted for the route around the mountains rather than up and over in order to save our brakes and the stress on our truck.
RV LIFE Trip Wizard: Trip planning
When it comes to RV trip planning, a lot has changed in recent years. With an increase in people camping and getting out into nature since the Covid pandemic and with the release of new restrictions and permit/reservation systems in many park systems, it can be important to plan and reserve in advance now more than ever.
As far as RV trip planners go, RV LIFE Trip Wizard has all of the features an RVer could want. As part of a cohesive ecosystem with the other RV Life app features, you can plan your next RV trip visually with information about routes, campground reviews, and driving distances right at your fingertips to help you select where to stay and ideal stopping points to help limit RV travel fatigue.
It allows you to see your routes in real-time as you build out trips to different destinations and campgrounds and then use that itinerary to select places to navigate in the RV Life App.
Helpful Trip Planning Features At A Glance:
- Campground locator with 20,000+ campgrounds that show up around the map as you look at potential places to explore
- 57,000 + Points of Interest to help you find unique experiences and hidden gems to travel to or that exist along your currently planned route, in addition to things like rest areas or rest stops
- Suggested fuel stops and gas stations along your route
- An option to add your RV memberships (like Good Sam, Escapees, or Passport America) to help you find the best deals for your stays
- Estimate the cost of your trip (including campground fees and estimated cost of fuel based on recent gas prices) to help you plan a budget-friendly trip
- RV-safe GPS routes are populated based on your selected route & destinations that are customized to your RV’s specific specs (height, weight, etc.)
- Search Feature to input areas of interest or campgrounds you have on your travel bucket list
- Uses distance rings and allows you to set your driving distances to help you stay on track with your desired driving time and ideal stops so that you are not stretched too thin
- Many RVers follow the 3-3-3 rule for travel day: Drive fewer than 300 miles, arrive before 3 pm, and stay for at least 3 nights. Choose what is best for you, but remember that the goal should be to make the most of each place you go, not necessarily to just see as many places as possible. RV travel can be tiring and we find that places are often best appreciated when we allow ourselves to take our time and not overschedule or move too far or too often at a time
- Weather Layers (Beta): Show radar, wind speeds, and wildfires on the map as you plan or update your trip. RV travel is all about being flexible!
- Map Styles: Choose from a street map, night (dark) map, satellite map, or terrain map
What We Love about RV Trip Wizard
One of the best things about the RV LIFE Trip Wizard is that you can also share routes and itineraries with friends or loved ones. Our family can follow along on our journey and we can share trips with other RVers interested in similar destinations.
In addition, you can view the topography of your directions (using the terrain map), so you know exactly what elevation you will be passing through on your selected route. Using this feature would have saved us from towing over Teton Pass and its 10 percent grades, but we hadn’t figured that out just yet. You can also take a look at the elevation gain throughout your trip. Learn from our mistakes!
The RV LIFE Trip Wizard is a web-based tool, which means no additional phone app is necessary to use it. While you can’t physically plan things in the app, you can view your planned trips and use it to select places to navigate to with the RV Safe GPS. We find it easier to do all of our planning on the larger computer screen anyway.
The great news is that although the planning is done on the web and not through the app, it syncs up to your RV LIFE GPS app so that you can get directed to the next stop on your travel itinerary seamlessly.
Interested in seeing our Trip Wizard routes for our 1-year RV road trip through Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and the Dakotas or our East Coast Road Trip from the Florida Keys to Newfoundland and everything in between? Reach out and let us know!
RV LIFE Campground Reviews
Whether you are looking for luxury RV parks, State Parks, or National Park campgrounds, you can find campground reviews and details from all over North America, including the United States, Canada, and Mexico using RV LIFE’s Campgrounds feature.
The campground review feature offers input from RVers just like you based on their experiences, as well as valuable input about things like conditions and connectivity, and internet speeds so that you can make camping decisions that work best for you.
As RV digital nomads, we rely on strong internet service so that we can work our remote 9-5 jobs from the road. Not only it is helpful to check internet speeds in the campground reviews when making decisions about where to stay and planning our routes, but it also features an easy way to report our own speeds to share with others as well.
- Filterable by campground amenities like bathhouses and types of hook-ups
- Includes options like paid camping at private campgrounds or public campgrounds, and free camping such as boondocking on BLM lands
- Connectivity including cell service and coverage by different cellular providers, Starlink, campground WiFi, etc. (including speed tests that have been submitted by other campers)
- In-depth reviews including first-hand accounts from people with different length RVs, photos, and information on specific sites as well as the overall stay experience and features like dump stations
RV LIFE Maintenance Tracker
Maintenance is a normal part of RV travel and RV life. When you are towing a tiny home on wheels all over the country, there will be things to fix and maintenance to do to keep things in working order.
The RV LIFE maintenance tracker is a cloud-based service that can be used on your computer, smartphone, and tablet. It provides reminders of upcoming maintenance that needs to be performed to help you stay on top of everything your RV needs to travel safely and perform optimally.
- Build a customized maintenance schedule for your RV
- Email alerts about upcoming maintenance needs
- Track expenses by maintenance category to help with budgeting
- Track fuel consumption and cost based on your travels, towing load, and/or generator use
- Track warranties, registration, receipts, and invoices to keep all your important documents and dates in one place.
Fulfilling Travel Tips
No technology is perfect. When it comes to RV travel there are more risks to keep in mind and our most important tip is to always follow your own intuition or gut instincts. We love the RV LIFE RV safe GPS, but as with any GPS, human, or piece of technology, it doesn’t get things right 100% of the time.
While it has always kept our RV off unsafe routes, it has at times suggested we turn down some questionable roads on the smaller side when we could easily stay the course on a larger road. This can happen when trying to save time or cut off distance, and we have learned to look and think first rather than blindly following any direction.
Be vigilant and stay within your comfort zone. If something feels off, take a moment to pause or pull off, get out, and check it out first. With the RV LIFE Pro version, you can even look around on your offline map even if you don’t have service to check things out a bit more.
Finally, be sure to keep an eye on the upcoming turns. Sometimes the app can be a bit late when alerting you to exits or have a glitch where it is not updating as it should with your route. A simple reset of the app usually takes care of this quickly.
Even with these small things to keep in mind, we still recommend the RV LIFE app and its fantastic ecosystem of resources and tools optimized for RVers and all things RV travel.
RV LIFE App Overall
RV LIFE comes out on top when we think about the best RV travel apps because it streamlines services, tools, and features that are traditionally found in separate apps into one cohesive ecosystem that makes it easy to go from planning to travel and camping with the least amount of stress or headaches. It is clear that RV LIFE was created by RVers, with RVers in mind.
For any part of the trip planning or RV journey you can think of, the RV LIFE App has a feature or resource to help you address. Make the most of your camping experiences and time in the great outdoors by spending less time planning and driving, and more time hiking and sitting by the campfire.
Whether you are a full-time RVer, part-time RVer, or plan to do some RV travel for your next vacation, RV LIFE’s app and features can be helpful each step of the way of your trip. From planning your route based on how far you want to drive in the time you have allotted, to navigating to your destinations safely, RV LIFE is there for you each step of the way.
While it is certainly not the only RV app we use, it is our favorite app and would be the one we would choose to keep if we had to use only one. For a look at other resources that we use as full-time RVers, check out this complete list of apps for RVers. There we include apps we use for specific scenarios (such as unique overnight stays or to get more information on specific campground sites if it is not available on RV LIFE) including Harvest Hosts and campsite photos.
Click here to download the RV LIFE app: