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Until recently, I’ve been of the mindset that my simple little flip Tracfone was all the cell phone I would ever need. I found the minimum 60 minutes airtime every 3 months sufficient for my needs.
Paying more than Tracfone’s $7 a month seemed an extravagant waste of money.
When I traveled cross country and needed Internet access, I just pulled into the nearest McDonalds. Their free WiFi allowed me access to the Internet using my laptop computer. To make things simpler, I invested in a 10-inch tablet which was quicker and less bulky than my laptop.
The rub to this plan became apparent on my recent trip from Minnesota to Florida.
See why I upgraded to a smartphone, and the 3 RV apps that I consider must-haves for every RV traveler…
Upgrading From A Tracphone To A Smartphone
Due to the fact that McDonald’s generosity is becoming more well-known, getting online can be painstakingly slow and sometimes impossible.
With my Tracphone, I often relocated 3-4 times before I was able to find Internet access that was usable.
It was time to upgrade. I invested in a Samsung Galaxy 4 smartphone from Verizon. I chose Verizon because their 4G LTE network covers more of the country than any of its competitors. If you want Internet access that works, insist on 4G LTE.
Now I can stop in any town — of even small size — and have instant reliable Internet service. Because this new phone can also act as your own personal WiFi hotspot, I can route my laptop and tablet through the phone and have a complete, full-functioning computer online almost anywhere I go.
This ability alone made the investment (and substantially higher monthly phone bill) well worth the upgrade.
3 Must-Have RV Apps
In no time, I found there are numerous apps you can install on your smartphone that will make life on the road so much simpler and more convenient.
When I stop for the night, I’m completely self-contained. Paying for hookups, showers, a swimming pool, or clubhouse is just a waste of my money when all I need is a parking space.
Walmarts, truck stops, and wayside rests are a traveler’s best friend.
#1 – Walmart Parking App
There are apps that will tell you where every Walmart is, and whether they allow you to park overnight in their parking lot or not. Better yet, their address and phone number is provided — so you can check ahead of time without driving out of your way only to be turned away.
- Walmart Overnight Parking (Android)
- Walmart Overnight Parking Locator (iPhone)
A Walmart parking app alone covers most of the country, since Walmarts are typically located in any town or city with a population of more than about 25,000.
#2 – Truck Stop App
You’ll add another layer of convenience when you include an app for locating truck stops across the country.
- Trucker Path (Android)
- Truck Stops And Travel Plazas (iPhone)
- Big Truck Stops (Android)
#3 – RV Dump App
Now you’re covered for a place to spend the night and where to find fuel or repair services.
The last must-have app for RVers is a sanitary dump locator for when your waste tanks are full.
- Sanidumps RV D
- RV Dumps (iPhone)
- RVDumps.com (Website, not an app)
Must read: 10 Great Android Apps For RVing
The Bottom Line…
Games and entertainment on your electronic devices are all well and good. But for myself… when I find a way to make life more convenient or save a substantial amount of money by using an app, that’s when I get excited!
For RVers to be able to take care of all their basic travel needs — almost anywhere and anytime — makes a smartphone a valuable tool that all RVers should have with them.
For example, just being able to pinpoint your exact location with GPS coordinates can get you help when you really don’t have a clue where you are. Bonus RV App #4: The GPS Coordinates Finder App makes that easy!
I’ve been involved in RVing for over 50 years — including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs and motorhomes. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller… you’ve got a good idea of who I am. To date, I’ve shared my RV knowledge in over 300 articles here at The Fun Times Guide! Many of them have over 25K shares.