The digital age has made the full-time nomadic lifestyle possible for those of us who are still in the working stage of our lives. Without our modern mobile devices making a living on the road would be much more difficult. Mobile apps make finding local places to stay, work, eat, and recreational activities easy. Here are the best apps for full-time travelers.
AllStays is the must-have app for all those full-time nomadic adventurers traveling in the United States or Canada. If you’re looking for a place to stay, a dump station, or a sporting goods store than this app is for you. We use this app almost daily to look for campsites. Fellow users can leave reviews so that other users have the most up to date reviews on all traditional campgrounds as well as boondocking sites. The app has phone numbers and website links so making reservations is quick and easy. All of this makes AllStays one of the best apps for full-time travelers.
Sorry, AllStays is an Apple-only app although they do now have a desktop app that is compatible with PCs. RV Parky is a comparable Android app but it isn’t as good… sorry. Check out Campendium below for another option.
CamperMate is the NewZealand version of AllStays. We used it during our visit and loved it.
OpenSignal is another app that we use almost daily. We are modern digital nomads, meaning our livelihood is dependant on good internet. Without the internet, our life of full-time travel wouldn’t be possible. In the age of unlimited cellular data plans, we rely almost exclusively on cell towers to provide us with our internet signal. OpenSignal helps us to dial in on a cell tower with our WeBoost amplifier. The app shows us which direction the signal we are picking up is coming from so we can point our directional antenna there. The app is also useful for doing speed tests on the signal so we know if it is strong enough for our work requirements.
LTE Speed Coverage Map
While OpenSignal allows us to pinpoint a tower when we are on location and ensure the internet speeds are good, LTE Speed Coverage Map is a way of planning ahead and finding places with good cell towers before we arrive. LTE Speed Coverage Map allows us to see towers in the area we are looking at staying in and see what the latest data speeds on those towers are. This effectively tells us if the internet in that spot is going to be sufficient or not. This app is constantly being developed. I find that the Verizon and AT&T towers are very accurate but the T-mobile and Sprint towers are sparse. It has some of the towers and that information seems to be accurate but it is missing a lot of the towers we find when using T-mobile. It also only covers the U.S. with some limited information on Canada.
Instagram is a great app for finding amazing places to visit. I use it to inspire others and find inspiration for new destinations. If you don’t already follow us on Instagram get with the program and start following NomadicMoment and OutTheCamperWindow.
The app, RoadTrippers, also has the ability to search along the route for My Saved Places. I often find a place on Instagram that I want to one day visit. I search for it on RoadTrippers and save it so that when we are planning a trip that passes nearby it will show up on My Saved Places. It is a great way to set it and forget it. Once your trip is planned out RoadTrippers will allow users to send the itinerary to Google Maps or several other navigational apps that will then guide you to your various destinations.
RoadTrippers is a road trip planning app and website. Users put in a start and end point just like any navigational app but with RoadTrippers you can search along that route for different categories of locations. I use it mostly to find Points of Interest on or near my route that I might not have previously known about.
Let me be the one to say it. GetUpside is an oddly, dare I say poorly, named app. It is a gas shopping app with aspirations to do more. Not only does it help travelers find gas stations while on the road, but it helps them save money at the pump.
Once a user sets up an account they are able to see eligible gas savings options near their location. Savings range from $.02 cents per gallon to as much as $.25 cents per gallon. The app shows users the cost/savings at the pump for their selected grade of gasoline or diesel. Users claim the offer and then have 4 hours to pump the gas and submit a picture of the receipt. The saving amount is then added to their GetUpside account which can be cashed out via a digital gift card or PayPal account. The best thing is that the app savings can be applied on top of a fuel rewards program that the user might already use.
The downside is that this is a startup and it only works in certain states although it is expanding quickly.
Users can receive even more savings by referring friends to the app. If you decide to download the app please use our promo code during sign up to help us save more: Code: KJGYXA. Thanks!
Cost: Free, but a login must be created and a credit card must be attached to utilize Walmart Pay/Savings Catcher.
The Savings Catcher feature was discontinued in May of 2019. Hopefully, Walmart will review this decision and reimplement the feature. The Walmart Pay is still convenient but without the Savings Catcher, this is no longer one of the best apps for full-time travelers.
I have a love/hate relationship with Walmart. On one hand, their products are often poorly made and customer service lacking. On the other, they have a variety of products, are usually affordable, and the corporation has long been a friend of the full-time RV-ing community. They are one of the few stores that allow RVers to overnight in most of their parking lots. This provides a great opportunity for nomads to resupply and have a free night’s stay in a relatively safe, well-lit area.
The Walmart app is no different—love/hate. It is bulky and tries to do too much. However, the Saving Catcher feature of the app is a brilliant way to easily save money while traveling. We use it to simply pay at checkout with our cellphones. No need to carry cash or even a credit card. Once we check out we click a button in the app to submit the receipt to the Saving Catcher program. This scans the surrounding area for better deals on our purchased products. When the app finds a better deal it credits the difference back to the Walmart app. The credit is used automatically on my next Walmart purchase. This is couponing in the digital age and I have no reason to shop anywhere else… although we do like a good farmers market from time to time. 🙂
Cost: Free Trial. $4.99 to unluck unlimited usage.
Trail Wallet is designed for those vacationing on a budget. We use it to track all of our nomadic expenses in real time. Once set up it is easy to categorize all our expenses in seconds. We make a purchase, type in the cost of the purchase, add a brief description, and then pick the category it falls under. The date is listed automatically but can be changed if needed. We can see where our money goes instantly. It is how we report our expenses on this website. It creates the pie-chart automatically. The really nice thing is that it can automatically change currency for the user. When we were traveling through Canada we would input the Canadian amount spent and it would automatically use the current exchange rate to give us the amount spent in US dollars.
When your home is on wheels and you find yourself in a new place every few days knowing what the weather will look like becomes very important. I don’t want to find myself in a blizzard unexpectantly or in tornado alley with a thunderstorm barreling down on us. Accurate weather forecasts are important for planning ahead and enjoying our days off. The Weather Channel app is accurate and easy to navigate between local and national weather. The built-in radar gives us a better idea of how long inclement weather will last.
Cost: App is Free. Monthly service subscriptions vary: $8.99 – $15.99.
Life on the road doesn’t lend itself easily to watching traditional television. Some full-timers carry around antennas for broadcast TV but that isn’t for us. Netflix is a better source of entertainment than network shows anyways. The Netflix app is especially nice as it allows episodes of shows to be downloaded for viewing later when we are away from data.
Unless you just woke up after being in a coma for the past 20 years you know what Google Maps is. Still, it is a must-have when traveling across the country. I remember a time navigating cross-country on a 10,000-mile road trip to Alaska having to use paper maps. If you have never done something like that than chances are you don’t understand how great Google Maps really is. Take my word for it, it’s awesome!
Even though I love this app I do have my issues with it. Namely that it is always trying to reroute us to major highways and often onto toll roads even though we have it set to avoid those. We rarely are in a hurry and prefer the road less traveled. All Google seems to care about is the fastest route. It does this in the most annoying way possible. It tells you it is going to reroute you to the faster route and you have 10 seconds to click a button to cancel this action. Hello Google! I am driving and paying attention to the road. After missing this warning on two trips and ending up on toll roads with no cash on me I figured out a workaround. After I get my path set I put the phone in airplane mode and Google can no longer calculate a faster path.
As travelers, we are constantly looking for places to fill up on fresh drinking water. We often use the Primo or Glacier water fill stations found in Walmarts which are very cost efficient. However, between Walmart visits, we often find ourselves in need of drinking water. This is a user-developed app that shows users where to find drinking fountains or fill stations. It is also nice as the app developers are on a mission to reduce the use of single-use plastic bottles.
While Campendium is similar to AllStays, I prefer AllStays. The preference comes down to functionality as the two apps are very comparable. AllStays does a better job with icons and classifying campsites so users can easily search for camping sites they prefer. Campendium does do one thing better then AllStays and that is why I am listing two apps here that are so similar. In Campendium, users are asked to report on the cellular network connections of the sites by their cellular provider. This is handy for knowing what to expect for our data needs. If they continue to develop their interface Campendium could become the go to campsite finder.
Another nice feature is that the Campendium app is an extension of the Campendium website. This comes in handy especially for Android users as once again this is an Apple only app but Android users can bookmark the website in their browsers and access the information that way.
Yet another app used for finding campsites although Boondocking is dedicated to campsites that are free and in nature. No Walmart stays in this app. For the most part, these sites are also found in AllStays but the dedicated nature of this app to my preferred type of camping often has me checking this app first when planning our destinations.
If you found this list of the best apps for full-time travelers helpful please share it on your social media networks. Thanks!