Travel planning with one app? Not possible

Travel planning with one app? Not possible

trip-planningby Chris Guld, GeeksOnTour.com

We spend the majority of our life traveling, mostly by RV. I’m starting my plan for 2018 now, yet I’m still filling in the details for the remainder of 2017. I’m not so concerned about turn-by-turn directions – we use a dashboard GPS and enter our destination each day before we get on the road. What I need to know is:

  1. Where do we want to go?
  2. Where do we need to be on particular dates?
  3. How far is it between destinations and how much time do we have to get there?
  4. If there’s enough time to play, what do we want to see along the way?
  5. Where have we been? I like a map to record our travels – see our Blog’s map page.

Google Maps is my go-to app. It is so easy to do a quick check on “How far is it from point A to point B?” or “What is the best route from point A to point B?” Using Google Maps, I can also see what campgrounds are in the area or what museums, restaurants, post office, grocery stores are nearby. I use this all the time when we are in a location and need to know what is around us, but there are better apps for specific purposes:

  1. Allstays Camp & RV for finding campgrounds or other places to park
  2. TripAdvisor for what museums or other attractions to see

My Maps

Google Maps does not create a permanent map. For that I use Google My Maps. It is based on Google Maps but it is stored in your Google Account so you can refer to it any time and edit it continually. I start planning 2018 by creating a Google My Map and entering the places I know we need to be: Perry, GA, in March for the FMCA convention; Sedalia, MO, in May for the Escapade; Sevierville, TN, in September for the Carriage Travel Club rally … etc. These are our working ‘gigs’ and we need to be there at certain times to present our seminars, so they get markers on the map first. Then we look at the map and start researching where to go in between. Inexplicably, Google My Maps does not display the information of how far it is between destinations, and it has no facility for calculating dates. Between Google Maps and Google Calendar it certainly has access to this information. I can’t wait until the capability to record distances for travel segments and arrival dates is built into Google My Maps. Literally, I can’t wait – I need to have something now! I have found possibilities:

  1. Roadtrippers – is a beautiful app/website that is easy to use and clearly displays distance between destinations. It doesn’t actually calculate an arrival date, but it does have a calendar where you enter a date yourself. Roadtrippers has a cool feature called Guide where you can see an overall report of your planned trip and add your own notes. You can even share this “Guide” with friends, but I don’t see where you can add your own photos. Roadtrippers is especially good at showing you attractions and things to do in an area. You cannot enter your own places.
  2. Furkot – is the only trip-planning app that can do what the old Streets and Trips software did with distances. You can enter how far (or how long) you want to drive each day, and Furkot will show you where you will be each night along the way. Furkot also calculates dates of arrival based on distance and the number of nights you enter for each stay. I almost could use Furkot as my one and only app, but only Google My Maps lets me add my photos (from Google Photos of course) to the markers of where we’ve been.
  3. RV Trip Wizard – specifically for RVers, this program not only calculates distances and dates but also costs.

There is no one perfect map for what I need.

  1. Where to go
  2. How and when to get there
  3. Where we’ve been

Google My Maps is good at 1 and 3, so that is what I use. I tried using Furkot just to fill in #2, but it was way too cumbersome to work with 2 mapping programs. I now use RVNotepad to fill in the blanks for #2. The Trip Planning module for RVNotepad is in spreadsheet form with built-in calculations. Enter a stop in one city and then enter another stop and it calculates the miles between the two. Enter the number of days you’re going to stay at any one stop and it calculates the date you will arrive at your next destination. I can keep manipulating the cities and the days to get the mileages and dates I need. Using RVNotepad for this part of my planning means I’m not duplicating efforts on a map program. RVNotepad also has some other functions I need like gas mileage calculations and RV maintenance records. Here’s more info about RVNotepad: Travel Planning: The missing app is RVNotepad.

rvnotepad

Other Travel Planning Maps

I’d love to hear from anyone who uses a travel planning map that they really like. Please leave a comment below. Besides the ones I’ve mentioned above, you might use:

##RVT814

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21 thoughts on “Travel planning with one app? Not possible

  1. Ron – it’s there, try again. https://rvnotepad.com/ I got the 404 message once too, but then the next time it was fine. Probably something to do with a new security certificate.

  2. Ron

    Where can I obtain the RVNotepad app? When I go to RVNotepad.com the site does not exist.

  3. Sandi

    Traveling for 2 months from southern FL to the UP of MI this past summer we wanted to avoid Interstate travel and found that the old “Triptik” from AAA only maps travels on Interstates so we loaded up with maps for the states we knew we would be going thru. We primarily wanted to avoid crossing the Ohio River at Cincinnati and was able to cross at Maysville and could not believe the lack of traffic and the fact that it was a much newer bridge. We also used an atlas that helped navigating thru larger cities . We loved seeing the many small towns we went thru and estimated it only cost us about 1 day and 1,000 miles to experience small-town America. We will continue to travel this way. We did have to jump on Interstates for short distances around Lexington, KY & Chattanooga, TN & again to cross the Mackinac Bridge…small price to pay.

    We did use the Good Sam, Allstays & several other apps to call ahead once we knew where we wanted to land for the evening and had no problem in getting good spots.

    1. Sounds like a great trip! I’ll bet your state maps gave you lots more information than just how to get there! Just fyi – google Maps does have a setting to avoid Interstates. Personally, we like the convenience of the Interstates especially when we need to travel long distances, but even then there are places we like to avoid. Check out this video on how we force google maps to go the way we want: https://youtu.be/JJNtcyB6wxs

  4. ML

    We are still using DeLorrme’s software although it can no longer be updated since it has been sold. We supplement with Google maps on my phone for traffic and road changes. We now have nav in our motorhome but it is cumbersome. We have vowed to use it more however, along with the phone app.

    1. Ted

      Have you tried Waze yet? Big fun.

      1. Yes, we like Waze. We leave it on just to get the alerts about hazards ahead.

  5. Charles Turner

    flattestroute.com is a BIG help in selecting routes thru mountains. Try it – you will like it.

    1. Thanks Charles! I have not heard of flattestroute.com – I’ll definitely check it out.

  6. Sarah

    It might be helpful if you could better distinguish between an “app” (obtained from an AppStore or Google Play, device specific) and a web site (runs off a browser, usable from any device with an Internet connection). All of the “apps” that I tried from your article were actually links to web sites, not separate stand-alone apps.

    1. Chris Guld

      True – I use the word “App” loosely. They are all tools I use on my phone, tablet, or computer, to help plan my travels. All of the tools I list are websites, some of them also are available in App format:
      Allstays Camp & RV: website and app
      TirpAdvisor: website and app
      Roadtrippers: website and app
      My Maps: primarily website, app available for Android
      Furkot: website
      RVTripWizard: website
      RVNotepad: website or windows App/software
      Rand McNally Tripmaker: website
      Escapees, Mapquest, Good Sam = websites

  7. Bill

    I still use the old CD version of Rand McNally Tripmaker, although it is no longer available or supported. It has a lot of functionality that the web based version does not have. You not only could plan a route, included stopovers, and find campgrounds, attractions, and other information along your route, you could also set the start time and end time for each days driving, set the speeds you wished to travel, even set how often you wanted to stop for a bathroom break or lunch. It is still useful, but the database is out of date so it doesn’t have new roads or attractions and still has some that have closed. It is really a shame it is no longer supported.

    1. Bill, I understand! I still miss Streets and Trips for much the same reason.

      1. Ted

        I have the latest, and last, CD based versions of DeLorme’s Topo and Street Atlas software. No website or app comes close to their functionality, in my opinion. I’ll sell them both, right here, for $10,000 each. Today only, you can have both for $15,000.

  8. Marsha Ross

    I couldn’t find any of the suggested apps on my Apple device.

    1. Marsha, many of them only have website versions – you would use your Safari, or Chrome browser to use them. Google Maps, TripAdvisor, Allstays Camp and RV, and Roadtrippers should be found in your App store though.

  9. Terri Foxx-Wishert

    a couple of other thoughts. we use AAA app for more information about what is close by. also use the National Parks app to plan our time and activities at National Parks.
    and then a book – Off the Beaten Path – published by Readers Digest, which gives some of the most amazing and unusual places in each state.
    we wouldn’t be having nearly as much fun without these.
    one more thing we’ve learned is to give ourselves a day off, at least once/week. we can’t enjoy new sights if we’ve not had time to think about what we’ve seen and learned.

    1. Terri! Good thoughts, thanks! Especially taking a day off

  10. John Snell

    We don’t use any apps at all. Everything we need can be found on the internet. We prefer Google maps which I have found to be more accurate than mapquest. We also use a Garmin for traveling.

    1. TandT Travel

      Use most of listed in the article and also recently downloaded SmartRouteRV app. Insert your unit’s parameters (including propane) and it should let you know about low bridges, narrow roads, etc.

      It is not free. We paid for one month as the route we’ll be travelling from East Coast Canada to Arizona in a few weeks is trickier than usual for us (I95).

    2. John, I LOVE Google Maps! it is my #1 app/website.

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