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:
- Where do we want to go?
- Where do we need to be on particular dates?
- How far is it between destinations and how much time do we have to get there?
- If there’s enough time to play, what do we want to see along the way?
- 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:
- Allstays Camp & RV for finding campgrounds or other places to park
- TripAdvisor for what museums or other attractions to see
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- RVTRipWizard – specifically for RVers, this program not only calculates distances and dates but also costs. See their videos here.
There is no one perfect map for what I need.
- Where to go
- How and when to get there
- 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.
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:
I was loading in Calgary, AB at 1500 PDT on Friday the 15th of April. My world of navigating with Streets and Trips had come to a crashing halt. I had let the support expiration date sneak up on me. I too tried to find a substitute, but none was really as good as Streets and Trips. I suffered through till ThFeb2017; till I could retire and try to get healthy. Traveling by bicycle is a lot more healthier than by 18 wheelers. Twenty three years was a lifetime for me! I still use a 15″ laptop and a flip phone. I have no use for the small monitors (lol screens) on smart phones. And I like you (and Dad) still use a Canon DSLR camera with an assortments of lenses. Glad you like your Roadtek-I don’t miss my International Pro Star class 8 highway truck. I’m still following you and Jim. Stay safe!! Twitter: @ValkenburgJr
Thanks for the insight and safe travels.
The article is really informative. I tried most of them using my iPad, since that’s “our computer” when on the road. I found Google maps to be hard to use. I tried to enter our normal route from SC to Key West. After 30 minutes and no succcess in how to alter the route, I gave up. Also Google My Maps isn’t available for iPhone or iPad. It uses Google Maps in my Google account. I found it way too complex so there is no hope to explaining to my wife, my chief navigator. The other apps look promising, RV Notepad online looks promising. Just need something for 1&3 like you said. Thanks for the insight and safe travels.
HT, see if this video helps with Google Maps directions: https://youtu.be/JJNtcyB6wxs
Test driving and it looks good, but I can make my home show up as the starting point, only shows up as the end point
If you’re using Google Maps and you see the From and To at the top, you should see a up arrow/down arrow to switch the order of the stops. You can also drag them into place. See this video https://youtu.be/JJNtcyB6wxs
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PS: what I find lacking in all of them is unconventional routing. We try to avoid interstates, when possible. Streets and Trips had a slider that you could use to say how much you hated/liked various types of roads. The new ones are absolute: if, for instance, you say avoid interstates, it will come up with some amazing routes to even avoid a few miles on an interstate. S&T would “say” ok, I see you don’t care much for interstates, but I’m going to put you on one for a few miles and then we’ll go back to other roads.
I DO miss Streets and Trips!
Great info. My go-to is rvtripwizard.com. It is a pay site but we travel a lot and think it is worth it. Sure wish a true replacement for Streets & Trips would come along.
Thanks! Yes, I forgot to mention RVTripWizard – I will add it now.