My two "don't leave home without them" devices for RV travel are my Garmin 265 GPS and my iPhone 3Gs.
While Bing is a worthy competitor for voice-controlled web searches, I still like Google Mobile App and the iPhone's default Google Map app a bit better on the 3Gs. If I need to find the nearest laundrymat or post office, I just speak what I'm searching for and Google quickly provides a list of the nearest search results around me (based on the iPhone's built-in GPS and Compass) which I can then click to see them located on a map, click to call them, or click for driving directions. No typing required!
Keeping track of the weather is always important for an RVer. I've not found 1 perfect weather app, so I use a combination of 4 of them to gather all my weather info:
- TheWeatherChannel app has the best animated maps that you can zoom and scroll easily on the iPhone to see where storms are and how they're tracking. It also gives good forecast info, but I find the small numbers on blue background makes their 10-day forecast a bit hard to read, so for that, I like WeatherBug with it's bigger fonts and white background a bit better. AccuWeather also gives a nice "at a glance" forecast view when I just want large numbers and graphics rather than detailed text.
- Finally, if severe weather looms, and I'm aware from my dedicated weather radio in the RV, I use a neat app called WunderRadio that streams the nearest NOAA Weather radio station broadcasts (that app streams many other radio stations as well and is great for listening to your hometown radio stations while traveling!
- Where has a GasBuddy widget that allows you to find the cheapest nearby fuel by grade (great for RV'ing when I must locate diesel!). Where also can search the entire YellowPages.com site, but you must type in search terms as it doesn't support voice search.
- AroundMe is similar to Garmin's default POI where the categories are pre-defined so you don't need to type anything to find the nearest grocery store, gas station, restaurant, hospital, etc.
- Clinometer is the best 99 cents I've ever spent! It provides a great 4-way bubble level that allows me to use my iPhone to level the RV when I arrive at a campground. It also measures slope/tilt/elevation, which can be helpful when pointing a satellite dish or for determining where the sun/moon will be at a certain time of day (see below for the companion app I use for that).
- MyAltitude is a free app that simply displays what altitude you're at. Nice for climbing up mountain passes.
- Flashlight is a silly, but useful app that fills the screen with a single color (which you can choose). Gives you enough light to find your glasses, unlock a door, or walk up a staircase in the dark.
- Dragon Dictation is amazingly accurate way to generate text without typing. You can then copy/paste this text into any other iPhone app or can email or text message it.
- EveryTrail is a neat little app for tracking a hike, bike ride, or paddling route you take and incorporating some iPhone photos of any cool things you see along the way. Another cool feature is that you can share your trip with other users and also search/view their trips (a great way to find interesting "trails" at a destination you'll be visiting soon).
- Wikihood is a fun little app that provides you with Wikipedia entries for locations that are currently around you. An interesting way to learn more random and unusual facts about a place you're visiting (things that might not be in the typical travel guide books).
- TapForms is a customizable database app that can take full advantage of iPhone features to capture/store information. Databases can contain the usual kinds of fields (text, dates, numbers, look-ups), but also can contain a photo, audio clip, or GPS location captured from your iPhone, a 5-star rating, a file attachment option for attaching any file the iPhone can view, a website URL, or even a phone number you can click to make a phone call. It's a great app to create inventories of all items in your RV or Household (for insurance purposes), and is also a great log book for remembering past campgrounds or great photo locations you've visited.
Speaking of photo locations, since that's one of my main reasons for traveling, there are a couple great photo apps on my iPhone as well:
- Focalware is a "must-have" for any outdoor photographer. It uses the iPhone's GPS and compass to show you where and when the sun or moon will rise and set, and the position of where the sun/moon will be at any particular time of day. It provides this info for your current location, or a location you're wishing to travel to for today or in the future.
- PhotoBuddy is a useful collection of photo tools for calculating depth of field, exposure, flash coverage, bracketing, and also provides a handy little bulb timer when taking long exposures.
Well, there you have it! My list of favorite traveling apps. If you've got some favorites not listed here, please post a comment and let me know about them!
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