Mobile apps for RVers

Practical advice: Mobile apps for RVers

Lisa Jansen shares the best mobile apps to make RV travel easier, safer, and more enjoyable

Smartphones are everywhere. Whether you are a fan of such technology or not, there’s no denying the value, convenience, and safety smartphone apps can offer travellers. From finding campgrounds, supermarkets, dump stations, and activities to connecting with other travellers, navigating to the next destination, checking the weather, and much more, there’s an app for everything.

Here are some of our favourite mobile apps for motorhome and caravan travellers in New Zealand. These apps can all be downloaded from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store, and many are free.

Finding campgrounds and other RV facilities

Mobile apps for RVers
Mobile apps are great for finding things to do across the country

Probably the most valuable and popular apps for RVers are those that provide information about campgrounds, dump stations, and other amenities. All of these apps show the various facilities on a map, making it easy to find ones in the area you’re visiting. The apps provide general information about the places and connect to navigation apps (see below) so you can bring up directions directly from within the app.

There are four popular apps that help travellers find campground and RV facilities: CamperMate Australia & New Zealand, WikiCamps New Zealand, Rankers Camping NZ, and the NZMCA app (for members only).

All of them are free except for the NZMCA app, which requires a membership. Each has its pros and cons, and it can be beneficial to download several. However, if you only want one app, our recommendation would be Rankers Camping NZ, mainly because it’s the most comprehensive in terms of what’s included (campgrounds, dump stations, walks, activities, supermarkets, and much more).

Another app worth mentioning in this context is Campable, which connects private people who welcome campers to their properties with RVers.

Recommended apps

  • CamperMate Australia & New Zealand (free)
  • WikiCamps New Zealand (free)
  • Rankers Camping NZ (free)
  • NZMCA app (paying members only)
  • Campable (free)

Maps and navigation

Mobile apps for RVers
Mobile apps make navigating a breeze

Remember the days of bulky navigation systems and the TomTom? Well, they are long gone. These days, most people use map and navigation apps on their mobile phones to find their way around. Google Maps is the most popular app in this category, followed by Apple Maps for iPhone and iPad users. Both are great not just for navigation but also for finding just about anything in the area, whether that’s a café, supermarket, or dog walk.

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MAPS.ME allows you to download maps for offline use and navigation. This can be a lifesaver if you’re travelling in areas without cell phone coverage. Be aware that downloading the maps can take a while, so it’s best done at home before you start your trip.

Another app some RVers might find helpful is Roadie, which allows you to plan and share your itinerary with others. Roadie shows restaurants, campgrounds, and sights along the way that you can add as stops to your itinerary. The app requires a paid subscription, and some might be disappointed with the lack of details about different stops. Make sure you take advantage of the three-day free trial to see if it’s worth paying for.

Recommended apps

  • Google Maps (free)
  • Apple Maps (free)
  • MAPS.ME (free)
  • Roadie (paid)

Finding things to do

Now that you have apps to find out where you’re staying and how to get there, the next big question for many RVers is what to do in different parts of the country. Not surprisingly, there are apps for that, too.

The camping apps mentioned at the beginning all show sights and activities to some extent, and Google Maps and Apple Maps are also great for finding amenities and attractions. However, there are also specialised apps that go much deeper.


Roady (not to be confused with Roadie mentioned above) is an app that makes it easy to find a wide range of sights and activities. Simply look up an area on the map and see what’s on offer.

For keen walkers, hikers, mountain bikers and cyclists, All Trails is a must-have app. Through the app, you can find 1000s of trails all over New Zealand and filter by length, difficulty, activity and more.

Cyclists will also likely value the Great Rides app, which helps you find and navigate the NZ Cycle Trails.

Recommended apps

  • Roady (free)
  • All Trails (free, paid premium version)
  • Great Rides (free)

Weather

Mobile apps for RVers
Whether you want music, videos, or games, mobile apps are a great source of entertainment

As we all know, the weather can be hard to predict here in New Zealand. However, given flexibility is one of the biggest perks of RV travel, it’s worthwhile keeping an eye on weather forecasts so you can chase sunshine as much as possible – or at least plan for bad weather if it can’t be avoided.

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Keeping an eye on the weather is also important for staying safe. Driving a big motorhome or caravan in high winds can be dangerous, and when a lot of rain is forecasted, it would be wise not to park in areas that might flood.

With the weather being hard to predict and changing fast, it’s a good idea to rely on more than one source for your weather information.

Most smartphones come with a pre-installed weather app, so that’s an excellent place to start. Weather+ is also a good option. For more nuanced forecasts, apps designed for watersports and marine activities, such as PredictWind and Windy.com are an excellent addition to the app collection on your smartphone. If you’re particularly worried about rainfall, Rain Radar New Zealand is the app for you.

Recommended apps

  • Weather+ (free)
  • PredictWind (free, paid premium version)
  • Windy.com (free, paid premium version)
  • Rain Radar (free)
  • WeatherWatch (free, paid premium version)

Entertainment

Mobile apps can also offer excellent entertainment. From music apps such as Spotify and Apple Music to video apps such as YouTube, Netflix, and all the other streaming services, and more games than you could ever ask for, it’s all available in your smartphone’s app store.

Podcasts (on Spotify or Apple Podcast) or audiobooks (Audible) are a great way to entertain yourself during long drives.

Recommended apps

  • Spotify (free, paid premium version)
  • Audible (paid)
  • YouTube (free)
  • Netflix (paid)

And more

  • Facebook for joining RV-related groups and connecting with other travellers
  • Gaspy to find the cheapest petrol station near you
  • PictureThis to identify plants on your walks and hikes
  • Star Chart to explore and learn about New Zealand’s amazing night sky
  • OODLZ to find experiences and adventures, from dining out to hiking and taking tours
  • BookMe to save on travel and dining experiences when booking last-minute
  • AED Locations to find the nearest Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) based on your location

Mobile apps can make RV travel easier, safer, cheaper, and more enjoyable. However, make sure you don’t miss the best sights and experiences because you’re staring at your screen. Sometimes, the best moments are when you leave your smartphone behind and enjoy travel, scenery, and company in an old-school way.

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