When you’re traveling in an RV, mobile apps and websites can often come in handy. Two favorites of the RV community are the Allstays app and the RV Parky app. Also keep in mind, both of these apps also have free websites, so an app isn’t really necessary. You can always log onto either Allstays.com or RVParky.com from your laptop.
Another thing to consider when using mobile apps, is your mobile data plan; many people on the road have limited data plans, and going over your data limit can get costly.
Allstays vs RVParky
It’s important to realize, you might not have cell service in a lot of places while you travel; the Allstays app has an offline feature, however, it’s not clear whether the RV Parky app has an offline feature. Furthermore, the RV Parky app is free, but the Allstays app costs $9.99. More important, the Allstays app is only available for Apple iOS, while the RV Parky app is available for both Apple iOS and Android. The bottom line is, your phone may very well decide which app to get.
Plan Your Travel Route Ahead
While mobile apps can be a useful tool, it’s always a good idea to thoroughly plan your route before you hit the road. While you are sure you have cell service, research your travel route and write it down on paper. Be aware, you can get all the information the Allstays app has for $9.99 free from their website. You may have to spend more time gleaning the information you need from the website, but you won’t have to spend $9.99 or have an iPhone.
Writing down the route to your destination is always recommended; relying solely on a mobile app is never a good idea. Cell service, as well as batteries, can fail. It’s also a good idea to have a GPS unit that relies on satellite rather than cell service.
Advantages to Allstays
The Allstays website not only includes places to camp with an RV, but it also includes truck stops, hotels, Walmarts, rest areas and even the locations of low clearance tunnels and overpasses. Once again, it’s very possible to find all the information you need from their free website, although it may take a little more time and you’ll need to make notes.
Advantages of RV Parky
The RV Parky app and website are not as comprehensive as Allstays, but the listings do include RV parks, Camping World locations, Walmart, as well as BLM and National Forests. RV Parky also features user reviews, which can be helpful. However, most of the listings on RV Parky are for RV parks and forest service campgrounds. While their app is free to download, it appears that they do charge RV parks to manage their listings; that could be the reason why RV parks dominate the listings.
Overall, more full-time RVers rely on Allstays rather than RV Parky. While both Allstays and RV Parky do a good job of finding all of the possible RV parks and campgrounds, both do miss a few options, for several possible reasons.
Freecampsites.net vs Campendium.com
These two websites are the go-to for boondockers. If you want to find free places to camp off-grid, check out these websites. Both websites also feature paid RV parks and forest service campgrounds in the area.
Cell Service Listings
However, Campendium quickly overtook freecampsites in popularity. This is primarily because Campendium took the innovative step to list whether or not there is cell service at each location. In order to compete, Freecampsites has now added that feature too. However, Campendium baked it into their website from the beginning, so it’s more comprehensive.
The cell service listings on both websites are reliant on user reports. They’re broken down by carrier and signal. For example, a listing might show Verizon 4G 2 bars, and AT&T 4G 1 bar. Both sites are dependent on user reports, and if no one with Sprint has been there, that carrier won’t be listed.
Another reason why Campendium is very popular is the quality of the listings; they seem more reliable when it comes to what size rig can gain access to the various boondocking locations. In contrast, probably 80% of the listings on Freecampsites are only accessible by van or car (even though it might say “any size rig”). The size of rig is mostly left to user reports, and since Freecampsites saw heavy use by van dwellers, at least in the beginning, the reports are often not accurate for larger RVs.
The maps on either site may or may not show up accurately, depending on your device; for some reason, Campendium maps show up on one of my laptops, but not on the other. On the other hand, while the maps on Freecampsites do show up on my tablet, they’re hard to navigate on that device. Since the maps are served third-party, it probably depends on the software installed on your laptop or mobile device.
Listing Other Features
Campendium has better navigation for things like dump stations, and free vs paid camping. You can sort your search according to how much you want to pay, public or private campgrounds, etc.
Freecampsites simply have icons on each listing, indicating whether an area has a dump station, water, vault toilets, and more. However, the map icons do separate free and paid campgrounds by color; green is free camping, and red is paid.
Finally, Campendium has more photos uploaded by users showcasing the various locations than Freecampsites does. While Campendium sounds like the winner here, it always pays to check both websites. You never know what you might find!