I could do another post with pictures of a beautiful campground and gorgeous beaches. But, frankly, I’m getting bored with that and I’m guessing you are too. So I thought I’d change it up a bit and do a post about using technology on the road. We brought with us one laptop, one iPad, two iPhones and two Kindles! I won’t even tell you how much we’ve had to up our data. It’s embarrassing.
I would describe myself as having a fairly typical knowledge of technology for my age group. I use it a lot and it has made our life on the road so much easier. But I also run in to issues where I want to tear my hair out which is due to my lack of knowledge of more complicated technology issues. More about my struggle with photos and the iCloud later!
So here are a few things we could not live without:
Number one on the list is turn-by-turn navigation. We use Apple Maps but I’ve also used Google Maps. I just prefer the former. “She” (female voice) has led us astray a few times but not much. I think about the old days when we used to have to read paper maps which I wouldn’t even be able to read now because of the tiny print. And, there was no blue dot on those maps that moved along with you. We love the blue dot. The blue dot is our friend. We also love having the option of switching to the satellite view. For example, if we are wanting to stop at a Manatee Viewing site, we switch to the satellite view to see if the parking lot will accommodate our rig. When pulling a trailer, the last thing you want to do is pull in to a parking lot only to find out that there is no way to turn around!
John installed an iPad holder in the car which works great for navigation:
Apps we love:
Allstays. This shows camping options around us. We are an orange dot on this app! There are filters we use depending on what we are looking for. Just need a place to sleep for the night? Then show just walmarts and Cracker Barrel restaurants. Want to stay in a state park? Just show those. Looking for an rv resort with laundry and wifi? No problem. Once you’ve filtered what you are looking for, you click on the one you are interested in and up pops pictures people have taken, reviews, links to the website and making reservations. We use this app all the time. RVparking.com is another good App.
Gas Buddy: The blue dot is back. This app is useful in several ways. You can see on a map where there are gas stations on your route. It really helps to know how far you can go before stopping. It also tells you the current price at each station so you can pick the best price. We are mostly looking for the easyist access so we can see this too.
Pinterest. No need to bring recipes with me. Pinterest not only has my recipes that I’ve saved but I can look for new ones on the road. I plan to look for a recipe for making lobster rolls when we get to Maine! Also, I’ve gotten most of my information about not-to-miss things to see on our travels from Pinterest.
FaceTime. This allows us to feel somewhat connected to our kids and grandchildren. Love seeing those little kiddos although, except for Hux, they sort of ignore us now. I think it’s kind of boring for them to talk to us via FaceTime.
Last but not least, Find Friends (on your phone if it’s an iPhone). We’ve had the most fun with this app. Our kids signed up to “follow” us. This means that at any time, they can look and see exactly where we are. I mean exactly. They can see if we are in the parking lot of a store or if we are actually in the store. We originally set this up as a safety measure. If our kids couldn’t get in contact with us, as long as our phones are with us, they can see where we are and that we are ok. When we first set this up, Tracy and Tiffany were mesmerized by it. We felt like we had cyber stalkers watching us. One time, we were on a city bus and Tiffany texted us to tell us if we needed anything, there was a Walgreens coming up on the right. Funny girl! I think the novelty has worn off but I think they still watch us on occasion if they aren’t sure where we are. The picture below shows me (the blue dot, of course) and John (the orange dot). I’m at the trailer and he’s surfing. We aren’t often apart on this trip but I thought it would be good for us to also have this ability with each other. He’s going to be surprised by this, because he didn’t even know I set this up a few days ago! As an aside, sure wish this was available when our kids were teenagers!
Good Sam Trip Planner. This is the tool we used to plan our route. You plug in the sites you want to visit, and it routes them in the best order. You can also look for campgrounds, museums, outdoor activities, etc. This took many hours on my part before leaving home but I think it is invaluable in helping us to see everything we want to see in a most efficient way.
iPhone camera. All the pictures have been taken with my phone. I think they are pretty good. Yes, I could take better ones if I wanted to carry around a big camera bag with a fancy camera. But that would not be practical. So for me, iPhone camera is good enough.
Social media. Keeps us connected with what’s going on with friends at home.
Kindles. We have no space to bring actual books. And we can order new ones anywhere, anytime.
And, of course, we do countless google searches for important things. Like Surfline for local surf and looking for a recipe for the delicious Key Lime cocktail we had in Key West.
Satellite TV. i love being able to be connected to cable tv, especially in an election year. Although John says he’s going to get me a foam brick to throw at the tv! With the satellite we are able to watch the California local news channels. Storm Watch 7000! And things like the debates (foam brick needed), Survivor, Wicked Tuna, House Hunters, etc.
Lance Owners of America. John is a very handy guy and there are many things he can fix but we have had a few mechanical issues with our Lance that have stumped him. We’ve posted questions on this site and gotten lots of helpful advice from fellow Lance owners. And when that fails, John just calls Mike Belleville (aka McGyver, good friend, and fellow Lance owner). At our age, it’s still a wonder that we can call him anytime, anywhere even though he’s on a road trip too!
Now for the frustrating parts of technology:
Most rv parks advertise free wifi. It’s mostly a joke. You may be able to log on and do something simple like check your email but that’s about it. We’ve only encountered a handful of places who actually had usable wifi. Therefore, we use lots of data. But it’s a first-world problem so we don’t get too frustrated about it.
The most frustrating issue for me is my lack of understanding about how to save my photos in the most efficient way so I can delete them off of my phone and make space for taking more pics. I’ve literally spent hours researching various options, talking to Microsoft (Windows 10 on the laptop), a visit to the Apple Store in Tampa Florida (driving 45 minutes out of our way in pouring rain), phone call to Apple when tech guys at the Apple store were perplexed, and on and on. Using iCloud photos now but I think it only sends to the cloud when hooked up to good wifi. Emphasis on “good”. I have it somewhat figured out but not totally. I’m definitely going to take a class when I get home. And please don’t offer me any suggestions. You will just confuse me.
I think that covers most of my thoughts on technology. The bottom line is I don’t think we could do this type of trip without it, although I know people did years ago. But the world has changed and a good working knowledge of technology is necessary. I mostly love it, but sometimes get frustrated with it.
Lastly, thanks to Travis for setting up the blog. I intended to do it myself but when I started and they began talking about coding, I knew I was in over my head! What would we do without our kids who are so much more knowledgeable about this than us?
And, if any of you have used any other useful technology on your travels, we’d love to hear about it! Except don’t talk to me about photos. 😊😊😊