I just returned from my second ever epic mountain camping road trip. There were a few new apps on my phone this time around that made a huge difference in my travels. Download these before your next trip, and it could change everything!
1. Free campsites
You wouldn't believe how many free campsites are out there! This was a great resource because of the detailed reviews from users. It actually helped me avoid a few. Really easy to use on the fly, this should definitely be on your phone.
2. All Trails
I found this one from a fellow blogger, and it totally changed my trip! Super simple to use, really accurate, and it even has information on which trails are dog friendly. I found an awesome trail just a few miles from my campground in Arapaho National Forest. We had it all to ourselves for a morning hike. This one is staying on my phone full-time so I can explore new trails near wherever I happen to be, and I can update it with info from my own travels. Highly recommend if you love hiking with your dog!
The go-to feature of this app is not its map or directions; it's the ability to find attractions right on your route. I used this to find scenic stops, campgrounds, hiking, and some fabulous destinations. You can easily toggle the distance from your route - I used 5 to 10 miles - and even filter by which types of things you're looking for. I could find a place to stop and hike, camp, or even stop for the night super easily because it limits the search to just near your route rather than a huge blanketed area like Google Maps does. I also used this extensively on my desktop when planning my trip. What's super cool is that if you simply plug in a series of destinations you have in mind, it will automatically find you the best route to see all of them. Can't recommend this one enough!
4. Air bnb
Not so great for last-minute bookings as many places will not allow same day or 24 hour reservations, but it's a handy app if you already have a trip planned. Air bnb is an organization that allows regular people like you and me to put our apartments, spare rooms, and guest houses up for rent by travelers. Very cost effective! And you meet some incredible hosts. I found one place in Montana that had a fantastic tent pad set up on her property. We camped there AND got a hot shower in the morning. For those traveling economically, this is definitely the way to go. Often more comfortable and private than a hotel, staying in someone's home was a great experience for me.
5. Google Maps - My Maps
Did you know you can create your own map within Google Maps? You can add destinations, change the format on the markers, or even save directions for a multi-stop trip. You can then pull it up on your phone right from the app. This helped me to navigate even when I had zero reception. I already had the map pulled up and just referenced the magical blue line and my position.
I also used the Google Maps app exhaustively when searching for a hotel. Reviews and prices are right there at your fingertips. Same for cross-referencing parks found on Roadtrippers for reviews and hours.
6. Trip Advisor
When visiting a brand new city, like Boulder, this was great to quickly find the hot spots. If you enjoy being a tourist, which CAN be fun sometimes!, then this app is really handy. You get great feedback from locals and other visitors. Easily sift cut through all the hype about a destination and find out what's really the good stuff.
Last-minute bookings are a snap with this app. Filter by pet friendly and you're good to go. I found excellent deals and was able to filter by popular dog-friendly chains like Best Western and La Quinta. This is a must for finding a hotel same day.
Hopefully these are helpful to you on your next adventure. Do you know of any others?