We receive many great RV-related questions from people in our More Than A Wheelin’ community. To help answer these questions, we’ve decided to summarize our top RV resources in this comprehensive reference article. We use many of these resources regularly to help us plan and sustain our RV lifestyle. We hope you find them helpful and encourage you to leave a comment at the end with your favorite RV resources! Our resources are organized into the following popular categories:
- Travel Planning
- Camping Memberships
- Other Memberships
- RV Living and Gear
- Community and Events
- Remote Work and Income
- Internet and Data
- Staying Organized
- Saving Money and Finding Deals
Here are the top RV resources we use to plan our travels.
Our go-to resource for finding places to stay is Campendium. The website provides searchable places to stay including RV parks; Federal, state and local campgrounds; free camping; and even dump stations. User reviews are the backbone of this resource and include a five-star rating system for five categories, as well as very helpful internet strength ratings. The information is as good as its users, so leaving reviews are important. We say this realizing we haven’t done a great job with this, and have recommitted ourselves to leaving reviews going forward. Another similar resource RVers use that we reference less frequently is Allstays.
Pinterest is a search engine—like Google—where you can find information on just about anything. You search using keywords and phrases, or hashtags, and “pins” will appear on the page. These pins are created by bloggers and vloggers who want to share their content. It’s visual and fun, too! We search for pins on places to go, and things to see and do. We repin these ideas on our More Than A Wheelin’ USA Travel Destinations board. We also share our travel pins. It’s a fun way to organize your travel and keep track of places you want to visit.
We love to spend time in the great outdoors, and one of our favorite activities is hiking. A handy website and mobile app that we use is AllTrails. This resource details over 75,000 worldwide hiking trails, providing valuable information such as maps, trail distances, difficulty, elevation gain/loss, and points of interest. We find it really helpful in finding great hikes everywhere we visit. For more hiking information and resources, check out this article on Finding Your Next Great Hike.
We use a variety of camping memberships to save money and increase our lodging options. Here are the ones we use in order of priority:
We use Thousand Trails and its coast-to-coast network of campgrounds whenever possible. We paid about $700 in 2019 for a regional zone pass and the Trails Collection, which includes an additional 200 campgrounds and resorts. It only takes about 20 nights to get our costs below average RV park rates. Additional zones can be purchased for around $50 each. There are some important restrictions with our membership level, such as a maximum length of stay of 14 nights, being out of the system for 7 nights before re-entering, and a 60-day reservation window. Thousand Trails has higher membership levels that allow longer stays and more advanced reservation windows. Sometimes we find ourselves competing against these members, especially at popular campgrounds in the high season.
Good Sam and AAA
Good Sam Club is another membership we have. There are over 2,500 affiliated RV parks and campgrounds which provide a 10% discount on lodging fees. The annual membership fee is around $30, so it doesn’t take long for this membership to pay for itself. We can also earn discounts on gas, propane, and shopping at Outdoor World, among other benefits. We also have a AAA Auto Club membership (the standard annual membership rate is around $50) that provides similar lodging discounts, as well as roadside assistance for our tow vehicle.
KOA (Kampgrounds of America)
KOA has the world’s largest collection of private campgrounds with over 500 in North America, giving us many options. We pay $30 a year for KOA’s Value Kard Rewards program which provides a 10% nightly discount and points towards cash back at its parks (we just redeemed points for $25 cash back at the park we’re currently staying at). KOA’s campgrounds are some of the nicest RV parks we’ve stayed at.
We also have a Passport America membership which costs $44 per year. It provides discounts of up to 50% at almost 1,800 affiliated RV parks. We’ve often found these parks to be smaller and more rural than in other networks. Also, you’ll need to read the fine print on each park’s offer as sometimes they’re seasonal or only for your first few nights.
One of the most impactful memberships we have is our membership with the Escapees RV Club. The club has been around since 1978, providing community and support for RV enthusiasts. Escapees provides a variety of perks with its $40 annual membership fee, including discounts on Escapees-owned RV parks, education, mail delivery service, and amazing events where we’ve met so many new friends (events and services may have separate fees).
National Parks Pass
One of the main reasons we’re on the road is to see the great beauty of this country. In nearly three years on the road, we’ve visited close to 50 National Park Service locations. We learned early on that the National Park Service annual pass would be a good value for us. Unlimited access to over 2,000 Federal recreation sites costs $80 a year, and typically pays for itself in five visits. We’ve really enjoyed seeing our National Parks from the Mighty 5 Utah National Parks to The Wright Brothers Memorial on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
RV Living and Gear
We live in our RV full-time, but not everyone needs to live in their RV to benefit from these great RV resources. Either way, we think you’ll find these very helpful if you plan to live or travel in an RV for extended periods.
A Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV Book
Alyssa Padgett is the other—perhaps even better—half of Heath Padgett, founder of the RV Entrepreneur Podcast. Together they run their website, heathandalyssa.com, which helps RVers with all kinds of RV-related things, including running a business from your RV. Alyssa wrote a very comprehensive book on everything you need to know about living in an RV. It’s very well-written and funny, too! (click image below).
Fix It Yourself, RV Maintenance Course
It’s important to have some working knowledge about how to do maintenance on your RV. You will not only feel empowered to do your own repairs, you can save a lot of money, too! This online course, called Fix It Yourself, is one of the best for the price on the market. It’s taught by our friend, Ed Wilcox and his wife Liz Wilcox, from the Virtual Campground.
Gear Reviews via Camp Addict
Our favorite website to learn about the latest and greatest RV gear is Camp Addict. It’s run by two very knowledgeable full-time RVers, Kelly Beasley and Marshall Wendler. There you will find comprehensive reviews of indoor and outdoor RV-related equipment and RV education.
Traveling with Pets
Occasionally we get a pet travel question. We travel with our cat Parker, and he’s usually pretty easy to manage. Dogs can require a bit more effort, not to mention pigs and chickens. Yep, we know people who travel with all kinds of animals! Luckily, there are some great resources that specialize in care for your pet on the road. Check out the Tires and Tails blog run by Jeannie Dees to see resources for dogs and cats. You can even join the Facebook groups—for dogs or cats—or in Camille’s case, both!
A few years ago, we decided to get medical insurance for our pets. We use Pets Best Insurance. Their rates are very competitive, it’s easy to file claims, and their customer service is high quality. We’re able to insure our 4-year old cat, Parker, for about $350 per year. The coverage came in very handy when Parker came down with a urinary tract blockage earlier in 2019, and we rang up a vet bill of $2,000. He’s doing much better now—and so is our pocketbook.
Community and Events
We use the following resources to help us stay connected to community and attend events while on the road.
Xscapers is a subgroup within the Escapees RV Club catering to RVers who work from the road. There is no additional cost to join Xscapers. They organize and run several convergences throughout the year where RVers can get together, build bonds, and be a part of a like-minded community. Its signature event is the weeklong Annual Bash, currently held in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, in January.
RVillage is the biggest social network for RVers, connecting over 120,000 people across the country. You can check in and see who else is near you, join interest groups, post photos, and share resources with like-minded people. RVillage hosts an annual rally, which we attended in 2019, that brings people together for fun activities and education.
Fulltime Families provides education for families who want to RV full-time. They focus on helping families make meaningful connections through community and events.
Full-Time Freedom Week
Full-Time Freedom Week is the largest and most popular online event for RV enthusiasts. The event offers free education for a full week every November, and an opportunity to purchase lifetime access to expert videos on everything from buying the right RV, forming community on the road, working from your RV, and more!
Remote Work and Income
We get asked more questions about remote work and earning income than anything else. Perhaps this is because Camille is the founder of Remote Work School and a remote work coach. She specializes in helping people find the right remote work opportunities.
Remote Work School
Remote Work School is the premier school for learning how to find remote work, develop a freelance business, understand how to price your services, and more! It includes self-study courses, as well as live coaching provided by Camille. If you’re interested in finding remote work, check out the article 6 Tips For Finding Remote Work.
Remote Work Journey Facebook Group
The Remote Work Journey Facebook group is a free online community that offers resources, tips, and guidance for people seeking remote work opportunities.
Make Money and RV Virtual Summit
The Make Money and RV Virtual Summit will help you see the various options for earning income on the road. Go behind the scenes with speakers (including Camille) to learn how people start businesses, work remotely, or create multiple income streams to sustain their travel lifestyles.
Taxes for Nomads and RV Entrepreneurs
Heather Ryan is known as the “Tax Queen.” She provides tax preparation, planning, and bookkeeping services, in addition to educating people who want to run a business from their RV on tax implications and benefits. You can find everything you need to know in her book (click image below).
Internet and Data
Living and working on the road requires reliable internet connection. We started with Verizon as our carrier on an unlimited data plan. However, there were times when Verizon coverage was not sufficient. After almost two years on the road, we added AT&T as a secondary carrier with an unlimited data plan. It has increased our costs, but improved our reliability and coverage. A word to the wise, very few data plans are truly unlimited. For example, our Verizon and AT&T unlimited plans are throttled or prioritized after reaching certain usage limits. A great resource for information on mobile internet is The Mobile Internet Handbook by Chris and Cherie of Technomadia (click image below or download free pdf at Mobile Internet Resource Center).
To get closer to true unlimited data, we waited for a good deal and then bought a Verizon MiFi jetpack device. It works as a mobile hotspot, so we don’t have to tether our laptops to our phones as hotspots. The MiFi device provides unlimited data, but our data can still be prioritized during times of high traffic.
A handy mobile app we use to measure internet signal strength is Open Signal. You can measure your connection ping (or reaction time), test upload and download speeds, and directionally locate cell phone towers.
Cell Signal Booster
Weboost is a cell booster that can marginally strengthen the cell signal in your RV. It’s not as though you have no internet one minute, and then you’re streaming videos. Our experience is more like having slow internet one minute, and then we’re able to upload photos with the benefit of the cell booster.
The following resources help us stay organized both inside the RV and in our daily lives.
RV Storage and Decor
RV Inspiration is one of our favorite websites for RV organization and decorations. Our friend, Ashley Mann, created it and has done an amazing job of pulling together the best of the best for your inspiration. The ideas you’ll find there will help you organize your RV, find space you didn’t know you had, and create a warm, inviting place to live and travel.
We use apps every day to improve our productivity. There are two free apps we like to use to keep notes and schedule our activities. Evernote is a great note taking, storage, and organizing app. We keep notes on blog and business ideas, travel tips, photos, links to resources, and other things in Evernote. You can also search using keywords on notes you’ve taken so you can find things in seconds. Asana is a project management tool that is easy to use and fun. Since we run a virtual business, it’s especially important and helpful to keep track of projects and deadlines. And if you collaborate with other people, you can share tasks and keep each other updated.
Saving Money and Finding Deals
There are many resources to help you save money while RVing. You’ve found many of them in this article. But here are a few more things to help offset your costs
Full-Time RV Finance is a book written by our friends, Sean and Julie Chickery. They worked hard to get out of debt while living and traveling in their RV, and building businesses on the road. The book is full of actionable ideas on saving money on the purchase of your RV, creating a budget for sustainable full-time RVing, and many other resources and tips (click image below).
Free Camping (aka Boondocking)
Boondocking is RV camping without hookups like water, sewer and electric. We boondock periodically to offset our costs, but we know people who almost exclusively boondock. We have a friend who spent only $40 last year on camping costs because he found free camping for almost the entire year. Wow, now that’s saving the big bucks! The Ultimate Guide To RV Boondocking by Kristin Hanes from The Wayward Home is a great resource to get you started.
Yelp has been a great tool for helping us find deals in the places we travel. RV living can be physically taxing sometimes. Camille likes to get a massage every couple of months, and Yelp has been great to look for deals and coupons where we visit. Of course, you can also find discounts on restaurants and shops, too. One thing we use Yelp for is to search for “free wifi” in the area to make sure we have internet access when needed.
Coupon sites like Groupon, Living Social, and Travelzoo are other ways we save money while traveling. We’ve enjoyed great entertainment deals like this food tour in Savannah, Georgia.
Thanks for reading our top RV resources. Hopefully you found a new resource or two—or many new resources! We’d love to hear about your favorites, too. Please share what you like in the comments below. We wish you the best in your travels! If you’re looking for a plan to help you make the jump into RVing, check out the Wanderlust Transition Plan, a comprehensive approach to help you plan the major phases of RV living.
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Thank you for so much info all in one place. Some of your suggestions I knew about, but they are all relevant to full time rv’ing. Can’t wait to use them all!
Great to hear Shar! I hope all of them help you in your travels.
Hi Camille! I wanted to post another resource that I’m working on – hopefully that’s allowed! This one is more geared at boondockers, but it has campgrounds with hookups as well.
It’s called FreeRoam (https://freeroam.app, or search for it on iOS & Android)
Some of the features that are new / different from other apps:
– Completely free (also a 501c3 non-profit)
– BLM/USFS/cell coverage map overlays
– A bunch of filtering options (weather, cell signal, distance to dump station, etc…)
– MVUM overlays directly on map, with transparency (to see satellite, below it)
– Wildfire information (active wildfires, smoke and fire hazard overlays)
– Closest dump station, water, propane, etc… to each location
– You can tap on a BLM/USFS overlay to get the ranger district or BLM office name
I made a walkthrough video for the map features so others can get an idea of what’s possible here: https://youtu.be/GvRNzOFAbpg
Thanks for sharing this resource, Austin. We just published an article on boondocking and included information on FreeRoam. It’s a great resource and we love that it’s from a non-profit.