Friday, December 8, 2023


Do you use a dedicated GPS or your phone for navigating on RV trips?

Remember the good ol’ days when we actually had to use paper maps to get around? My, how times have changed! What would you do without your beloved GPS or Google Maps on your phone? You’d be lost without it (yes, yes, pun intended).

When you’re on the road, do you use a dedicated GPS or a mapping app such as Apple Maps, Google Maps or Waze on your phone? All certainly have pros and cons, so it usually just comes down to a personal preference.

Please vote in the poll and leave a comment with your favorite mapping apps (if you use any). We love learning about new ones.

Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury is the editor here at She was lucky enough to grow up alongside two traveling parents, one domestically by RV (yep, Chuck Woodbury) and the other for international adventures, and has been lucky to see a great deal of our world (and counting!). She lives near Seattle with her dog and chickens. When she's not cranking out 700+ newsletters for she's hiking, cooking or, well, probably traveling.



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Bob Weinfurt (@guest_115478)
2 years ago

I look at mapquest and carry a roads atlas.

Jay Ward (@guest_115473)
2 years ago

Use the map in the Ford Sync system, which does have gps and trip routing. With Travel-Link also has weather radar in addition to the satellite music.

Linda (@guest_115439)
2 years ago

We use paper maps and Google Earth to check locations and park layout.

Richard Hughes (@guest_115390)
2 years ago

We unusually look at a paper map before we leave, put the route in the GPS and check the paper map if needed.

Tony Grigg (@guest_115367)
2 years ago

We use Gamin RV770. Has worked well for us. Only got us lost once, but took us to an identically named road and address 25 miles from our destination. It knows our height and length and weight to keep us on acceptable paths.

Jeff Craig (@guest_115366)
2 years ago

I use Waze on my ATT phone, and run the CoPilot App (that I pay for the truck/RV upgrade) on my Sprint phone when we go on routes that are outside our normal drives, like our trip to the LA area pre-Covid. We used to have a ‘stand alone’ GPS unit, but as weekenders that tend to go to the same State Parks, it just wasn’t worth replacing when the screen went out.

That said, when we go on road trips, I map out our route weeks before we leave the house, using Google Maps and the Street View feature. It is very helpful to see how I should approach a rest area, Costco, Walmart or PFJ when it comes to refueling or stopping for the night.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jeff Craig
Gena (@guest_115365)
2 years ago

Having dumb phones, we use a Garmin & paper maps.

Glenda Alexander (@guest_115362)
2 years ago

I generally use paper maps to plan my overall trips and then check for brochures, maps, etc., at visitor centers. I also use Internet sources from my computer to get more detailed directions. I like the bigger screens!

Grant Graves (@guest_115360)
2 years ago

I have a Rand McNally GPS in the MH but it hasn’t worked for a year. Can’t seem to get it serviced anywhere so I use RV Trip Wizard and download the route to Goggle Maps. I have an appointment with the MH manufacturer in May in Indiana. I hope the RM GPS get fixed. It was very convenient while it worked.

Tom (@guest_115357)
2 years ago

Only time I use phone is when Garmin does not give correct location. I use Microsoft Street and Trips to make gpx file and load to GPS. Sometimes no GPS system will work to give a hard to find location.

MrDisaster (@guest_115355)
2 years ago

We have planned using paper maps and google maps for years. We took a trip from Washington to the Maritime Provinces, down to Florida and back along I-10 to California and back home using Google maps on the phone. Google is set to give the shortest route and that isn’t the best solution when towing a 36′ fifth wheel. Took us on a road that had a 3.75 meter bridge (Moncton NB). We had to turn around, thankfully the local RCMP helped us. That was the point that we decided a dedicated GPS was in our future. We had a few other surprises during our 17,000 mile trip. We got a Garmin 770RV. Now we can add height, length and width to allow the GPS to avoid tight squeezes. In the 3 years since we have not yet been sent wrong (yes there will be a first time some day). My wife still follows GPS with her phone and that can be useful if we change route for food or fuel or sightseeing!

Paul Cecil (@guest_115352)
2 years ago

I use both. For around town and short trips I use my phone. For longer trips I have an older Garmin GPS unit that I keep updated. For trip planning I use online resources, maps, and I stop at travel and visitor centers to collect maps and see what is interesting.

Wayne C (@guest_115351)
2 years ago

Lots of good advice in these comments

Goldie (@guest_115347)
2 years ago

I use RV trip planning software that has the size and weight of our coach. Any routes other than interstates get checked with a large RM Truckers Atlas. Then I plot the trip on our RV’s GPS and compare that route. If everything matches, we drive. If there’s a variance I go to Google Maps satellite view and check out the different routes. I also use Google or Waze to track traffic and turns when we are approaching or going through cities. 

Joe (@guest_115345)
2 years ago

My GPS is marketed towards truckers, it lets us put in the parameters for height, width, weight and etc of our class A. I also keep a written copy of these in feet and metric in the dash area. Driving our car around town and on trips we use a cell phone.

MN Anon (@guest_115344)
2 years ago

We never plan ahead, but it’s a good idea! We use my phone and paper maps for different reasons. Very few problems.

Victor Whitmore (@guest_115342)
2 years ago

I use Co-Pilot on an Android tablet and back that up with a laptop running either Streets and Trips or PC Navigator Free (while in Mexico). I do not ever rely on having Internet access while on the road hence my tools have off-line map databases.

Edward Wullschleger (@guest_115341)
2 years ago

We use paper maps for longer distances while in the vehicle (but plan out our trip at home using Google maps on the computer). When close, if we’re uncertain, we’ll use Google maps on the phone.

bjensen6 (@guest_115339)
2 years ago

We have 2 GPS units we use at the same time. And yet we still get lost once in awhile.

GeorgeB (@guest_115335)
2 years ago

For me, using a GPS on long trips is the better alternative since there are very few places it can not see a satellite. Phones on the other hand are dependent on cell service, which is sketchy even on Interstates in many States. If my GPS tells me to turn down a non-paved road, I don’t do it. My next move is to pull over and check to see if my phone or map tells me something different. Check your GPS settings to see if it will keep you on roads compatible with whatever you are driving.

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