Hitting the Open Road: A Guide to RV GPS Features

So after months of planning and preparation, you’re ready to hit the open road in your RV. You’ll quickly find that having a good GPS unit specifically designed for RVs can make a world of difference.

Let me tell you, I learned this lesson the hard way. On my first cross-country RV trip from Florida to California, I tried to just use the GPS on my phone. Big mistake. After accidentally sending my Winnebago down a winding country road that quickly turned into a one-lane cow path (those cows did not look happy to see me!), I realized it was time to invest in a real RV GPS.

Finding the Right Route is a Breeze

One of the best features of an RV GPS is its ability to customize routes specifically for your rig. Unlike the GPS on your phone or car, RV GPS units let you input details like the length, width, weight and height of your vehicle so it can find routes that are suitable for your specific RV’s size and shape. No more surprises like low-hanging branches or narrow tunnels!

My favorite RV GPS model even lets you choose whether you want to take the fastest route or the one with the least hills and sharpest turns. As someone who gets road sick easily, I really appreciate this feature. The scenic route is nice and all, but not when I’m battling motion sickness from all those winding turns! With my RV GPS, I can choose a route that sticks to wider, flatter interstates as much as possible.

Points of Interest at Your Fingertips

Another great feature of RV GPS units is the ability to mark and track points of interest like RV parks, dump stations, and rest stops. After getting stuck driving in circles looking for a place to park my rig more times than I can count, having all the RV-friendly stops mapped out and flagged on my GPS has been an absolute blessing.

Some models even have extensive campsite and RV park directories built right in, complete with ratings, reviews and photos from other users. It’s like having a network of experienced RV travelers right there in your GPS, flagging good campsites and warning you away from places they didn’t enjoy. I love being able to just tap on a campground pin on my GPS map to see if previous visitors recommend it or had any issues during their stay. It takes so much stress out of the “where should we stay tonight?” question when on a long trip.

Hands-Free Navigation is a Must

Driving a large RV while simultaneously trying to follow directions on your phone is a recipe for disaster. With an RV GPS’s ability to integrate with your vehicle and give voice-guided turn-by-turn directions, you can focus on the road ahead and leave the navigating to technology.

Believe me, after that near-miss I had while trying to make a left turn through a busy intersection with one hand on the wheel and the other holding my phone GPS, I learned pretty quick that hands-free navigation is a must.

Most RV GPS systems also include large, high-definition screens that can be easily mounted within your line of sight. Between the clear visual directions and turn-by-turn voice guidance, having an integrated RV GPS takes the stress out of navigating unfamiliar areas in a giant vehicle.

Planning Your Route is a Breeze

Paper maps and atlases are so 20th century! With RV GPS units, you can easily plan your route ahead of time right from your screen. No more flipping through giant folders of maps trying to chart your course.

Simply plug in your starting point and final destination, and your RV GPS will map out your route for you. You can then customize the route by adding stops along the way, like that kitschy roadside attraction your kids are dying to see or the state park you want to camp at tomorrow night. Some models even allow you to save multiple trips and routes.

It’s so nice to be able to visually see your whole route laid out from start to finish. Being able to customize the trip plan ahead of time and make changes as needed gives me such peace of mind before setting out on the open road.

Keep Your Eyes on the Road

When you’re maneuvering a 20-foot-long RV down the highway, taking your eyes off the road even for a second can be dangerous. Unlike handling a phone or dedicated GPS device, RV GPS systems allow you to keep your eyes facing forward at all times.

With features like dash-mounted screens with extra-large fonts and voice-guided turn-by-turn directions, you can feel confident knowing you won’t miss an important navigation alert. Advanced lane guidance and junction views on some models provide clear visuals of your exits and turns right in your line of sight.

After that near-miss I had drifting out of my lane while looking down at map directions on my phone, having a dedicated GPS screen right on my RV’s dash felt like a major safety upgrade.

Easy Hands-Free Calling

Trying to drive a massive RV while holding a cell phone is nerve-wracking, not to mention illegal in many states. The hands-free calling and texting features offered by most RV GPS systems help you avoid the temptation to use your phone behind the wheel.

With built-in Bluetooth connectivity, I can safely access my cell phone’s calling functions through my RV GPS’s touchscreen or voice commands. Making calls, listening to voicemails, and even sending text messages using the GPS’s speaker and mic system allows me to keep both hands on the wheel at all times.

My favorite feature is the voice transcription for text messages. Now I can hear and respond to texts without ever looking at my phone while driving. It’s kept me connected while on the road without being distracted behind the wheel.

Weather and Traffic Updates

Heading into a storm? Stuck in a sudden traffic jam? With real-time weather and traffic updates, RV GPS units let you avoid unpredictable conditions that can ruin your travel plans or — worse — put you in danger.

My GPS gets live weather reports that show storm systems, precipitation forecasts, wind speeds and more. I’ve been able to change my route to avoid dangerous weather thanks to the radar maps some models provide. The traffic alert feature has also saved me from impending traffic jams and accidents so many times.

Having these live updates right on my GPS screen allows me to make smart driving decisions without having to fumble with checking weather or traffic apps on my phone. I feel safer and more prepared when I can see hazards and delays coming well in advance.

Explore Off the Beaten Path

Sometimes the best parts of an RV trip are the unexpected hidden gems you stumble across taking the scenic route. With robust built-in topographical maps and points of interest, RV GPS units allow you to veer off the main drag and explore backroads with confidence.

Thanks to my GPS’s onboard maps that don’t depend on cell service, I’ve been able to navigate unpaved rural routes and wind my way through off-the-grid national forests. When I spy an interesting side road or detour, I don’t have to worry about losing navigation.

After using my GPS to find that secret swimming hole down an unmarked dirt road, I’m sold on the freedom of going off-grid without getting lost! Having robust maps and navigation makes me feel more comfortable exploring the unknown.

Reliable Navigation Anywhere

Unlike your phone’s GPS, standalone RV GPS units don’t depend on having a cell connection to provide directions. With onboard maps and satellite connectivity, you can rely on your RV GPS unit no matter where your journey takes you – even in the middle of nowhere!

Nothing is more stressful than suddenly losing navigation in an unfamiliar area just because you drive into a cellular dead zone. With my GPS’s pre-loaded maps and GPS satellite connectivity, I’ve been able to navigate remote mountain roads, desert highways, and crazy country backroads without losing my path.

It gives me such peace of mind to know my GPS will never cut out right when I need it most. Now I can stray from the beaten path without hesitation, knowing my trusty navigator will keep me on track!

Easy, Accurate Updates

Printed maps and atlases become obsolete so quickly. With RV GPS units, you can be confident you always have the most up-to-date maps and points of interest without hassle.

My GPS downloads free map updates every few months so I always have the latest routes and POIs. Some models even allow you to update maps manually right from the device via WiFi or USB connection. Updating the maps to add new roads or remove closed routes literally takes just a few minutes.

It used to be such a chore to track down updated paper maps before each trip. Now I don’t have to waste vacation time running to the map store or waiting for new atlases to arrive by mail before hitting the road. Thanks to regular updates, my GPS always has the newest maps so I can set out on adventure with confidence.

Custom Points of Interest

Tired of flipping through guides and notebooks to find your handwritten notes about cool attractions and campsites? With an RV GPS, you can easily mark and organize your own points of interest right on the map screen.

As I’m planning my route, I can drop pins for neat attractions I want to check out, yummy restaurants I want to try, scenic views I don’t want to miss, and any other destinations I add to my custom POI database. While enroute, a quick search allows me to pull up any of the custom POIs I pre-loaded onto the GPS maps.

It’s so nice having all the cool spots and must-see destinations I’ve researched ahead of time conveniently flagged on my GPS. No more worrying about losing my scribbled notes and lists – everything I want to explore is right there on the screen!

Geocaching Enhances Your Adventure

If you’re into geocaching, RV GPS systems take the hobby to a whole new level! The built-in geocaching features let you easily download coordinates, search cache databases, and navigate right to hidden geocaches for the ultimate treasure hunting experience.

After wandering aimlessly through the woods trying to locate geocaches using my phone’s general GPS, having an RV GPS with precision navigation geared specifically for geocaching is a game changer. I can now navigate within feet of the geocache location instead of searching acre-wide areas.

With geocaching data preloaded or easy to import, my GPS has enhanced our family adventures and made this fun hobby even more exciting. Instead of struggling to find hidden caches, we can now spend our time enjoying the journey!

Adventure Simplified

RV travel offers the adventure of exploring the great outdoors mixed with the comforts of home. While getting off the grid can be exhilarating, navigating unfamiliar terrain in a giant rig also brings unique challenges. Having an RV-specific GPS unit designed for larger vehicles simplifies life on the road and lets you focus on the joy of the journey.

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