Filed under: Gadget Reviews, Technology & Camping, Uncategorized
Technology while RVing – iPhone Edition
Last week, I shared some of the advantages of having an iPad with you while traveling in an RV.
This time around I would like to concentrate on the benefits of having an iPhone (or sometimes an iPod) when you are traveling long distances.
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. ~Victor Hugo
Music has been part of the human life for hundreds of years. Back in the 60s and 70s, when I was younger, it was natural to turn on the radio while driving long distance. Then in the 80s the famous walk-man came on and I – like many other teenagers back then – had a yellow Sony. I could listen to my cassette tapes alone. The CD revolutionized the market and since the late 90s the iPod. In the 21st century the iPhone became available as one of the smart phones out there. My husband owns a smartphone while I own an iPod. We have different styles of music that we like but that doesn’t stop us to put music on when we are driving long distance with our kids. The kids know definitively more about the singers/bands that are playing than me. I always had a bad memory on that one… And sometimes my husband makes them try to identify a specific song. It’s a game between them and they have fun. Other times, each and every one of us request various songs to make the trip more interesting.
What else can you do while driving long distance? Learning obviously and to do so we use podcasts. There are numerous podcasts available on iTunes. I won’t go into details on what type of podcasts we listen and not everyone would be interested in these but you could find something that will interest you guarantee. We have found some for the kids and others ones for the family.
No I am not suggesting that you read while driving as this would be extremely dangerous whether or not you have an RV behind you. But there are numerous websites out there that offers free audio books as well as some that you can purchase which you can listen while driving with your family.
The kids and I really like to listen to Adventures in Odyssey which is our weekly adventure in the car as we drive to our swimming lessons. We enjoy following the characters in their adventures and hearing character-building stories.
But we are also open to use audio books as a way to occupy ourselves during our driving. Some products that we really enjoy are the Focus on the Family Radio Theater which are fabulous to listen. The quality of these products is breathtaking and you will have a good time listening to them. We particularly loved listening to the Chronicles of Narnia while driving long distance from PA, MA, ME, NB, PE and back home one year. Their most recent title is Oliver Twist.
Though these titles are only available for purchase, I also have some sites where you can download for free audio books. Over the past couple of years, I have discover through my numerous contacts in homeschooling community numerous sites that offer free books to listen while you are driving.
This site offers thousands of free audio books that you can download in mp3, iPod and iTunes format for your portable audio player.
As it’s name suggest, this site offers Christian audio books that can be purchase anytime you want. However, each month one Christian audio title is given away as a FREE download.
This site offers downloads of digital audio books online so that you can listen to them on your iPhone, Android or mp3 player. More than 100,000+ downloadable audible audiobooks by best-selling authors are available for purchase.
This site has an extensive collection of free audio books read by volunteers; the goal is to record every book in the public domain.
As you can see there are numerous opportunities to get audio books for your travels whether you purchase them or get them for free.
Wherever you go you want to stay in touch with the weather to determine your activities and see if you can spend some time outdoors. We really like Accuweather which we find quite reliable wherever we are. Not only we get the weather for the current day but we can have an idea of what to expect for a period of 10 days.
My husband has purchased both and here are his thoughts about them.
My favorite one is the Magellan app. I particularly like the bottom tool bar which is easy to use with simplicity and effectiveness particularly while you are driving. The app also allows you to control your music right from the application. This feature is something I really enjoy as I like to listen to music when I am driving. Another feature that is quite interesting in the Magellan app is the one touch button which allows you to program locations for further trips. Within two clicks you can easily recall the places where you go the most often. This is definitively a nice feature to have when visiting a specific city and going to popular attractions. However, I dislike the way to enter the address in Magellan. It is impossible to cut and paste an address within the app. You have to enter it in a specific order- city, street name and then the street number which is not the easiest way to do it. .
In the Garmin app, you have the possibility to cut and paste an address to search for it. However, the toolbar at the bottom of the app is more complicated while you are driving. The simplicity of use is definitively not a priority here. Knowing what I know now, I would never have bought the Garmin app for his iPhone. Also, you have no possibilities whatsoever to control your music within the app.
Though using this technology should be done with a grain of salt. Always be aware that sometimes the program might not be up-to-date. It happened to us once as we were trying to find a Wal-Mart. Fortunately the RV wasn’t behind us that day but as we drove in the street we had the feeling we were not at the proper place. The more turns we took the more we didn’t thought that the Wal-Mart was in the area. Then suddenly we heard “You have arrived!” – in front of us was a pathway in between two house and if you looked straight away you could see the ocean line. We looked at each other and said “I don’t think so…” unless it was one underwater that is. My oldest son was saying: “What? You got to be kidding.” Then a guy who was cutting his grass outside, came to our windows and asked “Are you looking for the Wal-Mart?” Obviously it happened quite often… we answered positively and he generously provided proper directions to get there – which was about 5 minutes away close to the highway. We had a good laugh and tried to imagine a Wal-Mart underwater with our kids.
OTHER USEFUL APPS
Other useful apps that you might want to consider for the iPhone would be the following.
Where’s the closest RV Dump station? RV Dumps checks your location and displays up to 150 points on a map view. You can filter by type to see only what you want to see on the map and zoom out. You can also use the offline manual look up to find locations by type, state and city…even when you have no phone service!
Passport America is offering discounts to their members to over 1500 campgrounds across the US, Canada, and Mexico.
Search amongst 12,000 campgrounds and RV parks across North America with the 2011 edition Woodall’s RV & Camping Copilot, to find your next perfect camping spot. You can search by city, state or province and will obtain detailed results for over 12000 campgrounds and RV parks across North America. Also over 1000 popular attractions are also pin pointed on the map.
In conclusion, there are a lot of advantages to owning an iPhone (or an iPod) while traveling. I doubt we will ever go back to not having one as we love to have a variety of activities for long distance driving with our four kids. If you don’t have such an item already, I would like to suggest that you consider it. It will change your RV life.
I’m sure there are even more apps that could be useful while rving but I haven’t had a chance to use these so far.
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