Skip to Content

How to Plan Your RV Trip When You’re Offline

How to Plan Your RV Trip When You’re Offline

Considering how much of the world is online these days, you may be wondering why we’re posting about how to be an offline RV trip planner. We get it that all of our lives are heavily connected these days, and our tech cabinet is proof that we’re pretty interconnected technology geeks.

We desperately need appreciate technology and use it day in and day out. Our phone, tablet, and computers not only assist us with work projects but also with things like planning where we’re going next (and where to stay when we’re there, what things there are to see/do/avoid-like-the-plague, what’re the best places to eat, etc!).

But what happens when we rely on technology and it fails us for some reason? Maybe cell service is frustratingly slow or (heaven forbid!) we’re traveling in an area where there’s literally no service. How will we access and update our trip plans or navigate to our next destination then? Offline RV trip planning to the rescue!

The lost art of using maps and books has taken society to a whole new level of reliance on power and internet service. Online trip planning has taken over from good old-fashioned map reading for some very good reasons:

  • it’s super convenient (we carry devices in our pockets that keep us connected 24/7 so we have instant gratification)
  • it’s updated in near-real-time
  • the bright & colorful screens are (let’s face it) addictive
  • now, even our vehicles are equipped with trip assistance devices that operate in real-time.

But most of this requires being connected online. So let’s go over some tips for how to plan our travels offline so that we’ll be prepared should the need arise.

Why Would You Want to Plan an Offline RV Trip?

You may not WANT to plan an offline trip or adjust your current plans offline, but you may well NEED to do so at some point. This is likely to be beyond your control, but it’s likely to happen sooner or later, especially if you tend to RV in more remote places, like we do.

For example, suppose you’re camped somewhere without internet access and your plans change. Remember that many (if not most) campgrounds tend to have spotty and/or slow internet connectivity and overcrowded, weak WiFi. Or maybe you’re in a remote National Park or National Forest campground. Adjusting your trip plans or making fresh plans while we’re traveling isn’t an unusual experience. Learning to adjust to an offline trip planner is a skill that’s well worth developing.

An offline trip planner comes in handy when we lose connection to the internet in our travels.

Losing connection to the internet is something most nomads are familiar with, and it’s not a problem as long as we have an alternative means of navigating our travels.

How Can I Travel Without WiFi?

“How can I travel without WiFi?” is an understandable question considering the heavy reliance we all have on being connected to the internet, but it can be done. It requires a bit of advanced planning, but that’s what we’re here to do today, so let’s get to it.

Our Tips for the Offline Trip Planner

We’ve got five tips to assist you in developing your ability to plan or adjust your travels offline. Let’s take a look at each, and then you can keep them in your back pocket for the next time you find yourself dangling in thin air without an internet connection.

1. Books – The Original Offline Trip Planner Tools!

Trip planning books are great resources. RVers our age and older can hopefully still remember the great Fodor’s travel guides.

Many of us love to visit state and national parks, and there are lots of books available that cover traveling to the parks and how best to navigate them once you’ve arrived.

There are books available from every perspective including how to travel across the United States or Canada or any other country. Books are available that discuss individual states, routes, parks, or the entire country. For any particular interest you have, there’s a book (or many!) available for you to keep handy. Roads and routes don’t change all that much over time, so most books that were written in the not-too-distant past still apply today, and can be a huge help when you need offline trip planning assistance.

Book of maps for offline trip planning

Map reading has become a lost art with the advent of online navigation and turn-by-turn directions. But nothing beats a good old-fashioned road atlas when the online connection is temporarily lost.

And those books don’t have to be physical copies. Many trip planning guides can also be downloaded as an ebook to your smart device or e-reader, so you can still scratch that tech itch… but be offline, too!

And finally, never underestimate the power of a good Rand McNally Road Atlas! They’re printed new every year, and Walmart stores across the nation carry them. As travelers, we could all benefit from keeping a current road atlas in our travel vehicles. We replace ours every few years and keep it in the passenger seatback pocket on our RV, always at the ready. It’s surprising how often it comes in handy for quick reference or overview, even when we’re not in a poor cell area. There’s just something wonderful about using an atlas!

2. Choose Apps That Work Offline

There are many apps that can be downloaded to your phone that work even without an internet connection.

HERE WeGo is a quality offline navigation app. It’s easy to download the map data for entire countries and regions, and you can access directions even when you’re not connected to the internet. You’ll even get offline walking, cycling, and public transit directions.

HERE WeGo app... essential tool for the offline trip planner

HERE WeGo is a trip planner that allows you to obtain navigation offline, including driving, walking, biking, and public transit directions.

In the way of a tip, we’d suggest that you have the actual addresses of the places you want to visit handy rather than just a name. The app works best when given an address, despite your phone being offline.

Google Maps allows you to save unlimited locations, and within the last few years they’ve added offline turn-by-turn navigation. You can sync your areas of interest to your phone when you do have a connection, and still get driving directions at a later time, even without a connection.

While not an offline trip planner per se, Google Maps allows for offline driving directions.

Google Maps is at everyone’s fingertips and makes offline turn-by-turn directions available for drivers.

You won’t be able to get biking, walking, or public transit directions offline, but you can still check out the map and see where you are in real-time.

The Dyrt PRO requires a membership that’s well worth the cost in our opinion, but for a limited time, you can take it for a spin for FREE for 30 days to see if it’s right for you.

The Dyrt Logo

The Dyrt PRO offers a multitude of fantastic features including offline access to some great information for planning your RV trip.

The Dyrt PRO offers an excellent trip planning feature that allows you to choose your route, your driving preferences, even your camping style, to help you to locate the best camping areas along your travel route.

And YES – the the PRO version of app brings offline capabilities, so even if you lose service, you won’t lose your connection to campgrounds throughout the country: you can save maps and even find free camping — no cell service necessary.

The Dyrt Logo
The Dyrt PRO 30-Day Trial

Use the "Go To The Deal" button to access the website, then click the "Redeem Your Gift" button found there to start your FREE 30-DAY TRIAL (a credit card is required, but you can cancel at any...Show More

Use the "Go To The Deal" button to access the website, then click the "Redeem Your Gift" button found there to start your FREE 30-DAY TRIAL (a credit card is required, but you can cancel at any time).

Read Our RV Trip Planner Post

NOTE: the discount code field should fill in automatically. If it doesn't, click "I have a discount code" and enter code RVGEEKS to start your 30-day free trial.

Show Less

With The Dyrt PRO, you’re always well prepared because your app is backed up, allowing you to continue to have access to your lists, maps, and The Dyrt’s campground search, even offline.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Locals

This might go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway for the benefit of guys people who don’t like to stop and ask for assistance.

Never be afraid to stop and talk to the locals. They’re great sources of every kind of information you could possibly want, including, but not limited to, directions.

“The locals” are usually friendly, proud of their home, willing to help, and they offer you the benefit of understanding the local culture better than any app or map ever could. Don’t be afraid, guys folks!

4. Take Screenshots Before Going Off-Grid

This is a great little tip. When you’re planning a trip while you have a connection to the internet, screenshot the information that’s most important to you for future offline reference.

This leaves you prepared for the possibility of your connection failing just when you need it most. If that happens, you can simply pull up your photos and find the screenshot you need to carry on. It’s a surprisingly simple offline trip planner tip that just may save the day.

Enjoy Your Newfound Perspective On Offline Planning!

We’ve all become so connected that we tend to forget that we can survive without an internet connection when the need to do so arises.

As travelers, we’ve all found ourselves in locations where we had spotty service or no connection at all. Being prepared for those occasions ahead of time simply means that our usual addiction reliance on the internet won’t get the best of us when we get knocked offline and back to the previous millennium!

Resources for Trip Planning When You ARE Online?

Taking into account all of the tips above for when you find yourself in a situation where you’re unable to get online, you’ll still do the majority of your trip planning when you have a connection to the internet. In those situations, here’s the list of our favorite RV trip planning tools that we use ourselves:

Geek Out with Us Every Week

Join our newsletter to learn about all things RV-related. Every week we offer free tips, tricks, product reviews, and more to our online community of RVers. Whether this is your first time on the road or you’re a seasoned expert, we’d love for you to geek out with us!

We'd Love It If You Shared This!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Saturday 17th of July 2021

We still carry flat maps in the seat backs of the rig. They're much more detailed than the Atlas. Sometimes I still use a yellow hi liter to trace our route. Another good thing to do is stop by welcome centers as you enter a new state or area. Friendly and knowledgeable people there and free material to take with you.


Saturday 17th of July 2021

Thanks for the additional tips, Drew! Great ideas.

robert gardner

Friday 16th of July 2021

As you said the streets and highways don't change much over the years. We still keep our 2013 version of Streets & Trips loaded on our trusty laptop. It comes in handy when there is no internet service available.


Friday 16th of July 2021

Definitely handy to have an offline-capable tool in your arsenal. We remember hitting the road in 2003... and using MS Streets & Trips on our laptop. Since we're Mac, we had to use emulation software to have Windows running so we could use it. BOY was that SLOW!!! Good thing we weren't in a hurry, LOL!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

PLEASE NOTE: We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

We participate in affiliate programs from many companies (including the Amazon affiliate program), which provides a means for us to earn a small commission by linking to products there. But our opinions are our own and we only link to products we can recommend to friends with complete confidence. And using our links won't cost you an extra penny!