Living the RV lifestyle is fun for you but can be worrisome for your friends and family back home. Set their minds at ease with these family tracker apps…
Family tracker apps are most commonly used to track teenagers as they begin to drive and go out on their own. However, more and more RVers are using them to give peace of mind to their family and friends back home.
In one of our recent podcasts, Jennifer and I shared how we put the Life360 app on our phone, so our daughter could track our location.
She’s relieved to be able to see where we are as we trot across the country, boondocking in national forests, overnighting in Cracker Barrels, and camping along remote roads.
The Life360 app (like other family tracker apps) allows users in the same “circle” to see where each person is wherever there is a satellite connection.
I will tell you more about Life360 and a couple of alternative family locator apps RVers can use.
(By the way, we are NOT affiliates of Life360… just happy customers.)
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For the most part, family tracker apps give your family and friends peace of mind whenever you’re galavanting across the country. But that peace of mind is well-founded because it’s based on a very real safety precaution.
As boondockers, Jennifer and I bounce around from lot docking to national parks to Harvest Hosts and so on. We also like “serendipity travel” where we don’t plan out a mapped itinerary.
We often don’t know where we’re going or where we’re going to stay the next night, which means our family certainly doesn’t know.
If something happened to us while driving or camping, our family wouldn’t be able to send the cavalry. They wouldn’t know where to send the calvary!
The same is true for any RVers, not just boondockers. You likely remember the story of the lost RVers that taught us not to trust GPS completely.
Using a family tracker app can get much-needed help to you much faster than relying on chance.
(Speaking of safety, we’ve written lots of articles on RV safety you should peruse.)
What Is Life360?
Life360 is considered one of the best family tracker apps, though there are several alternatives. Since Jennifer and I opted for Life360, that’s the one I will tell you about. Alternative family locator apps will have similar features, but Life360 seems the most comprehensive.
(I’m also going to tell you about another easy alternative our friend uses below.)
Life360 has several features that go beyond tracking your location. Its safety features include:
- Location Safety (advanced location sharing)
- Driving Safety (24/7 support with crash detection, roadside assistance, etc.)
- Digital Safety (data breach, ID theft protection, etc.)
- Emergency Assistance (expert assistance anytime, anywhere)
Each of the above safety features includes multiple services and features. For instance, the Location Safety feature includes:
- Smart Notifications
- Location History
- Place Alerts (i.e. when you arrive)
- Bubbles (set boundaries)
- SOS with Emergency Dispatch (tap for help)
Does Life360 Cost Money?
Life360 has a free membership that does not cost any money. Or, you can opt for more features and services with a paid Gold or Platinum membership. You can compare plans and pricing, but I’ll quickly outline what the free version includes below…
FREE Life360 Membership Includes:
- 2 Days of Location History
- 2 Places with Unlimited Alerts
- SOS Help Alert
- Crash Detection
- Family Driving Summary
- Date Breach Alerts
As you can see, the free version has a lot of value on its own. But, you can always opt for the most popular Gold Membership ($14.99 per month) or Platinum Membership ($24.99 per month.)
There are several Life360 alternatives, like FamiSafe and GeoZilla, but we’ll tell you about one easy alternative our friend uses. Google Maps!
Yep, good ol’ Google once again thought of everything when creating their Google Maps features. You can activate “Location Sharing” to share your location in real time with whoever you want and for however long.
Let me quickly walk you through the steps…
Step 1: Click on Your Account
In the top right corner of the app, you’ll see your picture or a default account thumbnail. Tap on this circular image to open the “Manage your Google Account” window.
In this window, tap “Location Sharing.”
Once you tap “Location Sharing” in the previous step, a window will pop up explaining how the feature keeps you connected.
The people you share your location with can see where you are, and your location is updated even when the app is not in use.
Click on “Share location” to proceed.
On the next screen, you can set a time limit for sharing your location in 1-hour increments. Or, select “Until you turn this off” to share your location indefinitely.
You can then choose who to share your location with by selecting from your contacts or sending a link through popular platforms.
Note that you may have to grant location access to share your real-time location. But Google Maps will walk you through how to do that.
Life360 vs. Google Maps Location Sharing
Google Maps Location Sharing is an excellent option, but it’s important to understand its limitations. Yes, it tracks and shares your location, but it does not have all of the other features Life360 offers (like SOS alert or arrival notifications).
If you don’t need all those extra features, then Google Maps will certainly do the trick if the only goal is knowing where you are. If your family and friends want more reassurances and safety precautions, you’ll likely opt for Life360 or similar.
Jennifer and I wish we had started using this family locator app sooner, as does our daughter! So, we hope you take this opportunity to add this safety precaution to your travel toolbox.
RV Travel & Safety Tips
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In the above video, we share stories and feedback from our viewers about their experiences with accidents and road emergencies. Cautionary tales and lots of great tips to keep you safe while traveling. More details and resources from the show here: https://rvlifestyle.com/rv-safety-tips/
What Family Tracking Apps Do You Use?
Since we only have experience using Life360 and Google Maps Location Sharing, we’d like your input, too. What family tracking apps do you use? Do you regret not using it sooner? Is your family more comfortable now that you have one?
Please share your answers and advice in the comments below.
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