When it comes to RVers, there are two types of people: Those who enjoy the planning almost as much as the trip, and those who just want to jump behind the wheel and go! But even if you fall in the second camp, creating a basic RV trip planner can be a lifesaver. Having some routes and sightseeing destinations in mind never hurt anyone!
We’re not here to change your school of thought, but simply to suggest a few planning tools that can help guide your trip so you can relax and have fun. Read on to learn more about how to plan your trip before you hit the road!
For most road trips, I just plug in the destination address and let the GPS map my route. But for an RV trip, you have to make plans with slightly more consideration. First of all, RVs are notorious gas guzzlers, so make sure there are plenty of gas stations along the way — getting stuck alongside a remote highway is no way to spend a vacation!
You’ll also need to think about the time of year you’re planning on traveling. For winter trips, choose routes that will be plowed free of snow. On the flip side, in the summertime you’ll want to avoid roads that are prone to flooding during afternoon thunderstorms.
Of course, the most important consideration is how far you want to go and how much time you have. Most RVs go no faster than 60 mph, so be realistic about how long it will take you to get between Point A and Point B. Your GPS will almost certainly not give you an accurate ETA, so don’t plan your day according to what the screen says. If you need to, you can always make an overnight stop in between cities — just do some research first to figure out if there’s an RV park or campground with availability.
Plan My Trip
Another thing to think about when planning a trip is how holidays and other high-impact events might impact traffic. If you’ll be road tripping during a busy time like Thanksgiving or Memorial Day, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to sit it out in a traffic jam. Alternatively, you may want to pick a route on back roads that are less known to other travelers.
One of the most recommended tools from experienced RVers is the RV Trip Wizard. This handy site helps you find the best route based on nearby campgrounds, attractions, gas stations, and more. The service does come at a cost of $39 per year, but if you’re a regular RV traveler, it’s money well spent. You can even try a demo first to see if you like it before committing to the annual membership.
Road Trip Guide
For those of you who are somewhat tech savvy, Google Maps has plenty of options for creating a custom RV route planner map. Once you plot out all the different stops on your trip, you can save the map and even share it with family and friends so they can follow along with your route.
If you’re not so tech savvy, there’s no shame in using a good old-fashioned printed map as a driving route planner. While it’s not as easy to share, it’s still a great way to visualize where you’re headed on any given day. Don’t forget: If you’re a AAA member, you can request free maps or a TripTik travel route planner as part of your regular membership.
Take the Scenic Route
Many RVers live and die by the 2-2-2 rule: drive no farther than 200 miles, be at your campsite by 2 p.m., and stay at least two days at every campground. Although it’s not always possible, we strongly recommend using this vacation-planner advice to guide your travels. RVing is supposed to be fun, so don’t overburden yourself with long days behind the wheel, rushing from one campground to another.
Stated another way, that means to enjoy the scenic route. Personally, I like to plan my route based on what offers the most interesting scenery — even if it takes slightly longer. After all, if you can’t enjoy the journey, you’ll be drained by the time you get to your destination.
That’s all the time we have for today, but we hope you enjoyed our guide to route planning! Even if you only implement a few of our tips, you can pat yourself on the back for being a thoughtful road trip planner. Now go enjoy your vacation — you’ve earned it!
By: Jessica Lipscomb