Trip Planning Tips & Tricks for RV Travels

We get so many questions about trip planning and how we go about setting our route for our RV travels. We recently did a video for Campers Inn RV talking about how we plan our trips and you can watch that here or keep reading for even more details.

Whether you’re living in your RV full-time or you’re simply hitting the road for a vacation, trip planning plays a huge role in the success of your trip. With proper planning, your trip can have the upmost success; however, if you don’t plan properly, it’s easy to get overwhelmed on the road while trying to figure out where to go next. We always spend lots of time planning ahead as we’re planners more so than “go out and stop at the next campground” type people – not that there’s anything wrong with. I envy those who have success with that, but my Enneagram type 1 personality comes out and doesn’t let me do that. I’m a natural planner.

And by planner, I mean, we have a giant physical map, a Sharpie, and a bottle of Goo Gone. We start by sketching out places we’d like to go on the map and then we bring in an online trip planning tool called the RV Trip Wizard to help plan out our exact campgrounds based on the route we want to take. This tool is such a gem for us. It costs about $40 a year and it’s the best tool I’ve found for trip planning.

  • You enter your information such as average distance on a tank of gas for your vehicle, RV height, and how long you like to travel in a day. The RV Trip Wizard takes all of that into account when showing you what campgrounds are in the area that you’ll end up staying based on your driving distance preference.
  • The app warns you about clearances that are close to your maximum height.
  • The tool even provides information on gas stations along your route which is particularly helpful for larger rigs like ours.  Since we prefer to hit truck stop style gas stations like Love’s, Pilot, Flying J, and Travel America, the tool helps us plan how far we’ll go before we stop for gas and even the exact gas station we’ll stop at during our travels. This helps alleviate any uneasiness that sometimes accompanies travel days – particularly in rural areas where you don’t know where the next gas station might be located.
RV Trip Wizard Full Time RV

Because we work from the road, cell phone service is imperative for us to have and is a huge part of our trip planning process. We use an app called Coverage and it displays all the major carriers in 1 map for you. This is great for us because we utilize multiple carriers to cover more land area with cell phone and data hotspot coverage. This app lets us pull up the map for our multiple carriers at one time instead of having to flip back and forth between carrier websites. We pay a yearly fee for the premium version of this app, but you can definitely use the basic version of the app for just the app purchase fee of a few dollars.

We also really like the State Lines app (which was created by the same team that created the Coverage app). It lists each state and the various laws you might want to be aware of.

  • Examples include, default speed limits, whether you are allowed to right turn on red, emergency phone numbers beyond 911 like highway patrol numbers, maximum tow lengths and speeds, whether or not you’re allowed to triple tow, rest area overnight rules – that’s an important one to know whether or not you’re allowed to sleep at rest areas or not

You can actually purchase those apps as a package deal. You’ll get 3 apps if you purchase the package and it also includes a public lands map which is great if you like to boondock. We personally always need full hookups due to our work so we don’t use this app, but we have it in case we ever need it.

On a more fun note, let’s talk food apps. I love the TV Food Maps app and website. While the app infrastructure is a little slow sometimes, it shows you if there is any food in your area that has been featured on a tv show on channels like Food Network, Travel Channel, or the Cooking Channel. Since we love watching these shows so much, we love this app. It helps us find unique places to eat that we likely wouldn’t have found without the app.

A big thing for us is checking the weather. We mostly utilize for that. We check both current temperatures and historical temperatures, rainfall, and anything else we may need to know about an area. This is definitely important for trip planning especially if you plan to be somewhere for a significant amount of time. Do you have the equipment and the rig to stay warm in below freezing temperatures? More importantly, do you want to be in below freezing temperatures? While the weather might not be totally predictable, you can at least see what the average temperature is like before you get to an area.

What else do you use to plan your trips? Be sure to let us know what you use in the comments and tell us what we should be using if you think we’re missing something. We’re always looking for new trip planning tools just like you. We’d love to know if we missed anything that you love to use!

The Basics Of RV Camping: How To Get Started And Ensure A Safe Trip

The Basics of RV Camping How to Get Started and Ensure a Safe Trip

I’d like to welcome a guest writer to the blog today! Welcome Aurora James!

Full Time RV Living

Camping via recreational vehicles opens up a world of opportunities and enticing adventures. You can pack up the RV and hit the road for a variety of destinations, but if this type of camping is new to you, there are some tips you should be aware of before you begin. Get to know your vehicle and plan ahead of time so you have a safe and fun trip.

Work With Your RV Before Your Trip Begins

Get to know your RV before heading out on your first trip. An RV can be intimidating to drive if you are not used to them, and you don’t want to ruin a scheduled vacation with troubles on the road due to inexperience.

Your RV will be bigger than what you are accustomed to driving, and you will find blind spots that you need to work around. Find an open spot to do some practice driving and be aware of height clearances and other potential pitfalls.

In addition to driving practice, you should spend time doing a set-up run through. As RV Share points out, you don’t want to be at the campsite setting up for the first time and realize you don’t know what to do or don’t have everything you need. Do a test run in your driveway from start to finish so you build a comfort level for doing it away from home.

Pre-Planning Sets the Stage for a Smooth Trip

Whether this is the first time all year you’ve cranked up the RV or you’ve been using it every other weekend, it is important to prep your RV before each use. Develop a checklist to go through before your trip begins. Do a walk-around inspection to ensure that all of the lights are functioning, that the tire pressure is at the appropriate level, and that all items are properly stowed and secured. In addition, take a few minutes to check antennas, awnings, and other items that could easily break if forgotten.

Another key pre-trip planning component with RV camping is to thoroughly plan your route before your departure. Outdoorsy notes that you will want to avoid rush hour through big cities in a vehicle like this, for example, and look ahead for mountainous roads that would be difficult to navigate in a large RV.

Plan your departure time for early in the day if you can. You want to allow time for unexpected stops or routing changes, and setting everything up in the dark can get complicated. Know the campground’s policies about arrival times so you don’t run into issues, as some have quiet hours in the evening and may even lock the gates.

Survey Campground Specifics as You Get Things in Place

Once you arrive, find your camping spot and look for obstacles on the ground or for tree branches above that could cause issues. Find the water, sewage, and electrical hookups, then level the RV and chock the wheels. Get everything connected to the campsite hookups and prepare to relax and begin to enjoy your vacation.

Campgrounds are typically quite safe, but KOA details that you should lock your RV whenever you leave the area, and keep windows and exterior storage compartments secured. In addition, you may want to ask parks about what security measures they employ. Do they have patrols at night? Can unregistered guests come and go easily?

RV camping is a great way to travel once you learn some basics. Invest time before your first trip getting to know your vehicle and get in the habit of doing a pre-trip inspection for every outing. Plan your route to avoid problematic areas during your drive and then once you are set up and secure you’ll have everything safely in place so you can enjoy the wonders around you.

Aurora James: Aurora believes there are no bad dogs. She created to share her dog training tips and advice to dog owners everywhere.