How To Plan Your RV Route: A List Of RV Route Planner Tools
Even though we seem to have far more restrictions on what we’re able to do these days, taking a trip in your RV is still an incredibly realistic option. If you’ve been cooped up too long and are ready to head out on your next adventure, we’re here to help! The reason we believe so strongly in our luxury travel trailers is that they give you the freedom and ability to forge your own path. If it’s time to plan an RV trip, we’ve compiled a list of RV route planner tools and trips to help streamline the process so you can get out and go!
Consult A (Physical) Map
The internet is an amazing wealth of information, great for planning and exploring before you leave. However, physical maps will always remain one of the best route planner tools anyone has at their disposal.
We’ve gotten so used to using a GPS that there are many people out there that don’t even know how to read a map or are worried about finding their way without that tell-tale voice telling them to “turn left.” That’s why it’s so important to familiarize yourself with a physical map before heading out on your RV trip. There are plenty of areas of the country that don’t get any mobile signal, and you don’t want to get lost without any way to navigate back to your planned route.
However, that doesn’t mean that modern technology doesn’t have its place! We find that using a combination of both physical and tech tools is the most beneficial. For instance, running your planned route through a route planning website and then copying that route onto your map is a great idea. The website may be able to help you find a more direct route, or help you avoid construction and other detours, while the map will help you navigate without needing to rely on a mobile signal.
Once you’ve decided on your destination, simply mark that and your starting point on your map. You can then take a look at the route you’ve chosen, which will allow you to start planning out where you want to stop, visit, etc.
Build An Itinerary With Flexibility
It’s always a great idea to have an itinerary in mind when setting out on an RV trip. However, don’t make the mistake of planning your itinerary down to the second. Some people tend to get carried away in this regard, which only leads to frustration and disappointment.
One thing that you should always plan is where you want to stop and camp for the night. A great RV route planner tool to help with that is Campendium, which has both a website and an app. The site allows you to search any area for campsites, whether you’re planning on boondocking or are you want to stay at a luxury RV resort. Each campsite also allows previous campers to leave reviews, so you’ll get a good idea of what experiences people have had there. As an added bonus, there is usually information about how good the mobile signal is too.
In general, though, other than planning “must-sees,” try to leave plenty of room in the itinerary for stops. You never know what random places you’ll discover if you leave yourself enough time to go out and find them. The country is filled with unique and quirky towns and roadside attractions that you shouldn’t miss if you have the chance.
Plan Out What You Want To Do
If you’re planning on making specific stops while you’re on your RV trip, it’s a good idea to plan these out in advance (and put them on your itinerary). While you should always allow for plenty of flexibility, you don’t want to miss something you wanted to do because you didn’t plan for it well.
For instance, if you’re planning on visiting a national park like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the North Carolina-Tennessee border, you’ll want to make sure that you plan in advance. In 2019, nearly 13 million people visited the park, mostly in June, July, and October. If you’re planning a trip during one of the park’s most popular months, you definitely want to prepare and book as far in advance as possible. You may even want to consider changing your trip to a different time of year, if you can, to skip the crowds.
Another thing to plan for is hiking if that’s something you plan to do on your trip. A website like AllTrails is a great resource tool, as it allows you to search for hiking trails on your route. It has a huge list of trails, not only the well-known ones but also some literally off the beaten path. You’ll be able to discover new trails every time you camp, which makes every trip a new and different experience.
Keep A Logbook
While this may sound old school to some people, especially with so much focus on technology, keeping an accurate, detailed logbook of your RV trips is one of the best resources there is.
When you keep a logbook, you’re not only helping keep yourself on track and on budget, you’re also helping set yourself up for success for future trips. There are plenty of printable charts out there, or you can simply grab an old notebook and jot things down.
Here is a brief list of some of the best things to log on your journey:
- Miles traveled per day
- Where you stayed and how you liked it
- Places you visited and what you did/didn’t like about them
Keeping track of those things will help you better calculate your vehicle’s miles per gallon while traveling with your RV, as well, which will help you better budget for gas expenses on subsequent trips. That alone is reason enough to take the time to keep a logbook.
Find A “Dump” Site
It isn’t glamorous, but most RVs will eventually have to find an appropriate place to get rid of all the grey and black water that builds up during the course of a trip. Websites like Sanidumps are a great resource to help with a list of recreational vehicle dump stations that you can stop at on your way.
However, with a Bowlus travel trailer, our toilets feature a Hygienic Easy Emptying Cassette System, so there’s no need for a dump site. To get rid of black water, we feature an easy hand-held unit that empties into a regular toilet. Since you never have to worry about finding a dump site or what you’re going to do with your waste water, you’re getting maximum ease of use.
Have Your Vehicle Serviced Before You Leave
One last tip for having a success RV camping trip is to always make sure to have your towing vehicle maintained before leaving on your trip. It’s best to do this at least a week before you plan to go, in case there are any services that need to be performed to keep your vehicle in safe working order while on the road.
In general, having the oil changed, the tires rotated, and the coolant, antifreeze, and windshield washer fluid topped off is the bare minimum. You’ll also want to make sure that you have extra of all of them, as well as a well maintained spare tire, before leaving.
RV trips are a new and exciting adventure every time, even if you tend to travel on the same path. The team at Bowlus wants you to have the ability to make new memories without being bogged down by frustration and stress, which is why we wanted you to have a list of what we consider the best RV route planner tools and tips out there.
A Bowlus travel trailer ensures that you have everything you need to adventure in comfort, and we make everything as easy and luxurious as possible. From our easy sanitation system to our luxurious amenities, you’re sure to have the time of your life. Now go out there and discover something new! The world is waiting for you.