When we first bought our motorhome, I was admittedly very excited about the prospect of not only traveling and camping with our family, but the countless hours of trip planning as well. That may sound strange to some, but I'm sure I am not the only one who enjoys the challenge and anticipation of choosing destinations, routes, stops, activities, and everything involved in a cross country RV trip. I'm excited to share some of the best resources I found for trip planning and some of my personal tips!
As an avid ATVer and motorcycle rider as well, I am quite used to planning trips and routes with GPS tools such as Garmin's BaseCamp, or something simple like Google Maps and spreadsheets. There is a level of complexity involved when you are working out trip details: tracking where you are going, how you will get there, how far to drive in a day, whether a particular campground fits monster sized motorhomes, and if we will need to get gas half way through the day. This last point may be trivial for a car driver, but whether you are out in the woods, or driving a 40 foot rig pulling a 20 foot car, some extra thought is required even for something as simple as fueling up.
After a bit of googling around and looking for the best method of planning an RV trip, I stumbled across the RV Trip Wizard. Don't let the sometimes dated appearance of the interface fool you: once you log in, this is a powerful tool.
A great tutorial and demo for the RV Trip Wizard are both available on the site. You can set up your specific trip details with your miles per gallon (MPG), fuel capacity, RV height, preferred travel distance per day, average speed, and more. These stats help with automatic calculations in the mapping tool. As you browse the map and select from thousands of private, state, BLM land, federal parks and other locations, the RV Trip Wizard shows you estimates of how far you might want to travel based on your previous location the night before and your previously configured preferences. It also lets you know where in your trip you will be out of (or low on) fuel, and give recommendations for easy places to fill up.
The RV trip planning tool also indicates where there are low overheads and reroute you around them based on your rig's height. With the amount of campgrounds and such listed within this tool, I've had no shortage of browsing options for campsites and destinations that will even accommodate a 40 foot class A motorhome like ours, which has been just amazing. So many people have told me it is hard to get into a lot of campgrounds due to size, because our RV is longer than 30 feet. I don't disagree that many places can old accommodate 25-30 feet motorhomes, but with a tool such as the RV Trip Wizard to help you plan, it almost feels like such limitations are barely a hindrance. And, of course, I get to keep my extra 10 feet worth of goodies and space in the motorhome. Finally, when you are done with your trip planning, the wizard has an option to download a GPS file to input into your GPS for real time mapping. You can also choose a Google Maps format or even print turn by turn directions if that is your thing.
I highly recommend giving RV Trip Wizard a try. When you sign up, you get 30 days of access within which you can cancel for a refund if you don't think you'll really use it. At $39 annually, signing up for the RV Trip Wizard was a no brainer for me!
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