Are you excited about your upcoming RV adventure? In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to simplify RV trip planning with 10 steps to plan a trip like a pro. From deciding your budget, where to go, planning your route, making reservations, to packing for your adventure, and more!
Let’s get started!
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How to Get Started: Plan a Trip Like a Pro
Planning your upcoming trip, or planning a trip to manifest your dream into reality as a future RVer, is one of the best parts of the RV journey. Although, as you can imagine, it entails more than just arriving to your destination.
- What is your timeframe?
- How far you can realistically drive in a day?
- How many stops will you make?
- Which attractions, and sights will you see along the way?
- If something unexpected happens, what is your plan?
Certainly, you’ll have a lot to think about. In addition, trip planning is time consuming, but this is half the fun.
PRO TIP: When planning trips include all family members, this allows everyone to come together to contribute what would make the adventure more enjoyable and memorable for them.
Step 1 – Figure out Your Budget
One of the first things you’ll need to do is figure out your budget. What can you afford to spend on this trip? Be sure to factor in the cost of gas, food, campgrounds, and activities when planning your budget for your RV trip.
Budget List Basics
- Estimate your gas costs
- Decide how much you can spend on food per day/week
- Plan for activities and attractions
- Consider the cost of camping fees
- Figure out your total budget for the trip.
Once you have a good idea of the funds you’ll need to spend, it’s time to start planning your destination. This may seem like an easy decision, but it’s one of the most important steps to plan a trip like a pro. This is where you’ll decide what sights you want to see and what activities you want to do.
Step 2 – Choose Your Destination
This is where the fun really begins!
Although, you could just hit the open road and see where it takes you. Although this does sound like fun, and there will be times for spontaneity. Keep in mind by having a general idea of where you’re going will keep you first of all, on budget. Secondly, give you more opportunities to find attractions, and activities along the way. Lastly, when you arrive having a plan means you can fit more into your schedule.
Next it’s time to start thinking about the details of your trip. This includes things like where you’ll stay each night, how you’ll get around, and what you’ll do for fun.
- How long do you want to stay?
- What kind of activities do you want to do?
- Our personal favorite is finding out what to do in the area
- How will you get around?
- What will you do to make this trip more memorable?
If you’re unsure of where to go, check out RV trip ideas online or ask friends or fellow campers for recommendations. Once you’ve chosen your destination, it’s time to start mapping out your route. This will help you plan and stay on budget as you travel.
These are important choices to make to ensure a successful and enjoyable RV adventure!
Step 3 – Plan Your Route
Our go-to is an online route planner RV Trip Wizard, it is a fabulous tool with many other features. Maybe you’re a fan of a physical map? This is a great option as a back up if you hit a spot with no cell service. Also, if you’ve considered a GPS system you may want to consider a GPS system designed for RVs.
We prefer to take truck routes to avoid smaller, rough back roads and low bridges.
Here is where a little bit of research comes in handy. You’ll want to consider the following:
- The type of terrain you’ll be driving on
- Weather conditions
- Toll roads
- Construction and detours
- Will you be hitting rush hour if passing through a city?
You can check out the website Roadtrippers. This online tool and APP version, helps you build your route and then use their turn-by-turn navigation to lead the way.
No matter how you plan your route, be sure to leave room for spontaneity! One of the best parts about RVing is that you can always change your plans if you find somewhere you love and want to stay longer.
Step: 4 – Making Reservations
It’s a good practice to research the campgrounds in the area before you go. This way, you can make reservations and know what to expect in terms of cost and amenities.
Additionally, Allstays is another resource and their service offers an off-line lookup mode for if you have no cell service.
Step: 5 – Packing Supplies
Now that you’ve planned your logistics, it’s time to start packing for the trip!
This will, of course, vary depending on the length and nature of your trip. But there are basics that every RV adventure will require. This may seem like a daunting task, but we’ve got tips to help make it easier.
First, make a list of everything you need to bring. This will help you stay organized and make sure you don’t forget anything important.
Things to keep in mind when packing
Packing for an RV trip is a little different than packing for a traditional vacation.
- You’ll need to pack light since space is limited.
- Start packing the essentials first. These are items that you’ll need access to daily, like clothes and toiletries. Then, you can move on to fewer essential items, like indoor and outdoor games. (Don’t forget the smores!)
- Don’t forget to pack your RV’s manual in case you have any questions or problems along the way.
- If you’re bringing along any sports equipment, bikes, or kayaks, be sure to secure them properly so they don’t damage your RV.
Secondly, stock up on supplies so you’re prepared for anything. This includes things like food, water, and propane. You’ll also want to bring along a first-aid kit, basic tools, and a map of the area. It’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to stocking up on supplies.
Supply List Basics
- Food and water
- Cooking supplies
- Cleaning supplies
- Bedding and towels
- Clothing and shoes
- First aid kit
Before you hit the road, there are a couple of final things to take care of. First, make sure you have all the required documents for your trip. This includes things like your driver’s license, registration, insurance, and passes and permits.
Step 6 – Protect Yourself and Your RV
Purchase RV Insurance
Now that you have your destination, route, and vehicle all sorted out, it’s time to buy insurance and roadside assistance. The roadside assistance is something that is often overlooked, but it’s especially important. You never know what could happen on the road, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Changing a tire is bothersome and an inconvenience, but what if it happens on a busy highway? Do you really want to take the risk of changing your own tire? A roadside assistance policy is invaluable.
Purchase an Extended RV Warranty
Campers aren’t built to travel long distances, and over time, things will break.
Unfortunately, with so many RVers on the road, wait times to for a simple fix on your camper could take months, and worse, RV factory warranties don’t always cover all incidences.
Step 7 – RV Inspection
Do a final check of your RV to make sure everything is in working order. For example, have your local mechanic do this for you if it puts you more at ease. In short, make sure to check your fluid levels, brakes, tires, lights, turn-signals and mirrors. Additionally, if you’re renting an RV, this step is even more important to make sure everything is up to par. You don’t want any surprises on your trip!
If you’re new to driving an RV
- Take turns slowly and give yourself extra time to brake
- Avoid sharp turns
- Be aware of your blind spots
- Use your mirrors often
Step 8 – Why It’s Important to Have a Plan B
Even with meticulous preparation, things don’t always go smoothly. Preparing for the unexpected is part of the RV journey. You should think of precautions to take to make these unforeseen circumstances safe and less stressful. The best advice we can offer is always have a “Plan B.”
Here are a few scenarios where having a Plan B could be the difference between a safe and enjoyable trip, and a stressful or dangerous one:
During your RV travels bad weather is always a risk. Whether it’s a tornado touching down on your route, a snowstorm that shuts down roadways, or a flash flood that washes out roads, having a Plan B in place can help you stay safe.
Even if the weather is fine, there may be other unexpected obstacles that make it difficult for you to reach your destination. For instance, construction work on the roads or natural disasters that have caused road closures.
To clarify, having a Plan B can help you find alternate routes or plan for delays to ensure that you reach your destination in time.
Similarly, an injury whether it’s from an accident on the road, a medical emergency, or even a simple sprained ankle, having a backup plan will allow you to deal with unexpected situations that may arise. This can help ensure your safety and prevent a potential crisis from spiraling out of control.
Quick Tips: How to Prepare Your Plan B
With careful planning and preparation, you can reduce stress, stay safe, and enjoy the journey.
- Being knowledgeable of your route.
- Use your favorite APP to locate an alternative camping area, or overnight parking such as truck stops, or city parks.
- Is there an alternative route?
- Have enough water, food to cover you over-night or a few days if you can’t make it to your destination right away.
- Purchase RV insurance.
- Have roadside assistance coverage and put their number in your phone.
- Where will you stay if your camper must be left at a shop for repair?
- Have an RV Extended Warranty protection plan we recommend our friends at Wholesale Warranties (regular RV factory warranties will not cover everything.)
- Use RV Repair Direct to find a reputable mechanic near you. (Some of these businesses offer a mobile service to your location.) Take the uncertainty out of finding an RV mechanic. This is a great resource!
- Have an emergency fund.
- Have a list of emergency contacts in your wallet and somewhere accessible such as your refrigerator door, or the entrance in your RV.
Step 9 – Enjoy the Journey
- Keep an eye out for scenic spots where you can stop and take in the view.
- Talk to other RVers and get recommendations for great places to see along the way.
Step 10 – Arrive at Your Destination Early
Give yourself ample time to arrive at your campground with at least a couple of hours to spare before nightfall. Setting up camp in the dark is not pleasant, and you will have time to explore the local area or meet and chat with fellow campers.
Also, if you have a pet, you will have time to take them for a walk so, they will be comfortable with their new surroundings to put them at ease.
Tips for Success to Plan a Trip Like a Pro
- Start by making a list of all the places you want to visit. This will help you narrow down your options and make it easier to plan your route.
- Research the weather conditions for your desired travel timeframe. This will give you a better idea of what to expect along the way and help you develop a Plan B for staying safe in bad weather or dealing with road closures.
- Consider how much time you can realistically spend driving each day, especially if you are traveling with children or other family members. Having realistic expectations about your travel timeframe will help you avoid getting stressed out or fatigued during your trip.
- Make sure to pack all the essentials, including food, water, clothes, and camping gear. This will help you be prepared for anything that comes your way and make it easier to enjoy your trip.
Questions other readers had on this topic.
The Last Thing You Need to Know to Plan a Trip Like a Pro
By following these simple tips, you’ll be prepared to plan a trip like a pro in no time! Enjoy your RV adventure! Also, you can be sure that you’ll have a trip that is both fun and affordable.
Remember to take your time, enjoy the journey, and make great memories along the way. Be sure to take breaks often so that you can stretch your legs and stay refreshed. If you have a pet traveling with you, they need breaks to stretch too
Be sure to include a Plan B as part of your travel plans. With careful preparation and a willingness to adapt when things don’t go as expected, you can rest assured that your journey will be both fun and safe.
So, get planning and start packing—your next great adventure awaits!
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