Planning your next RV trip

 

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The Next Trip:
Reference, Research, &
Planning


Below is a listing of the main websites we use when planning our next road trip. Niki rolls her eyes whenever I say that the answer to just about any question can be found on the Internet but  I do believe that from my experience. It's usually just a matter of Googling the right question.

Many travelers prefer to fly by the seat of their pants, making it up as they go, but we get much enjoyment in planning where we are going and what there is to see and do when we get there. If we can also save a few $$$, all the better.

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RV Parky
Just enter in your start and destination, and this interactive trip planner can find the RV parks & campgrounds, Rest Areas, Military Campgrounds, Casinos, Walmarts, Cabela's, Cracker Barrels, Camping Worlds, Flying J's, Pilot, TA Travel Centers and more!

Eastern U.S. Interstate Exits and Rest
Areas by State and/or Route
We've listed where to find each map &
guide that's listed free on the Internet.

Good Sam - Campgrounds & Routes
Participating Good Sam Parks offer 10% discount to members but you now need to  be a member to use their route planning service.


Passport America
Listing of campgrounds by State and City offering 50% off nightly rates for members.

Ultimate U.S. Public Campground Project
Over 20,000 Federal, State, and County campgrounds by State.

CAT Certified Scales
Concerned about the weight of your rig? Find out how easy it is to determine and put your mind at ease with CAT's help. They offer a free video.


RV Park & Campground Reviews
Valuable free service that lists camper's comments about the campground you are considering

Low Clearances & Bridge Heights by State
Indispensible if you travel off the main highways and Interstates.

Walmart Stopovers
Sometimes you need a quick and safe  place to stay overnight but not all Walmart's allow RV's to spend the night in their parking lots.

Cheap Area Gas Prices
Gas Buddy gives prices submitted by consumers and usually only a couple of hours old.


Pilot/Flying J Truck Stops
They actually want RVers to stop by. They offer special lanes for us and discounts using their member card.

Free Campgrounds for RV's
Nothing fancy but very helpful to those on a budget.

Buy your Hunting/Fishing Licenses Online
Choose your destination from a drop down menu to check prices and buy your fishing or hunting license.
We try different routes as we travel South and North each year. We want to see what we can find  on either side of the Interstates that we missed rushing to a destination back in our working days. We run I-26, 65, 69, 70, 75, 76, 77, 81, 84, 87, 88, 90, and 95 regularly to name a few. Some people like to use the Interstates, some don't. They are the principal routes in the U.S. and it's a trade-off. We put up with the traffic and don't have to worry about low overpasses, 5-ton limits or traffic backed up behind us on two lane countery roads.

 
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They are also a quick way to add new States to your "Been There - Stayed There" USA map.

As we try new routes we also try new campgrounds and change our "dot maps" to reflect and include the best we find as well as our other new discoveries in dining and sight-seeing.

HOW WE PLAN AN RV TRIP

We begin by deciding the starting point and our final destination, then we decide how many days we want to take to get to our destination or how many miles we want to travel each day. Then we start plotting the route on the Internet with Google Maps, while also looking for half-price campgrounds on Passport America along the route.

We look for campgrounds around 200 - 250 miles apart on the route or general direction we are headed (Distance between Cities).  

Finding campgrounds with desired amenities in a given area is easy with the  RV Parky or All Stays websites.

We check out each "possible" on the RV Park & Campground Reviews website.

Between the Reviews, the extensive info found on the Passport site, and the campground's own website, we can pretty much tell if it's a place we want to camp. 

Amenities we look for are pull-through sites whenever possible,  full hook-ps (FHU), and free WIFI (our WIFI Booster  is a Godsend in many weak-signal campgrounds), if available. Free Cable TV also adds to the value.

Anticipation of a new adventure to  unknown places is always exciting. The trip may only last a week or just a weekend but the build-up, discussion and planning leading to that next special trip can be great family fun.


What happens when you are far from home - in a new area - and you need an RV Repair Technician? If you have Roadside Assistance that can be a good place to start - but there is also a website
where you can find reviews of local repairmen by State RV Service Reviews.



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We carry 3 reference books in our tow vehicle that have been indispensible
on our trips and we consult them regularly.

First is the "Rand McNally Motor Carriers' Road Atlas".
 It shows all the truck routes and where the low clearances are
to be avoided. If an 18-wheeler can navigate it - so can we!
The spiral binding and laminated pages are worth the extra
money. It's a reference you will refer to again and again.

We also carry
"The RVer's Friend - North American Diesel/Parking Directory"
 which shows the nearest gas/diesel stops and also
which ones offer parking and other amenities for RVers.

Our 3rd book is "The Next Exit" because it's always good
to know what's available locally - you never know when
you will need to make an unscheduled or emergency stop.

These 3 books and a Roadside Assistance membership
give us peace of mind in our travels. We have no worries
about any route we plan to take.

 

Our Research

We have researched most of the campground clubs and most are fine and offer very similar services if you want to travel the same routes and stay in the same member campgrounds as you travel. We don't. Our goal is to travel America in our RV and see and do what we have only read about, not having the time or perhaps the money to do so during our working life.

We choose to keep a membership in Passport America simply because they have member campgrounds all over the Country and we do use them at least 75% of the time when on the road. Most of their member campgrounds are nice, friendly,  and suitable for our needs (and half-price anything has a nice ring to it).

 


Roadside Assistance is a must if you spend a lot of time on the road. Sooner or later something will require fixin' and it usually doesn't happen when you're sitting in a campground or a dealer;s parking lot. We have tried Coach Net and they are fine but only cover the tow vehicle when it is attached. We tried Good Sam and actually needed to use them several times and the service  was satisfactory but we really take issue with a low introductory price the first year followed the next year by nearly doubling the price at renewal time. We dropped them and now use AAA Roadside Assistance. The price is decent, the coverage good, and they offer a host of extra free services like trip planning, travel books, and campground guides.

We do use
Good Sam Mail Forwarding service out of Pensacola. It is economical and they are responsive to our needs and instructions. We did subscribe to Good Sam Travel Assist for one year but did not renew. Read the actual Good Sam coverage carefully.

If you are traveling extensively then a Rewards Card from Good Sam will save you 3 cents/gal at the Pilot/Flying J Truck Stops. Pilot/Flying J actually wants and appreciates the RV business they receive. Good people!

Safe travels,
Jack & Niki
 

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Snowbird RV Trails Home Page East Coast RV Routes Planning your next RV trip RV Route Campgrounds and attractions Fraternal organizations with campsites
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