How far can you drive each day? Where do you stay each night? Can I trust campground reviews? Here’s how to plan the perfect RV trip with confidence…
Jennifer and I used to be paper-map-only kind of RVers, pointing at a place on the map and driving toward it. While we do still embrace this serendipity style of traveling, we have discovered a few travel tools that are just too good to ignore.
In many ways, these tools have actually taken a lot of pressure off so we’re not scrambling to find a good campground or gas station in a pinch. Some things just aren’t best left to chance.
We also understand the appeal of having a good plan in place before you travel to stave off decision fatigue during your travels.
The following post will give you our top tips for RV travel and highlight one of our RV Lifestyle Partners – RV Life Pro.
Some Advice from Long-Time RVers
Jennifer and I have been RVing since 2012, and live about three-quarters of the year in our RV. So, we’ve learned a lot not only from our own experiences but from those we’ve met along the way. Here are some of those lessons we live by… or should I say drive by?
Let Your Plan Be Your Guide, Not Your Dictator
The RV Lifestyle is all about freedom. Hitting the open road, going where you want when you want, and seeing things you never expected. You can’t fully experience that liberating sensation with a plan set in stone.
We all find different levels of comfort in having a plan. But even if you’re the most dedicated planner, be sure to leave wiggle room for detours.
Plans can help us avoid stress on the road, like from having too many decisions to make on the fly. But plans can also cause stress if we feel we’re falling behind or not following it to a tee.
So, we suggest creating a plan that is just within your comfort zone of feeling prepared and then leave the rest up to serendipity. And if your trip doesn’t go according to plan, reframe the frustration into an exciting adventure or funny story to tell in the future.
The 330 Rule
I just told you to embrace freedom so you probably think it’s funny that I’m now giving you a rule. But this rule actually helps you leave room in your travel days for fun and exploration.
The 330 rule goes like this:
- Don’t travel more than 330 miles per day
- Don’t travel past 3:30 p.m.
Jennifer and I live by this rule because it helps us avoid the stress of driving fatigue (& sitting disease) and late-setup frustrations. And to be clear, 330/3:30 is a max, not a daily goal. Less is good, too!
330 miles is a good chunk of ground to cover, and we’ve found that anything more takes away from enjoying the day. 3:30 pm gives us time to set up camp, enjoy dinner, and explore a bit of the area.
We strongly suggest you embrace the 330 rule as we have!
Mike and Jennifer's RV Lifestyle hat collection
Who needs a hat? You do! Dad hats aren't just for dads. This comfy one's got a low profile with an adjustable strap and curved visor. Just the thing to wear on your next RV Lifestyle adventure.
How to Plan the Perfect RV Trip
Now that we have covered that foundational advice, let’s discuss the actual planning. Jennifer and I discovered this incredibly useful tool years ago and it’s only gotten better and better over the years.
In fact, it’s evolved into a whole suite of tools you can use together to plan the perfect RV trip. Best of all, it helps you stay flexible on the road, too!
This is one of our favorite tools to enjoy a carefree RV trip. We're featuring this one today because of all the great utilities it has built in.
RV LIFE Pro
RV LIFE Pro tools make it easy for you to discover, plan, go, and share your RV travels. RV LIFE Pro gives you 4-memberships-in-1 to:
- RV LIFE Trip Wizard
- RV LIFE Campground Reviews
- RV LIFE App (RV-Safe GPS)
- RV LIFE Maintenance Tracker
Just to be clear, you get all four of these tools in one with a RV LIFE Pro membership. The membership is only $59 a year (less than $5 a month). Since they’re a partner of ours, you can use this discount link for extra savings.
RV LIFE Trip Wizard
This is the tool that hooked Jennifer and me from the start. It’s a trip planning tool designed specifically for RVers. It customizes safe routes based on the height and weight of your RV. This helps you avoid low clearances, steep grades, weight limits, and propane restrictions.
My favorite part is it uses distance rings to show exactly where you’ll be at the end of your driving day. You can see what campgrounds and POI (point of interest) are nearby to make choosing your ideal stop easy. I customize my rings to follow my 330 rule.
As if that’s not enough already, RV Wizard also helps you estimate the cost of your trip with gas and campground fees. It even updates is as you update your trip. It does more, too, but I want to tell you more about the other two travel tools that it works seamlessly with.
RV LIFE Campground Reviews
RV Trip Wizard is seamlessly linked to RV LIFE Campground Reviews. Public reviews like Google and Yelp are often untrustworthy. Too often, the “reviewers” are actually the ones being reviewed.
But you can trust RV LIFE Campground reviews. Why? Because they're written by real RVers. You get the honest pros and cons from people who have actually stayed at the campgrounds.
The reviews often include images taken by the reviewer, so you can see for yourself what to expect. You don’t have to just rely on professionally shot and edited photos that were taken who knows how long ago on the campground websites.
Jennifer and I have relied on these reviews for years now and they always steer us in the right direction!
RV LIFE App (RV-Safe GPS)
The RV LIFE App takes your RV LIFE Trip Wizard plans and puts it in GPS form. It works similar to any other GPS app, like Google Maps or Waze, but is specifically designed for RVs. It only takes you on routes that are safe for your particular RV, based on size and weight.
You can use the GPS on its own, or select planned trips from Trip Wizard for it to direct you. This is the newest addition to the RV LIFE suite and it’s been a huge success.
RV LIFE Maintenance Tracker
This tool isn’t as much for planning the perfect RV trip as it is for planning your RV maintenance. But that in itself is incredibly useful and can save you from having problems on your perfect RV trip.
In addition to maintenance, it tracks fuel economy, too. This is definitely helpful in planning future RV trips.
The Perfect RV Trip: Pre-Planned for You!
Forget how to plan the perfect RV trip because we've already done it for you.
You can save yourself even more time and frustration by following in Jennifer and my footsteps or, rather, tire treads. We have planned, experienced, and fine-tuned 7-day RV adventures.
If you’re looking for the perfect RV trip, we’ve already got several planned out for you…
Looking for exciting RV trip ideas and travel suggestions?
We've written a library of RV Travel books that lay out guided RV explorations of scenic areas of the US that we'’ve explored and think would make an excellent RV trip for you.
In each location, we provide a suggested route and itinerary (7 stops in each guide, one for each day of a week trip!) as well as links to multiple campgrounds and boondocking spots, local tips, and interesting things to do at each location.
You can hit everything in seven days, do a whirlwind weekend tour, or you can take your time and explore the area over a 2+ week period.
Planning an RV trip can be very time-consuming so that’s why we’ve done the research for you! Just take our guides and use them. We’re sure you’ll have an RV trip for the ages! Instant download. CLICK HERE for information on our RV Travel Guides