Planning RV Trips
Trip planning is something everyone approaches differently. Really, they do. Some are anal (me) about planning, while others just take off. Both ways work. You have to pick something that suits your style.
Some people decide what they want to see first, and then pick a route. That is the way we do it, but that is just us. In the winter and spring of 2004 we were planning a summer trip of 6-months or more to follow the Lewis & Clark Trail. Before we left on that trip we could tell you MOST of what we were going to see and do. I had MORE things available to see and do than we would actually be able to do. In addition to what we already know about an area we make a habit of stopping in Visitors/Welcome Centers and picking up information. We always find something interesting that we did not know about, so will you.
How far do most RV'ers travel in a day? Some people drive 300 to 400 miles a day or even more.
If you drive that far you aren't going to see anything but from the windshield. If that is your style----go for it. Remember, some people are on a schedule and others are not. Some are on a vacation that necessitates cramming as much into the available time as possible while others are retired, having no particular schedule. Joyce and I arrive in an area and spend up to a week seeing and doing what is available. Some places don't have enough to occupy a week while others have an abundance of things and can't be adequately seen/done in two or three weeks. We seldom drive over 100 to 200 miles per-day. We are in a class A motorhome and pull a Saturn. We do most of our sightseeing in the Saturn.
Now to reservations: Some individuals never leave home without reservations. Others, like us, hardly ever make reservations.
We almost NEVER make reservations. Notice I didn't say NEVER. If we are facing a HOLIDAY weekend we find a place and hunker down for the long weekend. It is a BAD idea to NOT have reservations over a HOLIDAY weekend. Other than holidays we do not make reservations. Very seldom do we have any problem and never one that can't be remedied. We had problems finding vacancies in south Florida in February, at least vacancies in reasonably priced RV-Parks. It still isn't a BIG problem,---- we just weren't able to stay exactly where we wanted, when we wanted. So what------ we adjusted. That is what we do. However, if you are on vacation it may be advisable to make reservations. Since we are not on any schedule we can make adjustments not available to people on tight vacation schedules.
What travel books do you feel are a must have for RVing?
That is a hard one. We have dozens but none are "must-have" for RVing. Remember, some people just want to go to the lake, extend the awning put out the cooler and drink beer/wine. Others like museums or State Parks, while others prefer music, dancing, dog shows, car racing, or flea markets. RV'ers are all different in what they like.
Joyce and I are sightseers. We want to see and experience as much of this great country as we can. We rely on a wide variety of sources for information. We have maintained file folders for each state for a number of years. We have cut out and filed myriad's of magazine and newspaper articles for years and years. We write off and get visitors information packets. Let your imagination run wild---- information is available at every turn. Once you have this information you must ORGANIZE it. Having access to that information is vitally important. We also keep information in e-mail and usenet files by state. When planning a trip we pick the things we want to see and do then I plot those places on our Street Atlas ( Mapping Program. The next step is to have the mapping program develop a route to accomplish what we want to see and do. From that point we have a PLAN.
That plan will get us started. However, we are constantly adding to and subtracting from the plan. You will also.
When friends and acquaintances tell you about visiting a place, make a note of it. When they tell you about an interesting place to eat, make a note. Once you have these notes you have to ORGANIZE them or they are useless. We make map-notes in our Street Atlas mapping program. For those of you not familiar with mapping programs they are computerized software, or maps, detailing EVERY street and road in the United States and much of Canada and Mexico. You have the ability to search for and locate specific addresses. These mapping programs also come bundled with a huge data base of information detailing the locations of hospitals, campgrounds, shopping centers, museums and a plethora of other things. We go the "restaurants" location on the map and make a note that "Joe-blow recommends the fish house restaurant". If we are ever in or near that area we have a note staring at us reminding us that "Joe blow" recommended the fish house restaurant. Our Street Atlas has thousands of personal map notes on it. These notes lead us to some of the best places one could imagine.
When you are watching the Travel Channel and they feature some place interesting write down the name and location. When the show is over I locate the address on our Street Atlas mapping program and make a map note. Those turn out to be fun places to visit when we are there. The Travel Channel isn't the only program that provides good information. Be alert and take notes.