Trip Routing

As we do our trip routing, sometimes we are detailed about which routes we will take, and other times we just put together a rough idea and go at a leisurely pace.

Typically, we get more precise when we plan to travel a long distance and/or have to be in certain places at certain times.

An example in trip routing:

When we made a major trip westward (New York to Oregon, June to October), we did have some time bound commitments, so our planning for this journey consisted of doing the following:

  • Requested a couple trip routes (direct route and custom scenic route) from Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA).  
  • For another perspective, we also used the trip routing from Good Sam.
  • We also had a couple good spiral-bound atlases designed for RVers.  It's also good to know which Walmart locations permit overnight parking.
  • We selected some campgrounds for part of the journey, in addition to boondocking.    We targeted some of our  Thousand Trails preserves, since we have paid membership fees in return for free stays. 
  • Then we looked at other 50% off discount parks such as Passport and Happy Campers , state parks and so on.
  • Given the cost of fuel, we sought parks convenient to our chosen route. 
  • We tried to make sure that  the  bucks saved in campground fees were not eroded by the fuel bill to get there.
  • We also researched sights along the way that we might want to visit.   Tourism guides and RV books/magazines gave us ideas.
  • We looked for local events (fairs, festival, etc.) so we could try to be in a given area when there was something going on (especially those events that are free!).
  • Our advance planning gave us a general sense of where we would easily find Wal-Mart’s, rest stops, etc.   We wanted to make some boondocking stops as we proceeded westward.
  • After matching things up, we settled on a final route and made reservations where we could. And marked the calendar to make further reservations later on, since some parks only allow reservations within a specified window (60 days in advance, etc.)

We ended up going through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa (maybe cutting across to Wisconsin or Minnesota). For this leg of the journey, we stayed about 2-6 days in each state.

We then spent a fair amount of time in South Dakota, and then traveled up to the North Dakota to Roosevelt National Park and Medora, ND.   Then we cut across Montana (with a great visit to Glacier National Park), through Idaho and Washington (another 4-5 day stay) and down into Oregon.   And we ended this journey with a few weeks on the Oregon coast, an RV rally and some RV service.

When we made this trip, we didn’t have every detail nailed down – nor did we want to.   But given the summer season in some popular areas, we wanted to be able to count on some stops to just kick back and relax.

And after Oregon, we used the same sort of process to plan our travel southward into California. This time, we had greater flexibility, since we didn't have as many prearranged commitments.

In general we find ourselves using a balance of pre-planning and just hitting the road when the spirit moves us.

Here are some trip routing resources to help plan your trip (or get someone to do it for you!):

Watch It Made in the U.S.A: A Visitor's Guide to the Companies That Make Your Favorite Products  What a great book full of interesting stops to make while on the road!

RVer's Guide to Dump Stations   Useful E-Book on Interstate Stops  - DOWNOAD NOW to your PC.

The Next Exit:  A guide to help you know "what's where" as you travel the highways.

GPS Devices and Mapping from Garmin

More Trip Routing Resources to plan your trip: Lots of directories for regional trips or travel throughout North America, Road Atlas, The Next Exit, casino guides, owner's handbooks, cookbooks and more.

More on RV Travel and RV Trips ...

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