Maybe you’re a resolute, Type-A RV trip planner with color coded agendas and personalized itineraries for everyone in the family. Or maybe the very word planning makes your eyes glaze over in boredom or widen with anxiety.
But at either end of the extreme, one thing’s for sure: figuring out how to plan an RV road trip is a bit of an art as well as a science. It just takes one look into your Rand McNally Road Atlas to feel overwhelmed with how many options you have to choose from for your next RV rental vacation.
Fortunately, being a fantastic RV trip planner doesn’t mean you have to go full-on spreadsheet crazy. In fact, one of the things people like most about RVing is the ability to fly (er, ride?) by the seat of your pants to some extent. When you have your house along for the ride and don’t have to worry about food and shelter, you can leave a lot open to chance and possibility… and enjoy those unforgettable spontaneous moments that result.
So grab those maps and make sure the rig is stocked with a cozy camping chair. We’re going to show you how to become an effective, yet relaxed, RV camping route planner — which means you’ll have plenty of time to sit back and kick up your feet by the campfire, no matter along the road you light it!
What is the Best RV Trip Planner?
Let’s start with the barest basics. To be the best RV family road trip planner, you first need access to the best RV — and if you don’t already have a rig of your own, that could present a bit of a challenge. After all, even modest motorhomes and travel trailers are serious investments, and you don’t want to rush into a purchase just to enjoy a quick getaway.
That’s exactly where RVshare excels. Our network of privately-owned rigs, offered by trusted renter-owners, allows you to sample the authentic RV lifestyle in a safe, reliable, and fun way. Our rigs come in every shape, size, and footprint imaginable, and they’re often considerably more affordable than the ones you’d find at the big box store rental agencies!
Many RVshare owners also allow pets on board their vehicles, and some even offer delivery and setup. No matter where your trip-planning takes you, an RVshare vehicle is a convenient, relaxing, affordable way to get there — and we’ve got rigs for rent in every corner of the U.S. (Check out what’s available in your area now!)
By the way, we’ve also got some great suggestions for figuring out your itinerary in a flash… or setting down the concrete details once you have a general idea. For instance, we offer in-depth guides to each of the nation’s national parks as well as the most popular state parks, and we’ve got a whole archive of top-10 campgrounds lists to ensure you’re staying in the very best campsite no matter what your destination.
Best RV Road Trip Routes
One thing’s for sure: this great big USA of ours is chock-full of fantastic destinations. And while you might not be able to see everything, in an RV, you can see a whole lot.
But that same open-ended potential can make RV trip planning a little difficult, and sometimes even stressful. How on Earth do you pick a spot with so many wonderful options? How do you know the destinations you do pick are the best? And what’s the best way to get from Point A to Point B, hitting all the most exciting sites and stops along the way?
We’re going to dive more into the step-by-step process of planning any RV trip below. But first, we want to run some really cool road trip itineraries and themed camping options past you — these could make your motorhome planning project a whole lot simpler!
- Want the journey to be just as meaningful as the destination? Check out these beautiful drives in every state.
- Looking to do an epic cross-country road trip along a beloved American roadway? Check out our guides to Route 66 or the Pacific Coast Highway.
- Maybe you’re a history buff or a foodie? You could plan your camping trip around either of those themes — and many more, to boot. Here are some of our best road trip ideas for patriots, wildlife lovers, and haunted house enthusiasts.
RV Camping Trip Planner
If you’re the designated family RV road trip planner, here are some of the best RV trip planner tips and resources to help you make your next planning session feel more like making your travel dreams come true — and less like a logistical nightmare.
- #1 Pick timely events and go from there
- #2 Consult your destination bucket list
- #3 Consider activities – and the season
- #4 Chat with the family
- #5 Choose a great campground
- #6 Leave lots of wiggle room
- #7 Don’t be afraid to go one-way
- #8 Use tech to your advantage
1. Pick timely events and go from there.
Or maybe you’re looking for something a little bit slower paced, like attending an annual fall harvest festival.
Either way, organizing your vacation around a specifically-timed event can help make all the other pieces fall into place effortlessly. After all, you don’t have to pick a destination — the event’s location is already chosen for you. Same goes for the specific dates. Then, you’re free to explore the towns and countrysides along the way at your leisure, depending on how much time you can devote to the trip.
2. Or consult your destination bucket list.
Daydreaming of Santa Fe? Got Georgia on your mind? No matter what part of the country you call home, there’s a road that can take you there — so go for it. And be sure to stop at all the neat little towns and roadside attractions along the way!
Strapped for ideas? We’ve written a ton of posts about great destinations here on the blog. Here are some of our favorite summer spots and a few for fall, too. You can also check out the following road trip route books, available on Amazon:
- Lonely Planet’s Guide to the USA’s Best Trips
- Road Trip USA: Cross-Country Adventures on America’s Two-Lane Highways by Jamie Jensen
- Reader’s Digest’s Guide to The Most Scenic Drives in America
3. Consider activities – and the season.
If you don’t have a well-populated travel bucket list yet, start by thinking about what kinds of activities you enjoy — and when you might enjoy them. For instance, if you’ve always wanted to try SCUBA diving or surfing, you’re probably going to want a beachy location during the spring or summer, whereas ski bunnies will be hyped up for the winter slopes! Don’t forget about urban adventures, either, whether it’s museum-hopping, shopping, or kicking back at a lovely little cafe with a good book.
4. Chat with the family.
Remember that it’s not just you who’s taking this road trip! The other members of your camping party probably have things to say about the matter… and they might just have some great ideas. Ideally, the planning process should be a group effort to ensure everyone gets something out of their vacation.
5. Choose a great campground.
Almost any destination can be made better — or significantly worse — by choosing a bad campground. It’s hard to relax if you don’t have access to nice, clean showers, or if your neighbors keep you up all night with noise.
Another concern to keep in mind: the cost of campgrounds, which can be pretty bonkers these days! It’s not that uncommon to see campsites that cost as much as $75 per night, or even more, depending on your destination.
One great way to ensure you’re patronizing high-quality campgrounds at an affordable price is to sign up for and use a Passport America membership. This unique camping discount club gets you 50% off your nightly accommodation fees at almost 1900 campgrounds across the U.S., Mexico and Canada, and many are well-rated and luxurious with lots of extra amenities.
6. Leave lots of wiggle room.
Alright, this piece of advice might drive you hardcore planner types a bit batty… but one of the best parts of RVing is having the option to turn down that strange-looking road or decide to stay an extra day (or leave a day early!) at the last minute. If you make all your reservations ahead of time, you won’t have as much flexibility to do that — at least not without wasting lots of cash.
That said, during the summer and other busy travel seasons, foregoing reservations can sometimes leave you in a bit of a lurch. So it’s all about finding a happy medium that keeps you moving, happy, stress-free, and still enjoying lots of roadside serendipity.
7. Don’t be afraid to go one-way.
One of the biggest bummers of camper trip planning is realizing that you’ve created this epic, cross-country adventure… but that you have to budget enough time to turn around and drive right back.
One-way RV rentals make it easy to spend every second of your vacation time enjoying and exploring; you can drop the rig off in a different location and fly back to save time! RVshare now offers one-way rentals, an unprecedented development in the peer-to-peer rental space. Click here to learn more.
8. Use tech to your advantage.
Fortunately, road trip planning doesn’t have to mean slaving away over a paper map with a ruler and a notebook… unless, of course, you want to do it analog style. But for the lazier amongst us, there are easier ways to go about it, thanks to apps and programs like Google Maps and Roadtrippers. Here are some amazing apps that’ll help you plan (and execute) a killer trip in no time!
RV Road Trip Planner Stops
Once you have a better handle on your basic itinerary and route, you can delve into the nitty gritty (or not) to your heart’s desire. That said, there are a few resources that can be really helpful for finding a campsite or exploring everything an area has to offer, whether you use them at the last minute or weeks in advance. The RV Life app, for example, will help you find a safe and route for your RV. Or give RV Trip Wizard a try to save time, plan safe RV routes, find great campgrounds.
To find campsites in your area, check out Freecampsites.net, Campendium, and Ultimate Campgrounds; some of these also feature RV road trip planner apps to download for your Android or IOS devices. Campground Reviews is a great resource for trusted campground reviews.
And if you’re looking for a way to save money while still staying in luxurious, resort-style RV campgrounds with all the amenities, be sure to check out Passport America. It’s a network of almost 1900 campgrounds nationwide that provide members with premium sites at a 50% discount — and at less than $50 per year to join, it pays for itself in a jiffy. Click here to get your membership now!
Finally, as we said above, don’t forget that we’re a great resource, too! Whether you’re camping out at a national park or just looking for the best RV campgrounds in your chosen destination state, always turn to RVshare for quality reference content to help you make your vacation great.
RV Road Trip Ideas
Still strapped for ideas?
Fortunately, we’ve got even more blog posts and content that can help you with your brainstorming session. For instance, what about a food-driven tour of the American south or a breathtaking trip around the Grand Circle?
You could also consider making a trip to explore your home state — after all, there may be some wonderful gems right in your own backyard. For instance, if you call Texas, Florida, or California home, chances are you’ve barely seen the tip of the iceberg… though even if you live in Rhode Island, we’re sure there’s something new and wonderful to discover!
Whether you’re looking to take on an epic cross-country road trip or just travel around your region exploring local campgrounds, being a great trip planner is all about maintaining flexibility and open-mindedness while putting in just enough effort to get yourself excited and on the road. The good thing is, you can’t lose no matter where you go, especially if you’ve brought great company. It may be cliche, but it’s true when you’re RVing: it’s really all about the journey. Enjoy!
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