During this first month of the New Year, do you hear the open road calling? Are you reading RVingwithrex.com’s travel blogs wistfully thinking of your next road trip? Or are you out and about in your RV now, looking to add to your adventures?
Many people prefer to have a plan. It’s just human nature. The planning could involve the number of hours you log on the road each day (330 Rule), atlases and apps that enhance your journey, podcasts to pass the time, easy campsite recipes, events, and bucket list destinations.
My suggestion: Make a plan, however extensive or simple it is and go for it. I hope the information that follows provides you with some inspiration to do so.
Travel…be free…in 2023!
A recent survey has found that 37 percent of American leisure travelers representing 67 million plan on taking an RV trip this year, according to a News & Insights report by the RV Industry Association (RVIA).
Know before you go
RVing with Rex provides an RV Checklist for RVers to use as they start planning their upcoming adventures. The RV Checklist is a valuable tool you can use to help prevent setbacks and costly repairs while ensuring your next RV trip starts with a smooth ride.
Check out my arrival and departure checklist here.
Plan a road trip
There are a variety of tools you can use to plan your next road trip. However, the preparation can be a little more challenging when you travel in an RV. You face obstacles other drivers don’t such as locating large enough fuel stations, nearby campsites, water, and electric hookups, and avoiding low-clearances bridges and tunnels. I have found some of the top RV road trip apps to help you select the best ones for you:
- RV Life Pro is a platform/app designed by RVers that gives you info about campgrounds and RV parks including reviews plus tips and suggestions for your next destination. It also provides an RV-safe GPS for navigating allowing you to add the height and weight of your RV. Quickly access your planned trips and get GPS directions to the next stop.
- Roadtrippers Plus lets you create and edit a road trip, estimate your fuel costs, and indicate cool points of interest for your journey. If you prefer, choose from premade road trip itineraries. Live traffic updates are available as well as hotel bookings if you need a night away from the RV.
- Campspot lists top-rated camping destinations available for online booking in North America. Discover campgrounds big and small, RV parks, glamping, cabins, and lodging. Book all listed campgrounds on the app instantly—no membership fee is required.
- The Dyrt Pro features predesigned road trip maps and the ability to unlock discounts. This app includes offline maps and cell-service maps and it allows you to contact campgrounds and to ask other members for reviews. Many features are free but it is not accessible in Canada at this time.
Folks who do not enjoy the process of planning trips and booking campgrounds might consider another idea: an RV travel agent. This may be an attractive option for RVers who just want to travel with no fuss and no stress, and enjoy things as they come. However intriguing as that may sound, this obviously would be more expensive than the do-it-yourself option. Also, make sure your travel agent has the skills to book campsites and to plan an RV itinerary—and knows the difference between campsites, RV parks, and resorts as well as your preferences in that regard.
Difference between RV parks, campgrounds, and RV resorts
Asking what the difference is between RV parks, RV campgrounds, and RV resorts is a bit like asking the difference between a condo, a cabin, and a mansion. Think about it. They’ll all give you a place to stay. But, similar to the types of houses, the RV park, campground, and resort all offer different amenities.
RV parks are generally located either in town or just outside of town proper. Their pricing can range anywhere from $35 a night to $70 a night. Many RV parks also participate in discounted camping programs such as Passport America or Good Sam making their nightly rates even cheaper. Many will also offer weekly and monthly rates upon request. Typically RV parks will have full hook-ups at most sites but some will offer dry camping for a reduced cost to you. Most will have laundry facilities on site, Wi-Fi available (but often sketchy), along with showers and restrooms.
Campgrounds are located in places of scenic beauty such as a national park, state park, county park, or regional park. Being located in nature-surrounded areas you’ll usually have more space between sites than you would in a typical RV park. Most campgrounds have shower facilities and restrooms and electric and/or water hookups. Typically, the utilities do not include sewer at your site. In most cases, a dump station is available. Most campgrounds have hiking and biking trails right outside your door.
Want it all? Including the cell service, the WIFI, the nature trails, the full hook-ups, the privacy, and the space? RV resorts can give you that and more. With prices ranging anywhere from affordable to well over $100/night, usually you get more if you pay more. Some RV resorts are truly lavish in their resort style. From hot tubs to swimming pools to private dinner clubs and massage therapists, you can get it all. A word of caution: Some RV parks are billed as RV resorts when truly they are your typical RV park maybe with a tree or two more in between spaces.
330 Rule of RVing
While the excitement of picking your next RV destination may be at the forefront of your 2023 plans, it’s also important to consider how you’ll stay safe while on the road. Even if every second of your itinerary is perfectly calculated, you still want to keep safety in mind so you can enjoy every minute of your trip. Try using the 330 Rule while driving. This rule contains two pieces of advice to make traveling by RV more comfortable and to help keep you focused: Stop when you have driven 330 miles or its 3:30 in the afternoon.
To a seasoned traveler, 330 miles per day may not seem that long, but driving, especially on long stretches of highway, can be very tiring, no matter how comfortable you are. Since trailers and motorhomes are larger vehicles more focus and caution are needed to operate them which can lead to fatigue as well. It’s also a good idea to reach your destination before 3:30 p.m. as most RV parks still have working attendants at this time and you will have plenty of daylight to set up camp. And because exploring your destination can take some time, consider staying several days to allow time to enjoy the place you are at while taking time to refresh.
Keeping these rules in mind can help you have a successful 2023 travel season!
You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.