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Old 02-18-2021, 07:19 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by dm6 View Post
We have been camping for 4 years now with a popup and love it. We try to make 4-5 trips per year, all within state, the farthest about 3 hours away and typically stay 3-7 nights per trip. We have a few campgrounds we like to go to, take note of the best sites, and then reserve them as soon as the booking window opens (usually 6-9 months in advance). It is nice to have a reservation, but also sucks that you have to plan that far in advance. We are thinking of getting a travel trailer in the future and part of the appeal to that is that we could go farther and longer. Do you have really have to plan out a long trip and make reservations along the way, even for one night stops, or are you able to just reserve where you plan to stay longer and are able to find one night stops along the way without reserving them?
I have been traveling the Western US (went as Far East as Chicago once) for approx 6 months a year for 8 years. I have made reservations less than 10 times total. You need to be flexible, and of course, the smaller trailer you have the easier is to get into campgrounds. I try to stay in Forest Service, BLM campgrounds, or boon dock whenever possible. There have only been a few times I’ve ended up in rest areas, Walmart’s, or truck stops. This is usually when I’m going from point A to point B, and just going to sleep.
There are all sorts of books and apps to tell you where there are low cost or free camping spots, and lots of books/apps that tell you where private CG’s are located. I wouldn’t travel w/o these.

As far as I’m concerned, part of the adventure is not having a trip planned out so you know where you are staying every night.
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Old 02-18-2021, 07:35 PM   #42
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We've been full timing for almost 8 years & 50k miles. When we started it was pretty easy to get a spot when/where we wanted but over the past couple years we make reservations and can't always get our first choice or have to change the area we are planning to stop. We pick the route, look for places to stop at a comfortable driving distance and find RV parks and make reservations. We never boondock or stay in parking lots - wife won't do it. We have a big 5th wheel so it's not so easy just jumping off the road somewhere.

As a side note I have found some state campgrounds in OR coast were built way before trailers were BIG. I always check them out with just the truck to make sure we can fit. I've been in some that a BUNCH of trees would have to be removed to just get us turned around if I was foolish enough to just drive the rig in without checking.

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Old 02-18-2021, 07:51 PM   #43
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The DW pretty much sets our daily drive limits. I'm good for too many miles, she is patient but using RV trip wizard and google she finds our campsite. Often the day before, but its not unusual to call in the early afternoon of the day we want to stop. We generally go 350ish miles but all depends on what we stumble into along the way; try to be off the road by 4 PM. Only 'have to' is a two or three day stop every so often, usually after four or five days, again depending on what's happening. Flexibility is the key with a general plan in mind. Full disclosure - we have not done long trips this past Covid year.
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Old 02-18-2021, 08:00 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dm6 View Post
We have been camping for 4 years now with a popup and love it. We try to make 4-5 trips per year, all within state, the farthest about 3 hours away and typically stay 3-7 nights per trip. We have a few campgrounds we like to go to, take note of the best sites, and then reserve them as soon as the booking window opens (usually 6-9 months in advance). It is nice to have a reservation, but also sucks that you have to plan that far in advance. We are thinking of getting a travel trailer in the future and part of the appeal to that is that we could go farther and longer. Do you have really have to plan out a long trip and make reservations along the way, even for one night stops, or are you able to just reserve where you plan to stay longer and are able to find one night stops along the way without reserving them?


We've travelled from Ontario to places like Arches National Pk and the Grand Canyon.However we've done it mid - late fall which is possibly close to off season for a lot of campgrounds. However here's how we usually do it
We usually book destination campgrounds ahead of time as well as those were we think we'll be during any holidays eg thanksgiving.
The rest of the time we kind of play it by ear.

I noticed someone told you how long they drove so I'll just mention we usually budget 6 hrs ( 3 morning, break, 3 afternoon) each day That gets us off the road arround 4 so you have some time to unwind etc and we've covered 300+ mi. I've also started driving 3 days and taken a day off before starting again. I'm 70 plus and retired your situation is probably different but in any case don't overdo it.

Hope this helps
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Old 02-18-2021, 08:22 PM   #45
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We took our first cross-country trip from SC to CA after we retired in spring 2019. We used a spreadsheet to plan the trip and estimate the cost (gas, campgrounds and activities) for that 7 week 9000 miles trip. We pre-booked all campgrounds planning to drive between 150 to 350 miles per day depending on what we wanted to visit on the way. That worked very well going west all the way to San Francisco. We the had to deal with Mother Nature and heavy snow in the Rockies. We then decided to head back south and cancelled all our remaining campgrounds, which was not a problem with the exception of one campground that charged us a $ 7.00 cancellation fee. We the started to plan our route back on a daily basis, calling the campgrounds for reservation around noon for the same night and never had a problem. That might change since COVID. The only exception was for the Memorial Day weekend that we reserved about 12 days in advance knowing that the campgrounds would be pretty full. It was a wonderful trip.

Hope that will help and wish you a wonderful trip.
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Old 02-18-2021, 08:24 PM   #46
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As a retired, full time in our rig, we use the “2, 2, 2” method. 200 miles a day or in by 2 o’clock whichever works best, and stay for 2 nights. Our situation is unique, my wife drives our Jeep and I drive our duality and fiver. Since she has fibromyalgia, anything more than 200 miles is rough on her, plus getting in while the sun is out makes set up easier. And there is nothing funnier than watching others trying to position, back up and set up.
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Old 02-18-2021, 08:57 PM   #47
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I do spreadsheets very similar to yours! I also include the hyperlink for the website, as well as the phone number.


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Originally Posted by cpttimerstraint View Post
We do a 4k mile road trip every year with our daughter since she was 1. We average 300 miles per day with some short days and a few 500 mile hauls.

1. On a spreadsheet, ever the dates you want to be on the road
2. I use a spreadsheet and place all the priority stops as 1 night each
3.. Next place the spots where you need to stop in between got reasonable drive days.
4. Now you can figure out how many nights you have available to stay at each place.

I generally stay at an rv park every 4th night to do laundry & dump/fill tanks.

I use a mixture of freecampsite.net, recreation. Gov and Google maps (searching campground)

On my spreadsheet I add the mileage and time for the day and where we are staying. One time I pulled up to wrong Yellowstone campground and had to double back to the correct one as it was getting dark.

Here is one of my sheets
Attachment 247701
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Old 02-18-2021, 09:08 PM   #48
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Cross country travel

We started as tent campers, moved to pop up camping and for this year took the plunge to a ML 2509S. We have been free spirits and only making advance reservations at our final destination. I also spent a summer campground hosting very comfortably in our pop up.

We have had a tradition over the years; Chicago to Biloxi to either South Florida or South Padre Island. The latter is my favorite. We push 900+ miles on day one to Biloxi. We love Harrahs and enjoy winding down in the casino after a long drive. In February their $245 rooms go for $49 Tuesday thru Thursday. Next we shoot for Houston or Galveston at 400+ miles, onto the national seashore federal park with a final destination at South Padre Island. 370 miles. The Isla Blanca Cameron County campground has great monthly rates. The campground is the southern most point in Texas. It borders on a jetty on one side and expansive beach on the other. The actually built an outdoor auditorium so you can observe Spacex launches across the Jetties. Fishing is really good on the jetties, beach or on the bay. The closest safe border town is Progresso about 40 miles.

This year we want to try a different trip; Chicago to Toronto to Montreal to Halifax if the border opens up. If anyone has similar Canadian experience we’d love any feedback.
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Old 02-18-2021, 09:13 PM   #49
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We make reservations only at destinations. We go out for 1 to 5 months at a time but we are also retired and have to be no where. For example we went to Yellowstone in October and we had a week reservation in West Yellowstone on the way out we stopped and saw whatever we wanted to with no reservations and have no problem finding an overnight spot. We only drive max 6 hours and many times 3 hours a day. We use Rvparky or KOA to find sites and usually call about 2 or 3 in the afternoon or some nights I book something the night before. Rarely had to go to several places to stay overnight. Safe travels to all.
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Old 02-18-2021, 09:42 PM   #50
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"As far as I’m concerned, part of the adventure is not having a trip planned out so you know where you are staying every night"
?? guess that's OK if you are just driving around willy nilly to see what's out there. My self I like to plan where I am going, then the adventure is getting there without planing our stops, but still arriving at our planned destination.
Safe travels
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Old 02-18-2021, 09:44 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Steve Clark View Post
We started as tent campers, moved to pop up camping and for this year took the plunge to a ML 2509S. We have been free spirits and only making advance reservations at our final destination. I also spent a summer campground hosting very comfortably in our pop up.

We have had a tradition over the years; Chicago to Biloxi to either South Florida or South Padre Island. The latter is my favorite. We push 900+ miles on day one to Biloxi. We love Harrahs and enjoy winding down in the casino after a long drive. In February their $245 rooms go for $49 Tuesday thru Thursday. Next we shoot for Houston or Galveston at 400+ miles, onto the national seashore federal park with a final destination at South Padre Island. 370 miles. The Isla Blanca Cameron County campground has great monthly rates. The campground is the southern most point in Texas. It borders on a jetty on one side and expansive beach on the other. The actually built an outdoor auditorium so you can observe Spacex launches across the Jetties. Fishing is really good on the jetties, beach or on the bay. The closest safe border town is Progresso about 40 miles.

This year we want to try a different trip; Chicago to Toronto to Montreal to Halifax if the border opens up. If anyone has similar Canadian experience we’d love any feedback.
Steve, FYI we are very happy with our 2021 ML 2509S. One thing we figured out and can share as a tip: When you get ready to hit the road, turn the dinette table upside down and put it on the floor before you retract the slide. That makes it MUCH easier to access the fridge and bathroom on the road with the slide pulled in. Also, we removed the top bunk and use the lower bunk as a second adult sleeping area.

For the OP: We are relatively new to RV-ing, but after a few "local" trips, we have planned a cross-country of 1,750 miles from Central CA to Twin Falls, ID in May. Made reservations everywhere and set our daily travels between 150 and 300 miles (to see what we like). Only the first night on the road do we spend just 1 night somewhere.

Re: RV Trip Wizard. We sprung for that and after a bit of a learning curve it is excellent. One thing it does is to "export" your full trip with each stop and all details to an Excel spreadsheet of the type people here are discussing.
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:24 PM   #52
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I am about 75% done planning our first ever cross country trip in May and June. About 6 weeks (we're flexible there), 7,000 miles. I have made reservations in Washington and Oregon, which allowed me to schedule the trip west. I only have 2 COE campground reservations in Kentucky and Iowa going west and none coming back.

I used the free myscenicdrives.com to route the trip and break down the driving days. By setting 300 miles per day, it shows where I will be each night. I'm using rvparky.com and freecampsites.net, and others, to pick other sites for dispersed camping.
No, I don't plan to drive 300 miles every day. I'm allowing for some resting/sightseeing/unforeseen problem days also. I counted backward from the destination sites out west, and threw in some extra days for...whatever.
I already have overnight stops laid out on paper through Idaho, into Utah on the way back east. Still working on Colorado, corner of New Mexico, into Oklahoma, Arkansas, etc.
I have the route, just researching places to stop.
I've spent a zillion hours at the computer every night planning this, but as some others have said, that's part of the adventure!
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:42 PM   #53
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Smaller is better (sometimes)

Generally, the smaller your rig, the more options you have. I started with a 17' class B and I could stop just about anywhere. Then found a 19' class B that wasn't quite as stealthy, but it could go anywhere and I even spent a couple nights on San Fransisco street without any problems before heading on for a long trip..

Now I have a 24' class C. Definitely not as stealthy, but when I need to go shopping or just pulling off for a break, I almost always find a place to park. It's only 18' from the front bumper to the rear wheels, so I can park in a standard parking space just by hanging my tail over the curb if there's room. Similarly, with that size RV, I get into some pretty great campsites.

Seems like State campgrounds have smaller sites, but are more family friendly than the big rig campgrounds.

So I'm pretty happy staying with a 24' RV... for now.
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Old 02-18-2021, 11:43 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by Timandpeggy View Post
As a retired, full time in our rig, we use the “2, 2, 2” method. 200 miles a day or in by 2 o’clock whichever works best, and stay for 2 nights. Our situation is unique, my wife drives our Jeep and I drive our duality and fiver. Since she has fibromyalgia, anything more than 200 miles is rough on her, plus getting in while the sun is out makes set up easier. And there is nothing funnier than watching others trying to position, back up and set up.
Not to derail the thread but the best laugh for your $ is a lawn chair, 6 pack of beer & a busy public boat ramp... now THAT'S just good fun.

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Old 02-19-2021, 04:10 AM   #55
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DM6 you have a great question and as has been said before there are great answers posted already. I think part of the answer has to do with what you want your experience to be while traveling and when you get to a destination. We have been traveling by campers since 1990. We have a large family and have traveled cross country(from upper NY to California) multiple times. We have gone to FL many times and everywhere in between. It is now just my wife and myself and we plan to take grandchildren with us in the future(we planned to take them last year but COVID happened). We have had upto a 41’ travel trailer, Class A, and Popups. We found for our large family the biggest pop up worked best for us. We always planned our trip ahead of time and made sure the sites we picked out were around bathrooms. Back in the day we used Woodalls book for campgrounds and we rated the bathrooms accordingly. We currently have a 38’ travel trailer and have built it to be able to boondock. We use Allstays to find spaces and places to stay. Allstays allows you to make notes so the reviews are helpful. We have found less pressure going down the road and finding things we want to do along the way. If we have specific destinations we will book them ahead of time so we make sure to get a good site. For instance if you want to stay a few days in a beachfront RV park you want to book in advance to make sure you get a site closer to the water. We have had some great trips doing this. When we travel we normally stay in Cracker Barrel parking lots overnight. All have been very friendly and the stays have been very comfortable. We focus our resources on the destination spots we want to be at during the trip and not sweat the other stays. The way we have our camper setup we can comfortably not need to dump for 4-5days. We produce our own power so we can travel and decide to stop along the way, open a slide, make a meal and get out and walk. We also have dumped at Flying J(a $10 fee)truck stops. Because we are 38’ long and pull the trailer with a Crew Cab truck we normally try to find large entry and exit gas stations along the way. Hope this helps a little. Each trip is upto your comfort level of how you travel.
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Old 02-19-2021, 06:29 AM   #56
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I am definitely a planner and we also limit our daily miles in between 250 and 300. There is an occasional day longer if it means getting to our destination.

I use RVTripWizard and it is has been a fantastic tool for a measly $39/year. It shows routes that can be customized on type of rig, mileage, typical average speed and more. It shows campgrounds, gas stations and much more.

We have heard too many horror stories from other RVers using walmarts, rest areas and such so we have made the conscious choice not to do that.

As said I am a planner...I make my main reservations at our destination then start in on rvtripwizard creating our route. Sometimes we use it to look at an area and chose a "final destination" for our trip. We usually stay a week or more at this stop. I then choose mid trip campgrounds based on miles traveled and will also make reservations. If first choice is not available there are usually plenty near the same area. KOA has been our usual one night stops.

I can also see gas stations so I place them as stops as well, since RVTripWizard shows when gas will reach your minimum level which you can set.

Once my trip is planned out i export it into excel and add a few columns that i will use to determine travel time duration as well as stop durations. I then use other columns for date/time of departure/arrival which can be automatically generated using formulas.

Yes, I'm a bit "anal" about our plans...but I actually enjoy the planning part of the process. We will be goin full time in the next year or so so i will get to play with my planning technique a lot. Some people like "winging it"....we are not one of those. In fact I have been laying out our Alaska journey for 6 months now. We are not sure when it will happen (2023 more than likely) but I'll be ready with only having to "tweak" campgrounds.

Some people see the trip planning a a chore...I see it as part of the excitement and enjoy doing it. If something comes up along the way - we'll deal with it and make adjustments as needed
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Old 02-19-2021, 07:04 AM   #57
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There is also Boondocking. NO electric, water or heat and no bathroom.
Its free.
A generator is very helpful
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Old 02-19-2021, 09:39 AM   #58
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kdanie, You are Sooo right about that! Cheap entertainment that makes you scratch your head and mumble "you can't teach dumb". I've been enjoying this "sport" since the late '80s.
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Old 02-19-2021, 10:19 AM   #59
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We're making our first cross country trip this summer - from Indiana to Reno, NV in our Class A. We've made reservations already along the way, even for one night stops. I also prepared a spreadsheet, looking at campgrounds every 250-300 miles - some shorter if there is something we want to see along the way. More than a few of the campgrounds we contacted mentioned that they had more reservations at this time than they've had in previous years, indicating the increased RV activity.
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Old 02-19-2021, 02:36 PM   #60
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Hi SheriP. When you say "RV trip wizard", do you mean the "RV Life" app? When I search the iOS app store for RV trip wizard, the only similar one I see is RV Life.
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