Your Ultimate Guide For How To Plan an Awesome RV Road Trip

Road tripping is hands down the best way to see the country. Learning how to plan a road trip is easy with a few basic steps and a much more preferred method of travel. When you fly somewhere, you miss so many unique places along the way.

Road trips are also way more comfortable and relaxing than flying. There is no being jammed on a plane, hustled through security, and so on.

We would much rather drive, and if you’re here, chances are you would too. If you want to know how to plan a road trip, you’ve come to the right place!

Road Tripping in an RV: The Ultimate Experience

If you want the best road tripping experience, there is no better way than in an RV. Sure, there are other ways to road trip. You could drive a car and stop at hotels or stay in a tent. But RVing beats them all. Here’s why.

First, the ride is much more comfortable in an RV compared to a car. They designed RVs with cross-country travel in mind. So, you’ll have comfy seating (in a motorhome) and panoramic views.

Another reason RVing is more comfortable is that you don’t have to cram everything into your car. With car trips, seating is tight. There might barely be room for a driver and a passenger. Forget bringing the entire family or a beloved pet along. But when you have your entire RV for your stuff, you can stretch out and enjoy the space.

RVing is also better than driving a car from a food standpoint. When you’re in a car, you’ll probably end up stopping at fast-food places. It’ll cost a lot and end up making you feel sick by the end of the road trip. With an RV, you have a complete kitchen. You can cook your food wherever you stop.

We also much prefer sleeping in our RV over a tent or a hotel. Tents are great for a while, but they have some drawbacks. They are always either too hot or too cold. Any bit of wind flaps the tent and wakes you up. There is also the setup and takedown to consider. And not having an actual bed doesn’t get any easier the older you get.

As for hotels, who knows what happened in that room before you got there. Sure, there is a cleaning crew, but we’ve all seen those TV specials showing how dirty hotels are. Staying in your RV is also usually much quieter. Even if you have noisy neighbors, you don’t have to share a wall with them.

And finally, when you stay in your RV, you have all the comforts of home right there with you. You don’t have to lug all your stuff in and out of a hotel every day.

Airstream being towed by a truck down a hill through the mountains with trees. Knowing where you can tow your RV is an essential part of how to plan a road trip.

Things To Consider When Planning an RV Road Trip

If you want to know how to plan a road trip, there are a few things you won’t want to forget. First, you need to plan an RV safe route to get to your destination.

You also need to plan for places to stay, sights to see, and when to get gas. When you drive an RV, these require more planning. Nothing is as obnoxious as getting stuck in a gas station parking lot. You’ll have to do a one-million-point turn to get out after all.

Best Websites and Apps for Finding Camping

To plan the best road trip, you will want to find the best campsites. We have a few tried-and-true websites we count on when mapping out our travels.

Some of the best sites are Campendium, Allstays, Campground Reviews, and RV Parky. These sites let you get an inside look at what a park is like before you even get there.

You can read reviews from other RVers, see pictures, check out amenities, and even see what the cell phone coverage is.

How to Plan a Road Trip in an RV In 5 Steps

Now it’s time to learn how to plan a road trip in 5 simple steps. These tricks will make road tripping in your RV a blast!

Planning Your Route

If you want to know how to plan a road trip, you have to start with the route itself. When you’re in an RV, there are some things to keep in mind. First, we don’t recommend relying on Google. The path on Google might not be RV-friendly. Height and length restrictions could put you in a bind.

Instead, when planning an RV road trip, we recommend RV Trip Wizard. This program works with most navigation systems, including Google Maps. But the cool part is, it finds RV safe routes. You just need to enter the basic information about your rig and you’ll have a safe and comfortable road trip every time.

Another thing to keep in mind when planning your route is distance. You shouldn’t try to travel as far in your RV as you could in a car. First, it is much more tiring to drive such a large vehicle. And second, you can’t go as fast in an RV as you can in a car.

This means it will take you longer to go the same distance. We still think the added comfort and convenience to travel by RV is worth it, though!

Overview shot of a man with a pen in one hand and using GPS on his phone in the other with a map on the table. An espresso sits on the map as well. He's learning how to plan a road trip.

Planning Gas Stops

Another essential thing to do is plan your gas stops ahead of time. As we said before, traveling in an RV instead of a car requires some extra steps. You can’t merely pull into any gas station when you run low. This is especially true for larger rigs.

You should look up gas stations that are easy to get into and out of with your RV. The bigger your rig, the more critical it is to plan. Some gas stations simply won’t be able to accommodate your RV. Google Maps satellite view is an excellent way to see this. You’ll also usually have better luck at truck stops than regular gas stations. Some truck stops even have a gas RV lane on the truck side to make things even easier.

You won’t have trouble finding gas stations for your RV as long as you look for them in advance. But waiting until you need gas is a recipe for disaster.

Planning Your Campgrounds

To plan the best RV road trip, book your RV park stays in advance. That way, there are no surprises. You also ensure you have a place to stay. During peak travel season, RV parks can and do fill up.

If you can stay a little longer, we also recommend exploring the area. If you just sleep and hit the road the next day, you will miss out on a lot. Plus, taking slightly longer breaks helps keep the driving manageable. Getting out and doing fun things along the way will make your road trip much more enjoyable.

Pro-tip for booking RV park stays. If you are new to RVing, stay at campgrounds with easy in and out campsites like pull-throughs. Backing up an RV is a difficult task. And it can test even the strongest of partnerships. So, start easy and work your way to more difficult stays as you go along. Or just keep things easy forever!

A travel trailer RV parked in a grassy area with trees around it. Finding RV parking is key when learning how to plan a road trip.

What to Pack

When you’re on the road for a long time, you need to know how to pack for a road trip. It is tough to decide what you’ll need when you are gone for a long time. The best thing about planning a road trip in an RV is that you’ll have plenty of space.

Think about what you will do on your trip and what the weather will be like. Bring clothing that fits with your plans. You also need to bring basics like toiletries—no hotel shampoos when you’re staying in an RV, after all.

We also recommend preparing a checklist of all the RV supplies you’ll need. Alternatively, you can keep everything stored in the RV. Ensure you have all your hoses, electrical connections, a spare set of keys, tire pressure gauge, etc.

You should also try to plan out your meals. Meal planning will let you pack the right amount of food. You won’t go hungry or waste food. Be sure to bring along plenty of snacks and things to drink as well.

If you plan to do any specialty activities, make sure you have all your gear along—things like skiing, rock climbing, mountain biking, and so on. Anything else you forget, you can probably get along the way. But a list will be your best friend. That way, nothing gets left behind.

Road trip gear on a table getting ready to be packed into a backpack. Learn here how to plan a road trip so you don't forget anything.

What to See and Do

One of the most important things to know about planning a road trip is also the most fun part– what to see and do along the way!

Take advantage of all the world offers by planning out stops during the journey. You could stay a few days at each place. But even just a couple of hours here and there is a great way to break up the trip.

To make sure you don’t miss anything, find a local travel guide. There are also lots of reviews online. Sites like Trip Advisor are a great place to start. If you have a tow vehicle, making day trips is much more comfortable.

If you only have your RV, plan accordingly. Check out the parking situation in advance to make sure you can bring your rig along. The best part of road tripping is the experiences. So, get out and enjoy your new locations!

Woman sitting in the passenger seat of a van with her feet on the dash looking out her window at Monument Valley in Arizona. She learned how to plan a road trip and seeing sites like this.

How to Find Quick Overnight Stops

If you only need a quick overnight stop, there are lots of options. Just because you are on a road trip doesn’t mean you have to stay at a campground every night. Here are a few tricks to find free overnight parking spots.

Many big box stores allow free parking. Places like Walmart and Cabelas will almost always be an option. Cracker Barrel is another reliable go-to. But some local areas have restrictions. So, check for “No Overnight Parking” signs before you commit and read our guide on overnight parking rules to make sure you’re a good camper.

You can also park overnight at most truck stops and some rest areas. To find even more options, there are some apps or websites you can use. All of the apps listed above are great resources for finding overnight parking.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to plan a road trip in your RV, what are you waiting for? The world is just waiting to be explored. And there is no better way to see everything than road tripping. We hope you’ll enjoy your next RV trip. Follow these steps, and you’ll be ready to roll.

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