The Wrong Way to Plan an RV Trip

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Whether you’re setting off across the country or to visit family, an RV trip can be a memorable experience. However, if you don’t plan wisely, you could remember it for all the wrong reasons.

Luckily, there are some things you can do when planning your RV trip to ensure an epic adventure.

Today, we’re looking at the wrong way to plan an RV trip and several mistakes you don’t want to make.

Let’s get started!

What Is an RV Trip?

An RV trip is a journey or vacation that involves a recreational vehicle. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a drivable or towable vehicle. All that matters is that the individuals involved in the trip use the camper as a living space during the adventure.

Because modern RVs feature residential amenities and features, these have become incredibly popular. Because you’re taking these amenities with you, this style of travel provides more freedom. Since you’ll likely have a refrigerator and kitchen, you can prepare your meals and stay fueled while traveling.

Many owners park their rigs in RV parks, campgrounds, and resorts. However, when it comes to adventures, the possibilities are endless.

The decision is yours, whether you want to visit roadside attractions, national parks, or world-famous theme parks. The adventure possibilities are endless. If you want to create priceless memories, an RV trip is one way to do it.

Us standing in front of our truck camper in Canada smiling.

Is Planning an RV Trip Hard?

Planning an RV trip can be challenging, especially at first. One of the reasons it can be so tricky is because of the learning curve involved with RVing.

While still figuring out how to work the features, you must also safely maneuver from point A to point B. You could be in a dangerous or sketchy situation if you make one mistake.

Additionally, whether you’re in a driveable or towable, there’s much more to consider. You must worry about low clearances, weight limits, and other hazards. If you’re new to towing, it can be a stressful and intense experience.

On the other hand, some take a more relaxed approach with their RV trips. It can be less stressful if you stick to familiar areas. You can have an incredible time RVing without traveling a considerable distance. Keeping things simple at first may be your best option.

The Wrong Way to Plan an RV Trip

It always pains us to see fellow RVers making mistakes when planning their trips. Luckily, we’ve been traveling for several years and made some mistakes. Do yourself a favor and learn from our mistakes, so you don’t repeat them.

Not Doing Research

No matter how far you’re traveling on your RV trip, it’s critical to do research. You’ll want to choose the best route if you’re making several stops. If not, you could waste time, fuel, and energy.

Additionally, you want to make the most of your time during your trip. This means you should research attractions and other things to do. Trust us, we’ve failed to do this and wasted our time and money on attractions and events that weren’t worth it.

Do yourself a favor, and don’t rush through doing your research. Start collecting ideas while formulating your route or planning when to take your trip. You may discover that you can experience or attend a special event by adjusting your trip dates. Give yourself plenty of time so you can be as flexible as possible.

Waiting to Make Campground Reservations

Over the last few years, campground reservations have been tough to come by. This is mainly because the RV industry has experienced an incredible boom. With so many new owners, they’re all looking for a place to use them during the camping season.

Your odds of scoring campsites in some areas are about as good as winning the lottery. As a result, you’re not doing yourself any favors if you wait until the last minute. You may even find that they don’t have any availability for you.

This will be even more important if you’re in a big rig. The larger your rig, the fewer sites available at most campgrounds. So, do yourself another favor and don’t wait to make your campground reservations.

Pro Tip: If you still aren’t convinced you need to book your campgrounds then read our First Come First Serve Camping Tips To Always Get A Spot.

The office building for Heritage RV Park in Alaska with a large sign on the outside that lists their amenities.

Underestimating Travel Distances

One mistake we made, especially out west, was looking at the map and judging the distance between two locations. Unfortunately, this isn’t a terrible idea, as the fastest route may not always be the best for you and your RV.

Additionally, western states are massive. Our friends made this mistake while traveling from Billings, Montana, to Missoula, Montana. They glanced at the map quickly before hitting the road.

What they assumed was a few hours turned into an almost six-hour travel day. As you can imagine, they weren’t happy campers when they finally arrived at their destination. 

Pro Tip: How Long Does It Take to Drive Across the US?

Ignoring RV Size and Restrictions

As mentioned, not every road will be safe for you and your RV. As a result, you must know the dimensions and weight of your rig. Some even write them on a sticky note and tape them to their dashboard.

You don’t want to be approaching a low clearance at 65 MPH trying to remember the height of your RV.

Additionally, if you plan to travel to Canada or Mexico, you may want to convert them into the metric system. Since most of us use it sparingly, this can help eliminate any potential confusion.

A bridge over a river with a yellow sign showing the height clearance is 15 feet 16 inches.

Neglecting Maintenance Checks

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when planning an RV trip is to neglect your maintenance. The more you use your RV, the more critical it is to stay on top of these. You must regularly check your tire pressure and look for issues. The more you check, the easier it will be for you to spot any problems should they appear.

By doing routine maintenance checks, you can catch minor issues before they become big problems. We recommend walking around your RV when preparing to hit the road. Look for any potential issues. You want to know you’re hitting the road as safely as possible.

Ignoring Weather Forecasts

Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate during RV trips. Extreme weather conditions can create hazardous situations for RVers. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the weather forecast before hitting the road. You may need to adjust your plans to avoid a potentially harmful situation.

Additionally, remember to check the weather along the way while you’re traveling. This is especially true if you cross a considerable distance during your trip. Just because the weather is nice at your current location doesn’t mean it is at your destination.

Remember, weather at high elevations can also change quickly. You need to be ready for just about anything!

Pro Tip: You might want to invest in an RV Weather Station: Technology To Keep You Better Protected.

Screenshots from our weather app that shows different storms we've been in across the country.
This is just some of the bad weather we’ve experienced on the road.

Not Having a Backup Plan

One of the first things we learned while traveling was the importance of having a backup plan. We dealt with road closures, wildfires, and many other unexpected events. Additionally, we love to boondock and find some of the best spots to camp and spend time in nature.

Unfortunately, because these are first-come, first-served, we often found that others would beat us to sites. As a result, we’d often create a list of potential spots to camp and work our way through them. While we didn’t always get our first choice, we typically found one on our list that would do the job.

Failing to Plan Rest Stops

Driving or towing an RV can be exhausting for everyone in the vehicle, especially the driver. As a result, it’s critical to plan your rest stops wisely.

We often maximize our rest stops by filling up on fuel, using the restroom, and getting a bite to eat. Instead of making multiple stops, we can tackle all three in one extended stop.

This is one of the biggest reasons many owners look for specific floorplans when shopping for an RV. They like when a bedroom, restroom, and refrigerator are accessible without opening a slide. This can allow them to use their rig at truck stops and overnight stops during their adventures.

How We Like to Plan Our Trips

RV LIFE Pro is an essential tool when planning our trips. You can plan all your stops in one place, and the RV GPS will route you safely. You can enter your RV’s weight and height to ensure you aren’t taking any dangerous roads.

Also, the membership includes other helpful RV tools, like tracking the maintenance of your RV and courses about RVing.

Save 25%
RV Life Pro

An RV LIFE PRO membership will grant you access to some amazing RV tools. The included features will help you research campgrounds, plan RV-safe routes, turn your phone into an RV GPS, access courses about RVing, and even track maintenance on your RV.

Use the code “GETAWAY25” to save 25% off your annual membership!

Plan Your RV Trip the Right Way

While you may not enjoy planning your RV trip, it’s essential to the journey. If not, you could set yourself and your entire trip up for failure.

As you gain experience and confidence, planning the perfect RV trip becomes easier. However, cut yourself some slack when you’re first getting started. Like us, you’ll make a mistake or two along the way.

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