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Old 03-26-2015, 11:20 AM   #1
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Planning first big trip/help/suggestions

Newbee, first trip from NC to Albuquerque,NM
What tools do you use to plan a long trip across country...I have the atlas, checking 200-250 mi with trip distance locator then looking for areas to stop for the night, checking RV park reviews.wow it feels like I am reinventing the wheel...is there a way to do this that is less tedious. this is exhausting.
Maybe it is because it is my first planning experience...how do you all do this?
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Old 03-26-2015, 11:37 AM   #2
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We kinda - sortsa plan ahead, but usually just play it by ear while traveling. I am GS and Passport America member so if we want to spend night at CG we look at their web site to get ideas where and how much.
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Old 03-26-2015, 11:44 AM   #3
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That's a big first trip, I can understand why it feels overwhelming.

First, do you have your destinations in mind? Are you planning to stay in a single place or several over a period? Is campground selection your biggest issue? Or deciding on the route to drive? Or both? There's a lot of experience here and websites and apps to help, but it would be easier to give you good guidance if you could give a little more information.

I will say that basically, if we are going for say, two weeks and we are just stopping overnight,along the way, we don't hunt for the "best" campground for a single night. It's just more effort than you will get value for an overnight. Instead, we use Yelp to find an affordable highway hotel or hunt for a Walmart-like location & boondock for the night.
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Old 03-26-2015, 12:27 PM   #4
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Planning is almost as fun as going on the trip !!!

If you're planning a "straight" trip to NM, with no layovers or extended exploring along the way.. overnighting at Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Lowes, Cabela's etc. would be my choice.. No sense in paying $30-$40 for a few hours sleep..

I use Google maps or Mapquest to set my route.. then I look for mileage intervals to establish the "area" I'll stop for the night (unless I have specific area's I want to visit).. Once I've determined the area to "overnight".. a simple Google search of the area will produce campgrounds or overnight area's I can stay...

Another good tool I use is gasbuddy.com... they have a "trip cost calculator" and it will advise you on when to stop for fuel to maximize savings... obviously gas prices are pretty fluid, so I will look at that right before we leave.. it's really a cool tool.. just by filling up a few miles before, or after, you can save some decent money..

Good luck and have fun... sounds like a great trip !!
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Old 03-26-2015, 12:32 PM   #5
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I only expend a major effort on looking at RV parks at my destination (or in or near big cities)

The majority of the time, while eating lunch, I try to determine where the stopping point will be for that night ... then I do some searching using the websites mentioned ... call ahead to see if they have space available ...

It is usually not necessary to actually make a reservation (big cities, holidays, or big events are exceptions)

I try not to let price enter into my decision ... it is pretty easy to burn as much or more in fuel than the savings to travel to RV parks that are more economical but are at a distance from your planned route.
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Old 03-26-2015, 12:46 PM   #6
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I lived in nc for 20 yrs. Look out when u get to other states u won't go back . When u see the cost of living else where. Only get enough gas to make it to tn gas is 10 to 20
Cents less per gal
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Old 03-26-2015, 12:46 PM   #7
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We just use Google maps. You can create and edit routes, find points of interest and star/favorite them and make them stopping points.

New to us is this Google Sheets add-on so we can just list all the attractions in a database and let the mapping software do all the work.

Then we can use one of our Galaxy Note smartphones as the GPS and open up the maps we created.

All in one, all free.
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Old 03-26-2015, 12:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rascalsgirls View Post
Newbee, first trip from NC to Albuquerque,NM
What tools do you use to plan a long trip across country...I have the atlas, checking 200-250 mi with trip distance locator then looking for areas to stop for the night, checking RV park reviews.wow it feels like I am reinventing the wheel...is there a way to do this that is less tedious. this is exhausting.
Maybe it is because it is my first planning experience...how do you all do this?

I have a large plastic covered Rand McNally map (32X50). I use a dry marker to mark out different locations we would like to see and/or overnight stop areas. My next trip is from CA to Memphis. I'll circle the start point & end point then circle areas about 300 miles apart along the shortest route. Then look at the map route and make changes to stop at or to go to locations of interest. We'll end up getting off the shortest route several times. I don't make reservations unless it is a holiday weekend. I do use GPS while traveling. This works well for us.
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Old 03-26-2015, 01:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rascalsgirls View Post
Newbee, first trip from NC to Albuquerque,NM
What tools do you use to plan a long trip across country...I have the atlas, checking 200-250 mi with trip distance locator then looking for areas to stop for the night, checking RV park reviews.wow it feels like I am reinventing the wheel...is there a way to do this that is less tedious. this is exhausting.
Maybe it is because it is my first planning experience...how do you all do this?
Planning is always exhausting and unless you carry wire (internet hotspot) all your plan will be junk by the end of the second day.....

Best bet - Carry a laptop, buy and load a copy of Street Atlas. With the GPS. Learn to use it. It is hardly a PHD (Push Here Dummy) program, it is very powerful and will tell you where to look for stops. If you go to the Discovery Owners website, you can download overlays for SA that will save you tons of work. And, you can adjust it as you go along so it will stay useful even when you change the original plan.

Then, when you can hold up at a Wifi place, you can check the campground reviews now that you know where you might be stopping.

Matt
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Old 03-27-2015, 03:51 PM   #10
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More trip planning questions !

I will be traveling down I-40 from home to NM. I heard that state parks, which will be several of my stops, require reservations?
I need a 50 amp. service so wondering how available they are for those who do not make reservations?
Also have been reading how GPS will take you wrong ways, Yikes! Getting first trip jitters! I bought a Good Sam GPS for RV traveling.
I am meeting a friend in NM so I need to be there by Oct.1st. I want to allow time for road construction problems? Has any one been down 40 lately?

I just purchased a Hot spot from Verizon to keep me "connected" on the road. I heard that many CG do offer but are inadequate service?
I just have a basic "phone that rings". So I do not have access to aps.
I have Good Sam and Escapees books also for locating CG.

Also heard that some diesel stops are hard for a 38' RV to get into....I got the Next Exit book now too? BUT can not read and drive! More homework! How do you all get all this done?????? Linda/NC
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Old 03-27-2015, 03:56 PM   #11
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We use, and absolutely love AllStays for finding places to stop. Google Maps helps us get the route we want, then flip over to AllStays to track the route and find stops, sights, stores, whatever....
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Old 03-27-2015, 05:46 PM   #12
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We just completed our first big (for us) trip from NH to FL. What I did was choose our route. Next I looked up campgrounds along the way using RV Park Reviews as well as others like Good Sam, Google Maps. I made a list with campgrounds and phone #s probably about every 50 miles. We didn't want to commit to reservations as we never knew how far we'd want to travel in a day. I like to plan so for me, it was lots of fun to do this while I was waiting for our departure day. It worked out really well for us. I also like to bring the Next Exit book while we travel. We use that even on car trips. It tells you what you'll find off each exit on almost any major highway. It takes some of the guess work out of traveling.
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