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Old 02-03-2013, 07:30 AM   #1
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How do you decide where to stop on a multi day trip

I live in Indianapolis and we are planning a trip to the florida Keys. It will take us several days to get down there and we are trying to decide where to stop along the way. We have an idea of how much time we want to drive each day but are not sure what is around that time or mileage. Is there some kind of computer program that you can input start point, end point and number of days to get there and amount of driving for each leg. That would help you decide area to stop for the night. Then you could check available campgrounds in that area. I know I could just look on a map and find a campground and mapquest distance and drive time but It would be nicer if something better was made. I also am thinking of stopping at a rest stop, wall-mart or truck stop for the first night but i'm not sure how to know where all of these are. Thanks in advance for any guidance or how others plan their trips.

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Old 02-03-2013, 07:38 AM   #2
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Microsoft Streets and Trips does what you're asking and I'm sure many others do too... at least it locates campgrounds for you. I don't know about WalMarts.

Rather than plan, we just drive until we feel we want to stop soon... and then use Streets and Trips and/or RV Park Reviews.com to locate an overnight CG nearby.

Good luck.


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Old 02-03-2013, 07:43 AM   #3
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We find that we drive 62 - 64 mph in our motorhome. With slower speeds in town, driving in the hills and mountains, twisty roads, rest stops, etc. we average 50 mph. So if we want to drive for 5 hours we can go 250 miles. We then use Streets and Trips to see where 250 miles takes us. Then we go to RV Park Reviews :: Home to see what campgrounds are in that area. There is also a major database that cam be imported into Streets and Trips that will show all of the Wal Marts, rest areas, etc.
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:44 AM   #4
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We don't use a program, our trip out west each year takes 2 1/2 days one way. We just plan on 400-500 miles each day, 1200 miles total. We look at the map and read reviews of the closest camp grounds. We now have a pretty good idea where we want to stay,, or not to stay... I would figure about every larger town has a walmart if thats your choice. We always stay at camp grounds. Hope you have a great trip !!!
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:01 AM   #5
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I have planned a 2,021 mile trip from Las Vegas, NV to Roseburg, OR via South Lake Tahoe, CA, Coloma, CA, Weed, CA, Gold Beach, OR, Roseburg, OR...our return trip takes us on a more direct path of Diamond Lake, OR, Susanville, CA, Tonopah, NV...home.

Being the OCD type that I am for planning things, I prepared an Excel Spreadsheet showing my Estimated Distance between stops, estimated fuel consumption/ per mile cost of travel, etc. My longest leg in this journey is 321 miles, my shortest leg in the trip is 65 miles.

After I calculate the miles between stops/destinations, I use a variety of resources including the computers Google Search, my Rand McNally 7720, Good Sam/Woodall CG Guide, etc. to find places to stay for the night or longer.

We do not stay in Rest Areas/Walmarts/Parking Lots, etc. I find a stop-over place, RV Park, and/or Camp ground that has basic and/or full hookups and pay for a nights lodging if I am on the road.

We are very new to RVing so my first few trips are being planned meticulously...future trips may be a bit more cavalier in the planning...
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:04 AM   #6
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Allstays has a web site that is wonderful for this type planning. If you have an IPad it's even better because they have a very user friendly app. I'm sure they support other tablet devices also. It not only shows campgrounds, truck stops and Walmarts but provides links to their web sites and to review sites.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:08 AM   #7
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Heating Man,
All the suggestions you get will be ones that will work. You just need to find one that works well for you. Here is another suggestion.

Get on the Internet and open up your browser and type in the city locations where you are presently located. Typically this will open up Google Maps. (I prefer Bing Maps) The browser should bring up a map you can click on to make it fill the screen.

We prefer to drive 250 miles, giver or take some. I have gone much shorter and I have gone longer, but 250 is my average. In the Google map, choose a destination by looking at the map and trying to decide where you want to go. Click on the "Directions" command in the left frame of the map page. Type in the name of the city that you want to go to . If it is to far or to short, look at the map for an appropriate area. Once you have your directions, click on the location that you want to stop at.

In the same Google search pane type in "RV Parks" without the quotes. The map will be populated with RV Pars in that area. When you mouse over or click on one it will give you the name of the park. Sometimes there is other information contained by clicking on the "balloon." You can slide the map around and the "balloons" of more RV parks will pop-up if their are any. Depending on your zoom level, besides the "balloons" there will be little brown dots. These can also represent an RV Park. One has to be careful because not all balloons and dots are RV Parks, just the majority of them are. What is dependent on the search is the web developers idea of what key words to use to get people to look at that site. So:

Choose one and then research that CG in RV Parks and Reviews.

Microsoft Streets and Trips is a very nice trip planning program and there are POI's, especially the Mega POI by the Discovery Owner's Club, that can give RV Parks. However, the information contained in it is only as good as the updated version of the POI, and on the Google maps, RV Parks can come and go and not be updated for some time. That is why it is best to use RV Park Reviews once you decide. Others that have been there will give their opinion, and in some cases will indicate if a park has closed.

By the way, you can also use the Google Map to search for your favorite cuisine. If you just type in restaurant you will get a variety but you can be specific, like "Mexican restaurant" without the quotes, or "Italian," etc.

Happy trails.

p.s., you don't have to spend a tank of fuel for a program. Also, unless it is a Holiday time frame, I usually plan on where we are stopping the day before we get on the road. One night stops require planning daily/nightly. I'll find two or three places for a one night stand and the next morning when we are on the road, DW will call ahead for vacancy. Sometimes she will use her iPad a few hours out of where we want to stop to start find a place. We have always found a CG to stay at. Not granted, there have been a few we surely did not want to spend more than one evening!
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:15 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Doug Sage View Post
We find that we drive 62 - 64 mph in our motorhome. With slower speeds in town, driving in the hills and mountains, twisty roads, rest stops, etc. we average 50 mph. So if we want to drive for 5 hours we can go 250 miles. We then use Streets and Trips to see where 250 miles takes us. Then we go to RV Park Reviews :: Home to see what campgrounds are in that area. There is also a major database that cam be imported into Streets and Trips that will show all of the Wal Marts, rest areas, etc.
X2, except we use woodalls.com to find the CGs. I've found at my age I don't like to drive more than 250 miles a day.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:25 AM   #9
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Not much I can add that hasn't already been said, but we too drive about 300-350 miles a day. During our cross country trip we would use Garmins window based mapping software called Mapsource and plot where we would be in 300 miles and look for RV Parks in that area. That seemed to work rather well for us. The beauty of Mapsource is, once you plot a course you can then transfer it to your Garmin GPS via USB cable.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:26 AM   #10
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I choose a daily distance, find a CG on rvparkreviews.com and go. Simple
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:28 AM   #11
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We also use Woodalls, vaious iPhone apps and the "Next Exit" for what may be coming up that would work for a stop. Also the new Rand McNally 7720 has much, if not all, of that information built into it if you are thinking of a GPS.

Distance is a very personal thing. Some only travel a few hundred miles a day, others, like us, will go as much as a thousand miles in a day. It just depends on where you are, where you want to be, and when you want or need to be there.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:32 AM   #12
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Earlier post about Allstays Camp and RV is what I like, they have an app for your phone. I think $10 for the premium, gives you walmarts that allow overnights, low bridges, Costco's, state parks, truck stops, truck wash, Cracker Barrel's, RV supplies, dump stations, ect I would check it out.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:52 AM   #13
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We make the Keys trip every year for the winter from central NY. Unless there is somewhere we want to explore, campgrounds are not in the plan. We have done it enough so we are pretty sure about where we will park for some sleep but we too use Google to guesstimate the next truck stop, rest area or Walmart type stop. We are kind of partial to Flying Js because they have RV designated parking and fuel islands. We will buy fuel from them using our FJ RV card even if it is a few cents more than other stations to thank them for the hospitality.

If there is a city we would like to visit on the way down or back we usually make reservations in advance then plan the trip around that stop. You never know if there is some festival or event that fills the CGs where you are headed so it is nice to be sure.

Hurry down here! It is sunny and mid 70s today, headed for low 80s later in the week.
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:10 AM   #14
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We take a trip around the US every two or three years. Our home base is Oregon but we have kids & grandkids in California, Maine and Florida. When planning one of these long trips we get out a large US map and try to chose a route and locations we have missed on previous trips. We try to find stops that are about 250 - 300 miles apart. The map is "plasticized" so we use a dry marker to outline the proposed trip and then make any changes we think we might want to do. Once we have kind of figured the basic trip I add it to my streets and trips program on the laptop. We like to look at the big US map because it really gives a visual of the overall trip and easy to find/figure side trips. All that said we don't hesitate to deviate from the route or stay or shorter at planned stops.

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