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Old 04-26-2016, 09:39 AM   #1
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Heartland RV Club
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Location: South Central PA
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To Plan or Not to Plan

Hi All, new to the forum and new to Rv'ing. I've recently retired and want to see the USA from ground level instead of the 30,000ft view that I had. I've read some things about traveling and I think most said plan out your route and make reservations ahead of time. Well, both the wife and I have never been good at planning ahead when it comes to vacations and traveling. While we do have specific places we want to see, just not sure if I want to be tied to a schedule.

So before we go off on our adventures, I would like ask those with more experience, what's your thought on my plan? I also understand that you should make reservations for major attractions like national parks and high tourist places/times, but the road between I am hoping is not so crowded. I am sure that we will get caught in some situations, full campgrounds, have to keep driving, etc... But I am hoping that it would be only once in a while?

Thank you in advance for your advice.
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Old 04-26-2016, 09:55 AM   #2
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I don't need no steenking plans!!!

I do research what is along a general route to see what is there and what I want to see.. In five years of full time RVing, we have not made a reservation. If the parks are full, there is a Walmart around. we stay off the interstate system as much as possible.
Jim and Darlene Wright
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Old 04-26-2016, 10:05 AM   #3
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After 18 years and 150,000+ RV miles, we've found that we make reservations at the destinations to ensure we have a convenient site when we get there but do not make reservations along the way. Places like Yosemite and Yellowstone are best experienced when you're staying in the parks but the campgrounds sell out months in advance. So we go online in February to get reservations for July!

While we're driving, my wife will check the campground book or app about an hour before I want to stop driving, if we need hookups, she'll call a campground from the road and make a reservation if needed. If we don't need hook ups, we find a WalMart.

Safe travels!
Tom and Katharine
'07 Winnebago Tour 40TD, 400hp Cummins
'17 Winnebago View 24V, '02 R-Vision B+
RVing for 20 years & 200,000+ miles
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Old 04-26-2016, 10:10 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by halfwright View Post
I don't need no steenking plans!!!

I do research what is along a general route to see what is there and what I want to see.. In five years of full time RVing, we have not made a reservation. If the parks are full, there is a Walmart around. we stay off the interstate system as much as possible.

No plans... No problems.
'96 Safari, (148k miles)
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Old 04-26-2016, 10:13 AM   #5
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Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

I did enough planning in the 55 years I worked, don't like to do any more than necessary now that I'm retired! Keep her between the ditches!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
Joe & Annette
Sometimes I sits and thinks, sometimes I just sits.....
2002 Monaco Windsor 40PBT, 2013 Honda CRV AWD
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Old 04-26-2016, 10:32 AM   #6
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No plan is a good plan. In your post I read that you have my schedule figured out. High volume at peak times? Reservation. All others no reservation.
We just got home after 4 months of snowbirding. The only reservation we did was a few weeks ahead in the Disney area of FL. From there we traveled West to AZ with no reservations at all.1+ month of travel (Gulf of Mexico) and 1 full month in AZ. We did have to stay in a park we didn't want for 3 days until an opening was available in another park that we wanted. No big deal, we have time to explore.
2003 Class C, 29' Gulfstream
Next stop?
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:16 AM   #7
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I had a plan once that was to retired now we just do what we want to do that's our plan. So just enjoy yourself you will love it.
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Old 04-26-2016, 12:28 PM   #8
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Give a it try your way. During our 16 years of full-timing we rarely made reservations - even for national parks. Some national park campgrounds don't even accept reservations. You do have to pull in early morning as folks are leaving. Just stay close the previous night.

Also, since you're retired you have great flexibility. Try to avoid major places in the summer. Do some big trips mid-August through Fall or in spring. Head south in winter.

For the major holidays - pick a place that has no water feature such as a lake or river or even a pool. That's where the weekenders will be. Find a nice quiet place.

You don't have to drive long days anymore so pull in before 3pm and you'll get a site. It'll give you time to relax or even do a little siteseeing nearby.

We like driving the secondary roads because you'll really see something other than semi trucks and billboards. We've found nice campgrounds in or near the small towns. Also, there are nice county and even small city parks that we've used. We also enjoy national forest campgrounds.

You can do it easily without planning.
Full-timed for 16 Years . . .
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Diesel
& 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th wheel
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Old 04-26-2016, 04:20 PM   #9
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It depends on where and when you want to go. For example if you want to go to Cheyenne Frontier Days which lasts for 10 days you either need reservation or you'll park in a Wal-Mart. Any other time you would not need reservations there. Generally, at most places, you don't need reservations.
Tony & Ruth........... FMCA#F416727
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Old 04-26-2016, 04:43 PM   #10
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I'm not retired so I plan months in advance to insure my week or two long trips come together as needed to have me back to work on time while insuring we got to do what we wanted.

When I'm off for the summer school break we make reservations at our final destinations many months, mostly parks and forests, but one night layovers we play by ear, often using Pilots and other free stops.

I'd love to just get in and drive without worrying about reservations and time constraints, and I hope that's what retirement travel will be like. Until then, making reservations in advance is my only option.
Joseph and Sandy
Arizona Sunbirds

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Old 04-26-2016, 05:51 PM   #11
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We only make reservations for specific locations when we will be staying for an extended time.

In 2009 we took a 3 1/2 month trip to Alaska then the west coast. We didn't make many reservations as we would drive and stop and see what we wanted to see. Didn't really have any problems, there always seemed to be an alternative place to stay if the first choice was full.

We boondocked a lot, staying at Walmarts/Sams, Cabela's, Casino's, truck stops etc.
Jim J
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Old 04-26-2016, 05:59 PM   #12
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I put a route together but it is caste in Jello. As others, we make reservations when needed for a specific event or location, but most stops are on the fly. The route might change at any time. If we like an area, we might stay an extra night or two. When we have seen what interests us we move on.
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Old 04-26-2016, 06:12 PM   #13
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Don't need no stink'in plan. (-:
Vince and Susan
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Flat towing a modified 2005 Jeep (Rubicon Wrangler)
Previously a 2002 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37A and a 1995 Safari Trek 2830.
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Old 04-26-2016, 06:28 PM   #14
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I watch where I'm going to be on Friday and Saturday nights. I've found those can be dicey big time depending on time of year and location in many areas of the country.

Other than that, we generally have an eventual destination or some idea of a route we'll be taking, but I won't know where I'm gong to be for sure until the day before. When we pull in for the night, we depend on the internet heavily for info for developing our options for the following night. If we find a place we like along the way, we often will stay an extra day or 2.
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