One the most challenging things in a lifestyle where you can go literally anywhere, any time is where to go and how to plan to get there.
I have a love hate relationship with trip planning. On one hand it fun and exciting to plan to the bucket list items you will be checking off the list. On the other hand is all the logistics that have to go into the planning is a huge headache.
We know some people prefer to wing it and just travel spur of the moment but that has never really worked well for our family. With Rob's job, we need to know where we will be so he can book flights as needed and we need to ensure we always have good internet (see how we make that happen here). So to make that happen we have a 2,1,6,3 rule.
What is that rule?
2 years we have an over all plan, for example in 2021 we want to go back up the East Coast and spend more time in Canada.
1 year we know the general direction we are heading for the following year so we can start to dream and pick items to see.
6 months we have selected parks we would like to stay at and have booked hard to secure sites (Disney at Christmas, the FL Keys Dec-March...though we may book those even early, beach location in the north east as an example)
3 months out we have all of our parks booked.
So what does that look like in real life?
Right now its Dec 2019 and I am booked until March 2020, we have our summer mapped out and know where we want to be for Dec of next year (FL Keys), we also have an idea of what we want to visit in 2021.
But what if things need to change? Don't you feel confined by the plans?
Plans are made in jello in this lifestyle but its always better to have a plan and cancel it than be stuck with out a reservation. We will frequently reroute plans based on where friends are heading or if we find out there is something exciting going on somewhere else. Having plans is a safety net not an anchor.
That all sounds great but how do we actually do that? Over the years we have moved from pen and paper planning and scouring the internet to a streamline planning tool, RV Trip Wizard.
Why do we love RV Trip Wizard? It is an all in one planning tool.
RV park reviews from Campground Reviews (no more jumping around to read reviews)
Boondocking store locations, like Walmart, Cracker Barrel ect (great for overnight stop planning)
Membership park selection (pick your memberships and it will show you those first)
Low clearance warnings
Trip cost estimating (put in your MPG and park costs and it will tell you trip estimates)
Truck stops and Fuel stop planning (by entering your MPG and tank capacity it will tell you where to plan a fuel stop)
But the thing I love the most are the driving radii....What are those? They are custom set circle that appear on your map that tell you either how far you prefer to go in hours or in miles. We have our set to show 150 miles, 250 miles and 350 miles. 150 helps me plan for a fuel stop as we like to stretch our legs and grab a snack around that point. 250 is a good stopping point for us on most days if we don't have a long haul and 350 is normally the max I try to plan for in one day.
I love being able to see exactly where those intersect on the map so I know where to start looking for a park, fuel stop or overnight location. It has saved me so much time over the previous method of guess in Google!
Another feature I love about RV Trip Wizard is the share feature. Traveling with friends is so much fun and something we try to do often, with RV Trip Wizard we are able to send them our routes so we can sync up our reservations. If they don't have RV Trip Wizard also you can send them a visitor view of the route, we love that for our families so they can see our plans.
Exporting to excel is another big win for me. I am a huge spreadsheet nerd and being able to export the data and then use it in a Google Sheet helps us track and analyze all of trip over our entire journey. We like to analyze how much we spend, how many miles we traveled, how many nights stayed and park types to determine which memberships have the best ROI for us.
That all sounds great but how do you choose what direction to head in and what to see when you get there? Stay tuned for part 2 of our Route planning discussion, coming soon!
We hope that you have learned a little bit about RV TripWizard and how we route plan. We'd love to hear your feedback on it. If you have ideas for other topics that you'd like to have discussed in our blog, please share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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