Top 5 Tips and Tricks to Successfully Plan a Travel Trailer Camping Trip
So far, you went on tent camping and backpacking trips and every time, you felt like staying for at least a few days more. And it’s no surprise. After all, who doesn’t want to stay amidst greenery, mountains, lakes, streams and rivers, colorful wildflowers, butterflies and birds, under starry skies, breathing fresh, cool air? Don’t worry! Your dream can come true. You just have to plan a travel trailer camping trip. With a travel trailer, you can take your home on the road and can stay longer in the beautiful wilderness. But just as planning is needed for making anything successful, you should plan your travel trailer camping trip well to make it successful. Here are a few tips.
1. Mapping Out Destination Campsites
Campgrounds are of two types – public and private. Both have their own benefits. However, you should find a good one which can be tough. A good starting point can be reading campsite reviews and ratings. There are good resources such as Trailer Life or AAA that offer all the information that can help you decide if the campsite is suitable to you.
2. Planning Routes – Can Google Mapping Help?
For most road trips, you can just plug in the destination address and allow the GPS map to find your route. But for RV trips, you have to make certain other considerations too. Firstly, RVs are infamous as being gas eaters. So, you’ll have to make sure you take the route that has plenty of gas stations along the way.
Secondly, you’ll have to think about the season in which you’ll be traveling. If it’s winter, choose routes that will be free of snow. On the other hand, if it’s summer, avoid routes that tend to flood during afternoon thunderstorms.
Another consideration is traffic for which you’ll also have to consider whether there are major holidays or other events that may impact traffic. In such a case, you can either make sure to give yourself ample time to sit it out in a heavy traffic, or choose a route that are less known to other travelers.
The most important consideration perhaps is the time you’ll take to reach your destination campsite. Most RVs can achieve a maximum speed of 60 mph. Be realistic about the time. Your GPS is almost sure not to give you an exact ETA. So, don’t plan the route with its help. If needed, make an overnight stop on the way. Research to find out if there’s an RV park or campground for this purpose and whether it will be available.
Not making reservations until the last second may give you a hard time after a long day’s drive. You should note that not every campsite takes reservations. Some of them do, while others have a first come, first served policy. So, if you’re late, you’ll have to find other options. Some even save a few extra sites for the last-minute arrivals, but charge a hefty fee for them. To avoid the need of going finding other options or paying heavy fees, it’s best to reserve an RV parking site well in advance.
Today the option of online booking is offered by most RV parks or campgrounds. Most will need you to pay a deposit. Before starting calling, find a handful of RV parks, campsites or resorts in the area, go down the list, and narrow it down to find the best fit for you.
Calling the RV parks or campgrounds is perhaps the best option as you can know about any specials, or activities or events, and also will have a better chance to reserve a prime site. While booking online, you may not always get to pick where you’re parked, which can be an important factor in deciding whether you’ll enjoy your stay or not.
Also, don’t forget to confirm your reservation with the park or campground at least a couple of days before you start traveling.
4. Things to Look for When Reserving a Site
Roughly there are three types of places where you can park your RV.
RV Parks: If you can’t live without air conditioning or sewerhook-ups, you should choose an RV park. RV parks are different from campgrounds in that they’ll always have the basic hook up like water and electricity, and often sewer too. Several RV parks also provide other amenities such as spas, pools, laundry, free wi-fi, dog parks, hot showers, general stores and dining.
However, with all these amenities you’ll notice that staying at an RV park is more expensive thanthat in a campground. But it’s also true that in various ways, you can lower the costs. For example, many RV parks offer a discount on longer stays. You can even get discounts on RV park rates by joining certain RV clubs, like Passport America, Thousand Trails, Escapees and Good Sam.
You may also find free RV parking sites! But they’re often referred to as ‘dry docking’ or ‘boondocking’ which means that you’ll have no access to water, electricity or any other amenities. However, with some efforts, it’s possible to find free RV parking spots which have all or at least some of these amenities. Examples are some Camping Worlds, Walmarts, casinos and other businesses with big parking lots that will permit free parking. They have rest stops which are great if you need just one night; but you can’t stay much longer than that.
Campgrounds: Campgrounds are for those who don’t need many comforts. You’ll find them sprinkled along wilderness areas, national and state parks and many other venues. They can be as basic as a fire pit, a pile of gravel or a stretch of dirt. Most of them won’t have any service hook-ups like water, sewer and electricity. But they are chosen due to their amazing prices that might be anywhere from $15 to $50 per night, depending on the grounds.
RV Resorts: RV resorts are for those who want to make a home away from home and have the best amenities. They are not just full of amenities but can be a small town in themselves. In addition to the typical hook-ups, you get bonuses like digital television and internet access.
RV resorts are aimed at handling full-time RVers that could stay there for months or even years. You can sign a contract with them assuring month, three months or six-month stays.
They can offer you clean and spacious bath facilities, clubhouses, restaurants, recreational centers and even valet trash and paper delivery services.
As a preparation of your RV trip, things you can do are:
- Prepare an itinerary for top spots to visit
- Enlist the activities to do and pack the necessary gear, for example, swimming costumes, kayak, playthings and toys, appropriate shoes, hat, goggles etc.
- Download travel apps that help you navigate your trip safely
- Conduct a maintenance and systemized check on your RV and make sure it’s ready for the journey
So, are you ready? Happy RVing!