As we gear up for our next trip, I have been reflecting on our inspiration for travel and how that inspiration feeds in to our RV trip plans. I lived in Spain for five months, visited Germany, Amsterdam, Rome, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and El Salvador; and I have loved it all. But, I am also continually amazed by the contrasts and diversity in our landscape and culture right here in the U.S.
I have one current goal for our travels…and it is slightly ambitious…I want to experience all of the U.S. with Chris. Not some, all.
Fortunately, Chris is on board with my goal (although a little less enthusiastic with the historical sites).
I am never lacking in another place I want to see, or a new landscape I want to experience. I can’t get enough of our historical sites, and there are people I know I am destined to meet. But, whittling my grand, idealist visions in to an actual RV trip plan takes a little practice. And if there is one thing I have with three years fulltime RV living, it is practice.
I think all RV trips start with an inspiration or desire. They start with the big picture purposes and goals for the trip. While deciding on the main points of interest, or events that you want to see; I have five tips to keep in mind…
Four (Not Obvious) Tips for Making RV Trip Plans:
#1 Time of Year. I know, you are thinking that seems obvious: in the winter go South, in the summer go North. But, I mention it here because it goes beyond that. Campgrounds change throughout the seasons in terms of clientele. We stayed at the same campground in Alabama during three separate seasons, and the experience and feel was different each time. Campgrounds are also completely different when kids are out of school in terms of availability and activities.
Also, certain times are better for visiting particular areas, like Texas Hill Country in Springtime, higher water levels in the Spring for The Narrows in Zion National Park, the Fall rut for animals like elk. There are migration patterns to consider, moon phases and celestial events, and all sorts of natural rhythms that will add to your trip enjoyment if you are in tune with them.
In contrast, there are times of the year that you will want to avoid a particular area, like when big events take place in an area that cause the campgrounds to book up in advance and campground owners to jack up the prices. For example, campgrounds around Sturgis during the motorcycle rally (we even had trouble in Nebraska leading up to the rally as so many people were making their way to the event).
#2 Try different terrains & climates. Give your trip some variety by mixing different terrains and climates. Experiencing the variations will help you to see the best of each type, without lingering too long in areas that may not turn out to be your favorite. Also, you will quickly learn how your RV holds up in different areas.
#3 Consider the culture. Our country is so expansive, and it is full of subcultures to experience. I enjoy seeing places for myself, but I also think that experiencing the local perspective really adds to a trip. I like to make sure that we enjoy some local events as we visit different parts of the country, whether that be music, entertainment, food or farmer’s markets. If you want to feel like a real local, go to the farmer’s market.
#4 Mix popular with out of the way places. We all have the big ticket items that we want to experience, like Yellowstone, Yosemite, or the Grand Canyon; but there will be a lot more smaller, not-so-popular areas that we visit along our way. Having a balance, especially for longer trips, will help to keep you from burning out from the crowds and booked campgrounds. It will give nice breaks for a better flow to the trip. Read about some of the lesser known sites we have visited.
I hope those four tips give you some considerations as you are thinking about your big picture inspiration and overall trip.
But, let’s take it to the next level. There are a lot of logistics to making RV trip plans. Here is our video to walk you through how we lay out a trip step-by-step…
What are some of your favorite lesser known places/areas to visit?