5 key steps to planning the perfect RV trip

So, now it’s time for something completely different, something we as a family have never done and something neither Lauren nor I have done before. We have rented an RV and will be road tripping for two weeks.

Our ultimate destination is Seattle in the state of Washington, but the first leg of our trip sees us heading east to Las Vegas, and then on to the Grand Canyon. On the way from LA to Vegas, we break our trip to spend two nights in the Joshua Tree National park.

For those of you that have been following us regularly, you will know that we filmed our experiences on the road and created a series of vlogs of our journey.

It therefore feels unnecessary to write a detailed blog of our experiences on the road. For those of you that have not as yet seen our vlogs, I invite you to watch them now. Click here now to watch our roadtrip adventures.

Instead, I thought it would be more beneficial to share with you the five key steps to planning the perfect RV trip and how to make your RV getaway a breeze. Here, in my opinion, based on our personal experiences, are the five key steps to planning your perfect RV trip

Step 1: Pick the perfect destination

We didn’t chose our perfect destination upfront, so we had a very diverse RV trip experience, but some of the best fun we had was exploring in the desert. This is us in the Joshua Tree National Park

This is probably the hardest part, and the most important. And I think, if we look back on it, we probably made a fundamental error here, we ultimately tried to do too much and fit too many experiences into our trip.

My advice to you is to think carefully about the experience you want from your getaway? Do you want sunshine and a beach, lakes and forests, deserts and remote hiking, or perhaps a more urban experience? Pick the type of holiday you want, and then plan the next steps from there.

Step 2: Research the route and get the most out of your journey.

Joshua Tree National Park. Its about the journey, not the destination
As we learnt, its not all about the destination, the journey is what an RV trip is all about. This picture was taken in the Joshua Tree National Park.

Now that you know where you are heading, start planning your route. On our trip, we had a couple of key destinations, with some stop overs along the way, but as we learnt, the journey is just as important as the destination, and can in some instances be even more fun than the destination.

In our case, we had plenty of stops we wished we could have stayed at longer and drove through many places which looked fantastic, but which we only got to experience through the windscreen of our RV.

So, my advice to you is to really research your route, find the key points of interest along the way that you would like to spend time at and then plan a stop around those. It may be just a one night stop or more, that is the beauty of being in an RV, the choice is yours.

We found one night stops too short, and would strongly recommend at least two nights if time allows. As we learnt, you tend to arrive at your destination after lunch and leave early in the morning, so in reality a one night stop only gives you a few hours in the afternoon to explore.

Step 3: Choose your campgrounds

Black Rock
Deciding upfront what sort of experience you want, will go along way to helping you pick a campsite. We personally loved the remoteness of the National Parks. This campsite, Indian Cove in the Joshua Tree National Park, was particularly remote.

This is critical to a successful trip, but as we found, not the most important. Especially if you are going to be out exploring and will be using your campsite more as a home base and parking bay for your rig.

If like us, you enjoy the outdoors and are all about exploring amazing destinations, I highly recommend considering staying in National and State Parks. (If you are travelling in the USA). These parks offer very simple campsites, some with little to no amenities, but what they do offer is amazing scenery and an amazing experience close to nature.

The most important thing to consider when choosing your campsite is to know what you are looking for. Think about what sort of atmosphere you are looking for, are you looking for a scenic basecamp, are you looking for a campsite that offers recreation and entertainment for you and the family, or perhaps a campsite that offers onsite food options? Once you know the answer to these simple questions, you will know the kind of campgrounds to seek out.

Obviously if you are looking for a site with lots of recreational activities, a privately owned and managed site will probably suite you better than a national / State park.

Step 4: Book Early

The KOA at Sams Town, in Las Vegas. We got lucky that there were plenty of vacancies here, but that was not always the case with some of our other first choice campsites. Always best to book as early as possible.

Once you have decided on your destination, planned your route and know which campsites you want to stay at, book and book early.

The nature of our trip, means we do not have the luxury of planning and booking too early. And unfortunately, this did mean that some of our first-choice campsites were not available and we had to remain flexible to ensure that we had a place to set up camp. In our case, sometimes campsite availability dictated our route, rather than the other way around.

What we had underestimated was just how popular camping and RV’ing is in the USA. This means that campgrounds do book up early, especially, as we found, the most popular National Parks. This is not a problem for most, as you will be able to plan and book well in advance. If, however you do not have this luxury, don’t lose heart. As we found there are hundreds of RV parks and if you are clear on what you are looking for and are happy to be slightly flexible, you will be ok.

Step 5: Ask for help and advice

Sams Town Casino
Having some fun at the kids arcade at the Sam’s Town Casino in Las Vegas

Don’t be afraid to ask others for advice or help. Campsite managers, park rangers, or even your fellow campers can all be a wealth of knowledge.

Asking for help is not a strong point of mine, but what I learnt on the road is that if you lean on these people, you will get where you need to be going a whole lot quicker than if you don’t.

If you have queries before your trip, ask the people that manage the park you are headed to. And if you have a question while on your journey, just say hi to your neighbour and start a conversation. My advice would be to do this even if you don’t have any questions. We found the people of the RV community to be some of the friendliest and warmest people we met on our travels in the USA.

RV travel gives you the freedom and flexibility to comfortably go anywhere the wide-open road can lead you. So, what are you waiting for, take our advice and soon you will be on the trip of a lifetime. Trust me, if we can do it, so can you.

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  1. Jeannette says

    Thank you for the pointers….now for planning my RV Trip!! Hope someone will join me!!

  2. Milana Travis

    Thank you very much for your blog.

    I enjoyed reading this article.

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