RV trip planning — beat the winter blues with these 6 travel planning steps.
If you reside north of the Sun Belt, you’ve most likely given your RV the pink drink and tucked it away for a long winter’s break. Now, the winterization blues are creeping in. But instead of pining for the return of camping season, you should be planning for it. Winter is the perfect time to plan those spring and summer getaways.
Some campground reservation systems open up six months in advance, and some open with the start of the new year. If you’re hoping to camp in a park that fills quickly, you may need to book your spot during the winter months, which is why you should be trip planning now instead of later. The following tips will help you get started. (As always, consult our handy checklist).
1. Dream of Destinations
One of the best ways to beat the winterization blues is dreaming about destinations. Pick up a copy of the Good Sam RV Travel & Savings Guide, which features Ultimate RV Trips and exciting destination articles. The Good Sam Explore tab is also full of great recommendations, sorted by state and province.
For more unique destination ideas, check the MotorHome, Trailer Life and National Park Service websites. Don’t forget Pinterest, where millions of users virtually “pin” links to travel-related boards. Social media always serves as a great resource, and the Good Sam Club’s Facebook page will connect you to great deals and fellow RVers.
2. Plan a Route
Once you’ve locked in on your destination, visit the Good Sam Club site to take advantage of the Exclusive Trip Planner (for members only). This RV trip planning tool allows you to digitally route your road trip on a map, with mileage, driving hours and gas costs automatically calculated. Use the “Things to Do” search feature to find attractions near your route. Save your trip, and print a detailed set of maps and directions when you are ready to hit the road.
3. Select RV Parks
From rustic state parks to over-the-top resort RV parks, there’s a campground for every personality and budget in North America. The trick is to find the ones for you. The Good Sam Trip Planner includes a campground search feature that lets you zero in on Good Sam Parks (offering the 10 percent member discount) within a specified number of miles from your route. Check out the ratings and reviews for parks to get a sense of their quality.
Did you know that Good Sam sends teams of experienced RVers across North America to rate RV parks? Points are given on a 1 to 10 scale in these three areas: facilities, restrooms and showers, and visual appearance. Head to Good Sam’s Find a Campground page to see these ratings, as well as reviews submitted by users. For a handy way to access this information while on the go, download the Good Sam Camping app to your Apple or Android devices.
These ratings are also found in the Good Sam RV Travel & Savings Guide, which offers over 1,000 pages of campground listing information. The listings feature listings for 12,116 RV parks with more than 400,000 updates. Perusing the pages is a great pastime to pass those long winter hours.
4. RV Trip Planning Timeline
If you are planning a road trip with several stops, it’s important to set a timeline before you make campground reservations. Some travelers like to fly by the seat of their pants, which is fine if you are confident you’ll find a spot that fits your needs. However, if you are traveling a long distance with stops at popular attractions, it’s better to have the assurance of campground reservations. Decide how long you’ll be staying at each stop, and create a calendar of dates and locations to have on hand.
5. Make those Reservations
Once all of your dates have been set and campgrounds have been selected, it’s time to pick up the phone or get online to make reservations. As you do, record the confirmation numbers, the amount paid for your deposit and contact information in a handy spot. This is key to sound RV trip planning.
6. Relax and Wait
Once the RV trip planning steps are made, all that is left is to kick back and relax. Spend the cold, dreary winter days daydreaming about your upcoming road trips.
Good Sam Camping
Kerri was kind enough to email this answer:
Thank you for your kind words and your question. I have a lot of favorite campgrounds. We haven’t traveled east of our home state of Missouri, so these are mostly western parks:
Some of my favorite private campgrounds include the following:
Rafter J Bar Ranch near Mount Rushmore in South Dakota
Yellowstone Grizzly near Yellowstone National Park
Rancho Sedona in Sedona, AZ
Some of my favorite public campgrounds include:
Colter Bay Campground in Grand Tetons National Park
Mueller State Park in Divide, CO
Petite Jean State Park in AR
Thank you for these useful step by step tips.I just wonder what are your favorite campgrounds?
After not camping for all of 2017, thanks for the heads up to start the process of getting my plans in motion.
Did that in 2009 for an I-10 trip to San Antonio, TX and back. Stopped at different places on the way back. We made reservations 2 or 3 stops ahead of where we were so we had a little more flexibility as we learned more about where we were going to be stopping. Worked great. Ron789
We have used the Trip Planner for the last two 4 month trips and it was the perfect tool. We set each days travel distance and the campsite we were staying at. Great tool for planning your travels.