To many in the world of RVing and adventure, planning may be a dirty word. But for the Humbles, its still a way of life and we make no apologies. For us, everyday life exists in and around our RV. Here are some reasons why planning is instrumental to both a successful travel and an enjoyable one.
Data / Wifi access for work. We are a full-time family on the road which means, yes that’s right, I still work! So, ensuring that I have good connectivity wherever we land is very important. Both voice and data coverage are important to me being able to stay connected to work. In addition to data service, I take care to make sure that if we will be disconnected from wifi for any length of time, my AT&T data connection has to be strong. So, no extreme wilderness camping. We’ll make sure that if we’re not in an RV park with wifi, we’re at a state park within a reasonable distance from a densely populated area with coverage.
Entertainment. This journey that we are on is certainly not about digital devices, movies and cartoons. But let’s face it, we travel with 3 and 5 year old little boys and mom and dad require some downtime! As much as we hike and the boys love going around digging in dirt and playing with rocks, we need a good cartoon from time to time. So, we’ve armed ourselves with a few select DVDs. Admittedly, the parents also need some good TV watching sometimes after the kids are in bed to pass the time. We are loving the new Netflix download to device feature!! When we are traveling to a state park where we know we will be using our mobile data exclusively, we cut streaming to minimize data usage. To plan ahead, we’ll download episodes of our favorites shows from Netflix while we’re still at a park utilizing free wifi. This sounds trivial, but it is truly critical when you are traveling somewhere with no wifi connectivity.
Food. This is another category that requires planning ahead when traveling to state or national parks, which usually means that you will not have a sewer hookup. You want to have to dump your gray water as few times as possible to minimize that inconvenience. Cooking = gray water! So when traveling to a more remote location with no sewer, we’ll plan ahead and prep for meals that mostly require grilling outside. We’ll plan to cook enough for leftovers. And before we leave an RV park where we have full hookups, we’ll cook ahead and put a few meals in the fridge that we can reheat while we’re camping.
Really great RV sites and locations. You’ll find that really popular spots and nice RV parks book way in advance. We’ve already faced this challenge a couple of times. Rancho Sedona RV Park in Sedona, AZ is a park that is frankly a cut above all the rest. Even calling 2 months ahead, we had some challenges getting in. To make the trip work, we had to move some things around and work around their schedule to get a spot. And just recently, we began planning for Summer 2017. We’re heading to a beautiful spot in Colorado in May. Mind you, I’m booking this almost 6 months in advance. The original dates I requested were booked and EVERY weekend around that time was already booked. We had to change around a couple months of planning just to make this spot work for us. Another lesson in RV trip planning. I am not the guy that ends up in the Walmart parking lot because he wasn’t thinking ahead 🙂
One tool that I’ve recently begun using is Roadtrippers. I use both the web and iPhone app to help plan ahead and plot our travel stops in advance. One useful feature is the mileage calculations that show up between each stop. This is helpful for us as we typically do not like to travel more than 300 miles in one day. Using the Roadtrippers app to plot our course helps me to stay within that boundary and better visualize our overall journey.
There’s lots more of course. If you have any specific questions about planning ahead for RV travel, please post them in the comments section. I’d love to give some tips if I can.