How To Plan RV Road Trip Travel In The United States: A Complete Guide

How To Plan RV Road Trip Travel In The United States: A Complete Guide

Road trips are one of our favorite activities to embark on whenever we travel and they have a special place in our hearts due to the lasting memories they have left us. Our first was in Perth, and we have since went on a few more after that.

So far, it has been travelling with a car, but we also thought, how cool it would be if we could ride around in an RV. And as luck would have it, we saw a program on TV that talked about people doing just that! 

And in today’s post, we have a special contribution from Bayside RV to show us how to plan RV road trip travel in the United States! 

Let’s Zip Up and RV!

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Guide to planning an RV Trip

Being on the road can be an exhausting experience for most people. The stress of rush hour traffic, road rage, and car problems are almost always present, not to mention figuring out the types of RV to use.

But that’s not all there is to life on the road. 

Interestingly, road trips first started as a publicity stunt in 1888, when Bertha Benz decided to travel 106km in an experimental motor car in Germany without informing her husband. 

Our concept of a road trip may have evolved through the ages, but freedom and adventure remain constant. 

Buckle up! 

We will show you how to plan your RV travel in the United States in this complete and easy guide. When you’re done, you should also check out this 5 Must-Have Essentials for Your Next RV Road Trip: What You Should Pack

10 Steps Of Road Trip Planning

plan an rv road trip

Although road trips seem less complicated than traveling by air or sea, it still needs planning. 

It’s more than just ensuring a comfortable trip by getting the best foam for RV cushions, or choosing RV entertainment. 

A comfortable road trip has a lot to do with proper planning, and we will break down the essentials here.

Step 1: What Is The Purpose Of This Road Trip

This simple starter will transform your entire journey. 

Understanding why you want to embark on a road trip will guide some of the most important choices you need to make, so you have a smooth running itinerary. 

Here are some of the reasons why a road trip in the United States is an excellent idea:

  • Introspection or self-reflection

Road trips are an excellent time to discover yourself away from the noise of work and routine. It is often during this journey that you learn new things about yourself and your perspective on life. 

  • Meet new people

Any type of travel can be an excellent opportunity to meet new people, but unlike tourist spots in other countries, road trips allow you to mingle with many locals along the way. If you’re keen on experiencing things like a local, road trips are excellent avenues for genuine adventure. 

  • Bond with nature

Road trips can be a grounding experience for everyone, literally and figuratively. Airports may be fast modes of transportation, but its bustling, busy nature keeps you from being present. 

Road trips follow your pace and move along the path set for you. And with your feet close to the ground, you can allow yourself to be present and connected to the experience at all times. 

Whether the reason is self-discovery, ticking off an item in the bucket list, or simply communing with nature, it will be crucial for the next step of this guide.

Step 2: Preplan Your Route

Choosing your route has a lot to do with preference, which is easy if you’re traveling alone.

That’s why it’s essential to know why you’re planning a road trip in the first place so you can easily decide on the route. 

TIP: Always make sure everyone agrees to the chosen route to avoid conflict.

Here are some quick reminders: 

  • After picking your route, plan the route and the stops you will take in advance to calculate the time, fuel, and resources needed for the trip. 
  • Download an application that will help you plan your route, including essential stops like gas stations, restaurants, and even attractions and museums.

Step 3: Choose Your Route and Top 3 RV Road Trip Routes

The United States is full of potential road trip routes, which is why we’ll make the decision easier for you with our top 3 picks:

Oregon Coast Highway: Highway 101, Oregon

  • Drive time: 8 hours
  • Ideal road trip stay: 4-5 days. 
  • Best time of year to visit: July-August

This scenic route is one of the world’s best road trips for an excellent reason. 

It has beautiful unobstructed ocean views, sea cliffs, and pastoral farmland by the towns. Here are some of the reasons why you should choose this route: 

  • It is nature all around, with views at every bend
  • You can enjoy the beach, forests, quaint towns, and sand dunes in one road trip
  • You can visit old lighthouses and learn more about the history of Oregon

Parks Highway: Anchorage To Fairbanks

  • Drive time: 7 hours
  • Ideal time to spend: 4-5 days
  • Best time to visit: June-August

Get a more cozy, isolated feel in the Parks Highway route. 

This is a favorite among RV campers mainly because Alaska is home to 23 national parks. If you love wildlife and vast, untouched nature, this road trip may be the best one for you. Here are some of the reasons why you should choose this route: 

  • This route is especially accommodating to RV travelers because of their campgrounds and RV parks
  • The midnight sun in Alaska allows you to enjoy the scenes longer every day
  • You can connect with history by visiting the oldest Athabaskan Indian settlement in the area
  • There are glacial river valleys and towering scenic mountains that you’ll love
  • Dog lovers will enjoy the sled dog race while enjoying local food

Route 66

  • Drive time: 8 days
  • Ideal drive time: 2 weeks with stops, 1 month for complete exploration
  • Best time: April – early July

This ultra-long road trip is at least 2.500 miles, covering 8 states. 

This iconic route is one of the original US Highway system routes and is reminiscent of a forgotten American era. 

Distance between stops may be quite far, and you’ll need more than the best foam for RV cushions to get by. 

That said, here are some of the reasons why this route is worth experiencing:

  • It is a travel through American history. This route will show you areas once inhabited by Native Americans
  • You can visit deserted areas and ghost towns
  • There are multiple food stops and delicious diners
  • There are roadside attractions to enjoy
  • You won’t run out of activities to do in this route

Step 4: Prepare Your RV For The Road

Since you’ll spend a significant amount of time in your RV, it’s only natural to prep it for the adventure. 

After deciding on the route and outlining the stops, your RV should be ready to take on the journey. Here are some things to do:

  • Tune-up your vehicle by checking on some essential items like water faucets, heater, generator, fridge, and electrical outlets
  • Check the exterior and interior lights of your RV
  • Make sure your tires are in excellent condition and that your tanks are all filled for backup
  • Give your RV a good cleaning before you start the road trip
  • Make sure you’re comfortable for the trip with blankets and foam seats
  • Check the moldings and sealants of doors and windows
  • Label the appliances with amps they need so you can calculate your electrical load 
  • Make sure to have your RV insured before your trip in case of issues

Step 5: Make Sure To Bring Entertainment

Depending on your route, you’ll be on the road for hours at a time. Make sure you have entertainment ready, especially for kids who may become uneasy during the trip. Here are some entertainment ideas that don’t consume electricity: 

  • Card games
  • Board games
  • Books
  • Road spotting games 
  • Coloring materials for kids
  • Puzzles and crosswords

Check out more road trip games for kids here.

Step 6: Work On A Budget

This should be part of pre-planning, but we’ll put it as the 6th step, so all other matters, including RV maintenance, have already been considered. 

Here are some ways to budget your RV road trip:

  • Prioritize the places you want to visit and the things you want to do. The list may be overwhelming but make sure you choose activities within your budget
  • Preplan the times you will be eating out and manage your budget. Food cost is a significant chunk of the budget, especially if you’re traveling with people who enjoy food as much as they enjoy the scenery. For a shorter trip, you may use this road trip food list
  • Try to plan a road trip during off-peak seasons so you can save on other costs like camping fees
  • Make sure you have emergency funds in case anything happens along the way
  • Don’t forget the budget for your gas

Step 7: Don’t Overpack

One of the best things about road trips is that there are several stops to get necessities. This way, you avoid overpacking and stick to the essentials. Here are some reminders:

  • Your items should be travel-sized. You don’t need to bring the entire shampoo bottle if you can place it in smaller containers
  • Bring clothes appropriate to the season and the activities you will be doing
  • Make sure you have a first aid kit and over the counter medication for emergencies 

Learn more about road trip packing lists here.

Step 8: Be Flexible And Find Ways To Save Money

It’s always good to experience the best of travel on a budget. This is not impossible, as long as you plan. 

It’s essential to be flexible to sudden changes and be ready anytime the situation calls for it. Here are some tips to save money on a trip: 

  • Bring snacks that will easily satisfy you, like nuts and protein bars
  • Invest in an insulated water bottle so you can keep hot water and cold water inside 
  • Research some ways to prepare food in the RV, especially for long drives
  • Pay for parking in advance if necessary

We tend to do our shopping on Amazon. Learn how you can save more money with Amazon Prime.

Step 9: Make Sure You Preserve Travel Memories

One of the best things about taking a road trip is bringing back memories of a beautiful experience with you. Here are some ideas to preserve travel memories: 

  • Make a scrapbook with items and photos you collect from your trip
  • Make a blog of your travel experiences
  • Get free maps and use them in your journal
  • Buy postcards and keychains wherever you go

Step 10: Prepare For The Way Back

You may feel energy slowly depleted during the way back, which is why it’s crucial to prepare a checklist. Here are a few things to note: 

  • Check on your vehicle and make sure the lights, brakes, and other essentials are in excellent condition
  • Make sure you stock on some snacks and drinks for the road
  • Plan your stops on the way back as well to save on time and fuel

In conclusion

Road trips are one of the best ways to experience a country’s terrain genuinely. 

From the rivers to seas, from the woods to the mountain peaks, a road trip takes you to the best of what nature has to offer while keeping you grounded and connected throughout the journey.

Check out this post for more unique road trip ideas or things to do on a road trip with friends!

Logistics before hitting the road

Stay connected
Before you travel, make sure to pre-book a mobile router so that you can get access to the internet easily with WiFi. The router can be shared by a few friends, making it super budget-friendly. 

Save on currency exchange rates
Stop paying exorbitant rates forever! Make use of a TransferWise debit card to get the best rates across the globe. You can also use it to transfer money worldwide for cheap.

Find cheap flights.
Air tickets are usually the bulk of your expenses. Set up an alert and snag cheap fares with Skyscanner.

Find the best accommodation.
Book a place ahead of time to get good rates. Booking.com has transparent fees and excellent rates. 

Handy travel guide.
For the old school kid in you, get a travel guide book and get lost exploring the city.

Photos.
Your mobile phone can do a pretty good job, but if you need an upgrade, we recommend the Sony A6000 (US) (International)

Travel insurance.
You don’t need us to teach you to be a responsible adult, do you? Get a quote here.

Planned for you activities.
Need a guide to show you and your group around? Lots of operators here to choose from here. You know who they are and how they are reviewed. 

More resources to help you.
All other useful travel resources we use when we book our trips.

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