Almost all RV forums and discussion groups will eventually have what can become a rather heated argument over trip planning and usage of GPS. For us, Jeff is the planner and his background in IT, along with a Type A personality, contribute to his obsession with planning and trying not to be caught "off guard". Of course, no one can predict events so Jeff also has patience and flexibility.
Planning an RV trip, outside the quick little weekend somewhere close, requires some sense of direction and the ability to plan a route that is both safe and in most instances quick. The discussion of planning routes and timing arrivals/departures can be rather complex; thus, this topic will be split into segments.
The one thing to remember, this is just one method and some people prefer the "winging it" style. We do not have any desire to be staying in rest stops, Walmart or the like so we plan our trips with not only the destination in mind, but stops along the way.
A major component of one's plan is how far you want to travel in one day. Some people use mileage and others use time. We do a combination - we prefer to be stopped by 3pm and we prefer to keep our miles to about 250 in any given day. If we can average 60mph that's about 4 hours of drive time. Then we stop, hook up and enjoy the evening relaxing at the pool or outside with some rum or vodka concoction. 🍹
Once you decide what your travel style is like and if it is the planner type, these posts may be of help. If you're a "winging it" style, maybe you can be enlightened to how planners think so you can understand another point of view. Jeff used to be a "winging it" and slowly moved to the planner style.
As a planner, you will want to review and look at the different tools that you can use. There are several options, some free some not, and they all have different features. Through trial and error we chose our main planning options - rvtripwizard.com, excel, google maps and our Garmin RV 890.
We only use GoogleMaps to help pick our destination campground and use it in conjunction with RVTripWizard. We export trips from RVTripWizard into Excel and, after adding some columns, we create a completed trip with destination/arrival times and stopover times. As we begin our trip, we put our daily destination into the Garmin and it provides us traffic and weather delays as well as estimated arrivals and counts down our traveling day.
So, that is our style of planning and the main tools we use. In Part 2 (coming soon if not already there) we'll detail how we use RVTripWizard.