Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Where Am I Going and How Do I Get There - Part 2

We previously discussed trip planning and tools that we use for our adventures. This post will concern itself mainly with how we use rvtripwizard.com and google maps to plan a trip. This is not going to be an in depth training session on RV Trip Wizard. It is a powerful tool with many options that deserves more attention - and they provide excellent help/support for using the product. We will be explaining at a high level how we plan our trip using RVTripWizard. Within the tool you can find decent documentation, a support community and how to videos. 

Choose a Destination

Of course, the first step is choosing where you want to go; not necessarily a specific campground but at least a general geographical area. Once that is chosen RV Trip Wizard can show the campgrounds in that area. There is an option to turn off/on that displays known campgrounds (and if you know of one not on the map you can submit it to them for it to be added). You can select a campground on the map and get a plethora of information, reviews and a direct link to the campground's website. 

During our destination selection (and during choosing stops along our route) we also utilize google maps. This is not for the actual routing since it does not take RV specifics into consideration. We use Googlemaps to look at specific campgrounds and read reviews. Reviews are also available with RVTripWizard from campgroundreviews.com. We also use satellite view (which is also available inside RVTripWizard) to see how things look. This can especially be handy when looking at fuel stops as it can show the room you have to maneuver.

Creating a Trip

For the purposes of this post, we will use our current plan for a trip to Key West we are taking in a few days. This trip begins at our home and ends at Boyd's Key West Campground and includes two fuel stops. When we create a new trip it will present windows that allow us to input our starting location, date of trip and several tabs of information about your rig and route preferences that will help in routing the trip (avoid tunnels, avoid tolls, etc). Once added, you can then add the campground found when doing initial plan and add it after "last stop". The route will then be generated and you will see mileage and travel time (based on your options of travel speed in the trip settings).

The routing may also show when you will need fuel, based on your trip option preferences. We have  an 80 gallon tank and we have our option set to warn we are down to 25 gallons based on trip routing. RV Trip Wizard has "filter" options that can show numerous items on the maps - rest areas, gas stations, dump stations etc. You can select which you wish to see on the map and turn them off with a one click option. So, for example, you chose a fuel station on the map you want to make a stop. You open the details and simply add to last stop (selecting the stop you want it to follow). The new POI is on the map and the table shows mileage and time. 

As a note, in the case of fuel stops, edit the stop and add the amount of fuel you plan to add. The option window will show how many gallons used as well as remaining. We usually simply add fuel to bring the remaining back to 80 gallons. If you have input a cost per gallon the trip costs in the table will also be updated.

Below is a screenshot of our completed trip plan from our home to Boyd's in Key West with two fuel stops. Take note of the route as I have turned off the option to show all campgrounds and filters. Also, the table on the left shows details. Notice the small wrench at the top right of the table - that has all the options you can set for your trip as well as being able to export the trip details. Also notice at the bottom of the table a button that allows you to automatically set the return trip options - unless you are full-timing and just keep going (one day soon for us 😁) The only thing missing in the table is the number of nights we'll be at Boyd's, available when you edit the stop. Once added the dates in the first column will update appropriately.

We have used this trip planning tool for quite some time and find it to be the best overall planning aid. I work on longer trips and modify as I go along - for example, I have been planning our Alaska journey for about 6 months, off and on. I open it up, work on it and then save it. I also create trips with desired destinations and then go back to them once we are ready for that planning and add more specifics. For example, we have an old west tour that has stops of the points of interest. Once we decide to start planning we'll go back in and start looking and adding campgrounds in the area. 

For a longer trip, below is our current Alaska journey that includes a side trip to Michigan so we drop our guns off at a family member to avoid Canada issues. 👮 I have selected campgrounds that currently are open, knowing it will all have to be reviewed as we get closer to this adventure. I also have to add more stops from Michigan to our Canada entry point. I have minimized the table on the left and the POI on the right so it only shows map - lot of zooming and scrolling for this trip to be planned - but will be worth it. 

So that's an overview of how we use RVTripWizard for planning. In the next part we'll discuss how we take the trip data out of RVTripWizard and use Excel to actually add timings that help with our trip schedule and outlook. 

Stay tuned...

No comments:

Post a Comment