The new year is here! For my family, this means looking ahead and deciding what we want to do next. Where do we want to travel? What do we want to see? What would we like to do? These are all questions we ask ourselves as we dive into travel planning for the new year.
That said, answering those questions can be difficult. After all, we have an amazing country that is chock-full of awesome things to see and do and narrowing down our options to what will reasonably fit into a year can feel impossible. Fortunately, we’ve come up with a few tricks for making this planning process a little bit less overwhelming.
If you’re in a similar boat and aren’t sure how to go about planning your RV travels this year, we recommend using some of the tips below.
1. Set goals
Begin by setting a couple of big goals for your travel year. These goals can be anything. Maybe you’d like to see as many national parks as possible, or perhaps you’d like to splurge on a trip to Disney World. Maybe you’d like to see a state you’ve never seen before or spend winter in SoCal.
Whatever your goals are, you can use them to plan the rest of your travels. The person who wants to see more national parks can plan a route that allows them to see as many as possible. Meanwhile, the family that wants to do Disney can plan less expensive travels before and after their Orlando visit in order to budget for those pricey Disney World tickets.
My family has found that having a few goals set in stone really helps us fill in those “between” gaps in the most logical way possible, making travel planning a lot easier.
2. Travel during the off-season
Another great way to decide where to go (and when) is to make an attempt at traveling during the off-season. Not only will this mean fewer crowds and lower prices, but it’ll also give you a chance to see certain places in a different mode than you might usually see them.
This tip is especially nice if you’ve visited so many places that you’re having a hard time coming up with a new destination—or if you’d like to revisit a place but want a different experience.
3. Slow down
One thing we’ve found to be true time and time again is that most people—ourselves included—tend to travel too quickly.
Instead of trying to come up with a number of new destinations to see, try deciding on just one or two places you really want to see. Take it slow getting there, spend plenty of time exploring the place, getting to know the locals, and really seeing it from all angles before slowly meandering elsewhere.
You might be surprised just how many hidden gems you can find in a place when taking it slow.
4. Make people the destination
Instead of trying to decide on places to go and attractions to see, try making people the destination. Make plans to see family and friends in other parts of the country, meet up with buddies made in other campgrounds, and plan on attending rallies with various RV organizations (such as iRV2, Fulltime Families and Escapees).
The longer we’re on the road, the more we realize that the people we meet and get to know through our travels are so much more important to us than the sights we see. Sure, we still see the sights, but more and more often people are the main draw for us when choosing destinations, something that has completely changed our travel planning methods.
5. Invest in memberships
In order to save money, my family has a variety of different memberships. Museum memberships, a zoo membership, and a couple of campground memberships all help us see and do things without spending a fortune.
Many times, we will do our travel planning based on which campgrounds are included in our memberships, or which attractions offer free admission under our memberships.
You can read more about memberships for families here.
6. Use RV Trip Wizard to plan your route
Sometimes it can be helpful to have a visual of your route/campground/attraction options. This is where RV Trip Wizard comes in handy. This is by far the most comprehensive trip planning program, and because it’s RV-specific, you can rest easy knowing the routes will be safe for your rig.
This program allows you to create a route from point A to point B and plug in stops along the way. It has a large database of attractions, campgrounds, gas stations and additional options, making it super easy to plan by removing a lot of the research work.
We love that campgrounds can be sorted based on what’s available under a particular membership, amenities and more. This program will even calculate the cost of your trip for you!
7. Go as often as possible
Our favorite tip? Go as often as possible. Giving yourself plenty of opportunities to explore the world makes choosing destinations a bit easier because you have more time to see it all.
Our family travels full-time, but even if you can’t do that, traveling often is a wonderful thing and we recommend budgeting your time and money in such a way that you can do just that. Check out our previous article on How To Live And Travel On Less Than $2000 A Month