Written by the Getaway Couple Rae & Jason
We might be biased but heading out on an epic road trip is an amazing experience. While it may take you longer to get to your end destination than flying, the unique thing about road tripping is that the journey adds to the experience. You will see many more sights than you ever could otherwise. And when it comes to mode of transportation, RVing is hands down the way to go. Sure, you have to get used to driving such a huge vehicle down the road, but once you do, the benefits to an RV road trip far outweigh the cons.
Below are three reasons why we think RVing is the best way to travel and our tips to plan an epic RV road trip!
Why Roadtrip In An RV?
1. Prepare Your Own Food
Usually, by the end of a long road trip, you’ll find yourself with an empty wallet and a stomach that feels slightly sick from all the fast food you ate. A benefit of taking a road trip in an RV is that you can prepare your own food. You can start your adventure with a fully stocked fridge. Then, when you get hungry, no need to scour your map for a place to grab a bite to eat (not to mention one that you can get your RV into). All you have to do is turn around and you have a kitchen at your disposal. Preparing your own food allows you to eat healthier and save a ton of money on your RV road trip.
2. Have Your Own Space
Traveling in an RV means you have your own space. You don’t have to worry about germs, dirty rooms, or the drone of the TV in the room next to yours. You’ll be able to relax much more by having your own space with all of your own things around you. When you are RVing, you get to enjoy all the perks of travel without sacrificing the comfort of home. Now that we’ve been on the road for 3+ years, we can’t see ourselves traveling any other way!
3. Spend Less on Hotels, More On Activities
If you’re on vacation, you are most likely only using your hotel room to sleep there. This means you’ll pay $100-$200 or more just to sleep. While it’s nice to splurge on a nice hotel once in a while, over the course of a long road trip those costs can really add up.
When you stay at a campground, you can expect to pay between $30-50 a night unless you’re staying at a really fancy RV park with tons of amenities. When you’re passing through, a more affordable option is just what you need. And trust us, if you see a hotel that has rooms for $30-50 a night, you should probably run the other way.
You can even save more money by boondocking. There are plenty of places you can park your rig for free overnight including some big box store parking lots, BLM land, rest areas, and more.
Saving money on accommodations means you’ll have more money to spend on all the fun parts of the vacation. Like renting four-wheelers, going on a day cruise, relaxing at the spa, whatever you’re into! We enjoy our experiences so much more now that we’ve hit the road and spend less on hotels.
Choose The Right RV
To have the best RV road trip, you need to start by choosing the right RV. If you think RV road-tripping may be the perfect fit for you, you might consider buying an RV. But if you’re still undecided, renting might be your best option.
There are many options out there for renting an RV. RVshare and Outdoorsy allow you to rent people’s personal RVs while they aren’t using them. This gives you a wider range of choices, including travel trailers and fifth wheels for rent. There are other companies like Cruise America that have standard RVs that belong to the company. They usually have fewer options for the type of RV available to rent if going this route. But you will have confidence knowing everything is in good working order.
Regardless of which company you rent from, we recommend starting with a shorter rig for your first RV road trip. You won’t have to sacrifice the luxury of traveling in an RV, and you will gain more confidence driving a large vehicle. Plus, if you’re doing a long road trip, a smaller rig will also save money by being (slightly) more fuel-efficient.
Buying New or Used
If you decide to buy an RV for more frequent RV road trips or even full-time living, there are several things you need to consider. Think about the purpose (full time vs occasional road trips), how much space you need, and the type of RV (Class A, B, C, travel trailer, fifth wheel, etc).
If you are looking to buy an RV, choosing a lightly used RV will save you a lot of money since it will have already depreciated substantially. If you go the used route, consider hiring a professional RV Inspector to ensure everything is in good working order.
Buying a new RV gives you some peace of mind in terms of function. But even new RVs will experience things that need to be repaired as you break it in. You’ll also have a much heftier price tag on a new RV. With a new RV, you may also need a larger down payment so you don’t end up upside down on a loan.
Find Epic Places
Once you’ve decided if you are going to rent or buy for your epic RV road trip, the next most important task is to plan your trip. There are so many places to visit! So how are you supposed to find where to go on your trip? This was our dilemma when we first hit the road. Below are some of the best ways to make sure you don’t miss out on anything along your route. We recommend looking at multiple unique sources for planning an epic adventure.
There are lots of travel bloggers out there (including ourselves!), and they each offer a unique perspective on the best things to do on your trip. We recommend reading a mix of traditional travel bloggers and RV bloggers to get the best insights.
Some bloggers prefer to stop at all the local bars and dives, whereas others are all about the outdoor adventures. When you read several blogs, you will catch all the epic places to stop on your RV road trip.
YouTube is another awesome place to find epic destinations for your trip. Watching videos of the best places to visit is arguably more powerful than reading about a place. A video allows you to actually see where you want to stop.
Just like bloggers, vloggers and YouTubers let you see the top destinations from someone who has already been there. They can help you avoid hiccups on the journey and make sure you lock in epic stops all along your RV road trip. On our YouTube channel, we are sure to share the best and the worst parts of an area so you can make an informed decision. From our personal experience, we’ve learned that the unplanned places end up being some of our favorites, so leave room in your itinerary for spontaneity!
Another tried-and-true way to plan an epic RV road trip is by searching for things to do on Trip Advisor. Trip Advisor is great because they show a wide range of things in the location you search and other areas nearby. No matter what you’re into, you’re most likely going to find activities around it on Trip Advisor. We’re big on reading reviews and starting with the most popular sites, so Trip Advisor is typically where we start our planning process before diving into the details of a town.
Trip Advisor not only shows you things to do, but they also list top restaurants to stop at for the foodies out there. Another thing you can do with Trip Advisor is to search for more general areas. For example, if you want to drive the Oregon coast, you can enter that in trip advisor and find perfect stops along the entire route.
Once we know the popular things to see and have added the ones we want to our list, we head to Roadtrippers. This website helps you plan epic road trips with just a few simple steps. Enter your start and end destinations and then Roadtrippers shows you points of interest along the entire route! Our favorite thing about this site is that they show you unique and odd stops along the way, not just the popular places.
Another thing that is perfect for RVers is that Roadtrippers shows you campgrounds and RV parks along the route too. So, you can plan all your activities and your stopping points with one program.
The way we like to use Roadtrippers is to set up our trip and scope out potential stopping points along the way. Then, once you have a list of some possible things to do and see, search for more information about these places on blogs, YouTube, and Trip Advisor to come up with your final, epic road trip plans!
Plan an RV Friendly Route
When you are planning an RV Road Trip, you need to do a bit more than simply popping your end destination into Google Maps. When you’re in an RV, you have to consider things such as overpass clearances, weight restrictions, hairpin turns, and dramatic elevation changes. Luckily, for you, planning an epic RV road trip is made simple and safe by RV Life Pro.
RV Life Pro
RV Life Pro has several unique programs that work together to make RV road-tripping run smoothly. They have an RV friendly GPS that integrates with RV Trip Wizard, their trip planning tool.
Together, these two programs let you find RV safe routes. They also show you campgrounds across the entire country, gas stations, and points of interest. The unique thing about RV Trip Wizard that makes it a must-have for RVers is the customizability. When you get started, you’ll enter information about your driving speed, gas mileage, and RV specs. Planning is then a snap because you can find out how far you can reasonably travel in a day based on that information.
No more looking at Google Maps and seeing it will take you 8 hours to get somewhere, only to remember when you’re halfway there that that information is for if you’re driving a car at 80mph. When you use RV Life Pro, you’ll spend more time enjoying your trip and less time scrambling to solve problems at the last minute. We use their GPS app exclusively when traveling now, as it’s gotten us out of a few sticky situations with our 42’ rig!
There you have it! Those are the main tips and tricks we have for you to plan an epic RV road trip. We hope you learned a few things and are ready to start planning your perfect trip.