Was it ever possible to pack-up the car and head to the great outdoors without prior planning? Certainly, that was my memory, but I was not in charge. Mom would say we are going camping this weekend, and we all piled into the car.
As a full-time RVer planning is essential. Unless you want to end up in a Walmart parking lot, which I refuse to do.
AllStays is a wonderful smart phone app, which lists all campgrounds, dumping stations, and Walmarts, in additional useful RV resources. There are numerous apps and websites that have replaced paper maps. But an old-fashion paper map is essential. Without a map it is difficult to see where campgrounds are in relation to your route or where you are trying to go. My old Garmin GPS tells nothing about elevation, which is important when you are dragging 4,500 lbs behind you.
I have made too many reservations only to cancel them, costing cancellation fees.
Things I have learned:
- Staying a week in a campground saves you money, because there might be a weekly rate.
- Have a map in front of you when making reservations.
- Try to restrict your daily driving to less than 300 miles, planning to arrive at least an hour before dark – preferably more.
- Not all RV parks or campgrounds are created equal (kids and parking lots can make your experience more of a nightmare than a dream).
- Do grocery shopping before arriving, by the time you check-in and get hooked-up — you won’t want to go anywhere.