How to Plan an RV Trip for a Safe and Stress-Free Travel Experience

By Carrie Wilder | Last Updated: May 15, 2024 

Planning an RV road trip can be a daunting task. There’s so many things to do and keep track of that it’s enough to cause anyone stress! 

And what’s even worse: if you don’t plan your trip ahead of time it can be a nightmare. 

From not having a place to camp or park overnight to forgetting RV essentials or personal items, failing to plan means planning to fail

Here’s how to successfully plan a stress-free RV trip.

How RV Trip Wizard Makes Planning an RV Road Trip Quick and Easy

The best way to plan an RV trip from start to finish is RV Trip Wizard. RV Trip Wizard makes RV trip planning easy! 

This app uses your RV size and weight information to plot an RV-safe travel route, will help you decide the best places to get gas, and will show you all the campgrounds and points of interest along your travel route. 

If you have any affiliations or RV discount memberships, you can use a filter in RV Trip Wizard that will show you the best discounted camping along your route. 

Not only does RV Trip Wizard help you plan your route, find campgrounds, find gas, and find fun things to do, it also gives you access to an RV-Safe GPS. It will help you avoid things like low bridges, overly steep grades, propane restrictions, and more. What’s even better than that is that it also estimates the total cost of your overall trip for easy budgeting.

This app takes your RV or tow vehicle’s gas capacity and helps you plan your gas stops and it also has a spot to put in your desired mileage for travel days to determine the best stops and campgrounds for you.

There are over 20k campgrounds in this app and over 17k points of interest and activities to plan for, it’s legitimately a lifesaver for RV trip planning. 

RV Trip Wizard

Start With the End Destination in Mind

Any successful trip starts with the end destination in mind. If you start with your end destination in mind, it’s easy to plan the journey! 

Do some research on your destination. If you’re going to a super popular place like Yellowstone during tourist season, be sure you’re planning super early! Sometimes everything around Yellowstone books out up to a year in advance.

Book Destination Campgrounds Well In Advance

Once you have your end destination in mind, it’s time to book your campground or campgrounds. If you’re visiting a very popular location during tourist season, you will need to plan several months in advance. 

If your trip is coming up soon and you haven’t booked campgrounds, be prepared to think outside of the box, be resourceful, and possibly have a short commute!

How to Find The Best Campgrounds Near Your Destination

There are many websites and apps to help you find the best campgrounds anywhere you travel including near your RV road trip destination. 

My favorite websites for finding the best campgrounds include RV Trip Wizard, Campendium, and Allstays

Don’t Forget About Your Money-Saving RV Camping Memberships

RV camping memberships can save you so much money on your RV road trip! When looking for campsites near your destination, be sure to look for campgrounds that offer discounts for members of different RV clubs. 

Passport America members get 50% off at participating campgrounds, Escapees RV Club members get 15-50% off at participating campgrounds, and Thousand Trails members can camp for free at certain campgrounds. 

When planning an RV road trip with RV Trip Wizard, you can set it to only show campgrounds that accept your discount memberships. This is a very handy and visual way to see all the best options along your route. 

Learn more about the best RV clubs to save thousands of dollars on RVing here.

Plan an RV-Safe Travel Route 

Once you have your destination in mind and destination campgrounds booked, it’s time to begin building your RV-safe travel route. 

RV Trip Wizard with built-in RV Safe GPS will automatically route you on the safest roads for your RV. This app helps you avoid low-clearance bridges, roads with length restrictions, and more. 

If you choose not to use an RV trip planner or GPS, you will need to ensure that the roads you take are safe to drive your RV on. 

When you plan a road trip with traditional GPS apps like Apple or Google Maps, they will route you on the fastest roads possible. Be aware: these apps often route RVers into dangerous territory. 

Apple and Google maps do not account for low-clearance bridges or weight and length restrictions. As you plan your route, be sure that you’re only taking RV-safe roads.

Plan and Book Your Overnight Stops

If your RV trip is taking you far away from home, you will need to plan overnight stops along your journey as well as your destination campgrounds. 

RV travel days aren’t like regular road trip travel days. RV travel days are typically shorter than car travel days because they’re so much more exhausting. 

Using a trip planner like RV Trip Wizard will help immensely when planning your RV road trip. This app plans your RV-safe route and also highlights all the campgrounds along your route, including the ones you have discount memberships for. 

You can also find campgrounds along your travel route using websites and apps like Campendium and Allstays. Campendium and Allstays also have filters for different memberships and discount campground affiliations.

Plan Your Gas Stops Ahead of Time

Planning your gas stops ahead of time will save you time, money, and stress. The last thing you want to happen is to run out of gas in an area without a big enough gas station for your RV!

If you use RV Trip Wizard, you can plug in how much MPG you get, how many gallons of gas your vehicle holds, and what the current price of gas is. With this information, the app will suggest the best gas stations for you along your RV safe travel route. 

If you aren’t using RV Trip Wizard, plan your gas stops ahead of time at RV-friendly gas stations and truck stops. The best and largest gas stations are typically located right off interstates. Don’t wait until your fuel light comes on – be sure to stay stocked up on fuel your entire trip.

Tips for a Stress-Free RV Trip

Planning and preparation are the number one way to have a stress-free RV trip. Be sure your bases are covered and you’ll have a great time!

Do Your Planning and Campground Booking in Advance

Do all your research and booking in advance. With the current state of the world, RV travel is booming in popularity, so it’s not uncommon for RV parks to be booked up all the time! Save yourself some headaches and stress by booking all your campgrounds well ahead of time. 

Use RV Trip Wizard for Planning, RV Safe GPS, and More

Do you have to use a trip planning app like RV Trip Wizard? No. In fact, when I first started RVing it didn’t even exist! But it is a lifesaver and it absolutely the entire trip planning experience so much easier. 

From planning an RV-safe route to having an RV-safe GPS and showing you the best campgrounds and gas stations along your route… it seriously is a Wizard and it’s a no-brainer! This app is legitimately a one-stop-resource for the entire trip planning process. 

RV Trip Wizard

Stick to the 3-3-3 Rule of Thumb On Travel Days

Many RVers swear by a rule of thumb for traveling, some prefer a 2-2-2 rule and others like a 3-3-3 rule. 

Essentially, this rule states that you should only drive 3 hours at a time, arrive to your campsite no later than 3 pm, and drive no more than 300 miles a day. For those following the 2-2-2 rule, it’s the same except 2pm, 2 hours of driving at a time, and 200 miles a day.

RV Trip Wizard has a feature that allows you to input your desired travel time and distance to help you easily plan each leg of your road trip based on your travel day limits.

Use RV Camping Memberships to Save Money

RV camping memberships save you tons of money, especially on quick overnight camping stops. Passport America members save 50%, and with other memberships you can save 10-50% or even get free camping!

Plan Your Daily Itinerary Ahead of Time

It’s not only your campgrounds and route that you need to plan, be sure you have a daily itinerary, too. 

No, you don’t have to go all Type-A and plan out every single second, but you should have a list of “must-sees” and “want to see’s” for your destination and even the route. 

If you go on a vacation without a plan, you might end up not being able to decide what to do or wasting time researching it when you’re already there. 

Be Sure to Plan Rest and Relaxation

Never plan activities for all day, every day. RV travel days are tiring and can be stressful and when you’re at your destination, you’ll want time to rest and relax. Be sure to plan plenty of downtime in your daily itineraries. 

Use RV Checklists So You Don’t Forget a Thing

Printable checklists are a beautiful thing. And app-based checklists are great, too! Even seasoned full-time RVers use checklists so they don’t get too comfortable and forget something.

Check out these RV checklists for packing checklists, travel day checklists, and more. 

Free Printable RV Checklist Bundle

I put together an Ultimate RV Checklist bundle of 8 RV checklists! If you'd like the bundle, just put in your name and email below and I'll send them right over!

With a Little Planning and Preparation, RV Trips Are Fun, Safe, and Stress-Free

Even if you’re not a planner, planning before your RV road trip is essential if you want a stress-free experience. 

Gone are the days where you could just fly by the seat of your pants and hope to get a good campsite! Now, campgrounds are booking up fast and successful road trips need special planning and attention. 

Luckily we have things like RV Trip Wizard and printable checklists to make a daunting task 100x easier!

Carrie Wilder

Carrie has a passion for location independence and nomadic lifestyles. After traveling full-time in an RV and living the van life, she created Making Money and Traveling to help others make the switch to a remote lifestyle. Learn more about Carrie on the About page or connect on social media below.