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Old 08-31-2017, 09:38 AM   #1
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jgilliam1955's Avatar
Name: Jack
Trailer: Casita Liberty
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How do you decide what to do?

How do folks plan a trip? Weekend or Week?
Sometimes we feel we have missed stuff because we don't plan well.
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Old 08-31-2017, 10:04 AM   #2
Name: Neto
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I just ask my wife.
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Old 08-31-2017, 10:17 AM   #3
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Name: Gene
Trailer: Airstream
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Kind of the same way I planned a sandwich... Combination of how much time and energy I have to put into it, what I want to get out of it, along with a dash of perhaps not having tried something before
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Old 08-31-2017, 10:36 AM   #4
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Name: John
Trailer: Xplore X22
Smith Valley, Nevada
Posts: 2,726
Don't plan it so carefully that you get stressed out or spend a lot of time. Trips are intended to be fun.

Just grab what you think you'll need and go. You can fill in the blanks, if needed, on the way, or if you realize you forgot something, put it on the list for next time. For us, shopping along the way is part of the fun. It might be an antique shop, a market for dinner stuff or a general store way out in the middle of nowhere. Liye is very likely to bring back several hundred photos and some beautiful rocks.

I think the best trips are the more spontaneous ones.

We recently went 1,500 miles on a last minute eclipse trip and forgot the maps. We only had a definite place to stay, in a friends driveway, for the first two nights and the rest we worked out while underway.

Once we were far enough north to be in Totality, we asked a local woman riding a bike where we might find a National Forest access road and found a beautiful spot to camp at 7,000' elevation a mile from anyone. We happened to notice the Nevada Northern Railroad Museum in Ely Nevada, on the way back, and stayed three nights. All spur of the moment and it turned out to be one of the best trips ever.

Be careful about making too many hard plans or reservations that will lock you into a schedule. It's more fun to stop where you want and stay an extra day or two if you want.

While out there you'll probably develop a list of things you wish you had, like a better coffee maker, another chair, a radio, better hiking boots, writing materials, a book, pliers, more propane, etc.
I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt.
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Old 08-31-2017, 11:05 AM   #5
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Name: Gene
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I just saw this one last night and it seemed very relevant... Some good tips that aren't specific to California although as I said in my comment on the video, I don't typically look for motels
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Old 08-31-2017, 05:24 PM   #6
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Name: Jack
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Posts: 413
Wow! Didn't expect such good comments. Now we know we are normal.

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Old 08-31-2017, 07:13 PM   #7
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 4,039
Anymore, we plan ahead as our favorite campgrounds are booked anywhere from 60 days to six months in advance. Our trips tend to be longer so I shoot for driving days within our limit, and then make sure we have a few days every week in one spot (so we aren't moving every day).

Our next trip, on night one we are in Illinois, then three nights at the KS molded trailer rally, then two weeks at our favorite location in CO. Return trip will be one night in KS, one night in IL, then home again.

Our last long trip, we came straight home from KS, arrived home at midnight. The last hour was I-40 through the mountains, in the dark, after traveling all day. I won't do that again!

I find some of the video above to be not accurate for camping. There are a lot more hotels out there than campgrounds. And many places have not added camping in years, if not decades. I love to camp in National Parks for example. Many parks are setting all time attendance records. Yet I don't see an expansion in camping sites. As a results, places I could just drive in and snag a site are no more. I am forced to plan way ahead, or accept not getting a site where I want. Tent camping is somewhat easier to find, but still crowded.

Where we are staying in CO is at the city built campground in Golden. It was built ~ 25 years ago, and is the same small size it was then. Meanwhile, camping interest has grown a lot, putting pressure on getting a site and booking ahead. We booked our site 60 days in advance (the first day they are available), at 4AM our time, and already about half the sites were taken........ And this for a Sunday afternoon arrival.
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Old 08-31-2017, 07:41 PM   #8
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 2018, 21ft escapeó 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie
NW Wisconsin
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Originally Posted by Neto View Post
I just ask my wife.
Me Too , luckily she's never wrong which makes traveling much easier !
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Old 08-31-2017, 10:15 PM   #9
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Name: Kelly
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How detailed your plan needs to be is most often dictated by how tight your arrival and departure schedule is.

A restricted travel budget can also involve more detailed planning for saving fuel cost by finding in advance the lowest fuel prices, the routes that are shorter or flatter. Then there is finding free or inexpensive places to stay and reasonable cost things to do. This means under those conditions it can really "pay" to do your homework in advance.

As to missing stuff, get a guide book or do your internet research on the area you want to go to. But never forget travel is also an opportunity to experience things that are not on your everyday adventure most favorite list. Try this.....use these keyword " things to do in ______ in that blank space fill in is the area(s) you will be in. Just for fun try it with some out of the way small town or geographic area you see on a road map, a place you have never been to before and maybe never even heard of
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:02 AM   #10
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006 "Missing Link"
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Originally Posted by jgilliam1955 View Post
How do folks plan a trip? Weekend or Week?
Sometimes we feel we have missed stuff because we don't plan well.
Don't feel like the lone stranger, it's called the learning curve. The first rig we had was a cabover camper that we emptied out and stored in a public storage lot. On one early weekend trip we discovered no one had loaded any cooking pans. You know, cooking a meal in a stovetop coffee pot does work
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Old 09-01-2017, 10:03 AM   #11
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Name: To Infinity & Beyond!
Trailer: 1985 Uhaul VT-16 Vacationer, 1957 Avion R20 & 1977 Argosy 6.0 Minuet
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Throw darts at the map!
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Old 09-01-2017, 10:34 AM   #12
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Trail Cruiser
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I decide where I want to go and what I want to do when I get there. I figure out the best way to get there, how long it will take and if I want to do other things along the way. Then I determine what they plans will require, food, water, electricity, clothes, toys etc.
Always leave the option to change plans as you go. Some of our best trips have been the unplanned things we did.
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Old 09-01-2017, 10:45 AM   #13
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Trailer: Scamp 16 ft Side Dinette
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Trip Planning

The best advice I heard is:

When planning for a trip:
Make Two Lists, One is a list of all the CLOTHES you will need,
The other list is of all the MONEY you will need.

Then, take HALF the clothes, and TWICE the money, and you will have a good time!
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Old 09-01-2017, 10:51 AM   #14
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Name: Peg
Trailer: 2016 -13' Scamp
Posts: 237
I look at the amount of time that I can be away from home. Then pick a destination and calculate how many miles/hours I want to drive each day. Finally, I investigate the area where I plan to camp each night and find something fun to see or do.

I use web sights such as Roadside America and Atlas Obscura to find quirky things. The Field Trip app is good for finding local historical sights. provides entertainment and hidden local gems of parks and hiking trails. I always have a handful of fun things to do at each stop along the way but I never obsess about doing them vs. filing them away for another visit. Loosey goosey. Sometimes it's more fun to park and sit with a book or just enjoy the weather.

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Old 09-01-2017, 11:15 AM   #15
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I have to admit I'm among those that don't plan. Other than making reservations for rallies, I pretty much head out & explore. I do have the advantage that I'm retired, so I don't have to schedule around vacations, etc.

I do keep a file on my laptop of links to places that look interesting, things pointed out on forums, or locations other travelers have recommended, and as I travel, check to see if any are along the route (by along the route, I am willing to go 100's of miles out of my planned route to check one out). I also talk with locals & campground hosts about interesting things in the area.

Too much planning would make this type of travel difficult - trying to get to pre made reservations kinda kills spontaneity. I do sometimes make reservations for weekends during peak travel times, particularly around holidays, but prefer to see what I can find. I will sometimes call ahead during the morning to campgrounds where I expect to end up during the afternoon to see if space is available. I generally travel under 200 miles per day, and stop by 2:00. So far, it seems to work - I have yet to stay in a Walmart (or other parking lot) in over 1000 days of travel over 6 years.
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Old 09-01-2017, 11:21 AM   #16
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Name: Kathleen (Kai: ai as in wait)
Trailer: Amerigo FG-16 1973 "Peanut"
Greater Seattle Metropolitan Area, Washington
Posts: 2,566
What not to say on an airline:

Hi, Jack!

(Bet you've heard that before!? 8) )

When I was young, we used to go trailer camping...we'd just pull into a campground, camp, go to the camp store, walk around, see the tourist sights, cook dinner, play cards (my dad always won all my trip money), and so forth, Mexico, Canada, all over the Western USA. I used to wash my hair in the campground bathroom sinks and dry it with their hand dryers...I was pretty flexible back when.

NOW it seems to me my father had carefully planned those trips, had made reservations, etc, had sent away for brochures of attractions and prices and everything. There's no way we went to Disneyland and Yellowstone at the height of the summer rush and just "happened" upon a good site with everything we needed! He was like that...played his cards close to his chest and did his best to win every time.

When Paul & I were first married, we'd just "head out" with a tent and later with a pickup with a canopy, a plywood platform, an air mattress, and a blanket. We'd camp wherever, eat whatever, did almost no planning and were able to be happy and comfortable however things worked out. We once ate campfire-fried French fries leftover from two days earlier and stuck under a car seat, because we'd run out of food and couldn't find anywhere to get any more for, literally, a whole day. And we had to share it with the dog.

Those days are gone.

I'm in the middle of making reservations 9 months in advance for late next spring, a loop trip around Oregon to mostly State Parks; we've decided we'd like to see as many of OR's SPs as possible, about 27 of them with electricity, 9 a year. We plan to spend mostly two nights at each one, with a 3-dayer once or twice. I plan to do laundry the John Steinback "Rocinante" bucket way but we'll see how that works out.

I'll finish making my reservations in a week. Most are made online in the wee hours.

So far we've been able to do it, but my original thumbnail plan is long gone. Just making the reservations has forced me to learn more about the areas. I've got directions to each one booked so far, and next will spend some time printing up things to see and do nearby. I'll take my notebook of printouts with us...we don't have a GPS at this point. Paul wants one; I don't really, so we'll see. Some like them.

It's different traveling with the two pug girls than without a dog, esp. since the older one is now toddling again, falling sometimes, wobbly and wets at restaurants, zoos, museums, movies and a lot of shopping are out...but garage sales, natural wonders, park events, cookouts and such ARE on the agenda. We'll have to hit some grocery stores, get ice, butane for the campstove, gasoline, etc., but this trip is for just such things, is to have a good look at a lot of Oregon, to see places we've never been and see what's out there.

So, for us, a LOT of planning. We have Peanut down to a near science with our minimalist approach to everything. And we are limiting our stays to places with electricity for the heater and the countertop fan and the microwave. Lights are LED/battery and so is our Fan-Tastic-Vent.

One day I'm thinking BLM but not this year. And I can also see the window of likelihood for boondocking is closing. We're not physically young for our age, so it's certainly time to get some real traveling in before it's too late.

BTW: too late: physically unable to make that 2-step climb up into the trailer. That would pretty much put the kibosh on it.

For now--happy trails to all!

I find pre-planning to be MUCH, by FAR easier and happier than heading out and not knowing if I'll have to park illegally somewhere for the night, to drive up and HOPE for a site, or have to drive past 4 or 5 hours at a stretch. We've discovered 7 hours in the car in a day is TOO MUCH. So I'm planning what we CAN do reasonably, leaving leeway for happenstance sights and things along the way.

Cinder (the younger)
Nimble (the elder)
Semper ubi sub ubi.
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:45 PM   #17
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Name: Henry
Trailer: BigFoot
Posts: 1,239
We don't plan at all.

We have a 17' Casita pulled by a 4x4 Toyota Tundra.

We stay away from home for 3 to 4 months at a time. Our routine is to stay at rest stops, Walmart, etc while on the road. We then find a primitive campground in a NF or SF, go in on a Monday or Tuesday and leave Sunday night. Or we go to any campground, private or public, and go in Monday or Tuesday around noon or shortly thereafter. Even heavily booked campgrounds probably will have cancellations and going in on a Monday or Tuesday we have always found a site (we do call ahead when possible, the same morning): Huntington by the Sea CG (southwest of LA), Redwood Forest SP, West Yellowstone, etc. If we don't find a site in a CG we want we just hold up a night or two somewhere else.

Another good place for sites are fair grounds.
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Old 09-01-2017, 02:08 PM   #18
Name: Henry
Trailer: Scamp 2017 16-ft SD / FB
Posts: 99
we select an area, state or region of interest and just head in that direction. after about 5 hours we look for an RV park, Walmart or some other area to park overnight. ask the locals what happen and than make a plan. If no plan develops head out the next AM and do it all over again. We been lost on Forest Service fire roads dirt roads to god only knows and once in a large grassy field. I's been fun and have lots of stories to tell.
Houston TX
Scamp 2017 16ft FB/SD
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Old 09-01-2017, 02:40 PM   #19
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The maximum planning we do is something like this. We're going to go to Craters of the Moon for 2 or more days, the on to Yellowstone for few days. No reservations (I don't believe in reservations), no time schedule. Our window of travel is about 30 days (Dr. appointments limit out time). We generally leave with about 2 weeks worth of food know that there's always a store around.
After traveling for 1 week to 3 month+ trips we've pretty figured it all out. The first few trips I worried about where would sleep or could get in where wanted to. Now that I know I always find a place to park long enough to get 5 to 6 hours of sleep and if someplace is full I can move on there's always someplace near that I can spend the night and go to the place I wanted to the next morning.
Along the way we've found some real gems, there's a real nice little museum in Boron, CA. Out of the way bit that's ok. If want to stop and take some photos I because I don't have things planned.
So as you can see planning minimal When we were backpackers when I go to the end of our then 400' driveway the question was which way do we want to go today. We've had some really neat trips with no idea where we going.
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
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Old 09-01-2017, 02:55 PM   #20
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Name: Norm and Ginny
Trailer: Scamp 16
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Absolutely love Craters of the Moon.
Norm and Ginny

2014 Honda Odyssey
1991 Scamp 16
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