You’ve decided to take the family on an RV road trip but don’t know where to start. If you’ve never taken an RV on an adventure, the thought of planning your first road trip can seem pretty daunting. Let us help you get on the road easily with some tips, tools and a road trip itinerary to alleviate some stress and get you excited!
Whether you currently own your RV or need to rent one, this article is for you!
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When you plan to take your road trip is probably one of the most important decisions. You don’t want to be in the most popular areas when everyone else is. You might have trouble finding campgrounds that have availability or all the amenities you are looking for. If National Parks are on your adventure list, check out National Parks to Avoid During Peak Season.
Weather might also be a factor. If hiking is a priority, 100 degree summer weather might not be the best time to plan your trip.
The length of time you have available for your road trip is also a consideration. Are you planning to take a leisurely 2 week trip or a quick-hitting 1 week adventure? The more time you have the better to truly experience the new areas you will visit while traveling at a leisurely pace.
Do you want to plan your trip close to home or get on a plane and then start your adventure? Also, what are your goals for your road trip? Hike a 14,000 foot mountain in a National Park or relax in hot springs in a picturesque small town? Once you get clear on the expectations of your RV road trip, the real planning can begin.
RV road trip rental search
You know how much time you have, where you want to go and when, now it’s time to secure that RV rental for your road trip. If you already own an RV, skip on down to the RV trip planning section.
RVshare is a reliable and easy to use RV rental site that connects you to owners of RVs near your home or destination. They offer the largest selection of RV rentals in the country.
You will need to determine if you want an RV you can tow, a travel trailer or pop-up, or one you will drive, a Class A, B or C. If you are unfamiliar with the differences learn All About the Different Classes of RVs: An Illustrated Guide.
Once you’ve determined the type of RV for your road trip, it’s now time to set-up an account and search from the inventory near your destination on RVshare.
Once you have done your search, the availability will be returned as shown below. Along the top you will see different options to refine your search by price, drivable or towable and more. You will also see a map showing the approximate location of your RV rental. As you can see prices vary greatly based upon the model you choose for your needs.
RV road trip planning
Now it’s time to plan the details of your RV road trip. The expert visual app for RV trip planning that we can’t live without is RV Trip Wizard. First choose a starting point, either a city, point of interest or campground, and you are on your way.
You plan YOUR trip YOUR way. How long do you want to spend driving? What distance do you want to travel from your campground to see points of interest? Do you want to be in a National Park campground or in an RV park with a pool for the kiddos? What price is comfortable for your budget? Many of these questions are answered when you start planning because the app does the research for you.
RV Trip Wizard gives you costs (and tracks them), reviews (on campgrounds), route hazards (low clearance bridges and tunnels), total mileage and time between destinations.
Road trip experience with your RV
Are you having trouble visualizing your road trip of a lifetime? Do you need an example to get started? If so, let me share this picturesque, easy-driving road trip we took a couple years ago to wet your appetite (route highlighted in the map above as well):
Bucket list road trip itinerary example
This itinerary is based on a 2 week round trip adventure with 3 night stays in each location. The plan can be easily adjusted for timing and points of interest priorities for your RV road trip of a lifetime. This plan includes 3 National Parks, 2 National Recreations areas, 2 National Monuments and other bucket list adventures and towns.
- Start with a 3 day stay in Flagstaff, AZ to pick up your RV rental. While in Flagstaff you have 2 epic destinations each less than an hour away:
- Sedona – epic hiking and dining
- Grand Canyon National Park – South Rim
- Travel 2 hours drive north on scenic Route 89 to the desert town of Page, AZ.
- Stay for 3 nights at a campground on breathtaking Lake Powell. From here you have access to the following:
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (includes Dam and Lake Powell) – tour of dam, boat rentals and cruises
- Horseshoe Bend – breathtaking view of bend in the Colorado River
- Lower Antelope Canyon – slot canyon tours
- Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
- Rainbow Bridge National Monument – Lake Powell boat excursion to this Navajo Indian
- Grand Canyon National Park – North Rim
The journey continues
- Travel west 2 hours to Virgin, UT. This route includes an epic breathtaking drive through part of Zion National Park. RV Trip Wizard warns of a low clearance tunnel on this route, the Zion-Mt Carmel Tunnel. Make sure when renting your RV that you pay attention to the height and width of your rental.
- Stay for 3 nights along the Virgin River and visit the following:
- Zion National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
You’re not done yet
- Travel 3 hours southwest through red rock canyons and Las Vegas to Lake Meade.
- Stay 3 nights on Lake Meade. From here you can access the following:Hoover Dam
- Lake Meade National Recreation Area
- Grand Canyon National Park – West
- Las Vegas
- Travel 2 hours southeast to Lake Havasu
- Stay 3 nights in Lake Havasu and visit the following:
- Lake Havasu City, boating paradise and home of the original London Bridge.
- Travel 3 hours east back to Flagstaff to end your epic RV road trip.
Need a more detailed or custom itinerary?
Does trip planning stress you out? Let me help! Send me an email today about the RV road trip you would love to take and I will get in touch within 48 hours with how I can help. Looking forward to getting you on the road to new adventures.
Traveling with an RV
Another great tool to guide you while road tripping in your RV, especially if you renting or are new to RV travel, is the RV Life app. Premium features now include the integration of RV Trip Wizard into the app. Easily access your planned trips and get RV Safe GPS directions to your destinations. You can save your maps, trips, & data for when you have no internet connection.
Use the app to discover what there is to do around you, what’s within a few hours and other destinations further away. Explore the location you plan to visit, including places to stay, things to do, the weather, and so much more.
Need more RV road trip planning tips? Check out RV Trip Planning Made Easy – Top Tips and Tools.
Parts of this article were also written for Camper Report, a division of RV Life.