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How To Plan An RV Trip


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Gillian Klein



Embarking on an RV trip is an exhilarating way to explore the open roads, experience the freedom of travel, and create unforgettable memories. Whether you’re a seasoned RVer or a newbie to the world of road trips, proper planning is key to a successful and enjoyable adventure.


From choosing the right RV to mapping out your route, booking campgrounds, and packing essential items, there are several factors to consider. This comprehensive guide will take you through each step of planning an RV trip, ensuring that you have everything you need for a memorable journey.


Before you hit the road, it’s important to note that an RV trip offers flexibility, comfort, and the opportunity to immerse yourself in nature. With your home on wheels, you can explore stunning landscapes, discover hidden gems off the beaten path, and create a personalized itinerary tailored to your preferences.


So, whether you’re planning a family vacation, a solo adventure, or a getaway with friends, follow this guide to make the most of your RV trip. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey filled with breathtaking scenery, new experiences, and the freedom to go wherever the road takes you.


Step 1: Choosing an RV

Choosing the right RV is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable road trip experience. There are various types of RVs available, each offering unique features and amenities. Consider the following factors when selecting an RV:

  • Size: Determine the size of the RV based on the number of travelers and the level of comfort desired. Smaller RVs, such as camper vans and teardrop trailers, are ideal for solo travelers or couples, while larger Class A or Class C motorhomes are suitable for families or large groups.
  • Layout: Look for an RV with a layout that suits your needs. Consider the number of beds, bathroom facilities, kitchen amenities, and living space. Some RVs may have slide-outs, which expand the interior space when parked.
  • Amenities: Decide on the amenities that are essential for your trip. Common amenities include air conditioning, heating systems, kitchen appliances, entertainment systems, and bathroom facilities. Prioritize the features that will enhance your comfort.
  • Driving Comfort: If you are planning to drive the RV yourself, ensure that you are comfortable with its size and handling. Smaller RVs are easier to maneuver, while larger ones may require additional driving skills.
  • Budget: Set a budget for your RV rental or purchase. Compare prices from different rental companies or dealerships and consider the cost of fuel and maintenance. Remember to factor in any additional fees, such as insurance and campground reservations.

Once you have determined your requirements, start researching RV rental companies or dealerships. Read reviews, compare prices, and ask about any discounts or promotions available. If you’re new to RV travel, consider renting an RV before making a purchase to get a feel for the experience.


Choosing the right RV is an essential first step in planning your road trip. Take the time to carefully consider your needs and preferences to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable journey on the open road.


Step 2: Planning the Route

Planning the route for your RV trip is an exciting part of the pre-trip preparations. Consider the following tips when mapping out your journey:

  • Destination and Duration: Decide on your desired destination(s) and the duration of your trip. Consider how much time you have available, the distance you want to cover, and the attractions or landmarks you want to visit along the way.
  • Scenic Routes: Research scenic routes that offer stunning landscapes or iconic landmarks. Consider including national parks, coastal drives, or mountainous regions in your itinerary for a truly memorable experience.
  • RV-Friendly Roads: Check for RV-friendly roads and highways that accommodate the size and weight of your RV. Avoid narrow roads, low bridges, or areas with restrictions on RV access.
  • Points of Interest: Make a list of points of interest, such as national parks, historic sites, museums, or unique attractions, that you would like to visit along your route. Research their opening hours, entry fees, and any RV parking or camping options nearby.
  • Rest Stops and Campgrounds: Identify rest stops, RV-friendly gas stations, and campgrounds along your route. Plan for regular breaks to rest, refuel, and replenish supplies. Consider booking campgrounds in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.
  • Alternative Routes: Have alternative routes in mind in case of road closures, construction, or unexpected detours. Stay updated on road conditions and potential traffic delays through mobile apps or online resources.

Use online mapping tools or navigation apps specifically designed for RV travel to plan your route. These tools often provide information on fuel stations, amenities, and RV-specific points of interest.


Flexibility is key when planning your route. Leave room for spontaneous detours or extra time at a destination that captures your interest. Remember, the journey itself is just as important as the destination!


Step 3: Booking Campgrounds

Booking campgrounds in advance is essential to ensure you have a place to park and stay during your RV trip. Follow these tips for a smooth campground booking process:

  • Research Campgrounds: Research different campgrounds along your route and determine which ones meet your needs. Consider factors such as location, amenities, and reviews from other RVers.
  • Reservations: Make campground reservations well in advance, especially if you plan to travel during peak seasons or popular holidays. Some campgrounds allow online reservations, while others may require phone calls or emails.
  • Availability: Check the availability of campsites based on your desired travel dates. Some sites may have restrictions on RV size or require a minimum or maximum stay.
  • Hookups and Amenities: Consider what amenities you need at the campground, such as electrical hookups, water connections, dump stations, laundry facilities, or Wi-Fi. Some campgrounds may offer additional amenities like swimming pools, playgrounds, or hiking trails.
  • Proximity to Attractions: Choose a campground that is conveniently located near the attractions or activities you plan to visit. This can save you time and reduce travel distances during your trip.
  • Campground Rules and Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the campground rules and regulations, including quiet hours, pet policies, and any specific RV guidelines. Respect the campground and its rules to ensure a pleasant experience for everyone.
  • Flexibility: Keep in mind that campgrounds can sometimes be fully booked or have last-minute cancellations. Be flexible with your travel dates or consider alternative campgrounds if your preferred option is not available.

By booking campgrounds in advance, you can secure a comfortable and convenient place to park your RV, relax, and enjoy the surrounding natural beauty. Remember to keep a record of your reservations and contact information for easy reference during your trip.


Step 4: Packing Essentials

Packing the right essentials for your RV trip is crucial to ensure you have everything you need while on the road. Here are some key items to include in your packing list:

  • Food and Cooking Supplies: Stock up on non-perishable food items, snacks, and beverages for your journey. Consider kitchen essentials such as pots, pans, utensils, and plates. Don’t forget to pack a cooler to keep perishable items fresh.
  • Bedding and Linens: Pack pillows, sheets, blankets, and towels to ensure a comfortable sleep and fresh showering experience. Opt for lightweight and easy-to-clean materials.
  • Clothing: Pack clothing suitable for the weather conditions during your trip. Consider layering options for changing temperatures. Don’t forget essentials like swimwear, hiking shoes, and rain gear.
  • Toiletries and First Aid Kit: Bring toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and toilet paper. Additionally, ensure you have a well-stocked first aid kit that includes bandages, antiseptic ointment, pain relievers, and any necessary medication.
  • Camping Gear: If you plan to spend time outdoors, pack camping essentials like a tent, camping chairs, a portable grill, flashlights, and insect repellent. These items will enhance your outdoor experience.
  • RV Supplies: Don’t forget essential RV supplies such as leveling blocks, sewage hose, electrical adapters, and water hoses. These items will ensure your RV is properly set up at campsites.
  • Entertainment: Bring along books, board games, playing cards, or electronic devices for entertainment during downtime. You may also want to pack outdoor equipment like bicycles or kayaks if you plan on engaging in such activities.
  • Documents and Tools: Carry important documents such as driver’s license, insurance papers, RV registration, and campground reservations. It’s also helpful to have a basic toolkit, including a screwdriver set, pliers, and duct tape for minor repairs.

Remember to pack efficiently and make use of storage compartments in your RV to optimize space. Prioritize items based on necessity and available storage. It’s also a good idea to pack some extra supplies to account for unforeseen circumstances.


By packing the right essentials, you’ll be well-prepared for your RV trip and ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience on the road.


Step 5: Check Vehicle Maintenance

Maintaining your RV in good condition is vital for a smooth and safe road trip. Prior to embarking on your journey, perform a thorough check of your RV’s maintenance needs. Here’s what you should focus on:

  • Oil and Fluids: Check the oil level and ensure all fluids, such as coolant, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid, are at the recommended levels. Top up or get an oil change if necessary.
  • Tires: Inspect the tires for wear and tear, and ensure they are properly inflated to the recommended pressure. Don’t forget to check the spare tire as well. Consider carrying a tire pressure monitor and a tire repair kit.
  • Brakes and Lights: Have a professional mechanic inspect and test the brakes to ensure they are in good working condition. Check all exterior lights, including headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and taillights.
  • Battery: Test the RV’s battery and make sure it is holding a charge. Clean the terminals and cables if necessary. Consider carrying jumper cables or a portable battery booster for emergencies.
  • Electrical System: Check all electrical systems, including interior lights, appliances, and outlets, to ensure they are functioning properly. Inspect and replace any faulty fuses or circuits.
  • Plumbing System: Inspect the RV’s plumbing system for leaks, and check that all faucets, toilets, and showers are in proper working order. Ensure your freshwater and wastewater tanks are clean and empty.
  • Propane System: Test the propane system, including the stove, oven, and refrigerator, to ensure they are functioning safely and efficiently. Take note of any propane tank expiration dates and consider carrying a spare tank.
  • HVAC System: Check the RV’s heating and cooling systems, including the furnace and air conditioning unit, to ensure they are in good working condition. Clean or replace air filters as needed.

If you are not familiar with RV maintenance, consider having a professional mechanic or RV service center perform a thorough inspection. This will help identify any potential issues and ensure your RV is roadworthy.


By taking the time to check and address any necessary maintenance tasks, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your RV is in optimal condition for your road trip adventure.


Step 6: Stocking Up on Supplies

Stocking up on supplies is essential to ensure you have everything you need during your RV trip. Follow these tips to ensure you’re well-prepared:

  • Food and Water: Purchase non-perishable food items such as canned goods, pasta, rice, and snacks. Don’t forget to pack enough drinking water for your journey, especially if you’ll be traveling in remote areas.
  • Cooking Essentials: Gather cooking supplies and utensils, including pots, pans, knives, cutting boards, and cooking utensils. Consider bringing spices, condiments, and cooking oil to add flavor to your meals.
  • Cleaning Supplies: Pack cleaning supplies such as dish soap, sponges, paper towels, and trash bags. These items will come in handy for keeping your RV clean throughout the trip.
  • Toiletries: Stock up on toiletries, including toilet paper, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and other personal care items. Don’t forget any specific items you may need, such as prescription medications or contact lenses.
  • Bedding and Linens: Ensure you have enough bedding, blankets, pillows, and towels for everyone traveling with you. Consider packing extras in case of unexpected spills or accidents.
  • Outdoor Gear: If you plan to engage in outdoor activities, bring appropriate gear such as camping chairs, hiking boots, fishing equipment, or sports equipment. Don’t forget sunscreen, insect repellent, and hats for sun protection.
  • Entertainment: Pack entertainment options like books, board games, playing cards, or electronic devices to keep everyone entertained during downtime. Consider bringing outdoor games like frisbee or a football for some active fun.
  • Tools and Emergency Supplies: Carry a basic toolkit with tools like a screwdriver, pliers, and a wrench. Include emergency supplies like a flashlight, batteries, a fire extinguisher, and a first aid kit. Having these items on hand can be invaluable in case of unexpected situations.

Make a checklist of the supplies you need and cross items off as you pack them into your RV. Consider the available storage space and prioritize items based on necessity. Remember to pack with convenience and accessibility in mind.


By stocking up on supplies, you’ll ensure that you have everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable RV trip. It’s always better to be prepared and have what you need readily available.


Step 7: Organizing Itinerary

Organizing your itinerary is essential to make the most of your RV trip and ensure a well-planned and enjoyable experience. Here are some tips to help you create an organized and flexible itinerary:

  • Research and Prioritize: Research the destinations you plan to visit and identify the key attractions or activities you don’t want to miss. Prioritize these based on your interests and the time you have available.
  • Travel Distances: Consider the distances between destinations and plan your travel accordingly. Avoid long driving days that may leave you exhausted or limit your exploration time at each location.
  • Time for Relaxation: Don’t forget to include downtime in your itinerary. Allow room for relaxation, spontaneous detours, and leisurely exploration of the surroundings. RV trips are as much about enjoying the journey as they are about the destinations.
  • Flexibility: Be flexible with your itinerary and open to unexpected opportunities. Leave some buffer time between activities or destinations to account for unforeseen circumstances, changes in weather, or new discoveries along the way.
  • Seasonal Considerations: Take into account seasonal factors such as weather conditions and popular events or festivals. Some attractions or roads may be closed during certain seasons, while others may have limited availability or higher crowds.
  • Campground Reservations: Align your itinerary with your campground reservations. Ensure that your planned route and travel distances align with your booked campgrounds to avoid last-minute changes or difficulties finding accommodations.
  • Local Recommendations: Tap into local knowledge by seeking recommendations from fellow RVers, campground hosts, or locals you meet along the way. They can provide insider tips and suggest hidden gems that may not be widely known.
  • Be Realistic: Avoid overpacking your itinerary with too many activities or destinations. Remember to factor in travel time, rest breaks, and the need to simply enjoy the journey. Be realistic about what you can comfortably fit into your trip.

Consider creating a daily or weekly schedule that outlines your planned activities, travel distances, and estimated arrival times at each destination. This will help you stay organized and make the most of your time on the road.


Keep in mind that while it’s helpful to have a well-organized itinerary, it’s also important to leave room for spontaneity and to embrace unexpected adventures along the way. Strike a balance between planning and staying open to new experiences for a truly memorable RV trip.


Step 8: Budgeting for the Trip

Budgeting for your RV trip is crucial to ensure you have a clear understanding of your expenses and to prevent any financial surprises along the way. Here are some steps to help you create a realistic budget:

  • Transportation: Calculate the costs associated with your mode of transportation. This includes fuel expenses for your RV, any rental fees or loan payments, and insurance costs.
  • Campground Fees: Research campground fees and factor them into your budget. Consider whether you’ll be staying at private campgrounds, national parks, or boondocking locations. Don’t forget to account for any additional amenities or hookups.
  • Food and Groceries: Estimate your food expenses, including groceries and dining out. Consider the number of people traveling with you, the duration of the trip, and whether you plan to cook your own meals or eat at restaurants.
  • Entertainment and Activities: Allocate a portion of your budget for entertainment and activities, such as admission fees to attractions, outdoor excursions, or guided tours. Research prices in advance to avoid surprises.
  • RV Maintenance and Repairs: Set aside some funds for any unexpected maintenance or repairs that may be necessary for your RV. It’s always better to be prepared for unforeseen issues.
  • Supplies and Miscellaneous Expenses: Consider other expenses such as toiletries, propane refills, camping supplies, souvenirs, and any miscellaneous costs that may arise during your trip.
  • Emergency Fund: It’s important to have an emergency fund set aside for unexpected situations or emergencies on the road. This can provide peace of mind and help cover any unforeseen expenses.
  • Contingency Funds: Build in some contingency funds for unexpected circumstances or opportunities that may arise during your trip. This can give you the flexibility to seize spontaneous activities or make adjustments to your itinerary.

Be realistic with your budget and remember that expenses may vary depending on factors such as the destination, duration, and personal preferences. Keep records of your expenditures during the trip to track your spending and make adjustments if necessary.


By budgeting for your RV trip in advance, you can better manage your finances and ensure you have a stress-free journey without worrying about overspending.


Step 9: Safety Precautions

Ensuring the safety of yourself, your passengers, and your RV is paramount during an RV trip. Follow these safety precautions to have a worry-free journey:

  • Vehicle Inspection: Before hitting the road, conduct a thorough inspection of your RV. Check the tires, brakes, lights, and fluid levels. Ensure that all safety features, such as seat belts and airbags, are in proper working condition.
  • Safe Driving Practices: Practice safe driving habits while operating your RV. Follow speed limits, maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, and use your turn signals. Be cautious when changing lanes or merging onto highways, considering the size and handling of your RV.
  • Weather Awareness: Stay informed about weather conditions along your route. Be prepared for changing weather and adjust your driving plans if necessary. Avoid driving in severe weather conditions such as heavy rain, snowstorms, or high winds.
  • Emergency Kit: Pack an emergency kit in your RV that includes essential items such as a first aid kit, flashlight, batteries, non-perishable food, water, blankets, and a portable phone charger. This kit will come in handy during unexpected situations or emergencies.
  • Campground Safety: When arriving at a campground, familiarize yourself with its safety rules and procedures. Follow fire safety guidelines, secure your RV properly, and be mindful of wildlife in the area. Lock your RV doors when leaving and keep valuables out of sight.
  • Propane Safety: Practice proper propane safety measures. Regularly inspect and maintain your propane system, including checking for leaks. Use caution when refilling propane tanks and ensure they are stored and secured properly during travel.
  • Security Measures: Take precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. Be aware of your surroundings, especially in unfamiliar areas. Consider investing in a security system for your RV and use locks on doors and windows.
  • Communication: Maintain communication with someone back home or a trusted contact. Share your itinerary, campground reservations, and contact information. Check-in regularly to provide updates on your trip.
  • Emergency Services: Familiarize yourself with emergency services in the areas you’ll be traveling through. Save important contact numbers, such as roadside assistance and local emergency services, in your phone or a readily accessible location.

By prioritizing safety precautions, you’ll create a secure environment for yourself and your fellow travelers. Remember, being prepared and cautious goes a long way in ensuring a safe and enjoyable RV trip.


Step 10: Enjoying the RV Trip

After careful planning and preparation, it’s time to embark on your RV trip and truly enjoy the journey. Follow these tips to make the most out of your adventure:

  • Embrace Flexibility: Allow for flexibility in your itinerary and be open to new experiences. Embrace unexpected detours, spontaneous stops, and opportunities to connect with fellow travelers. Sometimes, the best memories are made when you go with the flow.
  • Connect with Nature: Take advantage of the natural beauty surrounding you. Wake up early to catch a breathtaking sunrise, go for hikes in national parks, swim in crystal-clear lakes, or stargaze under the night sky. Immerse yourself in the wonders of the great outdoors.
  • Savor Local Cuisine: Indulge in the culinary delights of the regions you pass through. Try local restaurants, food trucks, or street stalls to sample the flavors of different areas. Don’t forget to savor regional specialties and culinary traditions.
  • Engage with Locals: Interact with locals to gain insights into the places you visit. Strike up conversations at campgrounds, inquire about hidden gems, or participate in community events or festivals. Locals often have the best recommendations and stories to share.
  • Capture Memories: Document your journey through photographs, videos, or a travel journal. Capture the beautiful landscapes, charming towns, and memorable moments. These mementos will allow you to relive the adventure and share it with others.
  • Disconnect and Reconnect: Take breaks from technology and social media. Use this time to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with yourself, your travel companions, and the world around you. Unplug, unwind, and truly enjoy the present moment.
  • Practice Leave No Trace: Respect the environment and practice leave no trace principles. Minimize your impact on the natural surroundings, properly dispose of waste, and leave campsites cleaner than you found them. Preserve the beauty of the destinations for future travelers.
  • Stay Positive and Patient: Keep a positive attitude and practice patience throughout your journey. RV travel may have its challenges, such as road construction or unexpected setbacks. Approach these situations with optimism and find the silver lining in every experience.
  • Create Lasting Memories: Cherish the moments, laughter, and connections made on your RV trip. Take the time to enjoy quality time with your loved ones, create lifelong memories, and relish in the freedom and adventure of the open road.

Remember, an RV trip is not just about reaching the destination but embracing the entire experience. Enjoy the freedom, flexibility, and exploration that a road trip offers. Treasure the memories created and let the journey become a part of your life story.



Embarking on an RV trip is a fantastic way to explore the world, create lasting memories, and experience the freedom of the open road. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure a well-planned and enjoyable adventure.


From choosing the right RV to mapping out your route, booking campgrounds, and packing essential supplies, each step is essential for a successful trip. By considering factors such as size, amenities, and budget, you can select an RV that suits your needs and preferences.


Planning your route, researching attractions, and booking campgrounds in advance will provide structure to your journey while still allowing for flexibility. Remember to prioritize safety and practice caution throughout your trip, from vehicle maintenance to adhering to safe driving practices.


As you hit the road, savor the experience of waking up in new locations, connecting with nature, and exploring local cultures. Capture memories, immerse yourself in local cuisine, and embrace the freedom and adventure of RV travel.


Whether it’s a cross-country road trip, a coastal exploration, or a journey through national parks, an RV trip promises unforgettable moments and a sense of freedom. Embrace the joy of the journey, connect with fellow travelers, and create lifelong memories along the way.


Remember to stay present, be open to new experiences, and cherish the beauty of the destinations you encounter. A well-planned and executed RV trip will leave you with a sense of fulfillment, a renewed appreciation for the world around you, and memories that will last a lifetime.