People often wonder how we plan our RV trips. Do we choose destinations from some sort of bucket list? Is every mile carefully planned? Or do we just go where the wind takes us? After nearly ten years on the road, here’s how we do it.
When We Plan Our RV Trips, We Ask These Questions
Question One: What’s the weather like?
Ten years ago we scoured the country looking for the “perfect place” to start a new business, buy a new home and live our crazy dream of having a small homestead. But after traveling from west to east and back again, we realized there is no perfect place. We loved Burlington Vermont, but it’s too cold in winter. The sunny southwest is fantastic in winter, but hell in summer. It didn’t take long for that lightbulb moment to strike: why do we have to “settle” down anywhere?
- Simply put, we follow the weather. Winter sends us to the warm sunny southwest. Summer sends us up to the one of the coolest and prettiest places on the continent, Colorado. It’s the best place we’ve found to escape brutal summer conditions, although the “fire season” is certainly something that weighs heavy on our minds when we’re there.
- We also avoid driving into places with severe weather seasons. The unpredictability of today’s weather sometimes makes it difficult to escape sudden tornadoes or flash floods, but we do what we can to avoid places known for flattened trailer parks.
Question Two: Does it have elbow room?
Jim and I are West Coasters used to two things in life: wide roads and space between neighbors. We lived in San Francisco for a time, but we’re long past any desire to live like rats in a cage again. Our 1998 escape to Humboldt County turned us into country people who place a priority on having clean air, big skies and wide open spaces. Today we travel with those needs in mind.
- We stay west of the Mississippi whenever possible.
- Dry camping on public lands is always our first priority over crowded RV parks.
- If we know lots of RVers will be in a certain area during a certain time . . . we go the opposite direction.
- Any camping area with a large boating or OHV crowd is the last place we want to be.
Question Three: Is the destination convenient?
This is just a guess, but I’m betting that people who don’t work choose their full-time destinations much differently than people who do. For example, being near cell phone service is mandatory for most young full-timers who work. Thankfully, being near cell service is optional for us, thanks to our RV DataSat satellite Internet system. Sure, it’s convenient to be near Verizon towers, but it’s not always a deal breaker.
- We plan our destinations around business needs like conferences and meetings.
- Family events and holidays also influence where we go.
Which leads me to the final question we ask:
Question Four: Is it good for us?
As nomadic entrepreneurs, sacrificing our immediate travel desires often leads to new clients and opportunities. Case in point: right now we’re staying at Main Street Station Casino RV Park in Las Vegas. It’s an asphalt parking lot RV park that stacks you in like a sardine. Our slide out is almost hitting our neighbor on the left, and our front door is less than five feet from our neighbor’s entrance on the right. You can hear every conversation, every noise . . . everything.
Less than four months ago we were here for Halloween fun and the SEMA show. We can’t believe we’re back, but it’s for a good reason. There’s a veterinary conference next week at Mandalay Bay and our Tripawds Foundation is exhibiting.
We don’t really like staying in Vegas at all. But this park is convenient to the show. And about half the cost of overpriced Las Vegas parks with only a few more feet of room between RVs. Aside from saving money, the connections we make at this conference are well worth the noise, grungy streets and shady characters lurking in downtown Vegas. Now if only someone could explain that to our poor dog, Wyatt Ray.
There’s no clear-cut method to how we plan our RV trips. Sometimes all of our RV trip planning guidelines go out the window because an event comes up. And that’s OK. This lifestyle can be so spontaneous and different from week to week that we’ve learned to be flexible, roll with the changes and make the most of the road ahead . . . even if it means feeling like canned fish every now and then.