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Richie's Top Ten Tips for RV Travel


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Whether you’re in a Luxury Class A or towing a Vintage Pop-Up, here are some nifty tricks to make your RV trip more enjoyable.

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If you enjoy camping at state and national parks, you know that prime sites book up quickly. Be bold and make your reservations in February or March.


While others spend the winter reading garden catalogs, I like to review campgrounds and plan our summer trips. It’s always a pleasant surprise when we arrive some months later - my husband will say, “This is the best site here! How’d you manage that?” It’s because the reservations were made way back in the winter.


So pick a date and search for the best spot in the park while everyone else is still shoveling snow.





Traveling loose and free is also a great way to roll. Usually I’ll have the main destination reserved in advance, but on the return trip we prefer to have no plans at all.


Study the map, point yourself in the right direction, and aim for something you’ve never seen before. Or simply decide to quit driving within the next 100 miles and locate a campground using an RV Travel app, like the Good Sam Park Finder.


By happenstance we’ve found some mighty interesting places to visit and excellent camping spots that would have been missed if everything had been meticulously planned in advance.





Want to visit a big tourist spot without the crowds? Plan to be there when the kids are still busy in school.


We’ve had fabulous destinations practically to ourselves when we’ve arrived just before Memorial Day or right after Labor Day. The weather is usually cooperative in May and September, and you can get off-season discounts for both the campgrounds and attractions.





Get a jump on the traffic and the campground check-in snarl by leaving early in the morning and quitting the road at 2 or 3 in the afternoon.


If you can head out of camp by 7:00-8:00am, there’ll be no line at the dump station and smooth sailing on the highway. Likewise, landing early at a campground in mid-afternoon gives you a chance to set up, take a little rest, and still have a few hours of daylight to enjoy the local sites.


I used a clever trick last summer when we traveled a couple of thousand miles westward. We kept our clocks on Eastern Time for the four-day journey. Our bodies thought we were waking at 7:00 am, but the local time was before sunrise. We could easily break camp and be on the road by dawn without feeling groggy. Once we reached our destination we converted to the correct time zone.





Even on big travel days when you’re on a schedule and need to lay down some heavy miles, try to include an hour on a side road. Find a stretch that passes through an interesting landscape or a series of little towns, and you’ll be pleased with the change of scenery.


It’s a chance to liberate your senses from the mind-numbing hours of endless freeway driving. And 60 minutes of slower travel isn’t going to make that much difference to your schedule, but it sure has a big impact on enjoying the trip.





Having a mission is a great way to find those odd, quirky places that make travel so interesting. We know people that hunt for flea markets and others that photograph old churches and town squares. Many RVers like to follow historic trails like Lewis & Clark or the Oregon Trail. One couple we know seeks out spooky places, where rumors of ghosts persist.


But you don’t have to pursue a hobby to Quest Travel - sometimes it’s the simple things that are so much fun.


Our quest is to search for local sodas. Whenever we stop for gas or lunch, we’re on the hunt. There’s always a regional pop that we’ve never tried before, like Moxie, Jic-Jak, Ale 8, CheerWine, and Mr.Cola.





You’ve got a refrigerator full of food and don’t feel like getting out of those grubby shorts. But go ahead and make the effort because every town is famous for something - be it a whacky burger joint, a throw-back ice cream stand, or a local microbrew.


In southern Ontario we stumbled across a dish called Poutine. And at Taps-On-Queen in Niagara Falls we tried the gourmet version – fresh cut fries with cheese curds and red cream ale gravy. Best snack we’ve ever had, all because we opted to venture out instead of dining in the coach again.


Ask a native what’s good around town. Or just head out and stop at the first cool place you find. Could be the meal you’ll want to remember!





When you’re staying in one spot for a few days, pick up the local entertainment newspaper. Every region or small town has one. I read the articles and study all the advertisements. It’s a great way to discover events and places to visit that aren’t on the usual tourist radar.


We’ve found u-pick-it farms, little theater plays, music events, street festivals, private museums, and lively restaurants all by reading the free local paper.





Official State and County paper maps are treasure troves of information. You can easily review the details of a wide area rather than staring at a Google screen-full of roads. And you’re likely to discover a fabulous overlook or gorgeous streamside picnic area just a few miles away.


Relying too much on your GPS can also get you in trouble, especially if you’re traveling the mountains or back-country roads. A GPS tends to send you the fastest route, even if it means traversing switchbacks or crawling down a gravel road. Cross-check your course with a good paper map to see if there’s a better way to get your rig to the next stop, even if it’s a few miles longer.





Not the Destination. It’s not just where you go, but how you enjoy getting there.


So take your time. Find the fun in every day. And enjoy the ride!


September 7, 2023


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