We’re often asked about tools we use when planning our trips. If you’re thinking of taking an RV trip, or maybe you’re thinking about buying a motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer, we’ve put together a list of our top 10 RV trip planning resources that will help.
1. RV Trip Wizard
RV Trip Wizard has become our go-to standard for routing our adventures. It is a paid subscription but well worth the $39/year price.
The visual planner map not only shows you the optimal route for your trip, but campgrounds, points of interest, fuel stations, and more. The site boasts having over 20,000 campground reviews from real RVers to help you pick the right campground for you.
The site also has the ability to directly integrate with the RV Life GPS app to seamlessly push your route to the GPS. All in all, we believe RV Trip Wizard is a must have, and an excellent value.
Check out their free trial offer at RVtripwizard.com.
2. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die
This book, available on Amazon, is another must have for anyone serious about exploring the United States. Chapters are organized by region and state for easy reference.
We’ve found some wonderful attractions because of this book. You won’t be disappointed.
We definitely recommend getting the paperback. While we love our Kindles, certain books just require an ability to make notes and marks. Our book is well worn with many dog eared pages.
Find it here : 1,000 Places to See Before You Die
3. Off the Beaten Path: A Travel Guide To More Than 1,000 Interesting Places
This is another excellent book we use. It highlights over 1,000 of the United States’ most overlooked “must-see” destinations. It’s a great resource and companion to the 1,000 Places to See book.
There are many times when traveling when you just don’t want to spend $30-40 for a quick overnight stay when you’re just passing through an area. For these times, we use the overnightparking.com website and their companion app. It’s a great recourse of places that all RVs to stay for free. When logged into their site, you simply enter the city and state where you’re headed, and the site will pull up a map with markers for any free overnight parking spots.
Clicking on the marker will open a description of the location, with additional information provided by other RVers. A very valuable tool with over 14,000 locations identified in the US and Canada. It is a subscription also. We believe it is well worth the $29.99 price.
Check them out here: overnightrvparking.com
The Trip Advisor website is especially useful for a quick look at top attractions and things to do in a given city. We’ve found many city tours and interesting sites to visit here.
Check them out here: tripadvisor.com
6. Gas Buddy
There are two apps we use regularly for finding the best fuel prices. First is the gas buddy app. Gas buddy is a crowd sourced listing of gas stations with their current prices for gas and diesel. Users regularly submit updates so the app remains pretty accurate. It’s saved us quite a bit over the years. They have a website as well as mobile apps. We use the app and it’s been great.
Learn more here: gasbuddy.com
7. TSD Logistics
This past year we discovered a new program that offers deep volume discounts on diesel fuel. There are no discounts for gas, just diesel. TSD Logistics uses its size and relationships to negotiate deeply discounted diesel fuel prices at truck stops throughout the US. We’ve been astounded at the discounted we’ve received.
They provide an app to help locate the best fuel prices nearby. If you have a diesel pusher motorhome or a diesel truck it’s worth signing up. You’ll be amazed at the savings.
Learn more here: tsdlogistics.com/services/fuel-program/
Perhaps the absolute best resource for RVers, RV travel has published since 2001 and is the most popular news and information site about RVing in the United States.
Their weekly newsletter is approaching issue number 1,000. Its chocked full of excellent information for RVers or all levels – from novices to seasoned pros. There are so many features and niches within rvtravel.com that it’s worth your time to get acquainted.
Have a look: rvtravel.com
9. Thousand Trails
Thousand Trails is a membership campground program. Once you’ve bought in you can stay for free at campgrounds throughout the east and west coast, and in Texas. We’ve stayed in quite a few and have been happy with our purchase.
If you google Thousand Trails reviews you’ll read quite a bit about rundown campgrounds and bad management. Don’t fret. While the “resorts” in the Thousand Trails network of campgrounds don’t meet many RVers definition of a resort, for us, Thousand Trails has been a great resource.
We went into our purchase with our eyes open. We knew what the campgrounds were like, and we didn’t have lofty expectations of five-star resort accommodations. As a result, we’ve been happy at nearly every park where we’ve camped.
Most Thousand Trails campgrounds are located away from typical tourist destinations. They tend to be very rustic, and many are in need to repair. We’ve found the people to be friendly as we’ve traveled across the country.
If you’re planning to travel full time it’s worth checking out Thousand Trails. You can purchase a membership directory from Thousand Trails, or resale memberships at locations like campground membership outlet.
Learn more: thousandtrails.com
Campground Membership Outlet: campgroundmembershipoutlet.com
10. Good Sam Club
When it was first founded, Good Sam Club was the organization for RVers. With local chapters throughout the country, it was a great member-driven organization. Quite a bit has changed since its early days but we still find membership worthwhile.
As a Good Sam member we receive discounts at RV parks and at Camping World. They also have other resources available such as RV insurance, road side assistance and extended warranty programs.
One of the best features Good Sam offers is its online trip planner. This was what we used the first two years of our travel, and it served us well.
Visit the Good Sam Club here: goodsam.com
There are many other great resources available to help with RV Travel. Here are some others we like and use:
Family Motorcoach Association (FMCA). FMCA bills itself as the world’s largest member-owned, non-profit club RV travel club. We joined specifically for the FMCAssist emergency medical evacuation and repatriation coverage. Great peace of mind security. FMCA.com
Escapees RV Club. Escapees got its start in 1978. At the time, regular postal mail and landline telephones made it difficult for full-timers to keep in touch. Joe and Kay Peterson founded Escapees to help RVers, and forty years later the organization has grown into one of the largest, most active RVing communities in the world, with more than 60,000 members. escapees.com
Many RV manufacturers have created their own groups and associations. We’ve belonged to three (because we’ve owned three different motorhomes).
Newmar Kountry Klub for owners of Newmar motorhomes. Broken into nine regions and a full-timers group, the Newmar Kountry Klub hosts rallies and connects members. newmarkountryklub.com
American Coach Association for owners of American Coach motorhomes. Current membership is approximately 1,100 member coaches representing approximately 2,200 active members. They are a national organization consisting of nine regionally based and one full-timers chapter dedicated to sharing the RV’ing experience and to have fun. myamericancoach.com
WITClub. The Winnebago International Travelers Club is for owners of Winnebago and Itasca RVs. The club boasts more than 16,000 members. WIT Club members receive special benefits, gather at rallies, and travel in caravans. witclub.com
Other Discount Memberships
Harvest Hosts / RV Golf Club – Free camping at golf courses, wineries and other locations. We’ve had some great stays during our travels. One of the most interesting was the Tallahassee Auto Museum in Florida. harvesthosts.com
RPI – Resort Parks International is a discount campground membership program. Camp for only $10 a night at affiliated membership RV campgrounds and save at hundreds of other RV parks. Great discount program that can pay for itself quickly. resortparks.com
Passport America – The original and largest 50% discount camping club, Passport America pays for itself after just one or two nights stay in an affiliated RV park. passportamerica.com
RV Parky – This is an app that is used by a lot of RVers. We’ve tried it, and not liked it, but we know quite a few RVers that use it regularly and swear by it. It’s worth a look. rvparky.com
All Stays – There are several apps in the All Stays family each focuses on a different niche: Rest Stops, Walmarts with free overnight parking, Campgrounds & RV Parks, and Truck and Travel Stops. allstays.com
theNextExit – This is a handy app for finding gas stations, restaurants, and services along the highway. It tracks your location and gives a listing of services at upcoming highway exits. thenextexit.com
Roadside America – This app and website is a great list of odd and quirky attractions. You’ll find everything from the world’s largest ball of twine, to a building built from dinosaur bones. Fun to check out. roadsideamerica.com
Roadside Presidents – This is a companion app to Roadside America but focuses on odd attractions commemorating our US Presidents. roadsidepresidents.com
As you explore, you’ll find there are a ton of resources we haven’t listed. New websites and apps spring up regularly. And unfortunately, some shut their doors as well. One of our favorite apps no longer exists. It was called History Here and was put out by the history channel. The app would alert us to historical attractions in proximity to our location. We were very disappointed when it was continued.
Let us know if you find other resources to help in your RV trip planning.