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Planning Your Trip

Whether you are an OCD planner or a free-spirit, some level of planning out your trip is necessary to reduce costs, be able to see and do more, avoid wasting time and money and to be able to be sure to hit the highlights of your intended trip.

  1. Prioritize - Every road trip has a goal, whether that is a specific destination, an activity, attending an event, or a set of experiences along the way. Prioritizing what's important to you is step number one. Break your list into 3 categories:
    Must see/do,
    Nice to see or do, and
    If feasible.
  2. Enter the must-have's into mapping software - Put all of the addresses of your must have's into mapping software (see this page for mapping tools) . Reorder the destinations until you get the most efficient path. \
  3. Check the feasibility of your trip - Unless you are retired, you probably have a fixed amount of time for your trip.  You probably already know how many hours you're comfortable driving per day, so stay within that and add nightly stops at campsites to accommodate that. Add an hour per day as flex time to your drive times for traffic, weather and construction.  If you have sufficient time, you can add 2 more hours to daily drive times to be able to be spontaneous and stop at unexpected things along the way!
  4. Finding Campgrounds - Obviously, you need a place to stay each night, not only at your destinations, but on the way there and back! And you obviously want to choose a campground that is well maintained, has the features you want or need, is safe, clean, and close either to your destination, or on the way there! See this page about how to select a campground.
  5. Backup accommodations - What will you do if campground loses your reservation or gets flooded after heavy rains?  Check out the motels in the area.
  6. Meals - start planning meals out, not specific to each day, just how many dinners and they will be, lunches, breakfasts, etc.  Keep them simple to make and clean up. It's vacation, it doesn't have to be a health farm diet.
  7. Camping gear - take inventory and test everything out.  Set up the tent in the backyard and test its resistance to rain.  Get waterproofing spray to reapply and a tarp, paracord, bungees!

Planning checklist

  • Main goals: we want to
    • see the following:
    • Do the following
    • Ask everyone in the group, even the kids, if there is anything special the want to see or do. The trip should create a special memory for every one!
  • Farthest point from home will be _________
    Determine the drive times to get there - and back - and break the drive down into daily destinations.
  • Figure out where you will stay each night.  Check reviews and confirm whether you need reservations.
  • Meals - list them out, it doesn't matter what day you have each, but you have to know what gear and spices you'll need to bring.
  • Test Tent and air mattresses
  • Test the campstove and check the fuel canisters. How many will you need?  Can you buy more on the trip?  Where?