Our Top Five Trip Planning Tools
Updated: Oct 29, 2021
Getting a huge fifth wheel from point A to point B is a stressful endeavor. Our truck is 22 feet long and the RV is 45 feet stem to stern. All hooked up we sit at about 60 feet long and 13’6” Tall, roughly the same mass as your average Semi truck and trailer. Even short trips require meticulous planning and cross checking for us to feel confident enough to pull out of a campsite. Here are our top Five tools and methods we use to prepare for and execute each journey.
Study an Atlas: We use a good old fashioned Rand McNally truckers version to identify routes that 18 wheelers commonly take. The atlas is a great resource for truckers with detailed information on weigh stations, emergency phone numbers and more. In particular I look to see what it says about each state’s low clearance hazards. No, you can’t zoom in and out with the pinch of your fingers like we’ve grown accustomed to with new technology but its always a good idea to have a printed map on board.
Research The Route in Online Forums: Be specific in you search by typing in something along the lines of “large fifth wheel rv from Grants Pass to Brookings”. Trip Advisor and irv2 forums often rank highest in the search and offer a wealth of information in a hurry. If there are things to be worried about on your intended route, someone who has driven it before will tell you all about it.
Preview the Route on Google Earth: We use google earth to look at our route from space. I like to use the button that allows you to virtually fly down to ground level to look over bridges, tunnels, and hazardous sections that might be of concern. I love how you can even read the actual road advisory signs that are in place.
Use the RV GPS: Once we are on our way, the big beautiful screen of the Garmin RV GPS is always turned on and is sitting in clear view from the drivers seat. Vehicle type, length, height and weight are all programmed into it and it even uses a fifth wheel icon noting our position on the map. I’ve come to rely on it to prepare me for sharp curves, lane changes, speed limit changes, and even areas known for high cross winds.
Use Our Favorite App, Rv Trip Wizard: The RV Trip Wizard app is the tool that brings it all together. If we could only keep one of these five tools it would be this one. Like with the Garmin GPS, our rigs profile is programmed in settings which filters out routes and campgrounds that don’t apply to a rig our size. Before we move an inch we need to know where we will be parking for the night and RV Trip Wizard has become our number one campground search tool. Custom filters allow us to quickly narrow down our search to bring results that work for us. The reviews and ratings are informative and the app even links you directly to the campgrounds website where you can book a site. After our site is booked all of the details about the reservation are recorded in a travel log complete with detailed information about our stay. Dates, prices, site numbers and even custom notes are safely stored for future reference. Once we are under way to our destination, RV Trip Wizard’s GPS Via the RV Life App becomes our navigational cross check with the Garmin GPS. If there is ever a discrepancy between the two we almost always go with the Trip Wizard. The app even has layers that will alert you to adverse weather conditions, wild fires and other factors that will effect your route. RV Trip Wizard has a free 7 day free trial and at this time costs $49 per year which is a bargain in our opinion.
Let us know in the comments what your favorite trip planning tools are.
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