Trip Planning with Trippin’ with the Engles
Mapping and Trip Planning Software
By no means have we tried all the trip planning software out there, but we have tried a few.
Basic Non-RV Specific Trip Planning
RV Specific Trip Planning
Good Sam – for basic trip planning the Good Sam web application is reasonably easy to use but only uploads to the Good Sam/Rand McNally GPS. For stop-overs along the way the application focuses on Good Sam associated campsites (no Thousand Trails, limited number of public and state parks, etc.). Also there are no refueling information (fuel consumption or fuel stops) and low clearances are limited to under 13′ 6″.
Family Motor Coach Association – the FMCA mapping service is a non-interactive trip planning service that you enter in the places you want to visit and a route is generated then either mailed or emailed to you. This makes it difficult to tweak and does not offer uploading to a GPS.
Escapees Online Trip Planning – This tool is ‘coming soon’ and will offer some unique dashboard items such as available jobs along the route and member added locations and ‘over night’ spots.
Garmin Base Camp – is additional software you can download from the Garmin web site. The biggest handicap of Garmin Base Camp is that we have to have the Garmin attached to the PC so it can use the GPS’s map. Also the software does not have height limitations for route calculations.
Garmin RV 760 LMT (Built In) – The built in trip planning software for the Garmin RV 760 does take into account clearance requirements along the route and has a wide variety of campsites, truck stops, gas stations etc., however the form factor to explore the route and options using a hand held device is awkward. Perfect for short trips but not easy to plan long trips.
RVTripWizard – all the more advanced tools listed above are “free” if you either buy the product (Garmin) or are members (Good Sam, FMCA, Escapees). RVTripWizard is $39 for a 1 year subscription. I hate paying for something I can get free, but after trying all the above tools to plan our trip from California to New York via Florida I decided to give this tool a try with their free money back subscription.
- Incredibly easy to configure and use
- Configure your average MPG and see refuel warnings posted along the trip
- Configure the number of hours or miles you want to drive per day and a circle is drawn so you can start searching for the next layover
- By far the most comprehensive selection of RV parks among the tools tried out. Configure the parks you want to see including Good Sam, Thousand Trails, BLM, Encore, Escapee, etc. and the order you want them listed
- Configurable clearance warnings
- Many truck stops are included
- Drag and drop route modifications along the way
- Configure the number of days to stay at each stop and view the overall trip length
- Configure prices for fuel, lodging and meals
- Download GPS points to a variety of devices including our Garmin RV 760 LMT
- Easy to modify and copy trips
- Prints to Printer (or PDF) as well as export to Excel. Both formats include GPS information, reservation #, contact data, etc.
- Links to additional fuel locations using Mapquest gas prices that pops up in a separate window. You can manually add the address and estimated fuel taken on
- Points of interest include Walmart w/parking, Sam’s Club, Costco, Pet Hospitals and more
- For our GPS device the trip is downloaded as a set of points (in sequence) but not a trip (related sequence). This should not be a major issue since each ‘point’ is a stop but it sure would have been nice to see it imported as a trip.
- It’s not FREE, but for $39 we feel that it is well worth the subscription fee because it makes it so easy to create and edit your route.
- Online (web based) only – no Apple or Android app. Even using the tool in an iPad using Safari was cumbersome and I ended up moving a layover instead of selecting it (and all changes are permanent – no undo function).
Use the built-in GPS for quick trips, and RVTripWizard for long trips.
Our Trip Planning Strategy for 2016
Spring & Summer
- Go to Florida and get our domicile established & vehicles registered
- Go to northern NY to do some work on a house (need to be done by 7/1/2016)
- Spend 3 months exploring New England starting with Maine, going to the FMCA Family Reunion in Massachusetts in August and winding our way back to northern NY about the first of October
Fall & Winter
- Head south around November 1 with the goal of being in Central Florida by December 1st, then Southern Florida before the Christmas holidays.
Happy Trails from the Trippin’ Engles