Trippin’ Engle’s Trip Planning

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

Google & Bing Maps – Online general mapping tools are great, unless you need to know where the low clearances are and would like to see more RV/Camping specific information.

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.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons

  • 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).

Our recommendation:

Use the built-in GPS for quick trips, and RVTripWizard for long trips.

Our Trip Planning Strategy for 2016

Spring & Summer

CA-FL-NY-MA

Route Planning Using Good Sam Online Tool

  • 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

RVTripWizard NY to ME

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

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Comments (2)

  1. Linda

    From point 2 up to the interstate the goes east to west across New York was it all interstate? We are planning a trip like this in June. We need to be in Western New York but could take interstate across? My husband does not like small roads.

    • jengle

      Great question – for the trip from Florida to NY we are sticking to the freeway system since we need to be in NY in early June. For the NY to Maine trip since we haven’t taken the trip yet I had to look up the highways on the web. We are taking Quebec A-10. This is considered an expressway and with the ‘exit’ terms in wikipedia (see link) it’s probably a freeway. From Sherbrooke Quebec we follow QC 212 and Maine State Route 27 to Bar Harbor -these look to be 2 lane but good roads. RVTripWizard does not indicate any cautions.

      Looks like a fun trip. We drove a more southern route from Alexandria Bay NY to Bar Harbor several years ago and it was mostly state highways. I don’t have any concerns making this trip with a 40′ RV with a toad.

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