Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Life on the road: Trip Planning

Being on the road requires planning, I find the following websites and apps helpful. Remember that low altitude places will be hot in summer, high altitude places will be cold in winter!

Websites

All Stays - web version of the App. Shows camping, stores, free overnight camping. I use the app version.

BLM lands - shows the Bureau of Land Management areas

Campendium - shows many camping options on a map

Campground Photos - you can sort by state, area. Map or list view.

Casino Camping - list of casinos that allow RV camping

Free Campgrounds - lists by state, campgrounds are listed to nearest town, no map view

Free Campsites - click on a state and it gives you a map with colour coded spots for pay, free etc

Public Lands - map view

National Parks - check for seasonal closures, names of campgrounds

National Wildlife and Refuge System - you can search by state where wildlife refuges.

Oh Ranger - information on parks. I use the app.

RoadTrippers - gives you sample trips with points of interest along the way to help you create your own trip. They also have a free app.

Reservations:
  • You learn after a while that there are certain times of the year or certain places that you need to reserve:
    • Friday and Saturday nights during summer along the West Coast. 
    • The Canadian Rockies: Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper in summer
    • Yosemite & Zion - anytime!
  • Even if the campground says 'Full' - they aren't always, they just don't take the sign down, so always ask.
  • Most National and State parks have reservations - go online to see how busy they are for the time you want to stay.
  • If you can't get reservations for the whole time you want, try single days, you might have to move sites or even campgrounds, but at least you will be able to camp where you want to be.
  • Reservation alerts: There are some campgrounds are booked out a year in advance, then people cancel a week or two before they are due to arrive. If the campground takes Reserve America reservations you might be able to have an alert sent to you when a space becomes available.

RV Park Reviews - reviews by users of RV parks

Sani Dumps - lists areas to dump your tanks by country, then state....

Trip Advisor - great resource for "things to do"

Ultimate Campgrounds - shows BLM, County, National Parks, Forest Service Parks, State Parks and private.

US Campgrounds - shows on a map - National Park, National Forest, State Park, State Forest, BLM, US Corp of Engineers (which anyone can use), County Park.

US Forest Camping Guide - useful information in depth

US Forest Service - lets you search by state, then by park. It lets you know if the campgrounds are closed etc.

US Public Lands - Only the western USA states. Shows on a map - State Park, Wildlife Refuge, campgrounds, National Parks, Byways, Wilderness Areas, BLM lands, Wildlife areas. The more you zoom out, the more icons appear.

Apps



All Stays - Camp & RV - shows private and public campgrounds, dump stations. Can be used offline. I use this app all the time. I just wish you could put in your route.



Camp Finder - must be online. Don't use it as much now I have All Stays, but it gives you an idea on how much RV parks cost and also has some that All Stays doesn't.



Free GPS - gives you the GPS coordinates of where you are. You can save, email or open them in maps


Gas Buddy - look up the price and location of fuel close by, including directions. Apple/Android.



National Geographic Park Guides - great app showing US 20 national parks


Oh Ranger - Apple/Android shows what parks are nearby, addresses are not always accurate. Must be online.




Passport America - Apple/Android. Lists the Passport America campgrounds. Type in a state and it will bring up all the RV parks with names, town and prices. Click on a park and it will give you the address, restrictions, facilities, map view.



RV Parking - basic




Wundermap - great weather map app for seeing the temperatures around you, click on a temp and you will get current or long range forecast. Apple/Android



Blogs

There are millions of blogs out there with recommendations of places to go, places to stay and how to set up your RV. You just have to start following some.

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