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Old 06-07-2014, 02:40 PM   #1
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How to plan a long trip?

Not sure if I'm posting this in the right area.
I'm in the process of planning next years summer vacation. Crazy since we have not gone on this years yet.

For those of you that have done long trips before how do you plan?
I have a general idea of where we would like to go. We live in Fl and want to go out west, S. Dakota, Wyoming, California, Arizona, Texas and Louisiana. Hitting the major tourist attractions. I'm thinking of taking a month off to do this with the kids. Then I'm trying to figure the best routes. Map Quest has been pretty good. This will probably take me a year to plan and to save up. Map Quest calculated my fuel cost at over $3,200.00. Damn you big oil, damn you!!

I'm not sure what's a realistic amount of time to travel each day. Then I'm trying to factor in enough time to enjoy the sites. It's tough because we live so far away and we want to pack in as much as possible.
Wish I was retired!
That's it I'm going to play the POWERBALL!!!!!
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Old 06-07-2014, 03:21 PM   #2
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Just go, and stop when you or the kids get tired or restless untill you get close to where you want to see(you can always see close to home anytime) then site see and have fun . I did the west trip from southern ontario(across from Detriot) 3 yrs ago with out any reservations and never had a problem , we did 6 weeks though,but did the last 3 weks thru Canada , so a month should be good.
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Old 06-07-2014, 03:52 PM   #3
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No reservations. Wow, I guess I'm used to camping here in Fl where all the Canadians have all the parks booked up. ( I had to take a shot.)
I think it's an awesome idea and it would make it less stressful. It makes the budgeting part a little harder. You never had trouble finding a park to stay in even for a few days?
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Old 06-07-2014, 04:49 PM   #4
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Apologies in advance for a long post.

Ouch! You Floridians should keep in mind that we Canadians (and other Northeners) are responsible for the bulk of your economy! My husband and I are retired and spend winters in Florida.

Back to your trip. We did a trip in 2012. We planned the trip to the last detail, including the campgrounds and had reservations at most places. Two things were carved in stone - we had a reservation at Yellowstone Park which we made the fall before and were meeting friends there, and we decided since we were going all the way out west, we may as well take an Alaska cruise while we were out there so that was booked ahead. (No airfare!)

We ended up changing our route a bit as we went, and we moved on earlier than we had planned in some places because we did not really know how long everything was going to take. We also changed our minds about some campgrounds. The entire trip took 7 weeks, including the one week cruise. On the way home (through Canada) we stayed at Walmarts twice. We were just on the way home then, no longer sight seeing. If all you are doing is making tracks, Walmart is a great way to save money on overnight stays.

This particular trip was to follow most of the Oregon Trail. We saw many relevant sites and enjoyed it immensely. The entire trip cost us $5,300 (not including the cruise). Half of that was gas. The rest was campgrounds and admission fees. I did not include food because we bought groceries and cooked our meals just like at home. We were towing a 30' Jayco fifth wheel at the time.

This fall we are taking another trip. This one will start the Friday after Labor Day and last 6 or more weeks. We have our route planned, based on research we did, but the timing will be decided on as we go. We have all the information we need on campgrounds (Good Sam directory, Good Sam RV GPS, AllStays app, research I did ahead) so we will make a reservation for the next place when we know the date we will be there. Going in the fall will reduce the crowds (no kids!) and ensure cooler weather as well. I have made a list of things to see, but we will decide once we are out there what we do when. We will take things as they come. I planned our route using Microsoft Streets and Trips software.

Our trip will take us first to Colorado Springs, then the southern part of Colorado, Utah south of I-77, northern Arizona and a bit of northern New Mexico. Our route home will depend on the weather. Home is eastern Ontario, Canada.

I started the plan with a book called The Most Scenic Drives in America by Reader's Digest. We picked the "drives" and planned our route around them. Then I listed the highlights according to the book, and did research on the internet for other interesting things to see and do there. I listed campgrounds along the way, and made note of places the trailer cannot go. All this is in a Word document on my computer.

On your trip, if you find yourself in Montana near Beartooth Pass, I highly recommend this drive. Leave the trailer in the campground, however. Red Lodge is a very nice town to visit in that area. That was one of the more memorable places we went. If you go to St. Louis, MI, the Arch and museum under it are well worth a visit.

Good luck on your trip plan. Planning is part of the fun!
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Old 06-07-2014, 06:26 PM   #5
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[QUOTE=Loneoak;79713]Apologies in advance for a long post.

Ouch! You Floridians should keep in mind that we Canadians (and other Northeners) are responsible for the bulk of your economy! My husband and I are retired and spend winters in Florida.

Loneoak, do you really think/believe that you Canadians are responsible for the bulk of Florida's economy? Really?
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Old 06-07-2014, 06:47 PM   #6
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[QUOTE=Lloyd;79724]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loneoak View Post
Apologies in advance for a long post.

Ouch! You Floridians should keep in mind that we Canadians (and other Northeners) are responsible for the bulk of your economy! My husband and I are retired and spend winters in Florida.

Loneoak, do you really think/believe that you Canadians are responsible for the bulk of Florida's economy? Really?
From Wikipedia:

"Tourism makes up the largest sector of the state economy. Warm weather and hundreds of miles of beaches attract about 60 million visitors to the state every year. Florida was the top destination state in 2011. 42% of poll respondents living in the Northeast United States said they planned on visiting Florida over spring break"

Notice I said Canadians AND OTHER NORTHERNERS, not just Canadians. Tourism is the largest sector of Florida's economy, and most people come from the north seeking warmth and sunshine. Zephyrhills, where we winter, goes from 10,000 people to 80,000 during the winter. About half the folks are from Canada, and of the rest, a lot are from Michigan. We don't just come for a week or two, we come for 3 - 6 months. We spend a lot of money there on rent, groceries, entertainment, restaurants, shopping, etc.

A lot of Floridians complain about the influx, but they should take a look at where the State gets a lot of its money from.
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Old 06-07-2014, 06:49 PM   #7
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I'm joking about the Canadian thing. We call Hollywood, Fl. little Canada and if it wasn't for the Canadian owned motels Hollywood would be all huge high rises.

Thanks for the input. I want to get that book it must be fascinating. I've been discussing what you said with my wife and she agrees with you. We can have a general idea of what we want to do, but she rather let the trip dictate us. She has already reserved the book at the library.
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Old 06-07-2014, 06:55 PM   #8
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Good luck. I hope you have a great trip. RVing is such a great way to go because no matter where you are, you are home because you have your little home with you.
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Old 06-07-2014, 08:21 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=Loneoak;79728]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lloyd View Post

From Wikipedia:

"Tourism makes up the largest sector of the state economy. Warm weather and hundreds of miles of beaches attract about 60 million visitors to the state every year. Florida was the top destination state in 2011. 42% of poll respondents living in the Northeast United States said they planned on visiting Florida over spring break"

Notice I said Canadians AND OTHER NORTHERNERS, not just Canadians. Tourism is the largest sector of Florida's economy, and most people come from the north seeking warmth and sunshine. Zephyrhills, where we winter, goes from 10,000 people to 80,000 during the winter. About half the folks are from Canada, and of the rest, a lot are from Michigan. We don't just come for a week or two, we come for 3 - 6 months. We spend a lot of money there on rent, groceries, entertainment, restaurants, shopping, etc.

A lot of Floridians complain about the influx, but they should take a look at where the State gets a lot of its money from.
Thanks. And you are right planning is part of the fun.

I hate for this thread to go this way but... In regards to the tourism comment you posted. I'm getting the impression you are annoyed and I may be wrong and I hope you are not. I don't want to offend anyone.

You are absolutely correct we are a huge tourism state. If not for tourism our economy would collapse. But as a Floridian it's a double edged sword. I appreciate all those who come to visit not just from the north but the south as well. We have a huge South American population that come to visit. But as a camper in the winter months it is almost impossible for me to get a spot on the weekend at one of our local county parks. Because of all the tourist that come for months at a time. So yes I appreciate the tourism and the money they bring. But it's frustrating when you are a resident and you can't use your local park. That's all I meant by the shot I took. My apologize if you were offended.
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Old 06-07-2014, 09:47 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bert View Post
No reservations. Wow, I guess I'm used to camping here in Fl where all the Canadians have all the parks booked up. ( I had to take a shot.)
I think it's an awesome idea and it would make it less stressful. It makes the budgeting part a little harder. You never had trouble finding a park to stay in even for a few days?
I only had one park that was full and some people we talked to told us to drive about 1/2 mile down the road and look in any open area for an empty fire pit and pull up inn front of it and camp the night free. turned out to be on a rushing river with a treed mountain in the background ....wonderful night.
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