Good Sam Trip Planner Alternatives For RV Trip Planning

The popular Good Sam Trip Planner will no longer be available as of April 10, 2019. Luckily, there are still some very useful resources for RV trip planning that will help you map out your travels, find campgrounds and more.

1. RV Trip Wizard

The best trip planning tool made specifically for RVers is RV Trip Wizard. This planner shows all of the campgrounds and RV parks along your route, with integrated reviews and information from Campground Reviews. It also calculates a safe route based on your rig’s exact measurements, so you know when to avoid low clearance bridges.

The campgrounds can easily be filtered by price, amenities, or features. Users can click on a campground to learn more about the amenities, some also have photos available.

Good Sam Trip Planner
Road trip from Seattle to San Francisco, planned on RV Trip Wizard

You can also search for points of interest including rest areas, fuel stations, overnight parking, dump stations, as well as places like casinos with campgrounds and Walmarts. The points of interest can include attractions like amusement parks, museums, ATMs, laundromats, liquor stores, dentists, pharmacies, etc.

Unlike other trip planners, RV Trip Wizard shows all campground affiliations. You can also rank the memberships in your account preferences based on what affiliation (i.e. Passport America, KOA) will save you the most money.

RV Trip Wizard isn’t free like the other two planners, but it’s a very affordable $39 a year, especially when you consider how much it saves you in time.

 Pros:
  • An RV-specific tool that uses your vehicle’s measurements (height, weight, etc) so you can track expenses and plan safe routes for your rig.
  • Browse from ALL campground affiliations (Passport America, KOA, etc.). No restrictions like other tools. You can also rank your memberships based on what offers the biggest discount.
  • Find campgrounds along your route with integrated ratings from Campground Reviews.  The planner has over 17,000 campgrounds and resorts in their database and lists the phone number, address, amenities, and photos.
  • Filter campgrounds to find ones that are pet-friendly, big-rig friendly, 55+ and over, within a price range, etc.
  • You can set Driving Distances to help you limit how many miles you’re driving in a day.
  • Trips have no limit on the number of stops.
  • Routes can easily be exported to your GPS or sent to your Facebook, friend, e-mailed, calendar, Excel, or printed.
  • Over 57,000 points of interest, including area attractions and RV services like where to find gas stations, dump stations, etc.
  • Very easy to use and updated often.
Cons:
  • Not free, but a very affordable $39/a year. You can try their free demo before you sign up.
  • No mobile app yet.
  • No live traffic information.
2. Furkot

Furkot is another free trip planner that is not specific to RVs, but it does show you campgrounds and more points of interest than Google Maps. The trip planner has a bit of a learning curve and can be confusing if you are not used to its many features.

trip
Furkot: Free, with integrated ratings on campgrounds from Campground Reviews

You can easily sign up for an account by connecting your Facebook or other social media. For each trip, simply enter your specific or estimated dates along with your mode of transportation (no RV selection, but you can choose by car/motorcycle/bike/foot) and your preferred overnight accommodations including hotels, campgrounds, and apartments.

The campgrounds show ratings from Campground Reviews much like RV Trip Wizard. However, Furkot does not allow you to filter them like RV Trip Wizard to find RV parks with hookups, within a certain price range, with specific features (like pull-thru sites), or where you can get RV club discounts.

Pros:
  • Free to use
  • Shows hotels, campgrounds, and apartments for overnight accommodations
  • Campgrounds show integrated ratings from Campground Reviews
  • Allows you to import and export data
  • Shows the current weather forecast at each stop and the time of the sunrise & sunset
  • Plan routes by mode of transportation, car, motorcycle, bike, or walking
  • Find restaurants, breweries/wineries/bars, coffee shops, farmers markets, grocery stores, fuel stations, and airports
  • Shows points of interest including museums, parks and natural features, outdoor sports and activities, beach and water recreation, scenic byways and backroads, unpaved roads and off-road trails, events and entertainment, and more
  • Set daily limits on travel time
Cons:
  • Not specific to RVs
  • Does not track expenses
  • Does not show live traffic
  • Does not allow you to filter campgrounds by price/features/amenities/etc.
  • Does not show campground affiliations/discounts offered
  • Steep learning curve/not as simple to use
3. Google Maps

Google Maps provides free basic directions and the option to include multiple stops, but it is not specifically designed for RVs. The app can also tell you current traffic information and the fastest routes around accidents and construction delays.

trip
Google Maps: free, but not RV-specific

Google Maps also gives you the option to avoid highways, toll roads, and ferries. It can even help you find local public transportation in the areas you’re visiting. However, it does not show the campgrounds along your route or warn you of low clearance bridges. You also can’t use it to find points of interest like dump stations or Walmarts that allow overnight parking.

Pros:
  • Easy to use
  • Free
  • Has current traffic information
  • Search for restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores and more along your route
  • Shows directions for car, public transportation, walking/biking
  • Street view can be very useful
Cons:
  • Not RV specific
  • Does not track expenses
  • Does not show campground discount club affiliations
  • Does not show the best campgrounds on your route



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What Is Boondocking? – How to Find It and Get Good At Doing It!

What is boondocking? Well, we’re here to share all about it!

If you love RV living and exploring the USA, boondocking will get you deeper into those rich experiences you desire. It will introduce you to new areas (where the tourists don’t go). And, best of all, it will be kind to your wallet!

 

What is Boondocking?

Boondocking has a ton of definitions. Almost every RVer defines it uniquely. Boondocking, also referred to as dry camping, free camping, overnight parking and freedom camping, is pretty much camping for free with no hook ups.

While you can sometimes “boondock” at Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Interstate rest stops and truck stops, today we’re focusing on boondocking on public lands.

Aside from being free – our definition also mentions camping “without hook ups”. That means no water connection, no electrical connection and no sewer connection.

Here’s a picture of what boondocking looks like:

cropped-img_19641.jpg

How To Find Boondocking Spots

It’s pretty easy to find boondocking sites in the USA. Our favorite resource is Campendium. Once you visit their website, just type in the location where you want to camp and click search. You’ll see a ton of options. Narrow your search to “free” in the price menu and then you’ll see all the boondocking locations!

You can also find great boondocking sites on Free Campsites. Again, just enter the location you want to visit, click search, and SHAZAM, you’ll see all the free campsites!

We also use Allstays to find free camping sometimes. But, if you’re a newbie, just stick to the two above until you get your bearings.

Things To Prepare You For Boondocking

To boondock for more than one day, you’ll need to do a little preparation: make sure your water tanks are full, know the limits of your holding tanks and have a game plan for your power needs.

71j2Ien-FWL._SL1170_A generator is the easiest path to instant availability for high power. We have a Honda 2200 (linked in the previous sentence). It’s an amazing, high quality unit that has stood the test of time. However, you can get the same power generator for half the price if you’re budget conscious. 

You can also use solar power. It requires more money and more battery space. If you’re a tech nerd you may want to research it. But, if you’re a total boondocking newbie, a generator is probably your best bet to get you started. You can always upgrade to solar in the future and your generator will still come in handy on cloudy days.

Boondocking Etiquette 

Sure, the list for boondocking etiquette could go on forever…but, we’re just going to cover a few basics.

First, don’t camp too close to the next guy. Fifty yards is a good rule of thumb, but really it all depends on the location. Sometimes you have to park close to your neighbor (like at this free camping spot near Zion National Park). If space allows however, keep your distance!

Second, keep your pets on a leash or under voice control. Your dog may be the nicest pup around, but if he runs over to a neighbors leashed dog, you never know what will happen. For the safety of your pup and everyone else – make sure you have control of it! AND, always pick up dog poop!

Lastly, leave the spot cleaner than when you arrived! Simple and important. Boondocking sites across the USA get shut down every year because of trash.

Boondocking Resources

We publish lists of our favorite boondocking sites every year! You can find all of those below:

Top 10 Boondocking Site of 2017

Top 10 Boondocking Site of 2016

Must Have Camping Gear

 

 

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