What is your travel style? Before you choose an RV, or decide how to plan your trip, or set a budget, it really helps to identify your travel style.
For example, if you prefer to boon-dock (dry camp) and dislike big cities, you probably won’t plan a trip to visit New York City. But if art museums are your thing, you will occasionally need to brave the crowds.
Of course, just because you have a basic style, does not mean you might not break out of your mold once in a while. Even a tried and true mountain hiker may occasionally want a fine dinner in the big city. Planning for flexibility is a good thing.
So let’s look at some variations in RV Travel Style.
How Long are Your Trips?
Your common trip length is the first question we can answer. Some travelers get an occasional three-day weekend. Others take a vacation for a week or two. Snow-birds might live in their RV for three to six months at a time to travel to warmer climates. A few of us are fortunate enough to be able to live our lives without a “sticks and bricks” home and live full-time for travel.
- Travel Length
- 3-day weekend
- One or two weeks
- 3-6 months
Your trip length will often motivate your travel speed. Obviously, if you have a short amount of time and want to see a lot, you will travel quickly. But there is a lot to be said for landing in one place and staying there for a while. If you are exhausted at the end of a trip, have you really had a vacation?
Another factor in travel-speed is the distance you want to cover in a day. On a really good road during the long days of summer, I can cover 500 miles. But I almost never do that. I set my plan at 250 – 300 miles. That makes for a pleasant driving day and ensures that we are parked by 2 or 3:00. Each driver is different.
This traveler has limited time. His plan is to get to his location on Friday night. He might stay a couple days and explore (or just enjoy the beach). Then he needs to travel back on Sunday afternoon and get back to work.
This traveler has a week or two to travel. Now we have choices. We could spend one day traveling and stay in a marvelous place for the entire two weeks. Or we could break it up some.
You could choose to string together several stops. Just be sure you have time to recover from driving in between. If this is your travel mode, when you select your RV, make sure your equipment is easy to park at night and get going in the morning.
A Snow-Bird is a special type of traveler. Usually retired, these lucky folks have decided they have had enough of cold winters and decide to create a second home somewhere that does not have snow and freezing temperatures. The plan is to head south and spend several months in one location, often enjoying the friends they made last time they went to the same place.
There is a variation on this pattern. Many snow-birds travel like a vacationer on the way to their winter haunt. They take a different route each year and enjoy the trip along the way.
A Snow-Bird often chooses a larger rig because they are literally living in it for months at a time. Even so, we have met many solo Snow-Birds that enjoy a small 25’ trailer.
As a full-time traveler, I have more options, but I also need more balance. We travel because we love to see new things. But we also have to work, sleep and do laundry.
I balance several factors when I decide on my travel speed. If my goal is to just get someplace, I might drive several days in a row so I can land at my location and stay for a while. But more often, there are things to see along the way. So … I try to curb my enthusiasm and plan some shorter stops.
Our current favorite technique is to travel for two or three days and get to a destination, then stay there for a week or a month. That allows me to get better rates at the RV park. It also allows me to work three days a week and keep the income flowing.
So which are you? Your choice here will impact your budgets, the choice of an RV, and especially your trip planning.
City Mouse or Country Mouse?
Many travelers love the energy of a big city, with lots of restaurants, shops, and museums.
Others hate the noise and the traffic and refuse to look for parking.
For us, a rare city visit is a treat. But generally, we like small towns and great landscapes.
Your choice of city vs. country will impact your budget, and possibly your choice of vehicles. The price of an RV Park in, or even near a city is much higher than their rural cousins.
Why Do you Travel?
Some people travel to see family or because their work requires it.
Others are traveling to explore. What kinds of things do you look for? Museums? Art shows? Craft fairs? How about amazing scenery and great places to hike.
For us, this list is constantly growing. When I am researching an area, I look for the top ten tourist spots, just to be sure I am not missing something. But often we are exploring the gardens and the zoos, or looking for the best waterfall.
So Where Do I Park This Beast?
The final question in defining your travel style is about parking the RV. Are you looking for full hookups?
Maybe a quiet place in the woods, or out in the desert?
Do you need a swimming pool, laundromat and workout center?
Would you be willing to park in a Walmart parking lot for a quick overnight and an early start the next morning?
So Why Do I Care About My Travel Style?
If we take a minute to consider how we like to travel, many of our planning choices become much easier. The type of RV we select, our travel budgets, our scheduling and travel research are all based on those preferences.
Of course, none of it is set in stone. I prefer small towns and great scenery. But a city once in a while is nice too.
Here is an example. We have a friend who is a traveling nurse. She and her husband prefer full hookups, of course, because they stay in the same location for several months. Because they rarely dry camp, they do not have much need for a lot of solar panels or propane cooking. Their lifestyle affects their choice of RV.
Another example. Some other friends almost always stay in state and federal parks and places that are hard to get to. Their RV is less than 35’ long because these parks have limits on length. They also make sure they have adequate water and sewer tanks because these locations might have electricity at the site, but the water and sewer are located at the entrance to the park.
So What is Your Travel Style?
Take a minute now and pencil out some rough ideas about how you travel?
- Short or long trips?
- Fast or slow speed? Long stays or short?
- City mouse or country mouse?
- Parking preferences?
And don’t forget. These are not permanent choices! You will definitely mix it up as you travel. But knowing your travel style in advance, definitely helps you make informed choices about RVs, budgets, and travel planning.
Keep it between the lines!