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RV Route Planning: A Bird’s Eye View

Before RVing full time, I didn’t plan on route planning being one of the  harder parts of RVing. I assumed we would load up, crank up the RV and hit the open road.

Truth be told, route planning takes time. Without a plan, places you want could be booked up, places you didn’t know were awesome could slip under the radar, and you could also end up backtracking way more than expected.

Our route planning almost always starts in our home town of Cookeville, Tn. Both of our families are there and many of our friends are there. We absolutely love the area and we know we will head back that way every few months to catch up with everyone.

We enjoy having a “hub”, but the beautiful part of RVing is you can choose where and how you want to travel. Whether your hub is somewhere else in the country or even if you have no hub at all, viewing travels as routes could help you with long-term planning.

The bulk of our planning takes place inside of “My Maps” on Google Maps. Here’s a snapshot of our recent “Virginias” route we did in Spring of 2016.

Red markers are places we wanted to try to visit and yellow markers are possible places to stay. We did not come anywhere close to covering all the markers, but they are still a great way to aim for the stars when it came to our route.

If you are interested in building off of our route, feel free to add this map to your maps in Google:

Since we used this Google Maps feature in Spring, Google has added additional icons that we are now using on our current routes. There may be other ways to plan a trip, but since we are already using Google Maps like crazy, we loved that we could use this built in feature as well!

Before we leave for our route, Marissa researches areas she wants to visit and starts plopping down red markers. I occasionally insist that we need to be realistic with our route, but in all fairness, I would much rather have too many than not enough (we can pick and choose later) so I usually just let her do her thing.

Once she has most of her red markers down, it’s my turn. I look at how many red markers are on the map. Based on the number of red markers and how long we will be at each marker, I put down yellow markers for potential places to stay. I also try to put notes for each place with rates, amenities, etc for future reference.

With the update to Google My Maps, we now use a red star for “must visit” places to help clarify the importance of a place. For instance, Jim’s Pizza Parlor would have a standard red marker and Shenandoah National Park would have a red star on it.

We’re definitely still learning when it comes to Google’s My Maps, but it has been THE best way for us to have a bird’s eye view of a route!

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