Now that winter is setting in, snowbird full-timers like me are doing our best to avoid it. Most of us follow a standard southerly route every year but some of us try to mix it up a little. My husband and I chose the latter when we left Colorado in early October. Instead of taking our usual route to Southern California, we opted to casually meander around Southern Nevada for several weeks, checking out new camping areas that will soon be covered in a blanket of ice and snow.
A few days ago we left our northernmost camping spot near the famous Area 51 and on that morning we had to decide: should we move to a place we wanted to re-visit, even though it was about to get cold? The new spot had a hot springs we loved, but most full-timers with any common sense would flee south. We decided to go to the hot springs when we were about 5 miles down the road. We’ve come a long way.
In our early days of full-timing I tried to plan every day of life on the road. As the primary navigator, Jim leaves it up to me to decide where to go. “I just drive” he likes to say. I would do tons of trip research by scouring online forums, RVers groups and spending far too much time checking out what others thought of RV parks, restaurants and locations. This compulsive planning behavior was time consuming but comforting. “That way we’ll know what to expect!” I said to him whenever we set out for a new destination.
Unfortunately it didn’t take long before my expectations were dashed one too many times. With each new disappointment, I gradually realized that other RVers ideas about what’s good and bad about a location could be very different from mine.
Now, instead of a comprehensive, mile-by-mile itinerary for our next destination, month, season or year ahead, I just get us out there with a general idea of how it will play out. Here’s how I do it:
How I Plan Our Road Trip Adventures
When deciding where to go, I create a rough outline of our destinations before discussing it with Jim. I begin by asking myself:
What business do we have to take care of?
We are not retired, so earning a living takes priority. If it’s time to visit clients, attend a business conference or see family, everything from our route to where we stay gets loosely planned around that time-sensitive event.
How about that weather?
Next I try to get a feel for local weather conditions during the time we want to visit. You can’t always outrun it but it’s smart to prepare yourself and your rig.
Where do we want to stay and what can we afford?
Local climate determines where we park our rig. If the weather isn’t too extreme we skip the parks and find a great boondocking location. But if bad weather hits, boondocking takes a back seat to full-hookups. Who wants to be uncomfortable inside when the weather outside is so harsh? I rarely make RV park reservations because weather can be so unpredictable these days.
In the future when we can cut back on work hours and kick back more often, I’d love to plan our entire full-timing lifestyle around seeing fantastic wonders of the world and really just going wherever the wind blows us. But for now, I’m happy with being able to enjoy bits and pieces of these fun places, events and people while still being able to earn a living from the road.