How do you plan a trip when you want to make it up as you go?
Our preferred style of traveling with Alice is to have as much flexible time as possible.
We research an area pretty heavily when we decide on a destination. However, we have learned that no matter how much time we spend researching an area, we always discover new points of interest along the way.
To us, traveling slow means taking a detour to see something unique, beautiful or interesting.
We have a willingness to stop and look.
Every state, county and town has something to offer and our mission is to keep our awareness high so we don’t miss anything. We want to plan less and experience more.
As an example, we are planning a 12-day trip this spring to the Smoky Mountains. Out of those days, we have secured only 3 days in campsites. We will find places to stay each of the remaining days because we don’t know exactly where we will end up each day.
What are the risks to not planning ahead for each day of travel?
When we travel, we have daily discussions about how much water we have, whether our batteries are fully charged and if we have enough propane. Water is the most critical issue for us as we like to fill or top off our water tank daily when possible.
If we knew on each of those unplanned days that we would be staying in a campground with a full hook-up this would not be an issue because we would always have confidence that by the end of the day we could replenish.
During peak camping season, there are no guarantees that we will be able to find a campground with full service; particularly if we want to stay in a State or National Park. These campgrounds often fill up months in advance.
Traveling with no specific plan often makes us primarily dependent on privately owned campgrounds or boondocking anywhere we can find a place to stay.
How do we find campgrounds on the fly?
We use a mobile and on-line application called RV Parky.
While researching places to stay, RV Parky is one of our favorite tools to look for campsites. This mobile app is amazing!
All you have to do is type in a town or area and hit search. RV Parky will immediately upload a map listing all types of campsites. The lists include a GPS locator for the campground and will often show pictures of the property. Links to the campground’s website, phone numbers are listed too.
Better yet, travelers who have spent a night or two at these sites leave comments which help us decide if the campground we are looking at is right for us.
Additionally, RV Parky lists Walmart locations, Casinos, and public rest stops where we can boondock if needed. The site even shows truck stops where we can get fuel or sleep. RV Parky is amazing! Give it a try!
We are not an affiliate of RV Parky and have no financial interest in promoting this site. We just think it’s a great resource and want our readers to know about it!
Other Popular Posts and Pages
The 5 Things We Learned Buying a Van
Should You Convert or Buy a Van?
For more Van Life By Design stories and additional content, consider subscribing!
6 thoughts on “Plan Less, Experience More”
I just downloaded RV Parky. Thank you for the recommendation! I’m excited to play around with the app.
I like to read and do research about my destinations, too. I figure it is nice to have an idea of what the possibilities are of a new place. I agree it is also good to be spontaneous and open to the things you encounter while traveling that you didn’t find in your research. It sounds like you and your wife are on the same page in this regard which makes for good travels together. 🙂
The kitchen in your van is beautiful and looks highly functional as well.
I’m glad you enjoyed the information. It’s important to make sure to secure a site at your primary place so you can maximize the experience while there. It is also true that the adventure of figuring it out as you go is equally fun. We talk to the locals a lot along the way and they help to point us in the right direction. Gail and I have discovered a new layer in our relationship when we meander through an area. It’s hard to explain but it truly brings us joy.
Our kitchen and general living quarters in the van works for us. It’s only big enough for two but is big enough for us.
I love to travel with a general idea of where we would like to go, and what we would like to see, but prefer not have reservations for overnight stays, as we have found some great camping spots this way, many of them off the beaten path.
We agree with you. You learn so much more about an area once you get there than you can searching on line, including fun camping spots!