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10 Simple Ways to Make RV Driving Days Not Suck

You know those movies that make road trips look amazing? They usually involve two or more friends hitting the road and blasting “Life is a Highway” as they excitedly drive toward the horizon. 

We both know this is not a typical reality and that driving days can be stressful and messy. Rarely do we have everything ready to go on time, making our arrival time that much more out of reach. Couple that with potential traffic jams, impromptu fuel stops, and inclement weather, and these days can be downright exhausting. 

So, when you feel the doldrums of long drives set in, you just need some ways to make things better. 

10 Simple Ways to Make Driving Days Not Suck

The following are 10 easy ways to make the most of your travel days. Keep in mind that you don’t need to adopt every single one of these habits. Even practicing one or two will make your driving days much more pleasant. 

Let’s dig in. 

1. Follow the RV 2/2/2 or 3/3/3 Rule

Basically, the 2/2/2 rule involves limiting your driving to:

  • 200 miles per day
  • Stopping for breaks every two hours
  • Staying two nights in each place

The 3/3/3 rule follows the same guidelines; simply substitute the 2’s with 3’s. This helps you avoid burnout and exhaustion while traveling. 

Not only will the 2/2/2 or 3/3/3 rule make your travel days easier, but they’ll also make them safer. By following this rule, you set limits for yourself and the amount of time you spend on the road.

sunset while driving an rv
While some evenings are beautiful to see on the road, once it gets dark, it gets much harder.

2. Pack and Prepare the Day Before

How many times have you found yourself rushing around on the morning of a travel day? Yeah, us too. 

On your next trip, prepare for your travels the day before. Simply get your rig road-ready the night before, except for the essential items that you’ll need in the morning.

This means:

  • Everything is put away in its travel spot inside
  • Any routine cleaning is done, i.e. vacuuming, sweeping, etc.
  • Dump tanks, fill water, and put away sewer supplies and hoses. This means running off your water pump overnight, but trust us, it is worth it.
  • If you’re really ambitions, you can pull in one or all slides or hitch up, too.

Not only will you be ready to leave at your planned time, but you won’t feel so frazzled when you actually hit the road. 

It sounds so simple to say, but for some reason, it’s much harder to do. But we believe in you. 

Pro Tip: If long driving days don’t intimidate you then why not try a cross country road trip in your RV. This is How to RV Across America: The Ultimate American Dream.

3. Leave First Thing in the Morning

This rule goes along with the last one. If your rig is ready the night before, you can wake up early and hit the road right away. You’ll be on schedule and have a clear mind, plus these other benefits:

  • No late checkout fees from your campground
  • You’ll be amazed how far you’ll get before noon!
  • Time to stop at roadside attractions or do some sightseeing en route.
  • It’s also nice driving into your campsite with plenty of daylight to spare. 
tom morton driving an rv down rough dirt road
Ever end up driving down a dirt road on accident? It can happen more often than you’d think.

4. Plan Your RV Safe Travel Route

This is another habit that’s easy to forget. It can be tempting to jump into the driver’s seat and blindly follow your GPS, but planning your route ahead of time is crucial.

Many times, there are unexpected detours, construction, and unsafe roads along our drive. By examining the various ways to get to your destination, you can plan around those unexpected mishaps and ensure the entire route will safely accommodate your RV. 

5. Plan RV Safe Gas Stops

Have you ever needed to stop for fuel but couldn’t find a gas station that was RV-friendly? This can be frustrating, and sometimes we can find ourselves in an impossible situation. To avoid this potential disaster, take a few minutes to look at your route the day before. Most GPS apps have icons that indicate fuel stops, rest areas, and other accommodations.

Are there any fuel stops en route that you know will be RV-friendly? Truck stops such as Love’s, Pilot Flying J, and TA will almost always cater to big rigs. Consider planning your travels based on the locations of these RV-safe fuel stops. 

Pro Tip: If you drive a diesel truck or motorhome, you simply MUST check out the Open Roads membership for insanely discounted fuel and the ability to use the truck lanes at truck stops.

6. Use a Trip Planner like RV Trip Wizard

If you’re the type of person who loves planning things down to the last detail, RV Trip Wizard is for you. You can plan your route (including fuel stops, campgrounds, and areas of interest), read reviews from other travelers, and avoid low clearance restrictions and steep road grades.

A trip planner will also keep you accountable regarding the number of miles you drive in a day and the amount of money you spend. If this sounds interesting, RV Trip Wizard is definitely worth the free trial to learn more.

We always have our RV GPS on, even if we’re navigating primarily with Google Maps. Anytime we get conflicting directions, we know to look a bit closer at our route.

7. Use an RV GPS

If you’re not interested in a trip-planning app, consider upgrading to an RV GPS. These navigation systems are specifically designed with RVs in mind.

Google Maps has failed us multiple times. We’ve been routed to weight-restricted roads, low-clearance situations, and more. Running both simultaneously keeps us out of trouble.

You’ll get RV-safe routes, upcoming rest area notices, and even campground suggestions. These are features that most standard navigational systems don’t have, and they can be invaluable.

Pro Tip: Long driving days aren’t the only challenging parts of RV life. These are 11 Things No One Tells You About Living in an RV.

8. Prepare Road Trip Snacks and Food Beforehand

Here’s another tip that can make travel days much more enjoyable: Have you ever found yourself starving halfway through a trip with no food? Maybe you’ve had to pull over and make yourself lunch. Or even worse, you’ve had to drive out of the way to find some easy, fast food (guilty!). 

We’ve all found ourselves eating unhealthy on travel days out of pure convenience, and these unplanned stops can eat away our travel time. But, if you plan delicious and healthy snacks ahead of time, you’ll arrive at your destination on time and feel good about your choices. Win-win!

Travel days might be a hard part of the adventure, but the final destination is always worth it!

9. Don’t Travel on Windy Days or in Inclement Weather

This probably goes without saying, but try to plan travel days around rainy, snowy, or windy days. You may need to plan your driving days at least a week ahead of time and keep tabs on the weather as your travel day approaches. 

Not only will you avoid a potentially dangerous situation, but you’ll also make the most of the time you spend on the road. 

Pro Tip: If you’re new to long, challenging drives, you may want to avoid these Scariest Roads in America.

RV Driving Safety - Safety and Security Series Part 2

10. Be Flexible and Adaptable

Last but certainly not least, try to be as flexible as possible on travel days (and really, any day!). If there’s one thing we know about RV life, it can be unpredictable. You truly become accustomed to constantly solving obstacles that come your way. And of course, the more adaptable you are, the easier life on the road will be. 

Going into your road trip with this mindset can make all the difference. 

Now, tell us: How do you prepare for driving days? Drop a comment below or over on our Discord discussion forum!

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About Tom and Caitlin Morton

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for Hwy.co and an Arizona travel guide.

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Steve H

Saturday 9th of March 2024

Check out audio books from the library to listen to during the drive. And/or, if you don't have Sirius/XM or are tired of listening to the same S/XM songs at the same hour every day, have your 6-8-hour playlist loaded on your phone or tablet and play it on the RV/TV stereo using Bluetooth.

Allan

Sunday 19th of December 2021

During route planning it's also helpful to consider the timing. If you're going to be passing near a major urban area, try to avoid the morning and evening rush hour times. Sometimes getting up a little earlier or even later can mean avoiding getting caught up in bumper to bumper commuter traffic.

Mortons on the Move

Sunday 19th of December 2021

so true!

Drew

Monday 22nd of November 2021

I don't mean to be a smarty-pants but most of these things don't happen to experienced rv'ers. "Rushing around" the day before or the morning of your travel day? What are you doing? This should be routine and pretty uneventful.

Learn how to read flat maps and get them at your travel club or travel center. Use the hiway dot websites to get accurate construction info. Many times they have phone numbers too.

Preparing meals for the road in advance? I guess you could but why not just take a break. Pull off into a rest area and make lunch....talk to other travelers and relax for a little while.

Joel

Sunday 14th of November 2021

We like to 'graze' on travel days so we don't stop to eat except for one meal a day. We take cheese,lunch meat, chips,tuna in foil pouches, cholate, pickled, olives and Buckee-nuggets.

Mortons on the Move

Monday 15th of November 2021

Yum! We like to graze too. ;)

John Schretlen

Sunday 14th of November 2021

There are actually two types of travel days. One where you are going someplace new such as a cross the country holiday. The second is where you are just going from A to B (The cold north to the hot south) for the sixth or sixteenth time.

For the first type of travel day then everything you suggest is good.

For the second type of travel then the most important points are, in order: #8, #2 and #3.