The number one question we get asked a lot is how long do you drive between stays? I can’t tell you how much we get that question or something similar: are we always on the road, or how do we do it all the time? People have a hard time distinguishing between vacationing and the full-time RV lifestyle (to be fair, it’s hard for those of us living the lifestyle). My first response is always explaining the difference between people living on the road and people vacationing. When moving around the country is your lifestyle, you don’t need to rush.
Everyone travels differently, some only travel at night while their kiddos sleep, some travel early in the day to beat traffic jams, some travel for 10+ hours, and some travel shorter distances. The best thing about this lifestyle is you can make it fit your needs. We have created an episode on the podcast on this topic.
We will answer what we do below, but you should know that no journey looks the same, and you need to chart your own path. Therefore, what works for us might not work for you, and it might not even work for us forever. My biggest tip would be to keep an open mind when planning your routes and your journey.
For example, during the first two years of our traveling, I planned everything for three months out or more. I could tell you where we would be and how long of a drive it would be between stays – down to the parking lot for overnight stays. For the last the six months, we have been making plans for next week, this week. Both options worked for us during that time of our journey.
How long do you drive between stays?
We like to travel no more than 4 hours, and we want to stay around the 1.5 to 2-hour mark. We use RV Trip Wizard and they have a great tool that allows you to put in how far you would like to go and see a radius on the map. Our settings allow us to choose between 100, 15, and 200 miles. Another cool application is Roadtrippers that allows you to plan out your stops along the way. We have many reasons for this type of travel, but the main reason is we like to explore our states. It also keeps our kiddos happy and saves us money.
When you only “move” a couple of hours, it allows you to explore that new area without stressing about driving too far away from where you are staying. For example, we have stayed in 11 different spots in Idaho, zig-zagging our way across the state. Therefore, it saved us 4 to 5-hours of driving round trip in the Jeep to visit attractions by moving closer to our home.
Less time on the road
Another reason we like to keep the drives smaller is it keeps the kiddos (and dogs and the adults) happier. Our move days are shorter in the RV, and our explore days are shorter because we don’t have to drive as far to the attraction. Even though the kids do a great job on car rides, it is still nicer to have more time at our destination and less time commuting.
It’s also nice to have shorter trips moving the RV because it can be exhausting for the driver. It’s physically and mentally taxing to drive the automotive equivalent of a brick!
Finally, the last big reason for driving less and moving around slower is saving money. When we have a shorter trip on a moving day, we typically won’t tow the Jeep, which means less fuel consumption for the RV. We can get weekly or even monthly rates at campgrounds which can save hundreds of dollars.
Exploring, saving money, and keeping everyone happy are the three biggest reasons why we like to keep our drives under four hours. That doesn’t mean we don’t have four or even nine-hour drives. However, don’t let “being on the road” scare you from joining the RV lifestyle.
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