Thursday, November 30, 2023


“Been there” decal U.S. maps – A view of RVer philosophy

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Driving through the campground, keep your eyes open. It’s dollars to donuts that you’ll spot at least one rig with one of those U.S. maps with the “stick on decals” stuck to the side of the unit. These things do raise the occasional campfire discussion on two points: truth and resale.

In the neighborhood of the truth – just what constitutes a valid time to put your decal on the map? Do you have to travel with your RV into that state to count the coup? If you just went there some time – even without the rig – can you still stick the sticker? One RVer observed, “If you were in the state long enough to hit the bathroom, you left your mark, so go ahead and stick!”

There are those who take a dim view of the “quick stop and stick it” philosophy. They figure that you’d better at least have driven around in the state a bit, seen some of the more memorable sites and then, sure, put on the sticker. We’ll leave all this to your discretion.

But what about resale? If you put one of these gizmos on the side of your motorhome, you’ll watch the resale value shoot downhill. At least that’s the reckoning of one RV professional. The way he figures it, “personalizing” your RV just tends to diminish its value in the eyes of potential buyers. If that’s true, and yet you still want bragging rights, what can you do? One fellow suggests putting the sticky map up in an obliging window. That way, when you’re ready to sell the RV, you can remove the map with a razor blade scraper and eradicate the thing.

This, of course, all leads to truth and resale. Say you bought a motorhome that some other traveler had installed one of these memorable states map in. Is it truthful to leave the thing up, leaving others with the impression that you have been places that Willy Nelson only dreamed of going to?

Well, that’s all the philosophy we have time for today. By the way, if you really WANT one of those “I’ve been there,” or “My rig’s been there,” or “I wanta go there” or “what-have-you” state sticky maps, here’s a neat one that let’s you fill in the state with a license plate image.

Tell us in the comments below if you have a map on/in your RV of your travels. Has anyone hit the 48 contiguous states in your RV? Let us know.

##RVDT 1351

Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.



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Mike & Cathi Stark (@guest_81209)
3 years ago

I read thru the earlier comments and learned that there may be a cling map available. That would be acceptable, since I would want to take it with us if we upgrade. My map my rules, but that would be that we had to have at least spent the night, and hopefully found at least one Geocache that wasn’t at a road side rest area. Like many others, this map area would have expanded this year, but . . .

Darrell Cowles (@guest_81029)
3 years ago

We have a USA map on our Big Country, and had one on a bumper pull before. To us, (our sticker- our rules) it is an indication of where we have camped. To qualify, we have to spend at least one night in the RV, in the campground or park. Then the sticker goes on. It is a record of where WE have camped, not that particular RV. When we sold the bumper pull unit, I carefully peeled off the sticker and used Goo Gone and WD-40 to remove the residue. No damage, and nice and clean. We enjoy seeing other RVers stickers, and it is a conversation starter in the campground.

Stuart Spilman (@guest_80919)
3 years ago

Even though we toured the Hawaiian islands by cruise ship, I put Hawaii on my RV map because I drove the road to Hana in a Dodge Caravan. A RV overseas is called a caravan, so it counts.

Bill P (@guest_80909)
3 years ago

We consider the map part of our adventure, not so much the vehicle. So if we spent the night there, in one of our RVs, then we apply the sticker. Passing through or napping in a rest area don’t count but when we take delivery of our next 5th wheel this summer, we’ll get a new map and populate it with the places we’ve camped. (Our last map burned up along with our last 5th wheel in a Camping World maintenance lot in April of this year)

Mike & Cathi Stark (@guest_81203)
3 years ago
Reply to  Bill P

Sorry about the loss of your previous RV. Best of luck with your new one.

David Jones (@guest_80835)
3 years ago

We have one of those maps for both the US and Canada. Our rule is to spend some money in that State or Providence. Spend the night, $$$ for RV site, or buy gas, or the very least a meal or grocery store.

Steve Barnes, Kamloops, BC (@guest_80825)
3 years ago

Touched on 48 contiguous states and 10 provinces by RV, stayed in most. My full US map is on plexiglass screwed to inside of cargo door, visible only when cargo door open. Yet to find a matching in size Canada map. Sadly Alaska trip this summer deferred due to Covid-19.

Mike & Cathi Stark (@guest_81205)
3 years ago

I like the idea of the cargo door. I think a map on plexiglass, with a magnetic type attachment might be a fun way to go.

Viv (@guest_80765)
3 years ago

We have a map on our front passenger slide out so that it only shows when the coach is parked and slides are out. It is a “cling” attachment so is not sticky. Our requirement to apply a sticker is to sleep at least one night in the state or province (we got the Canada map add on). We have been full time for 4 years and now have stickers on 11Canadian provinces and all but 6 states. Those states are HI and 5 tornado alley states. We plan to finish all but HI this year. Someday we will go to HI and rent an RV. We also travelled by RV in South Africa but have yet to see a map for that😆.

Mike & Cathi Stark (@guest_81206)
3 years ago
Reply to  Viv

Oh yay – I have been looking for a Cling map. Do you remember where you got it?

Vicki (@guest_80759)
3 years ago

We have been on the road 19 years. Early on, we decided we didn’t want stickers on our coach, but we liked the US map for stickers. Roy measured the sticker map, cut a piece of plexiglass and that’s where our stickers are. Our Canadian stickers are on the reverse side. We put the map up in whatever window we want.

Luke (@guest_80708)
3 years ago

When we first started RV’ing, I told my wife there were two rules that I would not compromise. 1) I would never own or wear a Good Sam vest that usually has all sorts of patches and pins attached and 2) That we would never have one of those “been there” U.S. Maps on our RV. Neither rule has been broken or even bent in all the years since!

Joe B. (@guest_80633)
3 years ago

Our rule for adding a state to the map is that we have to actually camp there.

Judith Parker (@guest_80695)
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe B.

That’s our criteria as well. So far, we’re up to 44 states.

Theresa Garcia (@guest_80892)
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe B.

That’s our rule too. We got our “new” coach a year ago and probably have about 10 states now. We have it on a board that we haven’t yet put anywhere.
Now if we were to change the rule to any state where I have been all I would have to do is just move all the states over. I got states 49 and 50 in 1987. My family took 3 week vacations every year and just racked them up.

Leo Suarez (@guest_80554)
3 years ago

We have one and it’s about 3/4 filled in. Our rule is if we stop and explore some part of the state for a few days the sticker goes on. The map has generated countless conversations with other campers around the US. It’s on the side of our patio side slide and I love to see it every time we extend the slide. As far as affecting resale… we bought the RV for fun and adventures not as an investment.

Eric Ramey (@guest_80471)
3 years ago

Yes! We have one on the front wall of our slide. We only “claim” a state when we spend the night. When we start planning for future travels we always look at our map for inspiration. Also it is a topic of conversation as friendly people walk through the campground.

Vanessa (@guest_80462)
3 years ago

For me…I bought a metal map and magnets for all 50 states and plan to put it up in the S&B. It was expensive but I can also use it as a teaching tool for my grandkids. The only place I have seen this is 50,000 Silver $s in western Montana. I purchased a few of the states when passing through the first time in the RV (staying in their free parking area) and put them on a cookie sheet on the wall. Last trip through I bought the board and the rest of the states.

Vanessa (@guest_80461)
3 years ago

Met a guy last year that said his map was finished even though not all states were pinned. It was his late wife’s job to do that and she said if they didn’t have {bleeped} in the state it didn’t count.

EdStep (@guest_80460)
3 years ago

Our map is not in the Travel Trailer. It resides in the bedroom at home next to our desk. Memories are in the planning of the coming adventure and comparing the past memorable sites and camps to those upcoming.

Mark (@guest_80454)
3 years ago

We add a state sticker if we have spent at least three days camping in that state.

Wolfe (@guest_80451)
3 years ago

Our RV map rule is we must sleep in the RV in that state. No drivethroughs, no visit without RV.

Luci of Oz (@guest_80449)
3 years ago

I mounted mine on a board so that i wouldn’t lose it when i buy another rig. I find geocaches in every state. So my rule is if i found a cache there while using my rv, i get the sticker. I think i have 28 states so far. Unfortunately i was planning a trip to Florida in March, but because of the pandemic, i didn’t go. I was going to get 8 more states. Oh well, the states are not going anywhere. I will take that trip next March.

Mike & Cathi Stark (@guest_81208)
3 years ago
Reply to  Luci of Oz

We too have geocached in most of the states we ‘claim’. Like you we had planned to add several new states and a province to the map this year. Better luck in the future.

Thomas Higgins (@guest_80435)
3 years ago

My wife and I participate in dog agility. Our goal is to trial in all 50 states. We only add a state to our map after we have run the dogs at a trial. To date we have 42 states up. We had literally begun a 3 month trip to complete the lower 48 when the virus caused the shut down. Over the same 5 years we have visited and camped overnight in all of the lower 48 but only the 42 are up.

Ron H. (@guest_80427)
3 years ago

We’ve been to all 50 and don’t want a stick-on map. However, when walking around an RV park or campground, seeing someone’s map is a good conversation starter. Pick a state they have covered and ask what they liked most about it. If they can’t remember anything about that state, they either just stopped for fuel or were watching their cell phone instead of the scenery and it made no impression.

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