RVers and experts weigh in: What are the best days to travel?

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By Nanci Dixon

A friend recently asked me which days we prefer to travel on. He said that they like to travel on Wednesdays because they avoid folks going out of town for the weekend and avoid those returning from the weekend or a long trip. That got me to thinking, “What days do RVers like to travel?”

I found that travel days are a popular area of discussion among RVers. Some prefer to travel Sunday mornings with less traffic, particularly in bigger cities. We have actually driven the Chicago loop in the motorhome towing a car and made great time on a Sunday morning when we wouldn’t consider it any other time. Atlanta, Albuquerque, Houston, on early Sunday mornings have been okay too. Some folks do not want to budge on Sundays and prefer to enjoy the peace and quiet of a campground after the weekenders leave. They generally like to travel Mondays or Tuesdays and make all their reservations around that time frame.

According to USA Today, “The safest day to be on the road: Tuesday. The most dangerous? Saturday.” BACtrack.com noted that, “The NHTSA reports that most accidents occur during ‘rush hour,’ between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. And according to the NHTSA, Saturday is the most dangerous day of the week to drive, primarily because there are more cars – and more drunk drivers – on the road than any other day.”

Almost all RVers say to forget Sunday afternoons when driving through a big city, if possible, as so many vacationers are making their way home. Most agree that they plan to drive after morning rush hour and want to be parked and set-up during evening rush hour. Starting by 10 a.m. and parked by 3 p.m. was a popular time frame. A lot of folks, including us, prefer to be at their site, enjoying dinner or sitting around a campfire while the worker bees are still battling road congestion.

A few said they like to stop at a rest area during evening rush hour, wait it out, and then continue. Others, bucking the trend to start after rush hour, like to start well before rush hour. There are times we have needed to outrun upcoming winds by leaving very early but we always want to have everything packed up, water and sewer disconnected the night before and only need to unplug, pull in the slides, and leave as quickly and quietly as possible.

Now that we have more freedom and are not in the crowd of weekend warriors we try not to RV on Fridays. It is a luxury to sit back in our folding rockers and watch the weekenders rush to their site and rush to set up – sometimes in the dark. Sundays they rush home, unpack the RV, do the laundry and get the kids and themselves ready for the week.

As grateful as I was back then to get out and go camping on the weekends, I am glad to leave those travel days to the warriors and move when we want and how we want and on the days we want.

Of course, even the best travel days can be blown away in a moment by heavy winds, rain, tornado warnings and even the rare forecast of snow.

Do you have favorite days to travel? Let us know below in the comments.

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Ellen
28 days ago

We’ve been full-timing for more than ten years now and have found it depends on where we’re going, where we’re leaving from, and whether we have to vacate because of a completed reservation period (staying a month, for example, and that month is up on X date…). We think about whether we’re heading toward a city (best to leave early on Sunday; weekdays mean rush hour traffic) or out of a city (early in the day is best because rush hour traffic is coming the opposite way). We prefer weekday travel in non-urban areas, but when it comes to city traffic the timing is all about avoiding rush hour 🙂

Digby
29 days ago

Here’s a great tip for free parking in Atlanta. It’s on I-20 during rush hour. (Insert eye roll here). Seriously, we were able to switch drivers the first time we went thru Atlanta without skipping a beat.
Best time? Stop in a rest area outside of the city, take a nap, and breeze through at 2 AM any morning. Same goes for all major cities.

Wendy
29 days ago

Arrive in campgrounds on Sunday afternoon, leave by Friday, avoiding weekends. Cracker Barrel is our “boondocking” stopover on route.

Garrette
30 days ago

We too, for all of the reasons above, prefer to travel on weekdays Another reason for me is, if you have trouble, I feel you will get help quicker if needed.

Andy Louie
1 month ago

Any day is to travel is great, avoiding Sundays in case of a breakdown. It’s exciting and crazy to roll out early at 4 am and stop for breakfast by 7, then it gives me ample time to leisurely cruise to my destination while enjoying the scenery and unexpected stops. I’m leave routine behind anyways.

Last edited 1 month ago by Andy Louie
Jim Ream
1 month ago

Final packing on Sunday morning then leave with lunch on the road. Leave campsite on Friday morning. Could not do this until we retired.

Roy Christensen
1 month ago

I prefer to leave Saturday or Sunday morning. Otherwise we run into rush hour traffic heading west to NYC from Long Island. If we leave during the week, we can avoid most of the traffic by leaving about 8:30 or 9am. We try to return early enough to miss the afternoon rush and get home by 2pm. The weekends don’t have rush hours but traffic to and from the Hamptons can be crazy. Being retired we can plan our arrival and departure times somewhat.

wanderer
1 month ago

If you’re traveling cross country, it doesn’t matter what day you want to travel, because weekends are locked up almost everywhere, you have to break the week in two so you can clear out for the weekenders. And whatever place you can find for a weekend, you are stuck there because no way can you get a one nighter on a Friday or Saturday.

I used to think I could stay a week or two in one place, traveling on Sundays thru cities or Mondays in open country. Can’t do it. And no, I can’t prepay my rent several months in advance everywhere I go, so ‘reserve ahead’ is useless except for rare occasions.

DJ knapp
1 month ago

We always try and leave for a long weekend early on Friday to beat traffic, and come back to the stix & bricks on Monday morning. Sundays are soooo relaxing after everyone else checks out!

Bud Betz
1 month ago

We like to stay still during the week and travel the weekends. Let the weekend warriors have the place F/S/S. We’ll get down the road to a quiet place for Sunday night and endure the road on the weekend. That’s the full time advantage we embrace when traveling.

Charles
1 month ago

Pretty much Monday through Thursday (avoiding holidays) for us. How much you drive carefully defensively is just as important. I agree with avoiding Sunday re: emergency repairs all closed.

Larry
1 month ago

Avoid Sunday nothing is open in case you have a breakdown

Patricia Panuccio
1 month ago

I grew up in the tourist industry which meant working weekends and then migrated to weekend venues to make a living. Rving or moving to the next weekend venue has always been Monday thru Thursday and I still prefer traveling on those days.

Dan
1 month ago

We like to leave on Monday after rush hour and go home on Thursday. Usually try to be parked and setup by 4:00.

CHARLES
1 month ago

We tend to travel on Tuesday through Thursday to avoid weekenders

Wayne Gregory
1 month ago

Here in the northeast anywhere you want to travel north or south, you need to find your way around several major cities. When we head south in the winter, we’ll pass Philly, Baltimore, DC, and Richmond. We’v found that leaving early Sunday helps us get around these places the best.

Rhonda
1 month ago

Our travel days depend largely on where we will be driving. Visiting our kids and grandkids who live in the LA area? Early Sunday mornings are a necessity if we want to avoid gridlock. If we’re visiting our kids and grandkids in Monterey or Santa Cruz (which requires that we drive west through the Central Valley of California and sometimes through the South Bay Area [Silicon Valley]), we make sure we are on the road around 9 am and travel on weekdays. Driving to the coast, especially over the weekends guarantees bumper to bumper traffic, especially over Highway 17.
Our favorite place to go to get away from it all is the Mendocino Coast. It’s a 6-7 hour drive in the RV but it’s never crowded and it’s a great place to get away from the summer heat. Doesn’t usually matter which day you travel.

Leslie P
1 month ago

As full timers for the last 4.5 years, we’ve always traveled on Tuesday or Wednesday. I also enjoy watching the weekenders frantically set up and break down in 2 days. When traveling, we follow the rule of 3’s; 300 miles, in campsite by 3pm, stay at least 3 days. That doesn’t always work into our favorite travel days but we aim for always being settled somewhere in the weekends.

John M
1 month ago

We usually leave on a Monday and come home Thursday, if not we will stay the weekend and then come home on Monday or Tuesday. Both of us are retired so it is just a matter of when campgrounds have spots open.

Don
1 month ago

We do a lot of “long weekend” trips. We leave on Thursday to a destination with a day’s drive, and come home on Monday or Tuesday. For us, we have to cross the North Cascades to get “out of town” and doing that on weekends is a nightmare.