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Do you keep a travel log?

by Russ and Tiña De Maris

Do you keep a log in your RV? Before you respond, “Yeah, several, in basement storage for when we want a nice campfire” — Beware, we’re talking paper, not wood, here.

R&T De Maris photo

But enough beating around the tree. Many RVers have found keeping a travel log is not only fun, it can be beneficial when you “come back this way again.” There have been some places in our travels where we’ve seen some wondrous beauty; but, alas, the memory sometimes fails when we try to make our way back there. Having a note in writing as to “just where and what” can help as the old gray matter begins to slow down.

Are you presently “stuck” in port somewhere, waiting out the economy, or a virus? Having your logbook handy can work to bring back pleasant memories of trips you’ve made. It can also give you a head start in planning on where you may want to go once you can weigh anchor again!

Keeping an RV log can be useful in so many ways. If you keep track of the miles you’ve driven pulling your trailer, you’ll have a better handle on how long your tires last; and if you service your axle bearings by “miles driven,” you’ll know when the maintenance interval has rolled around.

Keeping track of the RV parks you’ve stayed in, listing site numbers for particularly loved (or level) spots and dollar costs for staying there can really help when trip planning and making reservations. On the other hand, you may find having the information on that “RV park from hell” handy when sitting around the campfire and chatting with others who may be headed back where you’ve been.

So what works for an RV log book? There are commercial log books available that have preprinted forms that make it easy to post your data. Other folks print and photocopy their own forms and use a three-ring binder to keep the pages in place. Still others have found that just keeping a spiral-bound steno pad on the flight deck can provide them with just what they need on an inexpensive and easy basis.

We’ve tried to locate a suitable app for use with Androids. Using the search term “RV logbook” we found a few – just a few. The reviews were so mixed on each one, nothing stood out as being quite ready to try. Hear that, you app developers?

Regardless of what you decide to use for keeping a record of your travels, what might you find useful to keep track of? Here’s a list of possibilities – and from your own needs you can probably develop even more:

• Miles: Odometer readings for both tow vehicle and trailer.
• Expenses: Fuel costs, station where purchased (could be an indicator of where to go next time), oil, maintenance, even unexpected repairs. Fuel economy notes are really helpful, both from a planning perspective but also recognizing that your rig may need mechanical attention.
• Campground data: Name, address, site number, things you liked (or hated) and costs.
• Weather: Combined with a date, this may give you a good idea for trip planning next time. Maybe that snowfall you encountered when towing your fifth wheel was memorable – but not something you want to do again!
• Restaurants and attractions: Your new “favorite greasy spoon” and “that place where we bought Grandma all those neat knickknacks” could be repeat trip items.
• Friends met: You could log their names and contact information here, as a backup for when you lose your address book.

And be sure to keep your log book handy. A side pocket or glove box near the “navigator’s” seat, complete with a pen, makes the process easy to do every day.

##RVT946

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1 month ago

All in a spread with calculations either break down to daily/monthly or annually. Also flags added to things that need checking or done like, oil change, tires, general maintenance. General info, campsites, tourist traps, restaurants and the general overall day goes in Microsoft word, also use power point for pictures and captions. Can send to family and friends as a slide show.

KEN LAILER
1 month ago

We keep a log book so to speak which is on a laptop computer. Weekly trips are listed as campground name and location with cost and site number.
Trips a month or longer is a different story. We use an excel spreadsheet and log campground name, location, dates stayed, total paid, and site number with a note if FHU or not. Separately we log our travel start & end, time & mileage along with fuel stops (price/gallon, number of gallons, & total cost). Grocery bill items and all repairs (truck or RV) are also calculated. I have each column tally individually then an overall total for entire trip.

Don
1 month ago
Reply to  KEN LAILER

Lordy, I wish I knew how to use Excel like that !!!

DL Jenson
1 month ago

We keep ours by the booth, usually one of us writes in it every night. so far 10 years worth of RV trips recorded. Fun to look back on.

Diane Mc
1 month ago

Since late 90’s. Started manually recording in a log book. Then made a sheet with categories which I filled manually. Early 2000’s started with Excel spreadsheet on laptop, now iPad. Two spreadsheets. First one is travel info. Depart date/time, mileage, location (city,state), arrival date/time name of RV park/site (can be Walmart, boondock spot, etc), mileage driven between the 2 points, comments. Fuel stops included with gals/price/mileage from last fuel stop/mpg. Second one is daily expenses: Breakfast/lunch/dinner out, fuel, RV park, food, fun, misc. Make comments about good places, bad places, sites to request etc. It’s a trip down memory lane to go back. Helps to trigger things/places/restaurants we have forgot. Helps to see how long it took us to get from one place to another. As we have gotten older we drive less hours.

Diane Mc
1 month ago
Reply to  Diane Mc

Side note. Husband has journal his grandmother kept when they went camping. Very special.

CeeCee
1 month ago

I keep a travel log on my iPad, which I usually have with me. Right now, we are on a car trip across the US. I am making notes on places to stay, go, or avoid when we come this way again in the MH. We like to scout out BLM and other areas that are suitable to dry camp and note the places where we can safely go.

David Ozanne
1 month ago

I keep log in my computer. Works great. Will add some things from what this article
suggests.

Dr4Film
1 month ago

I send out a daily Travel Blog Update using email to over 70 family and friends anytime we are on the road using our coach. I have each one saved in an Outlook Folder. Using email allows me to attach multiple photos, Google Map locations, etc. I started it so my immediate family could keep track of us as we traveled Full-Time around the country for over 8 years. Now that we are Part-Time RVer’s we continue to do it whenever we are out and about in our coach.

Dawn Shindledecker
1 month ago

We have been keeping a running journal complete with photos using Microsoft Word for eight years and an Excel spreadsheet for all expenses. Works very well for us. We have also created our websites to share campsites we’ve been to, a restaurant map and recently added favorite repair businesses using Google maps. For those who don’t remember where they have been Google maps has a handy timeline when activated shows every where you’ve been.

Glenda Alexander
1 month ago

I’m with you, Dawn. I’ve been keeping my trip journals in Word since 2006 (when I started traveling) and posting them on my blog at http://www.mytripjournal.com. I’ve been using Excel longer than that. I also label all my photos and save them in folders under the appropriate year. This makes it very easy when I want to do searches. I save all this information on external hard drives and thumb drives. (I learned the hard way to keep records in more than one place!) Sometimes I go back and re-live those experiences.

Bugsy
1 month ago

We keep a log. I don’t usually fill in directions or cost other than campground pricing unless it is something that needs more detail like hard to find boondocking. Always list favorite sites and weather. Over 30 years in our book. Has been fun lately to look back and remember.

Don
1 month ago

I keep a logbook of all our travels, and note important events like who we visited at a certain place and/or what broke and was repaired on the coach. I also summarize the miles traveled and nights on the road each year on the anniversary of our buying the rig, and a running total at the bottom of the sheet. I do it on an excel spreadsheet, and update it on a regular basis. I don’t need another notebook floating around in the rig…

volnavy007
1 month ago

We keep track, on paper, of the date, locations (from and to), and the mileage. There are specifications for the running gear (axles and wheels) on the travel trailer that need the mileage data.

Bob p
1 month ago

We started keeping a log of the campgrounds we’ve been to with a form I believe we got here. As time went by we quit as we always found reason(s) to make a mental note we were not coming back there again. Most of the time it was due to a staff members attitude. i.e. the last one we stayed at in FL the permanent resident in charge of activities had his pick of who could set up crafts. Our daughter is into crafts big time and displayed her crafts once they set up. Other campers saw her display and inquired about learning to make them so she tried to set up a class of interested people but the activities director said no. A week later another regular snowbird arrived and she was allowed to do what our daughter wasn’t. We won’t return!

Donna
1 month ago

I keep a log in a book called “Adventures – My Road Trip Journal” by Write It Down! I actually bought this at a quilt show of all places! It has everything I need/want to write including mileage, sights, gas prices, etc., and a whole page for notes.

TIM MCRAE
1 month ago

Wish this was a survey.

Most commentors do keep a log. I do not (maybe I wish I had).

I was told at 17 to write a diary – I was lazy and did not. That habit has served me well 🙂.

I let technology keep my log. I have multiple apps that record distance, time & location and expenses for service & tax purposes.

With chagrin I allow google to spy on my location because I am addicted to the Timeline history for remembering our travels.

Not sure if I can upload a pic or map. Maybe a link? I get a kick out of seeing all the places we have been. Hmmmm? Try this :-

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fH0efHu0aXwOUYpmsaJ15gl3GZeWHW3r/view?usp=drivesdk

Last edited 1 month ago by TIM MCRAE
suzanne
1 year ago

I have kept a very short log for years. I buy one of those calendars from WalMt. with the empty squares. I squeeze in there where we spent the night, maybe the weather and other pertinent things for the day. I also like to take a back page and put our stops in a column of just the town or area, free spot or not, gas $/area, etc. for that day. I can take a real quick look to see our route for that trip. A page-by-page journal is too hard to find what I am looking for quickly. We don’t take pictures much anymore either, not like when we started camping in 1970. We hold the memories in our brains (haha). Recently I went back through all my calendars and typed out the info on the computer. Oh, it was so organized! When I went back to print it sometime later, it was gone. I can’t find it! No techno-wizard here.

Walt Sinkhorn
1 year ago

Since retiring 7 years ago my wife & I have traveled to 45 of the Continental United States. Of course we both decided to create our own travel logs. I would write mine in a traditional ringed notebook, while my wife put her adventures in her I-pad. Early on during our 1’st three month journey, we decided to compare notes. We always visited sites & attractions together, but our interpretations were sometimes entirely different. We would read our entries to each other at the end of the day and she would look at me and say “Did you visit the same place as I did?” We would both get a laugh out of each others comments. MJ would see flowers on the mountain hillside & I would see big rocks. Or when dining, MJ would describe the succulent vegetables & tender grilled Chicken and I just ate a big meal. We did at least agree on the places we visited. Happy Trails………. Walt

Don N Oregon
1 year ago

I have kept a log book with millage, fuel amount oil changes etc since i owned a vehicle. I also write my Journal each day as to what we did, saw, enjoyed and dislike. Also who we met, and where. Like others have said i can go back and find when I last saw my Dr or other medical situations.
My dad started a journal in 1935 to the end of his life in 2004. it was all in long hand and I typed it all into my computer and and made copies for my daughters. i am doing the same for our life experiences.

Matt C
1 year ago

For much of my existence, I have had a name tag that said “Navigator”, so keeping a running log is second nature. What I had not expected when we got the coach as that so much would become a blur after just a decade of exploring the country. What I had to do since, is go back and put an executive summary at the beginning of each excursions entry. If you don’t then when you go back to look for when you were at Crazy Horse, was that with the Yellowstone or the Mt. Rushmore??

Matt

John M
1 year ago

I always keep some sort of travel log Not only for miles and gas, but campgrounds, and maps of the campgrounds to remind me where I stayed and what site I was in as well as the condition of the park.

Steven M Jenkins
1 year ago

My wife keeps a paper bound log, and I keep an online blog. Recently had Blog2Print turn it into large color books for future reading.