Do you keep a travel log?

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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 knicknacks” 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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suzanne

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Julia Reed

Kept a journal for the years that we traveled. When we could no longer “full-time” the journal was put in storage with other books and eventually thrown out. Now, many years later, I wish I had put it on a CD or thumb drive because it would be so much fun to relive our journeys.

97TJ

Pretty good idea. We’re only vacationers right now and only keep records for fuel and campgrounds we like or don’t like but when we retire, we’ll start a more detailed journal or log book either paper or electronic.

Don

I keep my logs on an Excel spreadsheet. I had one for the 5th wheel that we pulled for 7 years, and started a new one when we “graduated” to a 40′ Coach 4 years ago. Not only is it a great way to keep records of our trips, but it’s easy to search and the perfect way to answer a question about “when were we here before?” And – it keeps an ongoing total of miles driven and nights on the road, so no manual calculating needed…

Martin

We have been keeping a written journal of our RV travels for more than 32 years. It was just a continuance of keeping a logbook from our boating days, which back then required radio logs of all conversations. As others have mentioned, we do look back and reminisce, especially on those slow rainy, cold days. Even now, if we will have a particularly action-packed day we look at one another and say, “well, this is one for the journal!”

Linda

I save campgrounds to Google Maps you can add notes to it such as cost and site number. Also I have my log in Evernote. This has been very helpful over the years.

littleleftie

When we scout out or randomly find a nice campground, whether or not we actually stay there on that trip, we mark it down. I used to write right on my map, but over time, it always seemed that the exact spot I wanted to see was right where the map folded and ripped. LOL But it is a great idea to keep something of a diary or log….I like paper and am much happier when I write it down as opposed to logging something electronically.

Gigi L Raygor

To me the best part of keeping the log is that when I read them years down the road I remember things I had forgotten about. It brings the trips back again.