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Reader explains the best driving-to-camping ratio rule

By Gail Marsh
I’ve learned so much from you, our readers! One of the best tips (for me) came from reader Snayte. He wrote:

“I have developed a rule that works pretty well for us for weekend or extended weekend trips. One night stay for each hour of driving.”

Isn’t that a great guideline to follow? Some RVers can take their rig for long, extended vacations. Others can’t afford to take time off from work or other obligations. Their RV experience is limited to shorter campground stays. In any case, the majority of folks who RV want their “time away” to be fun and relaxing. That’s hard to do if you feel as if you rush to the campground, frantically set up, and in a blink of an eye, it’s time to hitch up and make that long trek home. Our reader solved that problem with what I’ve dubbed “One-to-One RVing”.

Here’s how this tip works (according to our reader):

“If the campground is 3 hours away we make it a 3-day weekend, 4 hours for 4 days and so on.”

My hubby and I have tried this rule. We wholeheartedly agree with our reader, who explained the rationale for this idea:

“It really helps combat that ‘Gee, we just got here!’ feeling. As the driver, I feel like I get some time to relax rather than spending much of my free time towing.”

Thanks, Snayte! And thanks to all our readers who take the time to add valuable information to our ongoing RV discussions. You are the best!

Related:

Be safe and happy every day with the 3/300 rule

Lonely Planet USA’s Best Trips (Travel Guide)

##RVDT1614

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pursuits712
4 months ago

Check-in and check-out times also figure into our calculations. There can be several hours’ difference from one park to another. That difference can mean a full afternoon of activities or supper-to-bedtime the first night.

Dave
4 months ago

I agree with the general concept, but traveling long distances for two or three months as we do, we’d never get there using that formula. For example, driving 300 miles per day to reach an 1,800 mile destination takes 6 days. We drive consecutive 6 days and build in resting days when we reach the destination.

I’m planning a two month trip to the SW US from the East coast to see lots of national parks and monuments spaced many miles apart. Believe me, planning towing and campgrounds is a very tedious process.

I see traveling for long distances for sightseeing a lot different than a single vacation campground destination.

Ray
4 months ago

Ours is we stop every 100 – 150+ miles or so, depending on what is within 50ish miles of the campsite. We can go longer or shorter. Using software, we look down the road ahead for RV parks as they tend to group around interesting areas. Then look at why they are there. Depending on how long we think it will take to see all the sites, we stay x number of days. Then we move on. Whatever works for you.

MrDisaster
4 months ago

Wow, the exception might be traveling across Montana. With this rule i might take a couple of weeks!

dcook
4 months ago

Great concept, thanks for sharing. I love hearing how people “create” tools like this and then seeing how I can use this to improve my experiences…thanks again!

WEB
4 months ago
Reply to  dcook

Do people not read?

It is funny how the majority did not read (or understand) what the writer was trying to pass on, I think you got it!
IT IS ONLY FOR WEEKEND TRIPS.

Andrea
4 months ago

Not practical for us at this point, since my husband won’t retire for a few more years, and we live and travel (mostly) in the 4 Corners States. Most of the places we go are 5-9 hours away. We seldom go for less than 3 or 4 nights, but even those are 5 or more hours away; most trips are 7-8 nights. There are a few places to explore a couple of hours away, but most are farther.
These days, we do try to keep it 7 hours or under, unless we’re going to a destination and staying put for at least a couple of days. Those 9 or 10 hour days are no longer fun, even when not towing.

Irv
4 months ago

My somewhat related rule is that 3-days is our minimum RV trip but most often a week or more.

It’s not worth the hassle of getting things ready and then put away for a 2 day trip.
• Moving temperature sensitive items (first aid kit, AA batteries, toiletries, etc.)
• Cleaning and greasing the weight distributing hitch
• Sanitizing and then draining the water system
• Checking/refilling Propane
• Clothes, Food
• Flushing the black water tank before storage
• Cleaning and restocking
• Closing up the house
• etc., etc.

Wayne R.
4 months ago

I’ve been using the 1 to 1 policy for the past 40 years. Also, the 4/4 rule: I never drive more than 4 continuous hours without a break, or more than 400 miles in a day. Anything more than this creates physical & mental stress.

Tommy Molnar
4 months ago

Our favorite “let’s pack and go” campground is about 20 minutes from home. Using this formula, we’d almost be gone the same day we got there . . . .

Also, when taking a much longer trip, we always figure out estimated time using 50mph as our base speed, even though 60mph is my usual driving speed. This takes in fueling stops, resting stops, and stops just for the sake of stopping.

Bob Palin
4 months ago

Not very practical in the west, I try to aim for 1 night per 100 miles but often cover 600 miles in the first two days to reach the place I want to go, where I spend a week before moving another 100 miles.

volnavy007
4 months ago

We do not use that ROT (Rule of Thumb) since we use the RV travel trailer to visit family and friends. A ROT we DO use is: Take the Google Maps time and multiply it by 1.25 for a more accurate route time for the trip since our max speed if 60 mph regardless of the posted speed limit.

Sink Jaxon
4 months ago
Reply to  volnavy007

Agree! Google maps time is completely inaccurate! Especially for longer trips. It’s calculated by exact mph over distance with no accounting for fill ups, human/dog breaks or food breaks etc. We add half again as much and feel good if we make it in THAT time! LOL!

Todd
4 months ago

Wow, I guess this works for the writer, but we would never get anywhere if we used the rule. For weekend trips we use the thought that if we leave by early afternoon on a Friday, we need to be there for dinner or a bit earlier. Leaving on Sunday, by checkout time of around 1:00, need to be home by dinner. Our typical weekend trip is a 2-3 hour run.

Roger V
4 months ago

Nope, definitely not for us. If there’s something interesting to see or do, we might stop for two nights. There’s too much to see out in this great country though, and we’re in our 60’s now. No telling how much time we’ve got left to see it!

Dan
4 months ago

Hmm? If that rule (opinion) works for the author that’s fine. Sometimes, it’s as much the journey as the destination. Especially when we go somewhere new. When we travel we enjoy not having a schedule. On the other hand one of our favorite places is about two hours from home, including a stop for gas and odd bits we needed for our three day stay. I guess I’m a rule breaker because I enjoy catsup on hot dogs as well as mustard.

Jesse W Crouse
4 months ago
Reply to  Dan

Finally someone who also likes “catsup” on a dog, but hold the mustard. We trial our dogs and have a definite schedule arrival time. Gone on 10 hour drives to get there in a day so we can start early with the dogs.

Bob P
4 months ago

The tip only works for short trips, I.e. when we go to FL for the winter it’s usually a 7-9 hr trip which we split into 2-3 driving days of about 4 hrs each at which time we find a RV friendly Walmart. If we used your theory they would get tired of us sitting in their lot for 4 days. Lol

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