I’ve been a Garmin Basecamp fan for some time since it’s free to Gamin GPS owners. Basecamp has been a pretty good mapping tool. One of the things I do like is I can take completed routes and load them directly to my device. When Jean Painter made the Facebook post on RV Trip Wizard I initially thought it was just another mapping tool but after reading some reviews and watching a YouTube review of the product I immediately saw it offered something I didn’t have.
In creating most of my new routes, at the end of each day’s travel, there are two things that are at the top of my list; have we travel 350 miles (+/-) and can we find a good campground. Following that, maybe find a Pilot/Flying J or something with truck islands and a good place to eat. After watching the review, I thought RV Trip Wizard offered this and more so I took the plunge and spent the 39.00 (yearly subscription) for this web-based product.
In my initial setup of the product, in upper right corner click on the gear ‘Account Settings’ then click on ‘Trip Preferences’. If you click on the ‘Driving’ option you can select ‘Hours Per Day’ or ‘Miles Per Day’. I choose miles per day option and put my normal 350 and then in the Inner Radius, I entered 100 and Middle Radius, I entered 300. (If you choose this mileage option the radius rings you will see on the main screen are for informational purposes only and have no effect on the route you create.) In the ‘Memberships & Favorites’ options, you can select your campground memberships. Then when I entered my starting location (Home), I saw a radius circle at 100 miles, another at 300 miles and a third at my 350 miles per day point. (These radius circles are ‘as the crow flies’ and not actual miles). Now select your favorite fuel and restaurant under the ‘POI’ menu option on the main screen. Now as you focus in on the third radius ring and start zooming in, you will see all these different places on your route start appearing. There are more options and preferences you will need to make to customize the tool to your liking.
Once you have selected your campground for the first night and added it to your route, you can now change the radius circle focus from Home to this campground by hovering over it on your route and click the ‘circles’ in the upper right corner of the campground title display. Repeat this process for each subsequent nightly stops until you’ve reached you destination.
Another helpful option is to set the max height of your coach. When you click on ‘Trip Preferences’ the first screen to display is ‘RV Info’. When I entered my height, I added 1 foot to give me a little cushion. So now when you start zooming in on your route you will start seeing yellow ‘diamond-shaped’ traffic height warnings pop up to give you warning of possible low-clearance.
I created a trip from home to Mission, Texas in about 1 hour. Then spend another hour fine tuning my route and finding out how to create a downloadable (.gpx) file for my Garmin device. To load the .gpx file to a Garmin, you will first need to have Garmin POI Loader tool installed.
Conclusion: I’m not a big fan of downloadable POI files since most are obsolete the day you down-load them. Since RV Trip Wizard is a web-based product, I believe you will always be getting the most updated POI’s available. I see RV Trip Wizard as just another tool in trip planning. Just like I use Google Earth to view new campground I’ve never been to before. I will probably continue to use Basecamp as my primary mapping tool because of the big volume of waypoints I’ve already established within Basecamp and the easy exporting of routes to my Garmin device. I will use RV Trip Wizard as a way of finding good campgrounds, fuel and restaurant stops for my route. Not sure at this point if I’ll renew my subscription to RV Trip Wizard after this year.