Use An App: Easily Plan A Road Trip With Camping Overnights
You plan a road trip. You pick out your must-see points, trace a route, figure out how many miles you’ll be driving and how much it’s going to cost.
These days, to get all of that, you’ve likely made your way around a relevant planner app or two. Certainly Google or Apple Maps. This post will up the ante and show how to integrate campground information with an itinerary.
Without going bonkers.
Why exactly would we want to up an ante and get fancier with the tech?
To solve a BIG PROBLEM for limited-budgeters looking for cheapskate overnights.
To the point: low-cost camping
How do you locate suitable wallet-respecting campgrounds and coordinate them with your driving plan? So you don’t get stuck with expensive options when you’re en route and ready to put in for the night?
Taking impressive advantage of your National Park Senior Pass?
And do it without a whole lot of hassle, mathematics, mind-numbing jiggle of figures?
Integrate 2 related apps when you plan a road trip, long or short.
This post will sketch out how the Ultimate Public Campground Project App (UPC) and the Road Trip Planner App (RTP) can be combined.
These apps are great on their own. They are genius together.
RTP makes itineraries and maps; UPC shows every public campground in the US (there is a Canada module as well).
The campgrounds you select can be linked to your itinerary, reflecting times, dates, campground specifics. Your entire journey organized for you. It can be adjusted on the fly.
#First, take some time to prep
Read up, since this post is the 4th in a series, in this order:
So where were we in our planning?
Organizing a trip from Denver to Las Vegas through southern Colorado and Utah.
The Road Trip Planner App is managing the itinerary and maps.
We allocated nights for camping at each point, but we hadn’t yet decided exactly where those nights would be spent.
#Find the right campground
We’ll use the UPC to choose campgrounds. Just as we did in the previous posts.
For the purpose of this review, we’ll focus on the two nights we set aside to camp at Great Sand Dunes National Park.
We discover, alas, per the UPC, that there’s only one campground at Great Sand Dunes.
The lack of toilets might require serious investigation, but no matter. 8000+ feet elevation? No thank you, the altitude will make it sick-city.
Nearby federal alternatives?
There aren’t a whole lot of options close to Great Sand Dunes, either, per the UPC. Ever willing to try, we click on every federal campground we see anywhere close, but they’re all too isolated for comfort.
Bite the bullet
We decide we’ll have to plunk down the $$$ for a night and stay at one of the several state campgrounds in that part of Colorado.
(If you’re not familiar with state campground costs compared with federal campgrounds, read Location, Location: Public Campground Savvy For Adventuring Seniors).
Arkansas Point shows up on the UPC map. Let’s try that.
Bummer if the bathroom isn’t under construction and the campground is closed for the time being. Clearly, that’s a no-go.
Lathrop State Park. All kinds of stuff there, and it’s cheaper than Arkansas Point. It’s only an hour or so from the USAFA where we’ll be spending the night before with old friends, but that’s not a deal breaker.
#Click to place the chosen campground (Lathrop) on the RTP itinerary
Now we’re working with the Road Trip Planner for itinerary and mapping.
RTP redraws the map, re-numbers the pins, calculates times, and changes the dates to reflect our camping choice.
See that little tent on the map? That’s Lathrop.
Here’s a partial itinerary corresponding to the map:
Check out the dates and times….
With a projected 11:45 am arrival at Lathrop, we can squeeze in some must-have exercise—hike, fishing,golf?—instead of merely lounging around the camp site.
And we’ve scheduled to get on the road earlier than usual so we can spend part of the day at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and then move on for the night.
8 am departure from Lathrop. Then 3 1/2 hours at Great Sand Dunes. That should do it.
Fun, here we come….
#New decisions needed
As we anticipated, we’re a day early at Black Canyon
Because we nixed one of the nights at Great Sand Dunes.
So do we do 4 nights or stick with 3 at Black Canyon?
Decisions. We’ll keep to 3 and throw Hovenweep National Monument into the mix later in the trip. Add the pin, RTP re-calibrates the trip. Problem solved.
Here’s the schedule now:
Heavens to Betsy…
#Plan change already
We head on out on our trip from Denver and everything goes to plan. Not for long….
We get to Lathrop State Park, and it’s way too fun for a minor dawdle. We are veritably giddy with the whole experience.
On the spur of the moment, we shell out for 2 nights instead of just one. We’ll make up the budget difference somewhere with a picnic instead of a diner meal and scrap the detour for homemade pie.
Back to the Road Trip Planner
Bye bye Hovenweep
You’re willing to sacrifice your visit to Hovenweep for that extra night at Lathrop. That’s what priorities are about.
Delete Hovenweep. That’s what the Delete key is for.
Change the dates, keep the times
You like the times on your Schedule #3; you just need the dates adjusted. So you add the extra Lathrop night and lock the time in the conveniently-provided popup box.
And see that Auto-update button? You change one item on the itinerary, and the RTP reschedules everything ON THE FLY.
When you’re done…
Ding, ding ding!
Clap of gleeful hands at the prospect of your new trip, and here’s what you have:
Now we can use UPC to figure out campgrounds for the remaining nights on our trip and recalibrate the schedule in a few seconds with the RTP.
Plan a road trip with trial and error made easy
The glory of this? You can re-schedule your entire trip coordinated with campgrounds. Even a long trip. You can fiddle, mess about, check for campground reservations, make new decisions about where to spend your nights (maybe according to such variables as altitude, remoteness, and your budget), and get the Road Trip Planner to reconfigure the whole trip. In no time at all.
And there are plenty more features….
Plan a road trip photo credits. Featured image, Laptop and maps:
©DustyCarMuddyBoots.com, All Rights Reserved. Postcard, Greetings from Denver Colorado: CC BY 2.0 by Boston Public Library via Flickr. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park: Public Domain by NPS. Horseshoe Lake at Lathrop State Park: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Gena Montgomery via Flickr. Bonkers Sign (edited), Limerick – Bonkers: CC BY-SA 2.0 by William Murphy via Flickr.
All others, screenshots from Road Trip Planner App and the Ultimate Public Campground Project. Please consult the Modesitt website for detailed information about their apps.