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Trip Planning Tools

PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:45 pm
by Louisd75
Ok, so everyone knows about Google Maps. It's handy, but it doesn't do everything. It's coming up on that time of year where a good chunk of the member trailers will be bedding down for the winter, which means it's the perfect time for trip planning. So, what tools do you use? Here's a couple of the ones I fall back on regularly.

So, let's say that you want to limit your driving time for whatever reason. Say the weekend is coming up and you want to go somewhere new within a couple hours of home. Or you've got your basecamp set up somewhere new and want to explore for the day. For my family, we've got kids and I know that they're good for about two hours of driving at a stretch, tops and I'm really pushing it if we try to drive more than four hours total in a day. lets you enter a start point and a driving time. It will then show you on the map where you could go within that time. I've found that it's a bit on the conservative side, especially if traffic is light. It does have a useful feature where you can add different color layers for different days of driving. For example, during my last trip we had a destination in mind and a week to kill but the in-between was up in the air. We could bomb down the highway, which would have gotten us there sooner, but really, who wants to do that? So I set a 3 hour radius, picked a campsite towards the edge of that radius, then plotted another 3 hour radius from the campsite, picked another campsite... etc til we got to our destination. It helped me find a route that I probably wouldn't have considered if I had just been using Google.

Are you a boondocker trying to get more info on an area? I'd like to point you towards It's handy in that it will let you compare two different maps side by side in two panes that scroll and zoom together instead of having to flip between Google Map or Satellite view. It also has different maps available, though not all of the overlays are functional anymore. It's fun to play around with, especially with the different topo maps and the satellite view.

The other big one that I use is the DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer for whatever state I'm passing through. They also have the distinct advantage of not needing power or cell signal to use. I mark mine up with notes as we find interesting places to check out. I recently loaned my Washington state one to a friend who's been boondocking the PNW since the 70's and he marked it up with some good spots that he goes back to regularly.

So what about you? Any trip planning tools that you've found useful?

Re: Trip Planning Tools

PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:30 am
by RJ Howell
For some reason the Hillman link wouldn't work..

That's a nice add to the arsenal!

I'm still a fan of Allstays to get me into an area with some knowns of places to basecamp. I've been working with GAIA for 2-3months now and really starting to like it. The more I use GAIA, the more I find that can be used and how. Bit of a learning curve though..

iOverlander is another of the 'free' maps that at first I didn't give much attention to. Then I explored it one day and found two more spots in an area I frequent that were new to me.

Re: Trip Planning Tools

PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:02 am
by swoody126
in the past we used 800 information(1-800-555-1212 i wonder if it even still exists) for areas/states/attractions we wanted to visit

for Texas a good number used to be 1-800-888-8TEX

once / year the Ft Worth newspaper would publish a section targeting travel and vacationing

it had a map of major towns in Texas on top of page 1 and a map of the states just below it(my current/last copy is dated early spring/february of 1995)

call the "800" number and they'd send you a huge pkt of travel related information AND MAPS based on the answers you gave to the questions they asked

the pkt would show up in short order and then LET THE PLANNING BEGIN

nowadayz all this is done via the http://www.interweb & giggle(Google) queries

i just giggled/queried "texas travel guide" and the results were stagering

the offers of booklets n maps seemed never ending

virtually every state/county/area and even many towns(large n small) WANT you to come visit and they'll flood your mail(snail & in) box w/ stuff

stuff to entice you to come see their sights spending time n money w/ their peoples & businesses & attractions

as the kids get older and begin reading these advertising materials can be shared w/ them so they can be part of the planning experience and have a BUY IN for the adventure

clear off the dining room table or better yet move the furniture aside and spread out on the livingroom floor

maps n books n brochures and a hand full of colored markers(translucent)...

each kid(young n old) gets a special colour to mark personal points of interest that can be planned into this or future adventures

once the kids buy in to an adventure their attention span expands( based on experiences w/ our own and my junior high students when planning field studies/adventures)

get/make a set of front seat slip covers w/ pocket(s) on the back for the kids to keep their adventure guides(maps brochures leaf guides bird guides foot print guides fish guides rock formation guides...) in

they and you too can read hard copy while running down the road or stopped in a roadside park w/o wi-fi

now that our darling is an AARP member and the granddarlings are up n off on their own tangents we just try to keep up ...

one hint i might share for involving kids in sight seeing/adventures is to have them do rubbings of historical markers and grave stones of famous folks

i kept an end roll of news print paper(usually free from the local news paper office) and some sidewalk chalk handy in the car/truck/school bus and when we'd come onto a marker or stone we'd get out and do a rubbing of it

innyone can snap a pic on their cell phone(or steal a pic from the interweb) for show n tell butt having a rubbing to show and tell about validates the trip

have them create/keep a folder w/ rubbings(art supply stores have big ones)

some elementary junior and middle school teachers will give bonus points to students who produce rubbings rather than print-outs offin their home computer ;-)

and every time you cross into another state stop at the visitor's center and load up on their offerings

YEPPERZ i'm still an old hard copy kinda guy


Re: Trip Planning Tools

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:42 pm
by squire
I like "trip planner" on . Pick your destination and how far off the route you are willing to travel to camp and choose free or pay (or both).

Re: Trip Planning Tools

PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:07 pm
by Modstock
I usually spend a good winter 6 months if not more planning our spring trips. Exploring other routes OR camping sites, things to do, off-roading, ect.
I've always used a good map book but have used Google maps but learned not to rely on it.

One thing I do is make sure I have a spot reserved before leaving.
I dont like driving all day and then having to search for a spot that may or may not be there.

Sometimes things change also.
Last year we were planning a goblin valley trip. Looked into campsites and they were all booked during the spring well into the hot season.
So for giggles I looked into Yellowstone and then had spots reserved for a week before I knew it.

Sent from my H1611 using Tapatalk

Re: Trip Planning Tools

PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 11:15 am
by tony.latham
I'd like to point you towards It's handy ...

I like that.

Generally, I find a potential campsite (or route) on Google Earth on my computer and then flip over to another tab to Gaia GPS and drop a waypoint at that location. That will give me the same waypoint on my phone and iPad. For areas without cell service, you can download the maps on your device. Lots of different map layers. (For the full Gaia feature, it's $20 a year which includes public land overlays which is a big deal.)

When we hit southern Utah this last spring for three weeks, I created a waypoint at each campsite and linked a photo. Those waypoints are filed in my Gaia account and it'll be easy to find those camps in the future.




Re: Trip Planning Tools

PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:45 pm
by Modstock
I have a question y'all might be able to help me out with.
How old is the Google maps images ?

I have a spot I've been wanting to check out to see if this train is still there but when I drove out there it was gone.
Is Google earth (or something else) more up to date ?
I'd like to see if they moved it OR if it is really gone.

Sent from my H1611 using Tapatalk

Re: Trip Planning Tools

PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:19 pm
by tony.latham
I have a question y'all might be able to help me out with.
How old is the Google maps images ?

It depends. Where I live, I'm looking at 2014. It's at the bottom of the screen. They update those areas with higher populations more often than out here in the boondocks.

With Apple Maps, at least for my area, the satellite pics are newer.


Re: Trip Planning Tools

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:44 am
by Louisd75
Modstock wrote:I have a question y'all might be able to help me out with.
How old is the Google maps images ?

I have a spot I've been wanting to check out to see if this train is still there but when I drove out there it was gone.
Is Google earth (or something else) more up to date ?
I'd like to see if they moved it OR if it is really gone.

Sent from my H1611 using Tapatalk

Tony is spot on, urban areas definitely get updated more. Something else to try is zooming. I've seen on both Google and Bing maps that sometimes a different level of zoom uses different satellite imagery.

Bing used to have a great feature called bird's eye view, which was aerial photography done as though you were looking out of an airplane window. It gave a much better view of what was on the ground and you could usually rotate it, sadly that appears to be a feature that they don't use anymore.