Monday, May 30, 2016

Google Maps Is Now A Good Way To Plan Your RV Travel

I have used many Google services over the last few years and in many cases they keep getting better and more relevant to RV Travel.  Way back when I only used paper maps and planned our RV trips on paper.  I would get out a tablet of paper and make entries for the days we would travel.  Later when computer maps came out I bought DeLorme maps first.  They worked pretty good and when I got the map CD it came with a gps that I plugged into my laptop and it would tell me where we were and give directions.

Delorme Map with Topo 
Next we used Microsoft Streets and Trips.  It was much easier to use than Delorme.  Then Trailer Life came out with a specialty RVing map software and we used that through several upgrades.  None were perfect, but I did like the Trailer Life program as it did a lot of things related to RV travel well.  And a key to all of these systems is that you could save the maps and add points of interest and RV campgrounds.

I started getting Garmins about 8 years ago.  My wife bought me one for Christmas.  It was amazing how good they were at helping you find places.  Web maps then wiped out all the software CD systems.  Microsoft finally discontinued Streets and Trips about 2 years ago.  And smartphones are now used by most to find places.

Google Maps have been very good for a long time, in general.  But you could not easily use them to plan a trip with.  I tried a number of times.  Several years ago they added the ability to add points of interest and campgrounds, but to me it was still a hard system to use.  Now Google Maps can save your trips and easily add layers with both points of interest and campgrounds to the same map.  So for this summers very extensive trip I have put all of it on a Google map.

I switched to using the Apple calendar about 8 months ago after years of using the Google Gmail calendar.  So I have not yet figured out how to integrate the dates on the Google Map for the trip.  But I am going to work on that for our Fall trip to the Balloon Fiesta in NM.  At this time I highly recommend using Google Maps to plan extensive trips.  And send me comments on how to integrate dates into the maps if that is something you know how to do.