Planning for a New Year of Camping

If I have learned anything over the past few years, planning annual camping trips can be both simple and complex.  If you plan to camp during peak holidays and seasons, it is best to get a jump on coveted spots now!  How far in advance do we make our campground reservations and plans?  For some trips, I make our reservations nearly a year away.  Today, I'm sharing some ideas for planning your 2022 camping adventures!

We just returned home from our final trip of 2021.  And, I am already planning for our end of year camping for 2022!  It is amazing how that all works.  I created two basic planning tools that I use. 

  1. Road Trip Planning Template - This is what I use for planning a singular long trip that involves multiple stops, etc.  It includes worksheets for planning each stop on your journey, meal planning, fuel costs and total trip costs.  You can plug in all of your information and see how much you spent as well as budget for your adventure as you go.
  2. Annual Camping Plans and Budget Template - This is my planning sheet for our annual camping trips throughout the year.  I have included worksheets for monthly camping trips, campground rating sheet, fuel and food costs sheets as well as a worksheet at the end that will automatically calculate everything at the end.

The first time you open either of these Google Sheets listed above, it will make a copy to your Google Drive.  This action will provide you with a clean sheet that you can use to your hearts content for planning!

Using a spreadsheet for planning your camping trips gives you the ability to keep track of all of your expenses, campsite numbers and confirmations, as well as any other information you want to have on hand.  I put Google Drive and Google Sheets onto my mobile device.  This gives me easy access on the road.  

I like to also see where we have gone and use this as a guide for planning from one year to the next.  I think about places we haven't been and would like to explore.  I look back at past year sheets to think about places I would like to revisit.  Its a simple way to reflect and plan in a way that allows us to travel with intention.

I make annual camping plans in three categories:
  • First, I plan for any peak holidays and seasons that we enjoy for camping.
  • Second, we have starting taking at least one long RV adventure a year.  This is a little more work and planning.  So, I plan for it separately in the Road Trip Planning Template referenced above.
  • Last, we always do a few local trips that are quick and easy to plan on the spur of a moment.  

Planning for Peak Holidays and Seasons

If there are holidays and seasons that you really want to ensure you get a site, you have to plan 11 to 12 months in advance.  We have already booked our Thanksgiving 2022 trip.  We did this on Thanksgiving day of 2021 to make sure we got the sites we wanted at the location we wanted.  This is true for beach trips and any other location that is popular for travel.

Every campground is different, it is wise to call ahead of time and find out the booking window for places that you have scoped out.  Make a note of it in your planning sheet.  Set a reminder on an electronic calendar if you need to.  But, find out what you need to do ahead of time to lock in your dates and reservations so you can take advantage of your holidays and travel time.

If places are fully booked online, what can you do?  First, I would call the campground to check about cancellations and other availability.  More that once we have called a place that appeared to be booked completely online had availability.  It never hurts to call.  Always do this.

Still booked?  Look for alternatives.  Check out places like Hip Camp and Harvest Hosts for places to stay.  And finally, maybe look for other locations and parks.  Maybe you can't get the place you exactly want but there might be a close second or alternative near by.  Be open to lots of options.  This will give you more opportunities to camp!

Planning for a Long RV Adventure

I start this planning nearly a year out as well.  I like research were we are going and make good decisions.  Ask in social media groups that you belong to about places you want to explore for recommendations.  I also have a camping map that links to places where we have camped and traveled.  I update this make regularly to include fun places to try next. 

If you plan to take a long RV trip, there are a few key things to remember.
  1. Determine the length of time that you can and want to travel.  This will give you some guidance on how long you can stay at each stop as well as how far it might be feasible for you to travel.
  2. Give yourself an end point or overall goal or where you want to go.  
  3. Plan your route and plan for stops along the way.  I recommend driving no further that 6 hours a day.  You can easily take 2 hours onto each 6 hour driving day because you will need to stop for fuel, food, restrooms and taking care of pets if you travel with them.  
  4. Consider your start time based on getting to your campground to set up each day that you are traveling.  Getting to the campground in the dark at the end of a long day is hard and tiring.  If you start early, you can drive and reach your campground at a reasonable time to get to bed and get some rest.  
  5. Don't make each day such a grind that you are exhausted at the end.  Plan for down time and down days.  We did this at the end of our winter trip and it made for a better trip home and returning to work afterwards.
  6. Do a little laundry on the way.  We do laundry about half way through a week long camping trip so that we can have clean towels and not have to pack so much stuff.  That is just me.  It is easy to do a load or two of laundry in the evening or morning at the campground.  
  7. Plan easy meals.  I like to have things for sandwiches like simple peanut butter and jelly.  I also freeze things ahead in my RV freezer so that I can pull these things out and cook at the campground.  I thaw it out during the day and cook it at night.  If you want to know what is in my RV Pantry, check out my post about that!
I love a long RV trip.  I don't want every trip we take to be a long journey with lots of stops, but it can be a lot of fun.  If you do this, just be committed to the fact that you are going to be doing multiple stops, set ups and take downs.  It has to be a team effort.  Give everyone a job to pitch in and help at each campsite when you are setting up and taking down.  It makes the work a lot more manageable.  Remember to take your time and enjoy it all.  

Adding Quick Local Trips

Not every trip is a long, winding adventure to a far away destination.  We do a first of the year campout every year in January at a local state park.  It is one of my favorite trips of the year.  We can arrive in 30 minutes.  It is a low key way to ease into the new year and take a break after the holiday hustle.  

I encourage any campers to look for close by spots like nearby campgrounds, state parks, Harvest Host locations and more.  These have been some our favorite trips because we can plug them into our schedule when we have the time and desire to go.  We do this for lake weekends and more.  

Adding local trips to our annual rotation means we camp more and see more things.  Our family has embraced these quick trips that involve little prep time and effort other than getting there and enjoying the time we have.  Quick trips don't have to be fancy.  They are for relaxing, unwinding and just making the most of our time as a family and with friends.


If you give yourself a variety of camping experiences and opportunities throughout the year, you will camp more.  Camping will be more enjoyable and relaxing.  Not every trip is some "wow" photo moment.  But, it is a memory worth making for us.  And that is all that counts.  Make the most of the time and opportunities that you have, and it will be a grand RV adventure every time.  

Until next time....happy camping...