Planner or freelancer, which will it be? That’s a question I come across fairly often, and I’ve written about it before. Should a fulltimer create a travel calendar, make reservations, and follow a schedule? Or should a fulltimer go with the flow, setting sail in the morning, not worrying about where they will spend the night till closer to the end of each day? I think there’s room for individuality on both sides of this issue (and certainly some compromises to be made on either side). A lot, though, depends on your travel style and budget.
If you don’t mind a bit of uncertainty and enjoy the adventure of dropping anchor in an unknown port, freelancing can be a lot of fun. You’ll have some misadventures along the way, especially if you try to be a pure freelancer who doesn’t even plan for summer holiday weekends. However, that will become part of your story. After all, there’s most often a Walmart or a grocery store in the area that allows overnight parking. Also, people who like to boondock on public lands are especially suited for freelancing.
Other than the boondockers, though, freelancers often end up paying more than their planning counterparts. There are some great camping deals out there, but they generally go to planners who research campgrounds in an area and make advance reservations, sometimes months in advance. For people on a tighter budget this is a bigger deal that it is for others.
Planning has it’s advantages but lacks the spontaneity some people associate with the RVing lifestyle. Still, many of us simply enjoy working with maps and researching – looking for the perfect campsite and the best route to get there. They are able to land in some of the more popular spots on busy weekends. Such travel is generally easier on the expense sheet; not only because you aren’t at the mercy of the campground owner who has the last available spot in the area but also because you tend to travel point to point rather than wandering between undetermined destinations.
If you’re on vacation, you most likely want to be a planner. No one wants to waste precious vacation camping nights parked at a truck stop. I think fulltimers are more likely to be planners, although there are a lot of fulltime freelancers out there. Even then, though, most fulltimers make reservations for holidays, planning to arrive early and then stay on a day or two after all the poor weekenders have to return to the daily grind. Even fulltimers who do a lot of freelancing tend to set a few hard dates and then freelance between them.
Fulltimers, more than most people, tend to march to the beat of their own drummer so there’s lots of wiggle room on this one. Really, there’s no right or wrong way to do it – just “your way.”