Make Your Own Rules for RV Travel Map

Now that you have your RV, you want to start documenting your travels.

That’s where the RV travel maps come in. You can add a picture, a sticker, or scratch off when you’ve been to each state during your travels.

But what are the rules for when you mark a state off? Let’s discuss.

Rules for RV Travel Maps by RV Tailgate Life with a picture of the southeast United States and Alabama being scratched off

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Tell The Story of Your RV Travels

RVers love to tell stories. And what better way to tell stories than with maps and pictures?

That’s one reason that RV travel maps are so popular among RVers.

At a quick glance, you can tell how far and wide an RVer travels. It’s a great way to get people talking – why did you go to that state? What happened there? What did you love or hate about it and would you go back?

Hey, at least it isn’t another poop story! (or maybe it is)

But one of the big discussions in the RV world is… when do you count a state?

Make Your Own Rules for your RV Travel Map!

There are no hard and fast rules. Just like with so much of the RV life, you can make it up as you go.

Each person or family can have their own rules and they don’t have to match mine.

Some common rules that you see people use are:

  • The state was a destination. You set off to go to that state and spend some time there. You stayed at an RV campground, boondocked, or moochdocked for a weekend or longer. You eat at restaurants, get gas, see some local sites.
  • You spend time there. Even if the state wasn’t your destination, maybe you spent some time there. Made some memories. Have an interesting story to tell.
  • You pass through. Some people count a state if their RV rolls even one tire in the state. After all, it is documenting where the RV has been.

Others may even document where they got out of the RV or stepped foot on the ground coming out of the RV door. Or maybe where you got gas or used the bathroom (Hey, I could count Mississippi if that’s included!)

Some people only count a state if they had a beer in or near the RV.

Or maybe it’s one of those “I know it counts when it counts.”

Do You Count Overnight Stops?

On a long trip, you may have to pass through several states. If you aren’t stopping, a lot of people won’t count the state.

But long trips may also need to be broken down into several days. That means you might need to stay somewhere overnight.

Do you count sleeping in a campground or even a Walmart parking lot as being in the state?

Personally, I don’t count those.

What If I Go Without My RV?

Some people use the travel maps as a history of their own travels, not just the RV’s travels.

If you count travel without your RV, you may be able to add Hawaii to the list! Because it is unlikely that most people get to add Hawaii to where their RV has gone.

Does the Map Go With the RV or the Owner?

Here is another question that you might want to answer: does the map belong to the RV or the owner?

I think the question is what are you documenting? Where you have been or where the RV has been? Kind of like the question above about what if you go somewhere with your RV, this question has some nuance.

Many of us will get an RV and then get a new one later. Are you going to transfer the map or start over?

If you’ve been at this awhile, it may be nice to start over and see how fast or slow you cover the United States. Once you’ve filled up one map, do you want to just leave it or do you want to start a new map?

That’s why when I moved from my Starter RV (1990 Winnebago Chieftan) to my current RV (2017 Tiffin 34PA), I started a brand new RV travel map.

Some people will leave the map on the RV when they sell it. But don’t be surprised, or even offended, when the new owners remove that map.

Because many (I would even venture to guess most) want to document where they went in the RV, not where the RV has been in its life.

The RV Tailgate Life Rules For Counting A State

Since I’m all about the experiences, I only count a state if it was my destination or something really memorable happened during a stop. Obviously, anywhere that I go for a football game in the RV is going to count on my map.

So are camping trips and several moochodocking trips.

But here’s a common scenario: I typically will set off late in the week for a football game. Usually Thursday or Friday, depending on how far away it is. Let’s say that I am heading to Penn State up there in Pennsylvania for one of their White Out games.

From Atlanta, I have to go through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland to end up in Pennsylvania.

RV Tailgate Life with RV flags flying at Oak Plantation RV Resort in Charleston, South CarolinaNow, I’ve already marked off Georgia (duh!), South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. But I haven’t been to West Virginia, Maryland or Pennsylvania just yet.

Once I arrived at Penn State and setup the tailgate, that’s the destination and I would mark it off on the map.

But what about West Virginia and Maryland?

I don’t count just driving through as enough to mark off the state on my list.

I might have to make a stop during that trip for gas, food, or to sleep. Still, it is likely that I don’t go far beyond the interstate – I’ll find a Walmart spot to stay at. That I still don’t count. Because that’s not experiencing what the area has to offer.

Now, if I have a Harvest Host to sleep in overnight, that will usually involve a cool brewery or winery, including some adult beverages. Those stops will generally get added to my list.

Also, as a blogger with Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, if I end up with new blog posts or at least social media posts, that’s a good indication that I can add the state to the list.

Finally, I only add states that the RV has gone. So if I travel somewhere without the RV, it doesn’t count and I don’t mark off the state.

My Favorite RV Travel Maps

This Watercolor Scratch-Off Map is the RV travel map that I picked for my RV. I liked the watercolor part that makes it look more like art than a map. That’s a personal preference though.

I added a simple black frame to hang it up in the RV so that it looks nice. I did take the glass out so that I can easily get to the map to scratch off new states without taking it down. It also saves a little on weight, which is good for the Command Strips that I used to hang it without adding holes to the wall.

If you are a National Park adventurer, then this Scratch Off Map may appeal more to you. It includes national parks and other landmarks that you can mark off when you visit.

If you want to show off pictures of your travels in a small space, then this U.S. Photo Map may be the one for you. It has easy to use templates to make cutting out the pictures so easy.

Don’t forget to get a frame to make your map look nice!

State Maps for Outside the RV

If you are going to add one to the outside of your RV, including a slide out, then you’ll want a high quality vinyl decal. I like the RV State Sticker Travel Map mostly because of the simplicity of the solid colors.

The red, white, and blue motif from this RV State Stickers also looks awesome on the side of the RV.

The Most Interesting Map

Rules for RV Travel Maps by RV Tailgate Life with a picture of the southeast United States and Alabama being scratched off with a quarterThe most interesting RV travel map is yours!

Each map is unique and tells a story. What does your map say?

Like these recommendations? Pin for later!

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