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What is the RV 2/2/2 Rule?

Many RVers utilize the 2/2/2 rule when traveling. Using this rule can help eliminate many of the negatives that can spring up naturally when you’re on the road.

However, many new RVers haven’t learned what the 2/2/2 rule is all about.

Are you looking for an easy way to improve your travel days? If so, keep reading!

The RV 2/2/2 Rule

The 2/2/2 rule is one of the easiest ways to maintain a positive traveling environment, so you’re not grumpy when you arrive at your destination. More importantly, it’ll keep you safer and more alert.

Below we break down what each “2” means.

Remember, this rule doesn’t work for everybody. However, anyone can take pieces of it and apply them the their travels for a better RV experience.

Drive No More Than 200 Miles a Day

While you and your fellow travelers might feel capable of covering huge distances, it’s not ideal. This is especially true if you’re planning consecutive travel days. Driving more than 200 miles in a day can be exhausting for passengers and drivers alike.

By limiting your drives to no more than 200 miles in a day, you keep things manageable. A shorter distance means less time on the road and more time adventuring and relaxing. This is particularly important for full-time travelers, especially families.

This tenant is one of the easiest to break in the 2/2/2 rule.

PRO TIP: Here are the secrets of finding great overnight parking spots.

If you do have to break this rule, know the limits of your fellow travelers and never drive when you’re overtired. It’s better to stop and take a break than to get into an accident.

Larry from the Brazen Brits says, “When starting out, we were so excited to keep moving and discovering new places that we were traveling 6-7 hours at a time. Not only is that a very tiring travel day, we missed out on some cool places. For some reason we thought that the further we drive, the greater the reward.

It turns out that actually, the shorter travel days are normally much more rewarding.”

Stop for a Break Every Two Hours

Another piece of the 2/2/2 rule is to find a place to pull over every two hours. Whether it’s to fuel up your tow vehicle, stretch your legs, or go to the restroom, these stops can make for a much smoother trip.

Use this time as an opportunity to eat snacks, get meals, or top off your fuel tank. Managing your time during these breaks can help avoid unnecessary stops later in the trip.

And, by all means, don’t eat junk food at a gas station. Be prepared with snacks that’ll refuel you!

Pro Tip: Here are the best snacks for a road trip.

OR Be in Your Campsite by 2 P.M.

One of the most frustrating circumstances in RVing is pulling into your campsite in the dark. Not only is it more challenging, but the campground has likely filled up already. To avoid this, plan to arrive at your campsite by 2 p.m. (or as early as you can if check-in is later) and give yourself time to enjoy the evening.

Getting to your campsite at a reasonable time allows you to settle down after traveling. You’ll be able to get a great night’s sleep and prepare for the next day.

If you’re driving again the next day, you’ll be more rested and ready.

Truly, this is our #1 personal rule. Even if we’re driving 800 miles in a day, we start early so we can arrive before sunset.

Stay at Least Two Nights in Each Place

The hitching and unhitching process can be draining. When you combine that with the weariness brought on by traveling, you have the perfect storm of exhaustion. One way to avoid this is to stay for at least two nights at each stop.

This is another section of the rule that RVers break frequently. Sometimes getting to your destination means staying only one night before hitting the road the next day. If that’s the case, make the most of the time you have and get plenty of rest.

Try to see a local point of interest or hike a trail to burn off some of the pent-up energy from traveling all day.

An Alternative: The 3/3/3 Rule

There is an alternative rule, which is the 3/3/3 rule. This rule serves the same purpose as the 2/2/2 rule, but instead of 200 miles, two hours or 2 p.m., and staying for at least two nights, it’s three. So you shouldn’t travel more than 300 miles, stop every three hours, and stay at least three nights.

Whichever rule you pick, just make sure to communicate with your family or those traveling with you. When your fellow travelers know what to expect, it makes for a much smoother and more enjoyable traveling experience.

Danny Spain of the YouTube Channel RV America says, “We follow the “Rule of 3″.We travel no more than 300 miles in a day. We always try to arrive by 3pm. No one wants to set up in the dark. And we never travel that hard for more than 3 days in a row. No need to get that tired.”

Benefits of Following the 2/2/2 Rule

Having a clear set of rules to follow while traveling has a few benefits. Let’s take a look at why you might want to follow this guidance.

Prevent RV Driving Burnout

Towing while tired can be incredibly dangerous. In 2019, drowsy driving caused 697 deaths in the U.S. As excited as you are to get to your next adventure, you won’t make it if you fall asleep at the wheel.

Driving for hours upon hours can slow decision-making and reaction times. If you can alternate drivers regularly, then do it. Having a fresh set of eyes and ears behind the wheel improves safety. If you’re too tired to drive, find a safe place to pull over and sleep.

Keep in mind: Traveling too fast can cause an RV tire blowout.

Makes Travel Days Less Stressful

Travel days can be incredibly stressful, especially if you’re traveling with children. Someone is always hungry, has to use the restroom, or needs to charge a device. Having breaks built into the schedule can make your trip much less harrowing.

Keeping the stress level in your RV at a minimum improves everyone’s travel experience. The driver will be much more comfortable behind the wheel without listening to complaints and fights.

Gives a Chance to Rest Between Travel Days

Consecutive travel days are exhausting, especially if you’re also breaking the 200 miles in a day rule. Sometimes the best way to avoid a rough travel day is to take a rest day between travel days. This allows everyone to relax and not feel rushed to jump in the truck and sit.

Try to do something active on these rest days to keep your body moving. It doesn’t have to be something incredibly exhilarating. Go for a walk around the campground or your campsite. Take the time to get some fresh air and enjoy nature. Your body, mind, and soul will appreciate it.

Whether you’re towing a massive fifth wheel, hauling a travel trailer, or piloting a large Class A motorhome, travel days can be rough. Setting yourself and your fellow travelers up for success is important.

We’re confident that your travel days will be much smoother if you follow these tips. What rules do you have to make travel days smoother?

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  1. Cynthia Conrod Finney says:

    Good advice about 2-2-2, but “ This tenant is one of the easiest to break in the 2/2/2 rule.” A tenet is a guideline, a tenant lives in your upstairs apartment.

  2. Ken says:

    We use a variation of the 3/3/3. Stop every 2 hours, drive 300-350 and stay at least a week or more depending on where we are at or headed.

  3. Dennis says:

    And don’t forget the 6, 4, 2 rule.
    6 for cocktails, 4 for dinner & sleeping for 2

  4. J D in Texas says:

    I have been a both a casual RV traveler or full-timer for forty two plus years. I have owned a slide-in truck camper, two bumper pull trailers and a fifth wheel trailer. I have ferried class A coaches cross country for friends who dislike travel. I full timed in my early twenties and again after I turned fifty five. I have pulled cross country more times than I can remember. I have pulled over eight hundred miles in one day because of necessity. Having said that, I generally never pull more than five hundred in a day.

    In short, I love traveling, I have been in all lower 48 states except New York and the New England states. For the average RV person the 2/2/2 or 3/3/3 rule is probably fine. I have lots of friends who are traveling to every state park within a days drive, one vacation week at a time. But, using these rules won’t get people with only a couple of weeks vacation across country and back home or even half way and back with one week. Florida to Yellowstone or California to the U.P. of Michigan are not feasible under these constraints.

    Common sense and knowing your limits is the best answer. The trade off to hauling your expensive hotel room around vs flying and car rental or flying and RV rental, or even driving and paying for hotel stays should be carefully considered. I have had illness or crises back home that necessitated emergency return trips home. When you abandon your RV one thousand miles away to rush home, this adds major expense as opposed to early check out from a hotel.

    RVs need maintenance even when stored, burn extra fuel between stops and if not a self contained coach, require a bit more vehicle than what a grocery store trip calls for. This *is* the reality of RV life.

  5. Francine Root Adler says:

    Regarding 2/2/2 rules..even if traveling in a van or mini a former trucker..I experienced ‘blood in the butt’s syndrome after 2 hours. Means I got sleepy.. Remember truckers get PAID to travel on a schedule. Enjoy your selves. Another suggestion: if you can’t pull off when tired, carry B complex with C. Notice when you are STARTING to get tired. That’s when to take B complex. It takes 20 minutes to work and nobody will bust you for having illegal or questionable substances in your rig. Enjoy the journey!

  6. Micheal Whelan says:

    Great rule that we violate every year for safety reasons. Living in the great north and being snowbirds requires us to time our departure around snow storms. On the average year we have a 7 hour drive to get south of the “snow line” . So we leave when the road is clear as much as can be expected and drive until there is little chance of being forced to drive in the snow. …. Then maybe do it again depending and the weather…. Then we look at the 2-2-2 rule.

  7. Karen ANDERSON says:

    I personally use the 2-4-6 rule for traveling. Two stops, 400 miles and six hours of driving. Sometimes the two stops becomes 3, depending on where we are in the country.