Category Archives: Travel

One Small Postcard, One Giant Smile

BlogPostcard300x183 In a world where thumb muscles are huge because of texting and email is as accessible as the phone in your pocket, not many people take the time to write actual letters anymore. It’s rare to find a handwritten note among the bills and junk mail in your mailbox. But let’s face it, if you do receive something personal, doesn’t it just brighten your whole day? Give you a smile and maybe a spring in your step? Writing a note doesn’t have to take long and you’ll surely brighten someone else’s day. Traveling in your RV is a perfect time to pick up the lost art of letting writing.
Postcards are an ideal way to start writing. No need to find an envelope and paper, just write on one side and attach the stamp. And while you’re traveling, postcards are relatively easy to find. They are inexpensive and the postage is also less than what is required for a first class letter. Plus, there’s not much space to write. This is perfect, since you might already think you don’t have the time to write a long note; it honestly doesn’t take many sentences to let someone know you’re thinking about them.

What Should I Write?

You may remember being taught how to write an essay: An opening paragraph, three paragraphs with supporting details and then a clincher paragraph that summarizes your main points. A postcard is not the place for an essay, but follow this easy plan for writing your note: A sentence with a greeting or other sentiments of “thoughts of you.” A sentence or two about your current RV adventure and then a sentence or two (potentially questions) about the receiver’s life. Finish with another nice sentiment.
Here’s a sample:
Just dropping you a note to say you’re in my thoughts. We’ve been traveling for 1500 miles and have seen 7 states in 2 weeks. My favorite museum exhibit is shown on the front of this card. I saw pictures on Facebook of your son’s graduation. You must be so proud! Can’t wait to catch up when we get back.
Or another idea:
When I saw this mountain covered in snow, I thought of you. Do you remember sledding when our families went on vacation that one winter so long ago? We had so much fun! I’m sorry to hear of your father’s accident. When we get back, I’d like to come for a visit.
See? Not at all hard or long. There are not a ton of details, but it’s enough to let the addressee know that they were in your thoughts. Sign off using “Fondly” or “Your Friend” or even “Love.”

To Whom Should I Write?

Of course you can write to children, grandchildren, siblings or parents, but also think outside the box. Maybe it’s an elderly neighbor who was recently widowed or a single adult who is an only child and doesn’t have much family or a co-worker’s child that is struggling with illness. Sometimes those who aren’t family are the ones who appreciate the pick-me-up the most.

Making It Easy

When starting a new habit, you want to make it as easy as you can or it will be hard to keep up with it. The best way to do this is to gather the necessary supplies. Purchase postcard stamps before you travel and gather your address book, if you still use one. Put these things in a gallon-sized storage bag or small box or drawer to keep everything together in one place. If you don’t have an address book, search on a site like whitepages.com to find the addresses you’ll need. If you think you’ll write to a person again, save yourself the hassle of looking it back up and create your own address book. When I receive Christmas cards, I cut out the return address label and just tape it into a small notebook. Then I can access those addresses easily. You might want to purchase postcards ahead of time, but my bet is that you’ll want to get some along the way. Just add them to your stash for when you get a minute to write.

Follow Through!

Don’t forget the final step of actually mailing the postcard. I’m sure there are many letters that have gone unsent because a stamp or address has been missing (re-read the above paragraph for how to combat that problem), but there are probably others signed, sealed and yet undelivered. We all know those USPS blue mailboxes have been deemed relics like a telephone booth. If you don’t know where the nearest post office is located, most gift shops or campsite offices will mail your postcard for you.

One Final Note

A previous post on this blog talked about souvenirs and making your memories with a consistent collection of some sort. It’s almost a certainty that you can find someone to whom you can mail a letter, but if you can’t or if you’d prefer to preserve your own memories, mail yourself a postcard. Include something from each of the senses — remember them from Kindergarten? What did you see? Hear? Taste? Touch? Smell? A few sentences will help you relive your precious memories.

Go Ahead. Make Someone Smile. I Dare You.

Get organized with your supplies and compose a few sentences. Share the scenic sights you’re privileged to see and bring some cheer to a family member or friend. While you’re on the road (or at home for that matter), it doesn’t take long to send a note.

Copyright 2015, Kathy Sweger and TVforMyRV

Collectibles & Memorabilia: How to Make the Most of Your Gift Shop Stop for a Souvenir

GiftShopYou stopped once for fuel and now you’ve reached your first destination. Then you tour the birthplace. Or hike the preserve. Or explore the monument. You decide that it’s time to get back into your RV and keep rolling, but you stop one more place on your way out. The gift shop.
For some of you, this is the dreaded stop. You have to decide how you want to remember this particular place. Sure, you’ll have memories, but you think you should take something home with you. What keepsake will remind you of how you felt or what you saw during your visit? The decision is enough to start a small panic attack.
Others of you LOVE the gift shop; it might even have a higher place in your heart than the actual stop. You live to shop and after a tourist attraction, it seems justifiable to spend some money. You might have problems deciding which one thing to get, and then just decide to buy five items. Your wallet suffers after this stop.
The predicament is, especially when you’re traveling in your RV, you don’t really have room for big collectibles. And will you really wear four t-shirts from the same place? What happens when they shrink (or when you grow)? Do you have a place in your RV (or home) to display your treasures to share with friends and family?
Guaranteed you are making some of the most treasured times of your life while in your RV. So what can you do to recollect these cherished memories? The best way for you to do this is to find a consistent piece that reflects your personality and choose that item at each stop. Here are some practical suggestions for keeping the memories alive, without occupying precious space or spending a fortune.

Book Lovers, History Buffs and Amateur Photographers: Coffee Table Books

Buy what my dad used to call a “coffee table book.” Typically this is a book that has many beautiful pictures of the place of interest. You know, the kind of photos shot with expensive cameras at just the right angle and with the perfect lighting. Unless photography is your hobby, buying a book like this means you can enjoy the views in the moment, while having a keepsake of the best shots for later. These books normally have some kind of historical component as well. If you do take a selfie or two, print them out and stick them inside the front cover as proof of your visit.

Spoon, Bell & Shot Glass Souvenirs

Many souvenir shops have these items and not only do they take up very little space, they are often not too expensive. My personal collector’s items are spoons. I have them from all over the world and they are displayed in a beautifully handmade spoon rack. It’s so nice to walk into a shop, find the spoons and make my purchase. I love the display and the memories as I view them. My preference is the pewter spoons as they don’t tarnish, but sometimes stores don’t carry them. Consider these collectibles if you have a place at home for them, as they may not display or travel well in your RV.

Postcard Collections

Postcards are an easily accessible item that most gift shops carry and are probably the cheapest. They can easily be stored and displayed in a photo album that holds 4×6 pictures (though there are some oversized postcards). Most postcards display one or more beautiful photographs or an artist’s rendition of the site. To make this collection even more unique, pack postcard stamps ahead of time and mail the card from your destination to wherever you collect your mail. Now you have the postcard, a special postmark and maybe a sentence or two of a personal highlight. Stay tuned for a future post on the lost art of letter writing and how the postcards could be used and not just collected.

 T-shirt Keepsakes

Earlier I suggested that t-shirts aren’t a great takeaway idea because they can shrink or you can outgrow them. Plus, they take up more space than some of the previously mentioned items. However, there really are some neat t-shirts and they just may be your thing. If they are your preference, then make your purchase and wear them proudly. After you’ve amassed a stockpile, consider making a t-shirt quilt or having someone make it for you. A simple online search will provide tutorials or companies willing to tackle the project if sewing isn’t your thing. This is a way to preserve those shirts and the memories that go with them, but keep them from being stuffed in the back of a drawer.

Scrapbooks

Though you won’t make this purchase inside a gift shop, scrapbooks are another special keepsake. Digital scrapbooking through websites like Shutterfly or Snapfish (and plenty of others) help you to print a soft or hard cover book with your personal photos. With a laptop, you could easily make the book on the road, thus creating your own coffee table book, complete with personalized photos and memories. These can be very customized or you can simply import the photos and let the website put them directly in a book for you. If you’re on a budget, watch for sales and other discount codes. Traditional scrapbooking with paper and stickers is not a thing of the past either, though it might be a little harder while traveling. If you’d rather work with paper and scissors, consider kits that offer coordinating paper and embellishments or use premade books. You may find that a gift shop has the perfect touch for your album with a postcard picture or other unique piece for the site.
Of course there are other options for your souvenirs — pencils or jewelry or framed photos — the list goes on and on! But, the point is to find what you enjoy and will actually use or display to keep your memories alive. Boxing up the memorabilia or putting the collectibles into storage defeats the purpose. Choose your memento again and again and make that souvenir gift shop purchase an uncomplicated one that is both functional and affordable and preserves your memories.

Be sure to check out our other RV Living Accessories, to make your RV trips more fun.

Copyright 2015, Kathy Sweger and TVforMyRV

A Remix of RV Road Trip Games: Variations on Old Favorites

If one of the reasons you decided to RV was to see beautiful countryside, you probably have no problem looking out your window as mile after mile passes. However, if the view gets monotonous (or if you’re traveling with children), try one or more of these old favorite road trip games and their fun variations to keep you looking out the window.

Reading and ‘Rithmetic

Looking for the ABC’s is an age-old game, but you can put a twist on it with these variations.

  • The most basic way to play this game is for each person to find all 26 letters of the alphabet, on their own and in order.  In other words, you cannot find a “b” until you’ve found an “a”.  Letters must be found outside of the RV on things like billboards, stores or other vehicles.  The first one to get to the letter “z” is the winner.
  • For “group” play, find the alphabet together.  Whoever finds the letter that is next just calls it out.  Your car will sound like a preschool classroom – “A”, “B”, “C”.  If you’re a competitive group, time yourselves to see how fast you can find the whole alphabet. Then do it again (and again) to see if you can beat your collective time.*Hint: If younger children seem to get stumped on letters like Q, X & Z, point out places where they can often be found while on the road.  For example, tractor trailers often have “Air-ride equipped” written on the side for “Q.”  Finding an exit sign on the highway will give you an “x” and looking for a pizza shop finishes the last of the 26 letters!
  • Look for the letters in all capital or in all lowercase. This increases the difficulty. If you really want to get complicated, alternate between the two. For instance, “A”, “b”, “C”, “d”.
  • Make a stipulation that you can only find one letter on one sign.  This means only using the “L” instead of “L, M, N, O and P” on a sign with the word “MONOPOLY.”
  • For another degree of difficulty, decide that the letters must be found at the beginning of a word.  However, be willing to make an exception for harder letters like Q, X & Z, unless you’re driving by a quilt museum, xylophone factory or a zoo! You might ask children to write their words down on a clipboard as proof of their hunt.
  • For younger players who are just learning the ABC’s, give them a clipboard with the letters already printed on a piece of paper. As they find them, they can cross them off. To make it even easier, skip the requirement to find them in order and just celebrate when all 26 are found!
  • Mix it up!  If your RV is filled with various ages, or one person is always winning, give him/her one of the harder tasks listed while giving the other player(s) a simpler one.
  • Numbers might be feeling left out in this game, so why not look for them instead?  Decide ahead of time if you will allow the number “6” to be found in a number like “19609” or if it has to be simply 6, like Highway “6.”  Since technically this game could go on forever, choose a target number (might just be 10 if you’re looking for single digits) or decide to play for a set amount of time (who can get the highest in ten minutes of play).

Scavenger Hunts

Make a list of things to find while you’re on the road in your RV.  For younger players, you might make this list with pictures instead of words (or pictures and words). Invest in a clipboard or binder for each participant or you’ll have papers all over the RV!

Make a very generic list (sign, restaurant, animal, car, truck, etc) or a more specific list with some of the ideas below.

Another option is to add colors to your list (red car, blue truck, yellow sign).

For a third variation, make a topical list, particularly if a participant has a special interest. For the car lover, make your list with all makes of cars: Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Toyota, BMW, Audi, Lexus, etc. For the animal lover, make a list of animals, both domestic and exotic — you never know what might be traveling on the road! Another list might include all 50 states’ license plates.

An additional alternative is to play “by the numbers.”  Choose one item from the list and set a time or number constraint.  For example: 1) time how long it takes to find 15 red cars, or 2) find out how many red cars you can see in 10 minutes,  or 3) compete for who can find 15 red cars first.

There are several different ways to keep track of what has been found.  Of course, the item could simply be crossed off, but you could also keep a tally mark for less common items (I wouldn’t recommend this for speed limit signs!).  Younger children might like covering the picture with a simple sticker.

Laminating the sheet or putting the sheet in a page protector and using a fine-tipped white board marker to cross off or tally means the sheets can be used again and again. You can easily store these in a Magazine Rack.

As an additional activity, you could start with a new sheet every day.  After a few days, you could compare the lists. This might be easier for younger children if they graphed the items.  Then ask questions like  “On what day did we find the most graveyards?”  or “Did we find more [insert company name] tractor trailers or more sheep?” or “Was there anything which had the same number of items counted?”

*Hint:  Keep in mind where you’re traveling when making the list.  For instance, you might not find a cow if you’re driving through New York City and a Lamborghini on a path through Yellowstone is unlikely.  Though adding something like this to your list could be a bonus!

Suggestions:

  • Sign for your destination
  • “An RV just like ours (or at least the same make!)”
  • Stores/restaurants (specific examples: Walmart, McDonald’s, etc)
  • Animals (specific examples: horses, cows, sheep, dogs in cars, alpacas, giraffes, etc)
  • Company vehicles (specific examples: UPS truck, Fed-Ex trailer, etc)
  • Airplanes, boats, school buses, helicopters, police cars
  • Construction cones, barrels or signs
  • Road Signs, especially less common ones (specific examples:  Yield, U-Turn, Deer Crossing, Dead End)
  • Graveyard
  • Barn/Silo
  • Museum
  • Plants (specific examples: Tree (even more specific: Weeping Willow, Oak, etc) or Flowers (Traveling through Texas in April?  Look for bluebonnets!)
  • Letters (“x”, “q”, “z”), letter combinations (“ph”, “st”, “bl”), numbers (“4”, “10”, “35”) or Words (“limit”, “exit”, “road”)

Bingo

Using any of the items from the scavenger hunt list, make BINGO cards and play BINGO.

Like the scavenger hunt, the cards could be made with words or pictures. The cards could have a mix of items or be topical and they could include color words to be more specific.

While these cards could be laminated or used in a page protector with a white board marker, they could also be placed on a small cookie sheet or pizza pan (find them at a dollar store or thrift shop to keep your cost low) and magnets could be used as markers.  This is another way to ensure the cards can be used again and again.

To get players more involved, give a list of possible items and have them create personalized cards.  This takes some of the prep work and gives it to the players.  If one player is consistently making an “easy” card, have players switch cards after the cards are made.

Make your RV Travel Time Fly By

Any of these games can be played as a group or individually.  They can be used to pass the time or as an incentive for a future goal (e.g. find everything on your scavenger list and it will be snack time or stretch time.).  They can be played in collaboration or competition (Just make sure every player agrees to the rules before you start) or simply just for fun.  You might not have a problem looking out the window; after all, you chose to RV.  But having options for moments of restlessness or boredom will keep the RV joyfully rolling along!

Be sure to check out our other RV Living Accessories, to make your RV trips more fun.

Copyright 2015, Kathy Sweger and TVforMyRV

RVing Fun For The Fall

fall leavesRVing is a favored pastime across North America, and while many adventure seekers choose the warm summer months to travel, Fall has quickly become one of the most popular seasons to head out on the road. Beautiful red and gold leaves, cool weather and spooky Halloween festivities draw in RVers from near and far to plot their course across the states. From September to late November, the Northeast, Southwest, and Mideast boast of the most colorful foliage, with many travelers choosing this time of the year to visit New England in particular.

Corn Mazes and Jack-o-Lanterns

The harvest season brings a variety of farm fresh ingredients to farmer’s markets, veggie stands, and pumpkin patches across the country, making it a fun time to take the whole family out in the RV. Fall festivals, u-pick pumpkin fields, and jack-o-lantern carving contests can be spotted in rural regions, with haunted corn mazes and traditional horse drawn hay rides to fill the days. As you drive along, keep your eyes open for produce stands and signs that announce upcoming attractions so that you don’t miss anything; if kids are on board you can make a game of looking for such notices.

Vibrant and Colorful Tours

Perhaps one of the most attractive sights at this time of year are the vibrant colors that seem to paint the trees as the season changes. Heavily wooded areas in states, like Minnesota and Colorado, produce some of the most intense yellows and burnt orange hues you could hope to find. You can use sites like the United States Forest Service’s Fall Color Guide to determine which areas nearest your route will give you the best view, and even help you find regions where Fall tours take place. For example, Lake Superior’s North Shore in Minnesota has a 3-day tour that offers some truly unique foliage and great views of the woods.

Haunted Halloween Fun With Your RV

Whether you have children or you just enjoy a good scare, RVing in the Fall grants you access to some fantastic guided ghost tours. You might be surprised to find how many communities across the map have their own local ghost stories and hauntings to share. Haunted houses can also be seen during dates close to the 31st of October, with parties and festivities for all ages; bobbing for apples, creepy campfire ghost stories, and setting up spooky jack-o-lanterns around the campsite can get your family in the mood for a great evening of ghoulish fun.

Finding Top RV Locations For Fall

There are plenty of guides and reviews of different driving routes and festivities to take part in online, and a quick search can give you various options close by or far off to discover. If California is your favorite destination then Feather River Scenic Byway provides 130 miles of scenic travel starting from Sacramento Valley, all the way to the Great Basin. If you’re further East, Litchfield, Connecticut provides panoramic views along the Appalachian Trail, with more than 51 miles of foliage, hiking, and Connecticut’s tallest peak, Bear Mountain. After Connecticut, Massachusetts offers a nearby scenic byway along Jacob’s Ladder, with 35 miles of long slow driving for the relaxed RVer. If you prefer to go south then New Mexico and South Dakota have some truly gorgeous destinations as well with the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway of New Mexico looping from Taos through Eagle Nest and Angel Fire for fall foliage and loads of child-friendly recreation.

Thanksgiving RV Feast

Whether you’re staying close to home or traveling out of state, there are plenty of fun things to do as the Fall season approaches and throughout the months that follow. As October eases into November, the Thanksgiving holiday can be enjoyed on the road by picking up all of the fixings for a stuffed feast of turkey and mash. Fresh ingredients from roadside produce stands combined with the fresh farm taste of grain-fed organic turkey make it easy to celebrate in style. If a turkey is too big to fit into your RV oven or you’re more of a backyard barbeque family while you’re on the road, a rotisserie chicken roasted over the grill or spit of a well stoked fire pit can give your Thanksgiving day feast a little rustic charm and inviting atmosphere. This part of the season is about being around the people that you care about, and being thankful for what you experience, and it’s hard not to find something to be thankful for during this beautiful time of the year.

 

 

Being Prepared For An RV Breakdown

Heading out on the open road with your RV can make for an exciting experience but you don’t want to get caught without the right tools and knowledge if a breakdown should occur. Most new vehicles will have little trouble getting you from point A to point B in one piece, but a long drive with an older model can lead to problems. Fortunately, there are a few steps that you can take as an RV owner to prepare yourself for just such a situation.

Have Your RV Checked Out

This might seem obvious but many people take for granted how poorly or how well their RV is running before they take off towards their destination. If the RV is new to you but used previously, most experts suggest that you take it out around your local community over a period of one to two months to get a real feel for how everything is working and make sure that no extra mechanical work is required. You should also take it in to a professional garage and have it looked over so that important features like brakes and steering are all working the way that they should be. If repairs are required, you should test the RV for at least another week following repairs before considering taking it across country or out of your community.

Don’t Skimp On Roadside Assistance

If you have a current roadside assistance plan then now is the time to dig out your information brochure or contract and take a good look at what’s included and what possible updates have been made to the services that you could benefit from. Be aware of features and costs so that if you do have to call you’re not in for any expensive or inconvenient surprises. You also want to make sure that your coverage will work out of town and out of state if it should come to that. If you don’t have any roadside assistance plan, this is the time to look into it, especially if you’re not driving a brand new model.

Invest In A Manual

Every vehicle has a user’s manual for the make and model of your RV, and most auto parts retailers sell them. Whether you wind up needing it or not, this can be an incredible investment if there’s no mechanic around and you need to diagnose a mechanical problem while on the road. It can help you become better acquainted with your vehicle and figure out which RV parts might need to be replaced and whether or not it’s safe to continue driving if there’s a problem while on the road.

Have Tools And An Internet Connection On Hand

Almost all mobile phones now have the ability to let you search the web, which means that when you’re stuck because of a certain problem and unsure of what to do you can check out expert opinions for your particular problem online. Many professionals frequent forums and message boards for RV mechanics and can answer questions, especially if you provide pictures via your phone. You should also have tools on hand in case somebody can walk you through the diagnosis or repair. This means having something other than the usual jack and jack stands with you, and if you’re unsure of what tools to buy, this is an excellent way to begin your adventure into online mechanical queries.

Easy Ways To Save Money RV Camping

Vacations are a wonderful time for a family to enjoy their free time together. But the cost of travel, hotels, and other expenses put such a venture well out of reach of many families. That’s why so many have decided to get back to the basics with an RV camping trip. Whether you choose to purchase your own RV or you just want to rent, you’ll still want to save money while having some wonderful experiences along the way. There are some great ways to get the most bang for your buck when you decide on taking the family on a RV camping trip.

Plan Ahead

While the idea of traveling the roads can be very inviting, driving an RV does require fuel, which can be very costly. In order to save on your next road trip, you’ll want to conserve as much fuel as you can. Map out your route before hand and choose the routes that will take you to your destination through the shortest routes possible. This way you can cut miles off your travel and choose more economical places to stay rather than stopping along the route without a specific plan.

Stay Longer

Most people choose to visit locations for the weekend but many parks where you can park your RV will offer discounts when you decide to stay longer. Most discounts offer special rates for those who choose to stay for a week or longer. If you’re planning an extended vacation this might be a great way to save some major dollars on your vacation plans.

Boondocking

If you have a fully contained RV, you might consider boondocking where you can park in a variety of locations that do not offer hookups. You can choose to park in a remote area where you can be away from all the crowds found in most of public camping grounds or you can choose to park in a shopping center or Wal-Mart parking lot for a nominal fee.

Look for Free Campsites

Some areas have public RV parks where you can get a night or two of free docking. These may require you to follow certain rules or guidelines set up by the site, so it would be advisable to find out what will be expected before you agree. However, it is a great way to reduce your expenses considerably so that you can make the most out of your vacation time. Still, these are great ways to take advantage of some great experiences without hurting your budget.

There are many reasons why you might seriously be considering an RV vacation. It is a well known fact that camping can be a great way to bond with your family and friends while at the same time save some money. However, it is always important that you plan your vacation well enough ahead of time so that you can get the most for the money you spend. There are more than enough ways to save money when you go RV camping, with just a little pre-thinking and planning you are sure to have a vacation that will provide you with memories to last a lifetime.

Things I’d Do Differently When Going To A Full-time RV Lifestyle

rv livingThere are few transitions in life that require as unique a style of preparation than that of moving to an RV full time. More often than not, however, there are some challenges that we all face that could lead to other difficulties. When speaking to others who have successfully made this transition, they often give some solid advice about things you should avoid for new comers. Here are a few pointers on things that previous owners would do differently if they had the chance.

More Research

You can never do enough research when it comes to the full-time RV lifestyle. Your transition is not going to be for a weekend getaway but you’re planning to uproot your entire life and compact it into this new style of living. Read as many books, watch as many films, and talk to as many experts on the topic as you can find. You might be amazed at the kind of information you can glean from RV rallies and similar events you can attend.

Learn to Downsize

It should be painfully obvious that your four bedroom two story home will not fit in the confines of your new RV, but many people are surprised just the same. You will have to be realistic and break your attachment to many of things you have come to know and love. You will find that the space that comes with even a small apartment will outstrip the space of your new home RV. Begin downsizing long before you’re ready to make the switch to full time living in an RV.

Wait to Buy a Campground Membership

It may seem logical to buy a campground membership but unless you plan on making frequent and regular trips to that location you’ll most likely find your money could be better spent elsewhere. Some RVers recommend that you wait at least a year before you decide on this type of investment to better understand your personal traveling style and where you can find a membership that you will actually be able to use.

Motor Homes Can be Moved

Your transition to full time life in an RV provides you with a portable lifestyle. Your address could change from week to week so try to shed the idea of permanency and gradually adjust to your new lifestyle. Switching from one location to another too frequently could cause a newcomer to be overwhelmed but not taking advantage of your new sense of freedom could also cause you to burn out. Embrace your mobility but increase at a slower pace and you’ll find your balance.

It’s true that full time RVing is an exciting lifestyle but it is not one that everyone can appreciate. The person that gets the most out of this new kind of life has to be adaptable and relaxed. You’ll find that you’re in places where the weather may not be favorable or that is not convenient for other types of travel. Learn to love the life that you’re surrounded in and make the most out of your space and you’ll find that full time RVing is a viable option that the right people can enjoy.

 

Tips for Planning Your California RV Trip

California RV TravelPeople living the RV lifestyle already know the joys of having an RV. Part of that joy is obviously traveling to different parts of the country and seeing it’s beauty first hand. For those new to RV travel, California is one of the most popular travel destinations and one which may become a reality if you know how to plan. Here is what you need to know when it comes to Planning Your California RV Trip.

Learning to Drive Your RV

Before you head out on your first trip, spend as much time as you need to learn your RV and practice your driving skills. Although you will likely get the hang of driving the over-sized vehicle quickly, you should try to do so in different weather conditions as you never know what you will encounter while on the road. Once you feel comfortable behind the wheel in places with little traffic, it’s time to head out on the open road and experience driving the rig in regular traffic. Don’t hesitate to use the power of the RV and be confident when behind the wheel. You can do this and you’ll find you become more comfortable as you do so.

Determine Where You Will Stay

Plan your trip and determine where you wish to stay. Some sites allow you to bring pets while others offer WiFi access. Knowing what amenities you want and need makes it much easier to plot a course and find the appropriate sites. Do you want a site that offers BBQ grills so you don’t have to bring yours along, or are you searching for a site with nude recreation? Although RV owners share many characteristics, they are still individuals and have their own needs. Make sure you take this into consideration when choosing the various sites on your trip, as this helps to ensure you aren’t disappointed when you arrive.

Understand the Various RV Parking Options

Campgrounds rarely offer limited hookups, if any, although most have a dump station. Find out if the campground has an RV length limit, as many do, although spaces are often adequate. Campgrounds offer reasonable prices, especially if one chooses a rural campground, while RV parks are prepared for vehicles of this type and offer a number of amenities, often including swimming pools, a small retail store, and laundromats. Spaces tend to be less private than those offer with campgrounds, however, which needs to be taken into consideration. KOA campgrounds tend to be a combination of a traditional or rural campground and an RV Park. In these campgrounds, you’ll often find full hookups and camp stores and they have camping cabins for those nights where they want a break from RV life, yet still want to enjoy the beauty of nature.

Reserve Your Site

California Camp grounds and RV camp sites tend to fill up quickly, thanks to the gorgeous weather to be found across the state. You need to reserve a site in advance so you know where to park your RV in California at each stop. Many sites offer RV park listings, and there is a site dedicated to RV sites located in state and national parks. If you find that something goes wrong with one of your reservations, head to the local Walmart. They do allow dry camping in their parking lots, but you won’t have access to water or power hookups, so this should be a last resort.

Arrive in a Timely Manner

You’ll want to ensure you arrive at your site a minimum of one hour before it gets dark. This ensures you won’t find yourself backing the RV into a dark spot or that you are emptying the sewage tank without adequate lighting. Experienced RV owners will tell you this is something to avoid at all costs.

Interaction is Critical

Be sure to spend time at the various sites with other RV owners. You’ll find you learn a great deal just by talking with others. In fact, you’ll be amazed at how much you can learn just by sitting and visiting at the various sites. You may even make new friends, ones you’ll encounter on numerous occasions during your travels. You can’t be too friendly with others in the RV community. If you are there for them, they’ll be there for you.

Once you take your first trip, you will be hooked and you’ll be planning your next adventure in no time at all. Never stay in a hotel again. With an RV, you won’t have to, and you actually save on lodging and food costs when you go this route. There are numerous advantages associated with RV ownership. Be sure to explore them all so you get the most from these amazing vehicles.

RV Tips For The Pacific Northwest

Pacific NorthwestWhen traveling the roads in the great Pacific Northwest you will find that nearly every one of the resort parks you visit will have a section that has been exclusively reserved for the many RVs and campers that are crisscrossing our nation’s roads every day. No matter what point in the day or night you’re there, you’ll find that blend of outdoor and indoor lifestyle that recreational vehicles offer mesh well at one of these many campsites. It is the one place where you can welcome the morning sun or say good-bye to it in a unique fashion that is exclusive to only the camping scene. However, there are some things you should be aware of before you hit one of these popular destinations that will make staying at one of these sites even more desirable.

Rules and Policies and Your Money

Always set aside enough of a budget to cover the cost of road travel for your trip and allow for the payment of entrance fees to the many national parks you plan to visit. If you plan to travel to a specific destination on a regular basis you can opt to buy a season pass so that you can come and go as often as you’d like. It’s important, however, to understand that the season pass does not represent a guarantee of entrance into the park but only a reduction in fees. Most of these parks fill up on a first come/first serve basis so be prepared to be turned away during peak seasons of you’re not planning for an early arrival.

It is also possible that you may find a park that won’t have any hook-ups so be prepared and have alternative plans available. An alternate plan may be necessary; some may not even allow waste dumping so, it is very important that you call ahead to find out exactly what facilities may be available before you travel.

Traveling With Large Parties

If you’re planning on traveling in a large group or for an extended stay you need to consider bringing on a few extras to make the trip more comfortable. Most RVs do not have the capacity to sleep more than 10 people at one time (and even that may be stretching it) so if your group is larger than that you’ll need to improvise. Consider bringing along an extra tent for those who may prefer to sleep outside under the stars along with extra sleeping bags so that you’re not all crawling over each other throughout the trip. You also have to consider the safety of traveling the roads in such a large group. Legally, you should not have more people in a vehicle than there are seatbelts so you may have to bring along an extra car to accommodate the overflow.

Plan Your Trip

There is a lot to see when you’re traveling the roads of the Pacific Northwest so you need to have some clear direction before you set out. Your route should not only be well mapped out but you should know how long it should take between destinations, where you plan to refuel, how much you need to spend and the distance between each point of travel you’re going to. There is much to see and do, so make the hard decisions before you set out.

Make sure that your budget will be adequate for your journey. Factor in not just the cost of fuel but also additional expenses as well. As a matter of fact, it may be wise to pad the budget just a little bit so that you are well prepared for any possible setbacks you might experience. Your entire trip could be devastated if you didn’t have an emergency fund at your disposal to cover the cost of flat tires, tows, or other unexpected expenses that may be possible while traveling on the road.

There is much to see when you’re traveling the roads of the Pacific Northwest by RV. Whether you’re a mountain lover that enjoys the crisp clean air that hovers far above the congestion of the city, or the sea or the desert fascinates you, there is something you can find to suit your pleasure on the open road. The things that the Pacific Northwest offers road travelers that other regions can’t compare with are the wide open spaces and the vastness of the region. You can take it all in at your leisure when you’re enjoying the vast diversity that makes up the Pacific Northwest.

There’s An App For That – Top Ten RV Travel Apps

Best RV Travel AppsWith more people than ever utilizing their smart phones, you would be far-fetched to find someone that doesn’t know what an app is. Folks are always on the lookout for new and interesting apps, and this is especially true for those who enjoy RV travel. We have put together a list of the most useful and functional RV apps on the market that I’m sure you are going to love.

WeatherBug (Free)

Before you head out on the road, you will want to make sure that the weather will be perfect for your trip. With the free app from WeatherBug, you can check out up-to-date weather conditions, forecasts, weather alerts, radars, and much more. You will have access to a vast array of professional weather stations all over the country and even globe. WeatherBug is accurate, and sends quick and reliable weather info to your fingertips.

Gas Buddy (Free)

Another app that will help you get on your way is GasBuddy. With this app, you will be able to find the cheapest gas in your town and on the go, for free all over the US and Canada. You will be able to find gas stations in a hurry, and will never have to pay those higher gas prices. GasBuddy works like a community with people everywhere working together to report gas prices, so you will be sire to find the best deal around. They even give away a $250 gas card each week!

Passport America (Free)

Passport America is another great freebie that can help you save up to half off your nightly camping rate. It has over 1700 campgrounds, RV parks, Resorts, and so on that participate all throughout North America. Search options include campground locations, and details such as amenities, rates, and contact info. Everything you need in one location!

Google Navigation/Maps (Free)

Tired of folding that dang map? Once you download the latest version of Google Maps, you can get free voice-guided Navigation to help you find where you are, and where you want to go. The Places feature helps you find and get recommendations for places, and even see their rating. This means you will be able to find the closest campground, gas station, restaurant, or even Walmart! And with Latitude, you can see where your friends are, and check in wherever you go.

Walmart (Free)

Speaking of Walmart, there is a free app that helps you find the closest location to where you are, shop products available, and even place an order so that checkout is virtually painless. Now that’s something to get excited about.

TV Antenna Helper (Free)

This fantastic app assists you in locating free over-the-air TV and HDTV signals all over the country, and guess what? It’s at no cost to you. That’s right, another free app! All you have to do is run the app, and it will give you the location of all the TV towers in the area, so you know which direction to point your antenna.

Key Ring (Free)

If you’re like me, you are probably running out of room on your key ring for all those store loyalty cards. With the free Key Ring app, you can add all your favorite cards to one location, find coupons from top retailers, join new rewards programs, and much, much more!

Sanidumps RV Dump Station ($2.51)

One of the things that can be the biggest hassle while RVing is finding a dump station while on the road. For only $2.51, this app will give you turn-by-turn directions and GPS coordinates for all dump stations in the area. It allows for 20 favorites, and has the largest listing of RV dump stations anywhere on the internet. These perks are available on the full version. Sanidumps does offer a free app, but it is limited to some extent.

Camp and RV – Campgrounds Plus ($9.99)

For a one-time charge of under 10 bucks, you can try out the #1 camping app, completely risk free. This mega camping app has absolutely everything you need to know when out camping, and can help you find campgrounds, RV parks, and many other services, even when you don’t have access to the internet. How cool is that?

Satellite Finder ($5.99)

Satellite Finder is an app that for $5.99 will determine your local position using GPS/Skyhook, and will automatically assist you with the positioning of your satellite dish antenna. This is great for anyone out camping that still wants to catch the game or watch their favorite soap opera.

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