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All RV owners – from those who just purchased their rig and are out for their first trip, to those who have been doing it for twenty years or more – will make mistakes from time to time. Most of them are no big deal, but they can be annoying nonetheless. While being perfect is probably an impossible goal, you can learn from the mistakes of your fellow RV’ers and take steps to avoid them in the future.
Below are a few of the more common mistakes that are made when it comes to owning and operating an RV. You just might recognize a couple from your past experiences – it’s okay, we won’t ask!
Not Moving the Wheel Chocks
So you enjoyed a great week of camping in your RV, and have gotten everything all packed up and put away from the drive home – until you can’t get the RV moving out of the parking spot. Hopefully, it won’t take you much time to realize that the wheel chocks are still in place, preventing the RV from rolling away (and hopefully no one in the campground is watching). Since moving the chocks away from the wheels is probably one of the last things you will do before heading out, it is an understandable mistake to make – but probably one you will only make once.
Driving Away – But Connected
If you have been connected to water, or sewer, or power, or all three, while you have been camped, it is obviously important to make sure you are disconnected (and all of the parts and accessories are put away) before driving off. Beyond being embarrassing, this is a mistake that could prove expensive if you damage something in the process of trying to drive away. Always double check that your RV is free and clear and ready to hit the road before you actually head out.
Not Getting Level Right Away
Either through forgetfulness or laziness, some RV’ers don’t get their rig properly level at the start of the trip, and end up dealing with it for the rest of the time they are camped. Not only is this uncomfortable when you are trying to relax inside and realize that things aren’t level, it can also cause your RV to not quite function as it should. Always get level when you arrive for your stay so you don’t have to worry about it later on.
Buying the Huge RV – When You Don’t Need It
This is a mistake that can get expensive, quick. When you go to the RV dealership to pick out just the right rig for you and your family, don’t automatically head to the largest one on the lot and assume that is the one you want. Bigger coaches are more expensive to buy, more expensive to fuel, etc. You want to pick one that is just the right size for you family’s needs – not too big, not too small. Also, by getting one that isn’t too large, you should be able to get into more campgrounds than you would have if you purchased the largest one on the lot.
Going the Wrong Direction
If you do own a large RV, make sure to plan your trip such that you can avoid going on roads that have overpasses too low for you to clear – or streets too narrow for you to navigate comfortably. Think ahead and research the best route to get to your destination without having to deal with extra challenges along the way.
Staying at Home Too Often
This is the mistake that most RV owners are guilty of – not using their RV enough! If you decide to make the commitment to purchase an RV, then you should make the commitment to get out and use it as often as possible. Even if you can only get away for a short trip, look for fun places to go that won’t be too long of a drive from your home and check them out for yourself.
There is no shame in making some silly mistakes with your RV, as long as they don’t cost you too much money or create an unsafe situation. Before you get back out onto the road, make sure to go over your checklist and ensure that everything is done properly and the rig is ready to go. By taking your time double-checking your work, you should be able to avoid the common mistakes that RV owners make.
Most people don’t travel in an RV just to sit inside for the whole trip. Usually, the RV is simply a place to get a good night’s sleep in between adventures, as well as somewhere to prepare some food and even have a quick shower. However, there are likely to be plenty of times through your RV trips where you need to find some entertainment while sitting inside. Whether you are inside because the sun has gone down for the day, or the weather has turned ugly and you need to stay dry, having a few entertainment options available can help you have even more fun on your trip.
Of course, the entertainment options that you choose to include in your RV vacations will depend on the kinds of things that you enjoy doing. Below are some of the popular options that RV campers have been known to take with them in order to pass the time and relax with friends and family.
This one is somewhat controversial in that many campers don’t feel like they want to have this kind of technology in the RV – they would rather keep their trip more traditional and leave the television at home. Others, however, love being able to relax with some television at the end of the day and watch a sporting event or favorite TV show. The choice, of course, is completely up to you. If you do want to be able to watch some TV on your trip, look into the satellite receiver options on the RV market that you can install on your rig to pick up a variety of channels even when you are far from civilization. Short of adding a satellite to your RV, you can always hook up a DVD player to the television and bring along some of your favorite discs for entertainment.
Listen to the Radio
Taking a step back in technology, you could opt to add a high-quality radio antenna to your RV so you are able to pick up a variety of radio stations. The radio works well for putting on some background music while you relax inside the RV. Also, you may be able to pick up news and weather stations on your radio to get a little information from the ‘outside world’. While your RV might come with a stock radio, you may find that you need a more powerful antenna to add to the system to pick up stations depending on where you go camping.
Playing board games is a standard family activity and one that works great in an RV thanks to the comfortable seating around a table. If you are traveling with children, bringing along a couple of their board games is a great way to keep them engaged in the trip even after the sun has gone done or while you wait for the rain to pass. In fact, it is a good idea to buy a couple board games with the specific purpose of keeping them stored in the RV so they are always available when needed.
Playing Card Games
Much like board games, playing cards is another classic family activity, but it can certainly be enjoyed among a group of adults as well. Since playing cards are so inexpensive, they are another great addition to your standard RV gear. Make sure you have the right kinds of cards to play your favorite games. Playing cards are also handy to pass a little time by yourself playing some solitaire.
Going on an RV vacation is all about relaxing and enjoying your time away from the usual day-to-day routine of life. While the main purpose of your trip is likely to see some specific sights or engage in activities like fishing or boating, you can still have fun even when those things are done for the day. Prepare for some entertainment inside the RV so you are able to keep your mind engaged and interact with the rest of the people on your trip. It doesn’t matter what kind of entertainment you prefer – just be sure to have it ready when needed and that everyone along for the trip will be able to enjoy it.
There are many things that make California an incredible place, but the diversity of its geography is probably at the top of the list. In the south, you have the Mojave Desert inland and the moderate, sunny climates along the coast. Moving north, there is the Sierra Nevada mountain range running along the eastern edge of the state, while the stunning Pacific coast is home to all kinds of memorable scenery. Also, there is Mount Shasta in the north, the Redwood forests and more. To say there is a lot to see in the state of California would be a serious understatement.
Of course, all of the points listed in the previous paragraph leave out one notable location (among many others) – the Napa Valley. California’s wine country, which includes the Napa Valley and other surrounding areas, is one of the most popular destinations in the state. While wine tasting is obviously a big attraction in the region, the natural beauty of the area is another draw that encourages people to come back time and time again. If you would like to find a destination for your next RV vacation that will allow you to simply relax and recharge while soaking up some beautiful weather, you will be hard to find a better option than the Napa Valley.
Endless Winery Options
Amazingly, there are more than 400 wineries in the wine country of California, most of which can be found in Napa Valley or nearby Sonoma County. No matter what kind of wine you like, there is likely to be an option in this area that will suit your tastes perfectly. Not much of a wine drinker? Don’t worry – there is still plenty for you to experience. Along with the wine culture has developed an amazing culinary scene, meaning you will have no trouble at all finding a great meal during your trip.
Plenty of Other Activities
It’s not all about wine in this part of California, although the wine business has been the main driver of development in the area. If you would like to enjoy some activities outside of touring wineries, you can also look for hiking, biking, and golfing opportunities. The weather in this region tends to be perfect for much of the year, meaning it is rarely too hot or too cold for outdoor fun.
Not Far from the Bay
Depending on where exactly you decide to park your RV during the trip, you likely won’t have far to go if you wish to experience San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area. For example, if you are staying in Napa, CA, you will only be 52 miles from San Francisco. Of course, taking an RV into the heart of San Francisco would be a pretty bad idea, so you will want to find another mode of transportation to see the city (unless you have a separate vehicle with you). While there is plenty to do and see in the greater Bay Area, make sure to leave plenty of time for simply relaxing in wine country, as that is the best feature of this vacation destination.
When you think of National Parks worth visiting, you probably place locations like Yellowstone and Yosemite at the top of your list, along with the Grand Canyon and Glacier. Those are all certainly great options, and visiting each of them will give you the opportunity to make great memories. However, some of the lesser-known National Parks in
the system will also allow you to see incredible sights, while also not encountering the same kinds of crowds.
One such park is Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. Joshua Tree is located near Palm Springs at the southern edge of the Mohave Desert. Unless you are a National Parks aficionado, you might not have even been aware that this location was included in the Parks system, as it was only added in 1994. While you won’t find any iconic locations within the park such as Old Faithful at Yellowstone or Half Dome at Yosemite, there is still plenty of stunning scenery to go around. In addition to the scenery, plenty of wildlife make their home in the park, including lizards, snakes, sheep, coyotes, rabbits, and more.
Easy to Reach
Among the many benefits of choosing Joshua Tree as your destination is the fact that it is easy to reach from a variety of destinations around the country. You can use I-10 to reach Joshua Tree from many points to the east, and you can use a combination of I-5 and I-10 to get to Joshua Tree from up and down the west coast. No matter where you are, you shouldn’t have much trouble putting together a route that will lead you into Southern California.
If you like it hot, Joshua Tree is a desirable destination. In the summer, the entire region frequently experiences temperatures that soar into the 100’s, and it isn’t uncommon to see days in the 70’s and 80’s even in the winter months. Rain is rare at Joshua Tree National Park, so you will have a great chance of seeing the sun when you are on your trip.
Plenty of Other Attractions
Once you are in Southern California, you certainly don’t need to limit your trip to just Joshua Tree National Park. After spending some time seeing sights in the park, you can expand your vacation to include many of the other great things to do and see throughout the region. Near Joshua Tree you can head into the Palm Springs area which offers golf, shopping, dining, and plenty of cultural events. Of course, just a short drive on I-10 to the west will take you right into Los Angeles, and San Diego is only a bit further south from there. In short, there is more do to and see in this part of the country than you could ever cover in a single trip.
Visiting Joshua Tree National Park is an experience that just might surprise you. You aren’t going to find the huge attractions that you find in some of the other National Parks, but you also aren’t going to find the big crowds, either. If you would like to explore a Park that many people never get the chance to see, consider putting Joshua Tree on your list.
Camping is a great activity that allows you to get away from the stresses you experience in life. However, if you are not properly prepared, your trip can go awry. This article will provide you with tips you need to plan ahead for a smooth camping experience.
Pick a sleeping bag according to what season it is. You are going to be really hot and uncomfortable camping in a sleeping bag is rated for sub-zero temperatures. On the flip side, you don’t want a lightweight summer sleeping bag if you’re going to be out in the frigid temperatures of wintertime. You could even develop hypothermia.
TIP! Make sure that you get a tent that is big enough for you and whoever else is going to be inside the tent. That makes it easier for everyone to have a comfy time while they’re asleep and moving around when they have to get up in the dead of night.
Bring a survival kit with you that you can carry on your person at all times. Survival kits must include water purification tablets, a survival knife, a first aid kit, flare gun and waterproof matches. This survival kit may just be what helps you to stay alive in case you get lost or something bad happens and you’re stuck outside for longer than planned. Remember to take it everywhere you go when you’re away from your camp.
Check the weather before you leave for your destination. There are dozens of websites that contain information about what sort of weather you will encounter. This will help you better prepare for severe weather conditions.
Camping is a great time. It can be incredibly fun or incredibly dangerous if you don’t properly prepare. Only go camping once you have prepared yourself for it.
A ‘jungle breakfast’ can be a great way to add excitement to your trip. Take mini-boxes of cereal and juice boxes and tie them in the trees. Make your kids hunt for their breakfast. This can add some magic to their camping experience and make it more interesting.
TIP! Try to combine a camping experience with a swimming experience of some kind. While camping, you might really miss the luxury of showering.
If you are a novice at camping, make your first trip close to home. You don’t want to be far away if you decide you’ve had enough of camping, like problems with equipment. You may run short of supplies early. A lot of issues can happen to those camping for the first time, so being close to home can prevent you from feeling stranded and stuck.
TIP! Keep a kerchief or bandana close at hand. Not only can it keep the hair out of your eyes, it can also be a sack to carry things, a towel to dry your hands or a potholder to grab your coffee pot from the fire.
If you will be camping in an area that is known for having dangerous wildlife, you will need to be doubly careful with food storage. Doing so will lessen your chances for an animal attack.
TIP! Oranges taste great, but they can also help keep mosquitoes away from you. Use the discarded peels to rub your exposed skin, and the insects will stay away from you.
Duct tape is a handy item to pack with you on any camping trip. It is nearly as convenient for repairs while camping as it is at home. It can be used as a quick patch in the case of a punctured air mattress, seal and protect your tent or fix a tarp or sleeping bag. You can even put some on your feet to protect against blisters during long hikes.
As mentioned initially in this article, taking a camping trip is usually a fun adventure. Unfortunately, it can also be miserable if you are not prepared for what may come your way. Use the tips above to be sure your trip goes according to plan. Enjoy yourself!
It’s great to own an RV because of all of the wonderful places that you can visit and explore – however, it won’t do you much good to have that RV if you can’t make time to take any trips. If you want to maximize your enjoyment of RV ownership, you will need to be able to find time within your busy schedule to squeeze in as many getaways as possible. Whether you are just taking a short trip only a couple hours from home, or you plan to drive through several states, building the time into your calendar is the first step in any vacation.
So how do you make time when there is so much else going on in life? Try using the following tips to increase in the amount of time you spend traveling in your RV.
Make It a Priority
Quite simply, you have to make RV travel a priority if it is ever going to find its way into your schedule. When something is a priority, it suddenly becomes easier to spot gaps in your calendar that can be used for trips. Unfortunately, many people have their priorities somewhat out of order in the modern world. If you bought an RV with the idea that you could use it to make memories with family and friends, be sure to commit yourself to bringing those experiences to life.
Plan One Big Trip
To start with, try to find a week or so within your schedule to plan one big trip each year. You may want to schedule this trip for the summer if you have kids who are in school, or you may want to try a less-busy part of the year if you don’t have kids to consider. By getting the time off work and making reservations as early as possible, you can be ‘locked in’ to this trip as one sure-fire chance to use your RV. Most likely, you will want to use this trip as your chance to travel to a longer-distance destination.
Be Open to Short Weekends
Even if you don’t have time off of work to take a long trip, you can have plenty of fun in your RV by taking short weekends away. Leave on Friday evening after work and come back on Sunday night in time to be back at the office on Monday. Obviously, you will want to pick destinations that are close to home when only going for 36 hours or so, but you don’t have to travel far in order to have a good time.
Modern life is busy, especially if you have a full-time job, kids, and more to balance on a daily basis. However, RV travel offers the opportunity to make countless great memories, so don’t miss out on the chance to take enjoyable trips just because you have a crowded calendar. With a little effort and some creativity, you should be able to find ways to get out in your RV on plenty of occasions throughout the year.