By following these basic guidelines, you can enhance the camping and traveling experience of both you and those around you. Your time spent at the campground will be more enjoyable and the time spent getting there will be safer and more pleasant. After all, getting there is half the fun.
The Ten Commandments of Camping RV Etiquette
Avoid eyesores. Don’t run unnecessary laundry lines through your campsite.
Avoid clutter. Keep your belongings within the boundaries of your site. When you depart, leave nothing behind.
Care for pets. Clean up after your pet. Don’t let it run loose. Don’t leave it alone.
Control wastewater. Never dump black or gray water on the ground or in streams and lakes.
Check hoses regularly for leaks. Hose down the dump station area after you use it.
Drive safely and courteously. Obey campground speed limits.
Use a backer to help you park. If you arrive after dark, use your parking lights to find your site. Give every other moving thing the right of way.
Maintain cleanliness. Keep your campsite clean. Leave restrooms, showers, laundry rooms, and dump stations clean. Don’t throw cans or other items that don’t burn into your campfire. Clean lint from dryer vents. Obey litter laws. Follow the adage, “Leave it cleaner than you find it.
“Respect living things. Never cut living trees for firewood. Follow the campground’s rules for deadwood. Don’t vandalize the natural beauty we’re all there to enjoy. Leave it as you found it.
Respect personal space. Don’t walk through other camper’s sites.
Keep alcohol within your site, unless the campground prohibits it completely.
Respect quiet hours. Turn off your exterior lights when you retire for the night. Keep radios and televisions turned down. Avoid using loud voices. Never run generators after quiet time.
Supervise children. Know where your children are and what they are doing at all times.
Have fun. The first nine commandments are not designed to hamper your enjoyment. They are simply variations of the Golden Rule. Always treat other campers the way in which you would like to be treated. This way, everyone will have a good time.
The Ten Commandments of Driving RV Etiquette
Buckle up. Don’t fall prey to the false security of driving a “home on wheels. ” It’s only your home when it’s not moving. When driving, do as you would when you’re behind the wheel of a car. Wear your seatbelt.
Avoid busy downtown areas. The last place you want to drive a large RV is in a crowded downtown area. Turns are harder, maneuvering is restricted, and the chance of getting dented and dinged is increased. You will be more likely to find surrounding traffic less tolerant, and you certainly don’t want to get caught in a traffic jam you can’t escape from.
Avoid rush hour traffic. Schedule your travels for light times. Steer clear of the 7-9 a. m. and 4-6 p. m. rush. RV travel is designed to be leisure travel.
Stay out of the way of the rat race. Maintain a safe following distance. The old standard of a car length for every ten miles per hour doesn’t apply here. You need much more distance to stop the extra weight of an RV.
Never, ever tailgate, especially at night. Your higher headlights can be blinding to the driver in front of you.
Signal turns and lane changes early. You have a lot of vehicles to move. Most people can accommodate you with enough forewarning.
Clear passed vehicles completely. Learn to judge your clearing distance accurately. Getting an “all clear” signal from the car you’re passing help, but don’t count on getting it.
Signal early and pull back in slowly. Stay in the right lane. When driving on two-lane highways, stay in the right lane. Sacrifice passing slow vehicles if it means you will slow the faster vehicles behind you.
When on a three-lane highway, use the center lane. This helps you avoid merging traffic.
Signal to passing trucks. Let truckers know when they’ve cleared your rig after passing. Usually, three flicks of your high beams are universally understood as the signal that it’s safe to change lanes.
Pull over when holding up traffic. Don’t allow your slower speed to hold up those behind you, especially when climbing steep hills. If you notice traffic building up behind you, pull over and let them pass.
Park in clear areas. Don’t block other vehicles. Find that nice, big open space in an isolated part of that mall parking lot. A few extra steps are better than finding your egress hampered by surrounding cars.
Before you take delivery of your recreational vehicle from a dealer, you should always demand a pre-delivery inspection and orientation. You need to receive assurances from your dealer that the new RV is fully functional, properly serviced, and safe to operate. The pre-delivery inspection should actually take place before you arrive to pick up your new rig. A quality dealer will usually invest a full tank of fuel, a filled LP-gas tank, and nearly 24 hours of operating and testing all the major systems, appliances, and functions of the RV to this comprehensive preparation. Better dealers will also provide new buyers with essential items not provided by manufacturers, including an electrical adapter plug, potable water hose, water pressure regulator, holding tank chemicals, RV toilet tissue, and a sewer hose with adapter and clamp. If not, the buyer should be certain to purchase these items himself before taking delivery of the rig. Upon arrival, the buyer should expect to spend no less than an hour or two participating in a thorough orientation and walk-through of the RV’s components and systems. In checklist form, this orientation should include:
Instruction in all operations.
Explanation of the standard warranty coverage.
Explanation of the owner’s manual.
Review of maintenance requirements.
Owner’s manuals for all components.
Familiarity with the coach’s electrical system.
The location of and replacement procedures for fuses, relays, circuit breakers, and solenoids.
Actually starting, driving, and braking the vehicle, with an explanation of cold- and hot-weather starting procedures.
A test drive or test tow, including towing of a dinghy vehicle, if you plan to use one. Practice hooking and unhooking a tow vehicle.
Review of safety procedures.
A fire escape plan, including operation of the escape window. Specific instruction should take place on the following systems and components: AC generator.
AC generator circuit breakers.
Black- and gray-water dump valves.
Coach batteries. Dash electrical components, including:
Lights, Wipers, Gauge instruments
Audible and visual warning features
The meaning of all indicators
Electrical distribution panels.
Electrical shore-power cord.
Engine compartment, including:
Filling the fresh water tank
Ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI).
Inverter circuit breakers
Sewer dump hose
Add any other options you’ve chosen to add to your new RV, and you should have a pretty comprehensive list. Make sure the dealer not only demonstrates everything for you but also allows you to practice operating things yourself. Watch them do it. Do it yourself. If you’re still not certain, do it again. Many dealers also offer a free camping weekend at a local campground. If so, take advantage of it to give your new rig a thorough run-through under actual camping conditions. If not, then definitely plan to schedule a short camping excursion on your own for the same purpose. It’s better to find out about any bugs or quirks your RV may possess in this way than to discover problems while on a lengthy trip.
One of the premier birding hotspots in the country, if not the number one hotspot, is the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) of Texas. This special place plays host or has played host – in the sense of vagrants, to an incredible variety of bird species, 485 to be exact. Its unique geographical reality places it at a critical junction of habitat types which allows this area to become truly magical in the imagination of every birder.
When one considers the fact that this biotic crossroad is built around four distinct and unique environments, one begins to understand why the RGV is held in such high esteem as a bird Mecca. To the north, one encounters a relatively temperate climate, while to the south the picture is radically changed by a subtropical presence. The same is true for the east-west component: arid to one side and coastal/coastal prairie to the other. All this, combined with the fact that two principal flyways, the Mississippi and the Central, join together/or split (depending on whether we are looking at a Spring or Fall migration) just to the north of the Valley and you fully realize what makes this four or five-county area so wonderfully diverse. One can’t deny it, the birds just love this place! The birding community has been known for eons in this legendary corner of our world and has made names like Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, Bentsen, Rio Grande State Park, Sabal Palm Grove, and still others, synonymous with colorful birds and warm memories.
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, for example, is the only National Wildlife Refuge in the entire Refuge System to have
broken the 400 barrier; that is a record 400 plus bird species within its boundaries. Its sister Refuge, Santa Ana, is not far behind. With credentials such as these, it is no wonder why the RGV attracts so many to its fabled landscapes. The Valley’s avian resource has sparked the interest of photographers also. The Valley Land Fund Photo Contest, an annual and unique pairing of private landowners and serious shutterbugs, for example, has become one of the most prestigious and lucrative contests in the country. Although birds aren’t the only attraction during this competition, they are the most photographed category. Certain species of birds found in the RGV are found either nowhere else or only in a few other places in the United States. Species like Hook-Billed Kite, White-Collared Seedeater, Green Jay, Great Kiskadee, Tamaulipas Crow, Brown Jay, Couch’s Kingbird, and Ringed Kingfisher haunt the bright dreams of avid birders. Other RGV specialties also call to the birder s heart: Muscovy Duck, Plain Chachalaca, Red-Crowned Parrot, Green Parakeet, Red-Billed
Pigeon, Ferriegenous Pygmy-Owl, Buff-Bellied Hummingbird, Long-Billed Thrasher, White-Tipped Dove, Tropical Parula, just to name a few. Certainly, more tropical species, although not present every year, are becoming more and more regular as time goes by. So much so, that any trip could produce birds like Clay-Colored Robin, Masked Duck, Northern Jacana, or Blue Bunting, for example. But, for a truly remarkable note, one need only turn to the growing list of vagrants that have at one time or another been found within the Valley confines: Roadside Hawk, Crane Hawk, Jabiru, Collared Forest-Falcon, Ruddy Quail-Dove, Stygian Owl, Green-Breasted Mango, Green Violet-Ear, Masked Tityra, Grey Silky Flycatcher and the list goes on and on.
Almost any time of the year will produce good to great birds here in the Valley. Fall and Winter are a good times for vagrants and errant gulls, while the summer is the obvious heart of the breeding period. Many bird species will produce a number of clutches each year, well into the hot months of the season. Early spring (late March-the beginning of April) is a wonderful time to witness the hawk migration, and on its tail feathers follows the bulk of the season s migration, everything from warblers and vireos to grosbeaks and buntings. The coastal areas seem to be the better place to be during this latter segment of the northerly rush of birds to their breeding grounds, while the central Valley boasts the best hawk migration vantage points. And where will the vagrants show up? Almost anywhere! What is the best way to bird the Valley? The Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival held each November in Harlingen will give you an in-depth introduction to the area s habitats and birds and also will offer the advanced birder the opportunity to “mop up” any omissions to one’s quest.
The same can be said for the Texas Tropics Nature Festival held each April in McAllen. Other opportunities are also available. The two National Wildlife Refuges provide a variety of tours during the bulk of the year, as does Bentsen Rio Grande State Park. Check their staff for details and scheduling. Another good source of information is the local Chambers of Commerce. Harlingen, for example, can provide you with a Valley-wide checklist. If you are searching for rarities or a list of unusual birds present in the area contact the local Rare Bird Alert maintained by the Frontera Audubon Society. Just get out there and enjoy! The birds are waiting and, believe me, you will enjoy it. Just think, you could be on the brink of a new way of viewing our world and, in particular, this Magic Valley of the Birds.
Are you interested in taking an RV trip? If you are, you will want to take the time to properly and fully plan for and prepare for your upcoming trip. As nice as it is to hear that should properly plan for and prepare for your upcoming RV trip, you may be curious as to what the importance of doing so is. After all, you may only be interested in visiting the next town over for a day or two. Even in these types of situations, with short RV trips, it is still important to properly plan and prepare. One of the many reasons why you are encouraged to properly plan for and prepare for your upcoming RV trip, no matter where you are going or for how long, is because of safety. If your motor home breaks down, will you be able to get assistance right away? Those who own their own RVs are encouraged to invest in RV insurance or at least roadside assistance. For those renting RVs, it is important to determine, ahead of time, if roadside assistance is included in rental fees. When traveling, it is always best to prepare for the worst.
Another reason why you should properly plan and prepare for your upcoming RV trip is for your loved ones. When you take the time to do the proper amount of planning and preparation, your loved ones can take comfort in knowing that you are safe and out of harm’s way. This is ideal if you have children who will be staying behind. In fact, you may want to create a mini itinerary for yourself to leave behind; include what stops you plan to make, when you will check in, as well as when you will return. Perhaps, the greatest reason why you should take the time to properly plan for and prepare for an upcoming RV trip is so that you can have a good time.
If your planning and preparation are rushed, you may find yourself missing important supplies. For example, what would happen when you went to take a shower and realized that you forgot the towels, and so forth? Not only can this result in additional expenses on the road, but it is also a huge inconvenience. In conjunction with improving your overall satisfaction, proper planning and preparation, for an RV trip, reduces the amount of worry or concern you may have about doing so. For example, by creating a checklist in advance and going through that checklist before your trip, you can make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row. This is likely to provide you with a sense of comfort and security, which can help improve your chances of having a truly fun and memorable RV trip.
As highlighted above, there are a number of reasons why you should take the time to properly plan and prepare for your next RV trip. The good news is that it is relatively easy to properly plan and prepare for an upcoming RV trip. For example, make a checklist of what items you would like to pack, which items you will need to buy, stops you would like to make along the way, and so forth. Traveling by RV can be fun and exciting, but it can also be dangerous and frustrating if the proper steps are not first taken.
Whether you are going camping, touring, or even vagabonding, a camper trailer will provide a traveler with all the amenities found in the comfort of today’s modern homes. There are various types of homes on wheels, or mobile homes, such as motor homes, truck campers, fifth-wheel trailers, and travel trailers. The type of recreational vehicle (RV) you are going to buy for your family or for yourself, depends on a few factors. These factors are primarily, the cost, your current vehicle’s towing capacity, and the amount of living and sleeping area you are going to need.
The fact is an RV bought new from a dealership will generally depreciate faster in the first few years from its purchase date, but the RVs value can hold its own if it is well maintained. For this reason, the smart modern vagabonds will commonly buy their mobile homes used. If you can learn to recognize what to look for when you are shopping for a used camper trailer, then you just might be able to find yourself a great deal and save a few dollars. While you are shopping for your used camp trailer, the different types of RVs you will encounter are, class A motor homes, class B motor homes, class C motor homes, travel trailers, fifth-wheel trailers, folding camp trailers, sport utility recreational vehicles, and the good old truck camper. The type you are going to focus on will depend on your budget, the vehicle you are currently driving, and the space required. Unless you are looking at class A, B, and C motor homes you will need a towing vehicle.
The class A motor home is the most expensive and the biggest recreational vehicle, such as a bus converted into living quarters, the class B motor home is smaller and is built on a van chassis, and the class C motor home is a van with a cutaway chassis as the camper. If you own a car, then you can shop around for travel trailers and folding camp trailers. These types are generally smaller and lighter and enable the use of a car for towing. For the pickup truck owners and depending on the truck’s load and tow capacity, you can then start looking at the larger camp trailers. With a pickup truck, you can still buy the lighter, smaller trailers if you wish, that depends on your comfort level, this way you will have more room in your truck box to carry supplies around. The truck camper is unique in its own way since it fits inside a pickup truck’s box. These vary in size and weight depending on your truck’s load capacity and you can also tow a trailer or boat with the truck camper style. Lately, RV manufacturers have been building sport-utility camp trailers. As the pickup truck camper, the sport utility camper is unique since it has its own garage to store your toys. The sport utility trailer comes in various sizes and is also built as class A, B, and C. If you decide to purchase a camp trailer, you are going to have to do your homework and look up your car or truck towing capacity. There are two numbers you will have to know about your towing vehicle and that is, the gross trailer weight (GTW) and the tongue weight (TW) capacities. The GTW is the maximum weight your vehicle is designed to pull and the TW is the weight your hitch ball can support. These two specifications can be found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. This is very important to know since the insurance company you are dealing with might reject any accident claims due to not complying with these specifications while hauling your camp trailer.
Once you have decided on the type of used RV you will be shopping for, start reading through the classified ads in your local newspapers, magazines, and on the Internet. You can also visit local RV dealerships since most of them will have used RVs on their lots. When you are ready to go look at your future used RV, bring a checklist of things to look for. When you are looking over your prospective RV, spend a little time doing it, don’t buy on impulse, this can be a costly mistake. You can even call the seller ahead of time and have them prepare the RV for inspection, prompt them to fill the water storage tanks, start up the refrigerator and freezer, have the propane tanks and power hooked up, and basically have it ready as if the camper was going to be used immediately. If the seller agrees to your request, give them a few hours to do so, the refrigerator and freezer should be cold by the time you get there. If the seller refuses to prepare the camper for your viewing, then be suspicious of damages or broken-down appliances in the camper. Once you have arrived at the campers seller’s location, start your inspection. Have a thorough look at the underneath of the camper looking for rust spots, leaky holding tanks, and any damage due to bottoming out. Check the tires, their threads, and brake controller if applicable (knowledge on brake controllers is not that important but good to know). Do a scan of the campers shell, look for dents, rusty spots, separations in the seams, and rusty or loose screws. Open up all the compartments and have a look inside for damage and especially dampness. Make sure the compartment doors shut tight and are not loose. If the camper is a folding type, inspect the canvas and screens; look for holes and patches, check the seams and surface for brittleness and rot. If the camper is a hardtop, have a look at the roof, look for markings where water might have collected, and inspect the joints and rubber seals. Depending on the weathering and age of the camper, these seals will start cracking and water may be able to seep into the camper. While looking over the roof, make sure that all the racks and vents are tight and secured. If there are any, find out where the battery or batteries, and propane cylinders are stored. Check that the batteries are well charged and holding their charge. If there are any hydraulic or electric motors make sure that they are properly running and are doing the work that they are designed to do, such as lifting the camper up and down for leveling. Check to make sure that the propane tank(s) are not leaking, you will smell propane if the connectors on the tanks are not holding or are loose. The exterior lights on the camper are very important for safety and laws while driving on public roads, make sure that the turning and brake lights are functioning well.
After thoroughly inspecting the exterior of the camper, you can then start with the interior. Once you have entered the camper, check the entrance door to see if it securely closes and look for signs of leaking; do the same for all the windows. Check all the hinges, handles, and locks on all the windows and doors. In the kitchen, check all the appliances to assure that they are working properly, listen for strange noises or smells, and look them over for damage. Turn on the water faucets to make sure the pump(s) is working and if there is a hot water heater you will know if it is working properly due to the temperature of the water. In the bathroom, if the camper has one, make sure everything in it is secured and has not become loose during the camper’s travel. Look for the ventilation fan and make sure that it is working properly, this is important because the moisture from the bathroom should always be vented out. Have a look at the toilet, make sure that it can hold water and that it is flushing properly, it will smell during your travels if it malfunctions. Depending on your taste and comfort zone, have a look over at the furniture and bedding to assure that they are in good condition. Finally and most importantly, check the floor and inside all storage compartments for moisture and mildew. The floor around the sinks, tub, shower, and toilet are more likely to have water damage due to spillage. Check that the floor around these areas is not softened or even rotten by water damage.
Once you have given your potential camper a complete inspection and you are satisfied with all its working components, sit in it for as long as it takes for you to feel comfortable. Look at its layout and all the amenities it has to offer and let yourself relax until you feel satisfied that it is the right camper for you. If it’s not and you cant feel it, don’t worry there are many more used campers available to you. However, a rule of thumb when making a purchase of such value is, to go look at more than just one model of the camper. You can have fun and learn more as you inspect the various models available to the vagabonds. When you find the right camper and it has met all of your standards, hook it up and hopefully, we will see you on the road with a smile on your face!
If you are on I-75, I-85, I-20, or I-85, make a stop in Atlanta. For RV parking, just drive 25 miles outside on I-75 and exit 122 in Cartersville, GA. There you will find the Allatoona Campground They have full wood campsites with some full hookups. There is a 1/4 mile white sand beach and a marina with a launch ramp and boat rentals, a recreation building with a sundeck, a swimming pool, a barbecue area, a children’s playground, a general store, tiled bathrooms, laundry, and cabins if you have anyone with you who doesn’t want to sleep in the RV.
What to eat while you’re there. Of course, it is always preferable to eat like a native, those are the restaurants where all of the best food is. One of the best restaurants for down-home southern cooking is Mary Macs Tea Room. Located at 224 Ponce De Leon Ave NE and it is open for lunch. The best items on the menu are fried green tomatoes, okra, greens, grits, fried chicken, crackling cornbread, and sweet potato pie.
The main attraction when visiting Atlanta is the World Of Coca-Cola. You will learn how Dr. John S. Pemberton, an Atlanta Scientist invented this soda originally as a cure for headaches. You will find an old-fashioned soda fountain from the 1930s and the Taste Of The World Soda Fountain, a unique dispenser that shoots soda 20 feet in the air and will land in your cup with pinpoint accuracy. Another suggested stop on your Georgia tour is Savannah, GA. Savannah was an important port during both the American Revolution and the Civil War. It was under British rule during the American Revolution and the United States took full control during the Civil War. Waterway RV Park is located off I-95 exits 14, 15, and 16 in Richmond Hill. They have full hookups, phone hookups, a general store, a boat ramp, restrooms, and a laundry facility. You can also try Bellaire Woods Campground, locate at 805 Argyle Rd on Georgia Hwy 204 which is 2 1/2 miles west from I-95. They offer some full hookups, cable tv, shady pull-thrus, security, a laundry facility, propane service, a playground, showers, a playground, propane service, showers, a fishing dock, a swimming pool, and a boat ramp.
Of course, when you are in Georgia, you must eat southern food. Try Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House, located at 107 W Jones St. There is a real Mrs. Wilkes and it is a real house, however, it has no sign on the front. They serve only lunch and the locals know that you have to start lining up in the front at 11:00 am. You can also try Crystal Beer House which has been open since 1933 and is located at 301 W Jones St. There you will find such favorites as crab stew, fried oyster sandwiches, deviled crab burgers, and over 80 choices of beers. If you love historic homes, visit The Hamilton-Turner Mansion and the Owens-Thomas house. The Hamilton-Turner Mansion is located at 330 Abercorn St. You can call for hours of operation. The Owens-Thomas House is located at 124 Abercorn St. Call for their hours of operation.
Great American humorist, Kin Hubbard once said The safest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it in your pocket. But when RV living is your way of life, saving every penny may not be as easy as you might expect. The following RV tips are sure to help you save, and even earn, money while enjoying the RV way of life.
Ways to save money
1. Get more bank for your tank. Enjoy better gas mileage by practicing these simple driving tips: Slow down. The faster you drive, the lower your fuel economy will be.
Inflate – Proper tire inflation is a sure way to improve your gas mileage
Lighten your load – Eliminating excess RV weight increases your fuel efficiency
2. Stop and shop. Forget about stocking up on everything you need for your entire trip by buying in bulk beforehand. Instead, shop often and locally. You’ll not only reduce the weight of your RV and get better fuel economy but also save money by skipping the national chains and shopping for produce, meat, dairy, and other items at local discount and dollar stores.
3. Eating in is in. Skip the restaurants and eat in. Your meals not only will be more affordable, but also they will be healthier than those bought at the fast-food restaurants and old-fashioned diners along the highway.
4. Go green. Use plastic, not paper. Although paper products are easy to use and even easier to throw away, why not go green while on the road? While the initial investment of purchasing a set of washable and reusable dishes may cost more upfront, not having to continually purchase paper plates, cups and utensils will save in the long run.
5. Try boondocking. According to Jack and Julee Meltzer, authors of The Smart RVers Guide to Saving Money: Have More Fun RVing For Less Money, boondocking, or dry-camping, usually entails staying somewhere that offers no hook-ups (water and sewer) at little or no cost. Whether it’s a parking lot or in the desert on public land, some RVers only boondock. Most RVers, however, stay at a campground every few days in order to empty their tanks, do laundry and fill up on freshwater.
6. Make house calls. If boondocking isn’t your style, why not turn your RV road trip into an opportunity to visit with family and friends? Be sure to be respectful and always ask before showing up; however, most close friends and family would be delighted for an impromptu visit that doesn’t involve clean sheets and extra towels. Parking your RV in the driveway shouldn’t be a problem; just make sure to ask if there are any city ordinances requiring parking permits in the neighborhood.
7. Join the club. RV membership clubs like The Good Sam Club, KOA, Passport America, Camp Club USA, Happy Camper, and Escapees offer a wide range of benefits to their members, including substantial discounts on campground fees. Do your research before embarking on your journey to see what deals and discounts you can find on the road.
8. Get online. RV forums can be found on numerous websites. And while you’re surfing, try finding online coupons, codes, and discounts for all of your other necessary RV purchases.
9. Save money on storage by selling your stuff. Save that monthly storage unit fee and make some money at the same time. Before embarking on your road trip, hold a sale and eliminate all of your unused belongings, then donate whatever is left to the local Goodwill or Salvation Army. In addition to a little extra income, you’ll receive a deduction on your taxes.
10. Investigate your policies. Research your insurance policies to ensure you are getting what you need at a price you can afford. Whether you’re looking at your RV insurance options or trying to find discount RV insurance coverage for your vehicle, sometimes changing your provider or premiums can save you money. The RV lifestyle is one of the most affordable ways to travel and experience all that the country has to offer. Utilize these helpful tips for RVing on a budget, and make every dollar stretch for miles.
We all know that living in an RV is something that can be extremely fun and rewarding; however, there are a few things that you need to think about. Just the idea of purchasing an RV, traveling everywhere, living anywhere that you want is something fantastic, and believe it or not, RVs are extremely comfortable nowadays. In this article, we are going to explore some of the tips and tricks to make sure that you can live comfortably in your RV!
One of the first things that you are going to have to do whenever you are deciding whether or not to live in an RV is to weigh out the pros and cons of whether or not owning a house would be worth it. There are some amenities that you have with a home that you would lose when you leave your house, but remember, you do not have to sell off your house if you do not want to. Whenever you live in an RV, there is absolutely no backyard that you have to keep up. That alone is one thing that is incredible, as most people hate yard work so that might be a pro for you. No more gutters, driveways to clean out or you will not even have any neighbors. Those can go be pros or cons, no matter which way you look at it.
One thing that a lot of people who live in RVs full-time have said is that they are all around happier. They do not have any stress at all and to be honest, that is the way that it should go. RVs are luxury items nowadays and if you are buying one to live in full-time, you should get one that has everything that you want in it. You do however have to worry about the fact that you might feel like you are falling completely out of contact with your friends and family. However, that should not be a worry any longer, for there are a ton of different ways that you can keep in touch, everything from messaging systems via the internet or even using your cell phone. Mailing a letter is a great way to ensure that you stay in touch too. Banking is going to be an issue as well, you want to make sure that you go with a bank that is worldwide or at least nationwide so you can find a branch easily. However, getting your bills and where you will get your medical attention should you get hurt are some things you should be thinking about.
The internet is definitely something that is incredible if you have a laptop and do not have the means to quit bringing in money, there are a ton of different home-based businesses available that just need an internet connection. So wherever you park your RV that night, you can still work! As you can see there really are a lot of good reasons why you should live in your RV. However, you always want to make sure that you check your pros and cons and that you weigh them out to see if this option works for you. Living in your RV is not for everyone, just remember that. Before you go buy an overpriced RV to live in consider all the pros and cons as they apply to you.
There are any number of ways to see the USA. An RV road trip is one way you might want to consider. Americans love their road trips…. and our foreign friends seem to like them pretty well too when they visit. Much of the U. S. is easier to see by road than by using buses or trains. A rental car has usually been our vehicle of choice when we take road trips far from home, but recreational vehicles are also an option. There are plenty of places that rent RVs for a week or a month. You may find these recreational vehicles called RVs or motor homes. Outside of the U. S., they are often called caravans. Whatever you call them, they are self-contained accommodations on wheels complete with beds, a kitchen, toilet, and shower.
Until recently we had never considered an RV road trip for a number of reasons. The top two reasons are that RVs don’t get good gas mileage, and if you don’t own one, they are a little expensive to rent. Then we had the opportunity to take an RV road trip with friends, and we saw the positive side of this kind of travel. In the U.S., RVs come in sizes from a little bigger than van size to really large, so you have to consider that you will be driving a vehicle bigger than what you’re used to…. maybe lots bigger. We discovered that this was not quite as limiting as we thought. Most attractions and stores have parking lots that accommodate even the largest rig. You have to watch height limitations at gas stations and road underpasses, and narrow lanes can be intimidating… but once you’re used to it, you will travel just as quickly in an RV as you will in a car. Stopping for the night is not a problem. There are RV parks all over the country, and many county, city, and National Parks have spaces for recreational vehicles, so there is no problem finding a place to park for the night. There are even some large store chains that allow you to spend the night in their parking lots… though that is not really a very scenic option.
You need to learn a few things about full hook-ups and partial hook-ups for the night, but your rental agent will give you the basics you need… and the people you meet in RV parks are friendly and helpful. There are plenty of websites specifically about the RV experience and RV road trips where you can find lots of information if you’re interested in trying it once. One nice thing about this kind of travel is that once you’ve got your RV set up, you have your clothes and food with you all the time. No need to go find restaurants…. though you could if you didn’t want to cook. You will meet lots of friendly travelers…. people in RV parks seem to like to talk to each other and share their experiences. You might even find that it doesn’t cost you any more than a rental car and hotels or motels along the road, and you might find an RV road trip a whole new kind of adventure that you like.
Vacation is always fun. Minus the expenses that the adults have to cover, people go on vacations for various purposes. While flying is the faster way to go, traveling by land can be just as fun and you wouldn’t even notice the time passing by as you get to enjoy the sights. But if you’re tired of the whole sightseeing thing, there are other ways how to make your road trip go by faster while you are in the car. Here are some suggestions on what you can do on your next road trip. – Play games Nobody is too old for fun games! Whether you are traveling with family members in different age brackets or on a road trip with your young at heart friends, there are games that you can do inside the car that can provide hours of entertainment, fun, and laughter. You can bring prizes with you too. They can be real prizes or just fun silly prizes. The game can be about plate numbers you see, the sights you see outside the window, games about music, and many more.
Music trip – You can have fun for hours listening, or better yet, singing along with your favorite tunes. Pop in a CD or connect your iPod and there will never be a sleepy moment inside the car. You can even turn this into a game similar to Don’t Forget the Lyrics, or the classic Name That Tune.
Mini comedy club – Turn your car into a mini-comedy club! Have a round-robin of takes and have each other bring out their favorite jokes or tell some of your funniest stories.
Food trip – All those laughs and singing can get you really hungry. Stock up on snacks in the car so you can immediately have a bite when you want to.
Photo ops – If you see a great sight, and there will definitely be plenty, hop out of the car and take souvenir photos.
Stopovers – Apart from using the bathroom, make your stopovers a food trip experience to try and explore the different food offerings from different areas. Try to stay away from typical fast food places such as Mcdonald’s. Take this as an opportunity instead to try out something new and exciting for your palette.
RVs – Use RVs if you can so your road trip can have an element of camping adventure in it. Especially for long drives, RVs can provide homey comfort to some extent. With an RV, you can go just about anywhere, even the woods or the desert.
Lastly, follow traffic rules. It’s not fun to be getting tickets in every city you run into, so obey traffic laws and you should be well on your way to vacation and road trip fun. As they say, sometimes it’s not about the destination, but about the journey. Have a fun-filled road trip that family and friends will look forward to year after year. What is truly important in a road trip is your sense of adventure, and being able to say yes and have fun when the opportunity presents itself.
Your RVs fat. There, I said it. Come on, who are you kidding? Look at the way it leans to the side. I don’t suppose you noticed that it’s taking you greater distances to stop and longer to accelerate, did you? And just look at all that gear onboard, stuff falling out of every cabinet, exterior compartments full to capacity, even that never-used storage pod on the roof is full. Geez, what are you keeping in there anyway? All the symptoms add up. You need to put that RV on a diet. Despite such visible warnings, the best way to tell if your rig is, well, heavy is to hop on a scale at your nearest weigh station. Drive long enough on the highway and you’re sure to find one or look in the Yellow Pages for the one nearest you. Once there, prepare yourself for some frank discussions about your RV weight, for the scale tells no lies. Are you exceeding what your motorhome can carry? Is your pickup safely able to transport that fifth wheel loaded to the heavens with who only knows what? Whether it’s that cuddly little pop-up or a behemoth diesel pusher, overweight is overweight, and such a condition, just like for us folks, comes with consequences. An overloaded RV is taxed beyond capacity, with the extra weight affecting everything from the brakes to the tires to the chassis. Basically, you’re asking your poor vehicle to do more than it should, which means greater (and faster) wear and tear, added mechanical costs, sluggish performance, so-so braking, and the like. Get in an accident with an overloaded RV and you might find yourself liable, not to mention voiding any future warranty and insurance claims. I guess what I’m saying here is that unlike your cousin Eddie, it’s not cute to be overweight at least not in an RV. It’s time to drop some pounds, and here’s how.
Everyone is prone to overpacking. After all, how can a reasonably-minded person be asked to leave home their Motown record collection and complete set of World Book encyclopedias? Add that to that big family of yours that you’ve been toting around lately, an excessive amount of gear for any contingency, and those irresistible souvenirs you picked up along the way, and the family RV can get hefty in no time. However, those who have been around the proverbial block (and truck scales) enough times should know all about this weight gain phenomenon. It’s the newbies that are most prone to overdoing it. Everyone bringing items onboard should be asking themselves the same question: Do I need it? If that answer is a definite yes, then it makes the cut for now. One of the perks of living in the 21st century is the opportunity to pick up just about anything you would need on the road, so resist the urge to stock up. You’re not braving a winter in your cabin, you’re in a home on wheels. So, for those requiring groceries, some extra batteries, or additional sunscreen, chances are there’s a place nearby where you can get it. The bottom line is don’t feel so pressured when packing, which can add to bringing along too much. Food is one of the biggest overindulgences when it comes to packing. How many canned goods does it take to tax an RV?
How about all those cases of soda, an unusual attachment to canned hams, and a week’s worth of meals and snacks for every member of your crew? Sure, we don’t want anyone to starve, but be reasonable. Create a menu for the trip and buy/bring only what you’ll need. For longer trips, break down the groceries and meals into equal parts, so you can do a little shopping from the road to avoid an overloaded condition. If there’s a wok, food processor, and cappuccino maker tucked in those cabinets, chances are you’re the type who has trouble saying no. I certainly don’t want to deny you a favorite coffee drink, but an RVs galley and accompanying campfires lend themselves to more simplistic cooking. If you cant make dinner with that onboard stove, oven, or microwave, skip it. Extra cooking gadgets are just too cumbersome to warrant. Limit yourself to one or two nice skillets, a few reasonably size pots, cooking utensils, and enough plates, bowls, and glasses for everyone. Besides, we both know you hate stir fry. To keep things fair, every passenger gets one bag. They can fill it as they like, but that’s the limit of what they can bring, just one, lonely bag. If your trip to the weigh station reveals that you’re gasp! underweight, then you can definitely rethink the one-bag rule. But for now, thems the breaks.
Help the younger set pack bags sensibly, and tell Tommy his dumbbells can’t come. Play around with ways to substitute lighter items for heavier ones. Do you need a 5-pound bag of flour or will a zip-lock with just enough for that cake recipe be enough? Are those jumbo bottles of ketchup, mustard, and Mayo really necessary or would individual servings, like those found at fast food places, do the trick? Opt for paper plates over the heavier place settings from home; plastic utensils (rewash for multiple uses) over silverware; rent bikes at the campground over toting along with your own. Chose plastic over glass; aluminum over metal. Think lightweight and you’ll soon be lightweight.
Watch those tanks! Anyone driving around with full tanks is crazy. Any idea what full fresh, black, and gray water tanks weigh? Not sure? Well, it breaks down like this: Water = 8.4 pounds per gallon, Gasoline = 6 pounds per gallon, Diesel = 8 pounds per gallon, LP = 4 pounds per gallon. Now do a little math. A 100-gallon freshwater tank weighs in at more than 800 pounds. Oh great, now there’s no room for your Aunt Edna’s spice loaf. Unless you’re planning on boondocking, keep water levels low, and fill up only what’s needed. Holding tanks with no-vacancy signs cramp the style of life onboard, so dump whenever possible. Here’s a philosophical point to consider. Just because you have the space to put things, doesn’t mean you should use it. Most larger motorhomes feature cavernous exterior compartments, walls lined with cabinetry, and enough nooks and crannies to double your RV weight if you put your mind to it. Fill up all those vacancies and you’re bound to plump up your RV beyond its ratings. Furthermore, factor in such supplementals as those bikes in the carrying rack and that storage pod full of all those non-essentials, you’re asking for even more trouble. Remember, this is not a competition; no one will think less of you if you leave a few storage compartments empty. Your RV’s weight is serious business. Many of these vehicles are pretty heavy to begin with; you needn’t make the problem worse with a willy-nilly approach to stocking them. Bring only what you need, weigh in occasionally to make sure you haven’t gained any unwanted pounds, and you’ll be on the fast track to a slender hood.
Defensive driving is a sequence of easy and straightforward techniques that allows you to expect possible hazards and gives you a plan for dealing with them. There are various defensive driving tips you can learn from defensive driving schools or even on the internet. The one simple tip is to always drive attentively. It is also essential for you to obey the traffic laws. Being a responsible driver always react quickly to avoid accidents. You can avoid accidents by staying out of the way of large vehicles, especially trucks and tankers. It is also very useful to take extra care at intersections. It is also important to always prepare yourself to stop your vehicle suddenly to prevent collisions.
A very important defensive driving tip is to communicate your interactions with other drivers by giving signals early, signaling constantly, and canceling your signal after making the move. Always give your car indicators before changing your lanes. It is calculated that 10% of accidents are caused by too little distance between the vehicles, so always keep a distance from other vehicles. If your road and weather conditions are not good always increase the distance from another vehicle. Driving while nighttime is really dangerous and it is calculated that it causes four-time higher death rates than daytime. At night times, it is recommended to you to leave wider spaces between you and other vehicles. If there is any fog or smoke on the road, turn on your fog lights and low beam headlights to watch clearly on the roads. Fogs lights help you a lot in fog. While diving in rain it is important to know that at the start of rain roads are usually slippery so always drive slowly. Heavy rain is also the main problem while driving because you can not see clearly outside and maybe your vehicle tires can begin to hydroplane so drive slowly in these conditions and turn on the double indicators. Special skills are needed for driving in snow and ice. If your brakes are anti-lock use them firmly otherwise avoid using ordinary brakes, only use them when you are about to hit something.
The most important tip is to always maintain your vehicle. Always check the fluids of your vehicle weekly. An important defensive driving tip is to use seat belts and also child safety seats to prevent any bad situation. The other important defensive driving tip is to avoid distractions. While you are driving don’t need to read or write anything. While driving use headphones and Bluetooth to answer the calls. If you feel tired or sleepy while driving it is necessary for you to take a break from driving by parking the car on the roadside. Never overtake vehicles when you are on curves, narrow roads, bridges, near schools, hospitals, and factory gates. By following these defensive driving tips you can save yourself from many accidental situations. Defensive driving tips are basically for the safety of your life. In many countries there are various defensive driving courses are available which you can take and polish your skills.
It’s possible to travel across North America by RV and never pay for a campsite. RVers who are prepared for boondocking or dry camping (camping without hook-ups), can find a free place to park and sleep for the night almost anywhere following these eleven simple suggestions.
1. Examine the possibilities. Whether city or rural, scout out the area for potential free camping locations that would suit you.
2. Look for and respect signage. Avoid any area with No Trespassing or No Overnight Parking signage. Note that a sign that reads no camping may only be posted to ensure that tents aren’t set up but, as long as overnight parking is allowed, an RV may be okay.
3. Ask permission. Whether public property or private, ask around, (nearby neighbors, at the town hall, etc. ) and find the person who can give permission. Ask for it as nicely as possible.
4. Be friendly and honest. Let people get to know you and your intentions. Take the time to chat and let people get to know you, how and why you are traveling, and that you only need a spot to park and sleep overnight. If you call it camping, they may envision you setting up a tent, a campfire, and creating your bathroom behind a tree. Mention that you have your own toilet on board. If they’re interested, consider offering a tour of your camper. Tell them you can only travel this way if you don’t pay for camping every night. Talk about some of the other free camping situations you’ve had recently.
5. Keep your RV and yourself in good, clean, neat, and presentable condition. People will judge you by your appearance. If it looks like you take good care of yourself and your RV (even an older model) it tells them you will be considerate of their property too.
6. Befriend security guards and local police. Parking lots for stores, casinos, public transit stations, etc. that are open 24 hours often have security guards. Talk to them. Let them get to know you. Tell them up front how long you plan to stay, about your plans to shop in the store, eat in the restaurant, or take the subway into town in the morning, and what you hope to see in the area. Offer them a coffee. They have boring jobs and will enjoy the interaction and may even keep an eye on your RV while you’re absent. The same holds true for policemen, especially in a small town.
7. Ask locals. Ask the person at the local visitors center, the clerk in the grocery store, the gas station attendant, the person at the side of the road cutting his lawn, or anyone who lives in the area if they can think of a place you might be able to spend a night or two in a free, secluded, safe area? Personnel at a store that sells outdoor gear can be a great resource. Even if you’re not a fisherman, ask where you might be able to fish (and camp) in the area for a few days. Talk to everyone you meet. We’ve even been invited to camp in people’s driveways.
8. Be inconspicuous. Don’t set up your lawn furniture, barbecue grill, etc. unless the setting is appropriate and you know it’s permitted. If the best you can find is an overnight curbside parking spot, don’t sit there with your interior lights on and music blaring into the night. Spend your time away from the RV, perhaps in a nearby park, and come back only to quietly and immediately go to sleep. Then, get up early and move back to the park. If possible, choose a different parking spot, at least a block away, the next night.
9. Don’t push your luck or overstay your welcome. Even when you have permission to camp, keep to your promised time frame, whether that is one night or two, just enough to see the area. If the property owner thinks you’ve moved in for the season, or his neighbors start asking questions, you will spoil it for others who may ask for the same favor in the future and for yourself should you ever want to return.
10. Have a Plan B. Even when you think you won’t encounter a problem you may get a knock on the door after dark to ask that you move. Don’t argue and agree to move right away. Decide ahead of time where you will go if this happens, perhaps the local campground but always ask for a suggestion as well. Chances are this isn’t the first time this person has encountered this situation and may be aware of a nearby suitable place you can go. We’ve had this happen and both security guards and policemen have given us directions on where we could go camping nearby where it was both safe and lawful.
11. Show gratitude. Make this a positive experience for everyone. If someone has helped you find a great free campsite show your appreciation. Stop in to say how good it was, say goodbye, drop off a treat, or send a postcard or thank you note within a few days.
If you and your family are planning a trip, an RV will help you. Rent one for your first outing and then figure out what kind of RV is right for your family. There are classes A, B, C, and fifth wheels. Add to that those that have to be pulled and those with storage for toys like motorcycles, bikes, and watercraft. There are RVs with bunk beds for the kids and RVs with room for just two. You can spend as much or as little money as you have available. Maybe you want to start with a pop-up camper. That’s a big step up from sleeping in a tent. You have your own air conditioning and, sometimes, even a bathroom. From there, the sky’s the limit; literally.
Today RVs can cost as much as one million dollars each. Some are even equipped with garden tubs or Jacuzzis. Once you have decided how much to spend and whether you are either renting or buying your RV, it is time to decide where you are going to go in it. The possibilities are endless. First of all, you will need to know where you are going and plan what highways to use. Remember that an RV is a lot larger than a car and more difficult to handle in traffic. You might decide you would rather take the interstates and use a car to check out the smaller roads. When you figure out where you want to go and how to get there, you need to know where you are going to stay. You cant park an RV just anywhere. Cities have ordinances about stopping overnight in parking lots and, in some states; you can’t even stop to sleep in a state rest area. You will need to know where the RV parks are that can handle your particular type of recreation vehicle. Some parks only allow Class A RVs; some cater to pop-ups or small pullers.
You will need to plot your travel based on how many miles you plan to drive per day. It is a good idea to take the RV out for a few trial run before you set off on the big trip. Always remember that an RV needs extra turning room and has to make a wide swing to turn into a road or a parking lot. There are blind spots that you cannot see without making use of all your mirrors and your rearview camera. Always watch the other guy as closely as possible because you can’t stop an RV very quickly. When you do have to put on brakes, make certain your family is strapped in tightly because it is possible for things to go flying through the body of the RV if they aren’t secured well before travel.
As I wrote about before, my mom and dad recently bought an RV and they already had a boat, so we got right on planning a long weekend getaway for the fall. Well, it’s fast approaching and I am getting ready making lists, and starting to pack. Hitching up the boat and RV is the guy’s job, but getting everything else is up to us gals. We plan the meals, prepare for rain or shine and create the itinerary to get the most family fun out of every trip. Here’s what we have planned for our trip to boat and RV in Rockwood, TN:
Even with all the conveniences of the RV, we still want to keep meals pretty simple. Who wants to spend their precious vacation time cooking, right? We have a beef brisket we will smoke, hamburger patties made up to the grill, and pork steaks. We are making potato salad, pasta salad, and coleslaw for a few side dishes and we’ll have some chips. This is the nice part about RV traveling-we have the fridge there to store the stuff ahead of time. For breakfast, we have mostly danishes, donuts, and other grab-and-go items. On the last day, we have biscuits and gravy, which we can also make beforehand. We also got the ingredients for smores and my sister will make brownies and rice Krispie treats.
A fall trip is simply wonderful. Often it’s warm enough to enjoy boating and playing in the water a little but cools off in the evening to make a campfire just perfect. You don’t sweat through dinner and the mosquitoes are all but a memory. However, you have to pack for all seasons. You may or may not need swimsuits and it’s just as likely you’ll need sweatsuits and rain gear. So, to summarize, bring it all. Again, this is when it is super-handy to have the RV, there is so much more space to keep it all.
Like the clothing, you kind of need to prepare for it all. What will you do when it’s pouring down rain or freezing cold? Or what if the mercury is approaching 90 degrees? We are hoping for the best and preparing mainly for somewhere in the middle, which means a lot of hiking in the mornings and boating in the afternoons. But, we’re also ready to shift gears if swimming becomes possible or if we are trapped under tarps to stay dry. Scrabble by the campfire anyone? A boat and RV trip are all about rolling with the punches and we all have a great attitude about going. We’ll have a great time, rain or shine. Taking the boat and RV to Rockwood, TN may just be our best family vacation yet!