Spring is the time of year many of us pull the RV out of storage, de-winterize it, and give it a good cleaning inside and out in preparation for the upcoming camping season.
Most of what needs to be done is common sense stuff that we can see with our eyes, but there are other items that may need attention we can’t see and rarely think of until a problem arises.
The following is a list of those items you should check before your first trip of the season.
1. Check—or better yet replace—the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Since you haven’t been in your RV for several months, you are unlikely to have heard them dying a slow death as the low battery warning chirped away for weeks on end telling you to replace them.
2. Spring is a good time to fill and flush the freshwater tank.
Be extra thorough and fill it completely full until water comes out the fill spout, then let it sit for a few hours. Check for leaks in the upper portion of the tank, fill hose, and vent tube.
3. Check your fire extinguisher to verify it is still pressurized, free of physical damage, corrosion or leakage, and ready for use in an emergency.
4. Check the batteries to make sure the water level is at the proper levels and that the connections are tight and free of corrosion.
Also, make sure they will still hold a charge after sitting in the cold all winter.
5. Make sure your charge line from the vehicle alternator to your house batteries is functioning.
Many times a fuse or circuit breaker can pop or fail on the charge line and you are unlikely to know it until your house batteries run low.
An easy way to check that your charge line is working is (with the RV disconnected from shore power) to have someone depress the battery indicator on the RV monitor panel while someone else starts the vehicle. If the charge line is working, the battery monitor should begin reading “Charging” or “Full”.
6. Tires may look full, but don’t let that fool you. You should always check your tire pressure before any trip in your RV, but it is especially important after your RV has sat all winter.
This is also a good time to check for cracks or separation on your tires. Don’t forget the spare!
7. Fill your propane tank(s)—and if you live in a state that requires recertification on a regular basis, ask the filling attendant when the next recertification is due.
Being away from home on an extended RV vacation only to discover your propane bottles can’t be refilled can take the joy out of the trip real quick.
8. Start your refrigerator on gas to verify it is properly cooling before switching it to electric.
Loading your refrigerator full of groceries at home and then driving miles away to dry camp in a scenic location only to discover your refrigerator is thawing out is not a great start to your camping trip.
9. Get on the roof and check for damage from tree limbs that may have fallen and damaged your roof over the winter.
While you’re up there, check the roof vents, plumbing vents, and the air conditioner for any cracks that might have developed from freezing weather or sun rot over the years.
10. Finally, make sure your license plate tabs are current along with any land access passes like state or national parks.
Following the above steps will help assure your first trip of the year is a success and hopefully avoid any unfavorable adventures in RVing!
Feel free to share some of your own tips and experiences using the comment box below.
If you’re searching for those perfect RV Christmas gifts, you’ve come to the right spot. Each year we compile a list of presents that will be perfect for the RVer in your life!
Let us begin by saying – this is not a sponsored post. None of these companies have paid us or asked us to include them in this Holiday RV Gift Guide. We’ve picked these items for two reasons…either they’re a classic RV item or they’re cool & unique (making sure your loved-one won’t be receiving a delicate present).
Without any further ado, let hope right in!
This is a great gift for the aspiring RVer! Our friends, Marc & Julie of RV Love, just released their beautiful, full color book titled, Living The RV Life. This 256 page book is packed full of useful information, gorgeous photos and informative diagrams.
Escapees Magazine says, “This is an excellent introduction to RVing and a suitable holiday gift for those who are considering the RV lifestyle.”
We have a copy of this book in our rig, in fact! Not to mention, you can find a sweet pic of our Airstream renovation in it!
What the heck is an RV Life printable?! Well, it’s pretty much just what it sounds like…files you can print to help organize your RV life.
Our friends, Jason & Rae of The Getaway Couple, have created a unique set of printable documents to assist with that.
Jason & Rae say, “There is so much information to keep track of regarding insurance, weight limits, maintenance, warranties, campground bookings, things you want to see, planning meals, moving day checklists, and so much more! Tracking all of this information is overwhelming, especially when you don’t have a centralized point for it all. You can be hunting through paperwork to find your warranty card, searching emails to find that one campground booking, scouring your phone for a quick departure checklist you made on the fly.”
We’ve been using the Fire Bowl for two years and have absolutely loved it.
It runs on propane – so, you never need to worry about smelling like a smokey campfire. We’ve been allowed to use it during “burn bans” because its self contained and can be turned off with a single knob.
Truly, we’ve had only positive experiences with this. It comes highly recommended by us!
If your loved one is serious about RV Living – an online RV course may be the perfect gift! We suggest two courses, depending on your needs.
First, The Fulltime To Freedom course is an amazingly comprehensive guide to becoming a full time RVer. It covers all the basics of transitioning into RV Life and it dives deep into planning & preparation.
Secondly, The Remote Work 101 Course is great for people wanting to transition into a remote work job. Remote Work allows travelers to explore and earn income at the same time!
Ok, this might not be the most fun of the RV Christmas gifts…but, we promise it will come in handy. No one wants to camp in a slanted RV.
These modern levelers use an innovative design so you can level your RV or trailer on the FIRST try – every single time!
Our friends at Morton Trailer Supply not only offer these levelers, but they are also full time RVers and offer awesome customer service!
Sometimes the internet just can’t compete with a physical book! The Next Exit is a perfect example of this fact.
Here’s how the book self describes, “The Next EXIT 2018 is the 27th updated edition of the iconic USA Interstate highway exit directory, which lists gas, food, lodging, shopping and many other services. The most complete directory ever printed, it will help you find everything you need in the windshield, not the rear view mirror.”
Our friends, Tom & Cait, have also told us just how useful it is! Instead of searching the internet for a gas station or restaurant, The Next Exit will tell you exactly what services each intestate exit offers!
Whether paddling the mild waters of Baja California, adventuring along the rugged coast of Oregon, or drifting through glacial straits in Alaska, sea kayaking is arguably the most impactful way to explore the ocean’s surface.
Camp at one of these locations along the West Coast of North America for a paradisal kayaking excursion.
1. La Jolla Sea Caves
Located near San Diego, California, the La Jolla Sea Caves consist of seven naturally formed cliff grottos—White Lady, Little Sister, Shopping Cart, Sea Surprise, Arch Cave, Sunny Jim, and Clam’s Cave.
As well as being a sanctuary for marine life and a snorkeling hot spot, the caves boast an out-of-the-ordinary history. Legend has it that they were once used by pirates to smuggle slaves and treasure, then used again in the 1920s to store illegal liquor stashes.
The Sunny Jim cave can be accessed by foot through a local gift shop. All other caves are only accessible by boat or kayak. Several kayaking tours are available, but if you plan to head out on your own, be sure to wear a lifejacket and helmet.
Rent a kayak (or bring your own) and launch from Avenida de la Playa. If the conditions are safe, you can paddle inside the caves and admire millions of years’ worth of erosion and natural beauty. It’s even possible to swim into the caves if the current isn’t too strong.
Drift through schools of harmless leopard sharks or snorkel along the rocky bluffs searching for lobsters. Camp at the Santa Fe Park RV Resort, which offers full hookups and is less than 15 minutes away from the caves.
The island sports a small town with restaurants and kayak rental companies, so you don’t have to rent from the mainland. Take a tour around the island or go solo. Paddle out to the more secluded Sucia Island and catch a glimpse of a bald eagle or a pod of porpoises. Whale sightings are common as well.
Two RV parks are located on Orcas Island—West Beach Resort and Moran State Park. Take an RV-friendly ferry from Anacortes to either of the two campgrounds, where you can access several launch points in a matter of minutes. You can also drive up Mount Constitution in Moran State Park to find an old stone tower with amazing views and a vintage Airstream that sells ice cream.
3. Telegraph Cove
Located off the Eastern Coast of Vancouver Island, Johnstone Strait is home to the largest pod of orcas in the world.
Beginning in late June, the water is filled with over 200 killer whales who come to give birth and raise their young. The village of Telegraph Cove offers ideal access points to the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve, where these orca sightings are far from rare.
The town also features two museums—the Whale Interpretive Centre and the North Island Discovery Centre. Homes and restaurants comprise the rest of the village, all built on stilts over the water.
Camp at Alder Bay Resort, which is a little over 15 minutes away from Telegraph Cove, or Cedar Park Resort, which is about 30 minutes away. From the cove, you can take a tour or rent a kayak. Paddle out into the middle of the water to get up close and personal with an 8,000-pound orca.
4. Channel Islands
Located off the coast of Southern California, the Channel Islands are an archipelago stretching from the coast of Santa Barbara to Huntington Beach.
From the Painted Sea Cave on Santa Cruz Island to the lighthouse on Anacapa Island, to the largest seal and sea lion rookery in the nation on San Miguel Island, the “Galapagos of North America” are teeming with wildlife and natural wonders.
Rentals and tours of the islands are available from the mainland. Catch a glimpse of the rare island fox or island scrub-jay, found only on the Channel Islands. Snorkel in the lush kelp beds of the Pacific.
Visit the Santa Rosa Island mammoth skeleton in the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Explore the beauty and diversity of Coastal California condensed into a few incredible islands.
Although it’s possible to kayak to the Channel Islands from the mainland, the journey is very rigorous and should only be attempted by very experienced kayakers. Instead, consider taking a 1-hour boat ride from Oxnard to Santa Cruz Island.
If you book a tour, transportation for kayaks is usually arranged. However, if you rent or bring a kayak, be prepared to arrange your own through a local business. The two closest RV parks are McGrath State Beach and Ventura Beach RV Resort, both of which are located in Oxnard, California.
5. Tomales Bay
Located north of San Francisco, close to Point Reyes National Seashore, Tomales Bay is a long, narrow inlet ideal for viewing wildlife.
Paddle along the scenic shoreline and look for Tule Elk, bat rays, and leopard sharks. An array of wildlife appears on the shore during the day. However, one of the bay’s most impressive phenomena is only visible after dark.
When the sun sets, bioluminescent plankton known as dinoflagellates emit a soft green glow, causing the water to light up like the Aurora Borealis. Every time a paddle hits the water or a fish surfaces, the light flares. Night tours are available for witnessing this incredible feature, but be sure to make a reservation 4-6 weeks in advance.
Lawson’s Landing and Olema Campground are both relatively close to all four launch areas and kayak rental companies in Tomales Bay. Take a tour of the bay, explore the local tide pools, or paddle into nearby esteros for calmer waters. However, if you venture toward the mouth of the bay, be very cautious. High winds, strong currents, and the occasional shark can make this area challenging to navigate.
6. Magdalena Bay
Magdalena Bay, a stretch of deep water located near the southern tip of Baja California, is known for its spectacular whale watching. The mingling of the Alaskan cold current and warm currents from the equator create a distinct environment for marine life, as well as a prime fishing location.
Gray whales, which give birth to calves throughout the warm waters of Mexico, are plentiful and friendly. In fact, it’s not uncommon for them to swim up to boats and allow people to pet them on the head. Black Sea Turtles and several species of migratory shorebirds are also unique to the area.
Whale-watching tours, kayaking tours, and kayak rentals are available at several launch points around the bay. The closest RV parks are Palapa 206 RV Park and Misiones RV Park. Drive about 45 minutes to the bay and prepare to come face-to-face with the gray giants of the Pacific Ocean.
7. Morro Bay
Morro Bay, a quiet sanctuary for sea mammals and migratory birds, is located on California’s Central Coast. Otters lounge in floating masses of kelp, invertebrates hide in the eelgrass beds, and herons nest in a nearby rookery.
The bay’s crowning glory is Morro Rock, a 581-foot volcanic plug. The large geological formation serves as a nesting ground for endangered peregrine falcons. Two creeks feed into Morro Bay, forming an estuary where waterfowl gather in flocks. These calm waters are ideal for beginning kayakers.
Camp at nearby Cypress Morro Bay RV and MHP or Morro Dunes RV Park, and launch from the Kayak Shack. During high tide, you can also launch from the Cuesta Inlet in Los Osos and paddle through the estero. During low tide, stick to the front of the bay to avoid becoming stranded on one of the massive sandbars.
Explore the dunes or sign up for a sunset tour. Visit the Morro Bay Natural History Museum. Go kayaking at any time of day and enjoy the idyllic waters of Morro Bay.
8. Santa Catalina Island
Although it is technically one of the southern Channel Islands, Santa Catalina Island deserves its own category. Not only is it the only island inhabited by people, but it is also more accessible for water activities.
Surrounded by crystal clear water, Catalina is popular among divers and snorkelers. Glass-bottomed boats tour the shallows in search of fish, and pelicans dive into the waves.
Paddle along the rocky shoreline into coves and onto secluded beaches. Two towns are present on the Island—Avalon and Two Harbors. Both are small but popular among tourists.
Although there are a few campsites on the island, none of them accommodate RVs. Camp on the mainland at Newport Dunes Waterfront RV Resort or Sunset Vista RV Park, then take a 1-hour ferry ride to the island. You can rent a kayak at any of the businesses in Avalon or Two Harbors.
You can also rent kayaks on the mainland, but if you plan on kayaking the 24 miles from the shore to Catalina, be prepared for a 9-hour trip each way.
9. Glacier Bay
One of the most remote (but also most breathtaking) locations for sea kayaking is Glacier Bay. An Alaskan inlet and national park, it features scenic views of the glassy water and the John Hopkins Glacier.
Glide through icebergs and past shorelines where bears roam and bald eagles nest. Watch flocks of puffins hunting for fish in the icy depths as schools of salmon swim beneath you. The bay also features regular humpback whale sightings, so keep on the lookout.
Book a tour or rent a kayak and launch from Barlett Cove. The waters are calm, allowing for a leisurely kayaking pace and time to admire the view. Although Glacier Bay may not be the most convenient excursion, it can be the trip of a lifetime. What it lacks in accessibility, it makes up for in solitude and idyllic scenery.
10. Laguna Beach
Recognized as one of the most beautiful seaside destinations, Laguna Beach is a coastal city known for its secluded shores. The stretch of nearby ocean is ideal for sea kayaking.
From the sea lions on seal rock to the sea cave at Thousand Steps Beach, the area is well worth exploring. Laguna Beach’s mild weather makes it the perfect destination for beginners.
Paddle to the gorgeous Emerald Bay and be on the lookout for dolphins. Don’t miss a visit to Pirate Tower, the hidden gem of Victoria Beach. Once the property of a naval captain who entertained local children with his swashbuckling stories, the cliffside fortress is now kept locked up. If you look closely at the base, however, you may be able to find remaining coins hidden between the stones.
The most accessible launch point for kayaking is the main beach, but it’s possible to launch from just about anywhere. Camp at Crystal Cove State Park, a popular destination for divers and snorkelers, and make your way along the scenic shoreline. Rentals and tours are also available from various companies.
RV Living is gaining major attention these days. In fact, RV sales are at an all time high in the USA. But, the question remains: Is RV Living for you?
We think so!
Maybe we’re a little biased (or a lot biased), either way today we’ll give you 10 reasons to explore the possibility of full time RV living.
In case you want a second opinion, here’s a video of 10 RVers sharing why they chose RV life!
Once you hit the road, you may be sad to depart your beloved family and friends. Take this chance to rekindle old relationships with loved ones across the US.
We started new traditions of spending holidays with cousins who live across the country. It has been such a blessing to spend more time with family members that we once saw only every couple years.
We’ve also reconnected with old friends throughout our travels.
Well, duh! Isn’t this what fuels everyone’s desire to take up RVing.
This country is insanely beautiful and unique. During our “sticks & bricks” life we’d have to cram in as much travel as we could into a two week window – now we get to really experience the country at our own pace.
We stick by the old saying, “the west is best!” But, it’s all worth exploring.
I guess the hip folks call this “getting woke,” but we like to think of it as living in the moment.
If RV life does nothing else, it forces us to stay on our toes. Being in ever-changing environments and meeting new people around every corner… it trains us to be aware of the present moment.
It’s also made us aware that people are good! We’ve had more strangers approach us with a helping hand than a harmful one.
Making friends on the road is easier than we ever imagined. And, the quality of friendships is wonderful.
These friendships are based on a mutual love for adventure & exploration…not based on our cubical proximity.
When your home has wheels you can take it anywhere the road leads! We’re not much into festivals, or so we thought. We imagined half naked bodies, hopped up on drugs and dancing to rave music when we imagined festivals (nothing against it, just too intense for us).
You only live once. I’m not sure I believe this, but it’s a smart philosophy to live by! Like the infomercial say:
Why Wait? Act now!
Your geography will improve once you hit the road. Your knowledge of American history with grow. You may even become an expert of random roadside attractions.
Beyond having a newfound knowledge of trivia – you’ll have conversation-starters you never thought were possible.
I love learning were strangers are from now because there’s a strong probability that I’ve had my own experience from a nearby location. These points of connection lead to wonderful conversations!
Like it or not, you’re gonna learn how to preform a lot of basic mechanical work. Sure you can call a guy, but that gets expensive. RVs are notoriously…let me think of a nice way to put it….made cheaply!
Tools you once feared will soon become your trusted friends.
You’ll probably be able to diagnose a faulty starter, a broken alternator or even a leaky coolant system. And, best of all, you’ll take pride in these new found skills!
The last reason RV living is for you….you’re crazy! Your family doesn’t understand this “half-baked” idea, your friends think you’re off the rocker, and lord knows what the pastor thinks!
All these things aside – if the desire is deep within you – it should be explored!
We’re all a little crazy out here on the road and you’ll fit right in with this tribe.
In this age of technology and innovation, RV accessories are available by the billions. If you’d rather not rough it, this is what you’re looking for. These 10 luxury RV items will give you a world of comfort at your fingertips.
1. Memory foam mattress
Hard bed? Squeaky springs? Although some RVs come equipped with comfortable mattresses, others definitely do not. Replace your worn-out mattress with a Cool Gel Ventilated Memory Foam Mattress by Classic Brands and give your rig an instant upgrade. Believe me, you’ll sleep better at night.
2. WiFi Booster
At home, WiFi is a luxury that most of us take for granted, but it’s not quite as accessible on the road. Even RV parks that offer WiFi often have weak signals. With a WiFiRanger, you can reach and combine signals from almost anywhere, allowing you to stay connected wherever you go.
3. TV with swivel mount
It’s great to get out and about in a non-tech environment, but there are days when it’s drizzling outside and you feel like staying in bed. Sometimes you just want to cuddle up and binge watch a season of your favorite show.
If you’re looking for a way to get cable on the road, then the Tailgater Portable Satellite TV Antenna is for you. You can set it up at each campsite or keep it permanently mounted to the roof of your RV. Enjoy the luxury of cable TV with just one convenient installation.
5. Key vault
Are you sick of losing your keys or locking yourself out of your RV? Check out theHitchSafe Key Vault, a combination lock key holder that fits inside the hitch receiver of your car or RV.
Place keys, credit cards, cash, or other valuable items inside, lock the vault and conceal it with a heavy-duty rubber cover. However, keep in mind that the vault can only be used if you are not towing a vehicle behind your car or motorhome. If your RV is not equipped with a hitch receiver, you can install one.
The last thing you want while driving a Class A motorhome down the freeway is for a jug of milk to come hurtling out of the refrigerator and splatter against the windshield.
Camco RV Fridge Braces attach to the wire shelves of most RV refrigerators and prevent their contents from sliding around in a moving vehicle. Though they are one of the more practical RV accessories, they can prevent some serious messes.
8. Awning shade screen
RV awnings give plenty of much-needed shade—but only if the sun is directly overhead. If not, you’re out of luck. However, with the Tentproinc RV Awning Sun Shade, you can turn your RV’s awning into a fully-shaded porch area. Relax, have a glass of lemonade, and enjoy some cool privacy.
9. ONEControl® Technology
Are you hoping to come back to a cool RV? Are you curious as to how full your tanks are? Did you forget whether or not you turned off the ceiling fan? Lippert’s ONEControl® system allows you to monitor it all from the smartphone in your pocket.
Check if your rig is level, extend the awning, and lock the doors from a distance. The system is not compatible with all RVs, but it is available for several 2018 models, including the Forest River Columbus, the Coachmen SportsCoach, and the Jayco Pinnacle.
10. Portable smokeless fire pit
You can never forget the aroma of a cozy campfire—especially when your RV and all your clothes smell like smoke. With the Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit, you can enjoy all the benefits of an outdoor fire pit minus the billowing smoke (it always seems to follow you, doesn’t it?) and the environmental damage caused by fire rings.
With its sleek stainless steel design and efficient burn system, you’ll get double the flame with half the firewood. Best of all, the lightweight, no-setup fire pit is portable, so you can bring it anywhere you go.
The camping life may not for everyone, but the RV life can be. With today’s portable gadgets and innovative RV accessories, you can bring the comforts of home with you wherever you go.
RV Newbies have a big learning curve ahead of them! Today we’re here to make the transition to RV life a little bit easier.
We’ll be sharing 10 lessons from 10 different full time RVers. These lessons are all about the following: What one thing do you wish you knew before starting RV life?
Strap on your seat belt, crank up that engine and let’s go for a virtual drive down Wisdom Avenue!
RV Newbies Lesson 1 – It Won’t Change You
RV life won’t change who you are. It can make you more relaxed, more fun, or more patient…but, it won’t change your deep set preferences.
Alissa from The Path to Less thought that she would all of a sudden become an outdoor enthusiast, but she quickly realized otherwise. She says,
We thought we would become these mountain climbing, outdoorsy, bike riding people but living in an RV versus a house did not change who we are.
If you think traveling in an RV will help you increase physical activity, become a better socializer or hone your inner entrepreneur…you may want to think again. We’re full believers in the ability to change for the better, but make those changes today fueled by your desires. Don’t expect an RV to change you!
RV Newbies Lesson 2 – All Campsites AREN’T Equal
From Atlantic to Pacific, campsites vary greatly. This isn’t too important if you travel in a small unit. However, if you’re in a 5th wheel or motorhome, being aware of campsite limitations is crucial.
National and state parks are among the worst when it comes to size limitations.
Tom from enjoythejourney.life understands this dilemma all too well. Traveling the US in a 40ft 5th wheel has taught him a few important lessons:
We really can’t go to all the places we wish we could go. So that’s something I wish I knew before we started.
We’ve found sites like Campendium to be an awesome resource when scouting potential campsites. The user reviews on Campendium are informative and level-headed.
RV Newbies Lesson 3 – You Got this!
You can research RV Life for years and still not learn everything you need to know. Some lessons have to be learned on the road. Being prepared is great, but don’t get stuck in that phase.
RV life is still life. It’s not a permanent vacation. This is a lesson that SO MANY newbies have to learn.
During our first two months on the road we fell into the vacation-mode trap and quickly became exhausted and poor!
We were glad to hear that we weren’t the only RVers learning this lesson. Jeff from Little Trailer Big Adventures shares the same challenge. He says, “you gotta remember to take your weekends, have your downtime, and just relax…have fun with it, take your time…see things.”
For us, creating a budget was key to finding balance. You can watch one of our early monthly expense reports below!
RV Newbies Lesson 5 – Maintenance
When your home has wheels and it rolls across the USA, maintenance is is must.
Sure, preventative maintenance is great – but unexpected maintenance is bound to come knocking. When it shows up on your door, being prepared is much better than being caught off guard.
Make sure you have a fund set aside for these repairs.
Julie from Chickery’s Travels recommends The Mobile RV Repair Tech. The service sent a technician to their RV and completed warranty repairs on site!
In case you’re wondering what boondocking is…it’s camping for free (without electrical or water hook ups). Boondocking can happen in a Walmart parking lot, a beautiful National Forest, a vineyard (thanks to Harvest Hosts) or a highway rest stop.
10 Tips for Finding the Perfect RV Model and Floorplan
If you are a first time RV shopper, you might be surprised–and a little overwhelmed–at how many options there are out there! Once you have settled on the type of RV you are looking for (travel trailer, fifth wheel, motorhome), you’ll still have to decide the size and floorplan that will suit you best.
There’s definitely something for everyone out there, and we want you to find your perfect match. So here are our top 10 tips for finding your perfect RV model.
Know Your Numbers.
Research your tow capacity and payload capacity if you are purchasing a towable. Don’t take guesses or rely on social media for this information. Use your VIN to get the specs directly from your vehicle manufacturer. If you are buying a motorhome, double and triple check the weight of any vehicle you are planning to tow behind the RV. These are the first specs you should look at when shopping. Believe us, picking out an RV that doesn’t work with your current vehicle situation can be expensive and unsafe.
Count the number of dedicated beds you’ll need.
We highly recommend looking for RV floorplans that will provide a dedicated bed for anyone who will be sleeping in the rig most of the time. When shopping for their first RV, some folks think it’s no big deal to make up the dinette or pull out the sleeper sofa every night. We know from experience that this can be a frustration in the long run.
Solo campers or couples who need just one bed will find tons of great options across every RV type. Families with one or two children will be happy to find bunk models in travel trailers and motorhomes. If you are traveling with more than two children, travel trailer and fifth wheels offer many bunkhouse floorplans with 3-4 beds in a separate sleeping area.
If you are looking for a small towable that still offers dedicated beds for everyone in the family, check out the Murphy bed floorplan options. This latest trend has grown pretty popular over the past couple of years, so there are quite a few of these models out there!
Decide on a wet bath, dry bath, or no bath.
Some shoppers love the idea of having a large, private bathroom no matter where they travel. Other folks are just fine with the idea of using campground comfort stations. This is a pretty important part of the RV experience, so make sure you get what you want in this department.
Many smaller RV options like Class Bs, Small Travel Trailers, and Truck Campers only offer wet baths, bathrooms where there isn’t a separate stall for the shower. Think hard about whether this will be a deal breaker for you.
Decide if you’ll want to boondock or camp all four seasons.
Another trend in the RV industry is more models that offer four season features like insulated walls and underbellies. If you want to camp year-round, or at least in the cooler shoulder seasons, look for RVs that include these options.
And if you are looking to boondock (dispersed camping in places without hookups), make sure to search for RVs with larger fresh water, gray water, and black tanks. Other attractive features for folks looking to get off the grid are on-board generators and solar prep.
Think about how much time you plan on spending inside the RV.
There’s no right way to camp. Some people are shopping for an RV with a clean bathroom and comfortable beds that will keep them warm and cozy at night. Other campers are seeking a smaller version of their sticks and bricks house, with all the creature comforts of home. Will everyone be able to eat a meal, play a board game, or watch a movie? Think about how you want to live in the RV, and make sure the floorplan will support that dream.
How much cooking do you plan on doing in (and out) of the RV?
Once again, there is no right answer to the question of cooking in the RV. Some people use their RV kitchens all the time like us, and some people have never even turned on the oven. If the RV kitchen is a major draw for you, look closely at storage, counter space, and refrigerator size. If you love to cook in the open air, check out all the amazing outdoor kitchen options. However, if you don’t cook a lot while RVing, skip the outdoor kitchen to get more interior space and storage.
Will you need to work in the RV?
The ability to work remotely leads a lot of people to check out the RV lifestyle. If you have to punch the clock, you might as well do it in a beautiful location, right? So, if you’re planning to work on the road, make sure you choose a floorplan with a spot for you to comfortably set up shop. Many people are using the flexible space in toy haulers to set up mobile offices. Another popular option right now are fifth wheel models with office space in the middle.
Visualize where all the stuff will go!
Storage varies drastically in different models and floorplans, so think specifically about the things you want to pack. From the big stuff like bikes, kayaks, and golf carts, to the little stuff like clothes, linens and towels, food, and kitchen supplies…actually imagine where all your stuff might go.
Can you access all the important features in “Travel Mode”?
One of the greatest benefits of RV travel for our family is being able to use the bathroom and have a healthy lunch in our RV kitchen while at rest stops. If this is also important to you, make sure you can access everything you will need even with the slides in. Can you access the bathroom, open the refrigerator, and get into the bedroom? Don’t be embarrassed to ask the salesperson to bring in the slides for you to double check!
What extra features are important to you? Every RV is a bit different than the next, and some options will be more important to you than others. That’s why it’s important to have a list of “must haves” vs. “nice to haves” before you even start looking. Here are a few features that may or may not be on your list depending on your RV lifestyle:
Exterior bathroom entrance
Power and automated systems for stability jacks, tongue jack, and levelers
Smart technology and outdoor entertainment
Take your time and have fun with this part of the RV shopping experience. There are so many great RVs out there right now, so make sure to find the perfect one for you.
Cooking while camping can seem like a daunting task. Problems like food storage, time management, and limited counter space can make having home-cooked meals seem impractical. Even with access to electricity, you might be tempted to skip the wholesome meals and head to a fast food restaurant.
On the other hand, it’s important to remain happy and healthy on the road. Preparing ahead of time for what you’re planning to cook can turn a slightly intimidating experience into a simple and efficient one.
Spice mixes: Rather than packing loads of individual spices, choose from a few versatile combinations. Taco Seasoning, Italian Seasoning, and Pumpkin Pie Spice are some great options.
Canned goods: Reduce cooking time and improve storage by stocking up on canned beans, tomatoes, and fruit. Cans are cheap and easy to stack—just remember to pack a can opener.
Sauces: If possible, mix up your own sauces and dressings from scratch before you begin a trip. Homemade sauces will taste better and can be easily preserved in mason jars.
Dry goods: Be sure to pack staple foods such as rice, pasta, dried fruits, oats, and nuts, especially if you’re planning to cook your own dishes.
Snacks: Try to find healthy, non-perishable snacks like trail mix or beef jerky. It helps to have something you can throw in your backpack for a hike or day at the beach.
Baking mixes: Instead of filling your cupboards with flour, baking soda, sugar, and other baking essentials, use pre-made flour blends. You might be surprised by how much you can make with a box of pancake mix.
Local foods: Try to find fruits and vegetables at local farmers’ markets or roadside stands. If you’re near a fishing source, plan your meal around freshly-caught trout. Pack non-perishables in your pantry and eat fresh when you can.
Slow cooker/Pressure cooker: Although they consume more electricity than other methods, slow cookers and pressure cookers are convenient for days when you’re short on time. The Instant Pot serves as both, with 9 different settings for cooking meals.
Solar oven: Though it may seem unreliable, a good solar oven can be a worthwhile investment. Even without direct sunlight, some can reach temperatures up to 400° Fahrenheit, allowing you to cook almost anything as well as sanitize your drinking water.
Microwave oven: Though it can take up a lot of your precious counter or cupboard space, a microwave oven offers more convenience than any other cooking method, as it can quickly cook or reheat almost any food.
Aluminum foil: Never underestimate the power of good old aluminum foil. Whether cooking on the stove, in the oven, or over the fire, foil is often a necessity.
Below are some easy recipes to cook in your RV or campsite. Try them out when you’re craving a home-cooked meal, either for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Enjoy the smell of Thanksgiving all year round with this easy-to-make scramble. Using nonperishable stuffing mix, you can have it ready to serve it as a savory breakfast, lunch, or dinner in less than 15 minutes. Cook in a cast-iron skillet over the fire or a camping stove, or use the sauté feature on an Instant Pot.
Omelettes are another easy dish that can be served any time of the day. Requiring only a few basic ingredients, you can easily whip it up in a cast iron skillet. Add whatever’s available to you—basil, pine nuts, mushrooms, tomatoes, or cheese.
Spice up your boring sandwiches by throwing them on the grill. Fill your panini with meat, cheese, and condiments of your choice, then brush the outside with butter or olive oil. Wrap the sandwiches in aluminum foil and place on a camping grill with a brick or cast iron skillet on top.
For simple preparation and easy cleanup, cook pasta, meat, and vegetables in the same cast iron skillet, either over the open fire or on a camping stove. Try this recipe for a wholesome spin on macaroni and cheese.
Whip up breakfast for the whole family in just five minutes using an Instant Pot or another pressure cooker. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, oatmeal can be made on a camping stove in about 15 minutes.
Throw together this easy dinner on a night that you’re in a rush. Wrapped in foil, these fajitas can be cooked in an oven, on a grill, or in the ashes of the campfire. The best part? There are no dishes to wash!
For a refreshing lunch, mix up a quick chicken salad using avocado instead of mayonnaise. Since it lacks condiments, this meal saves room in your fridge and is a bit healthier. Serve on hamburger buns, lettuce, or half of a fresh avocado.
Downsizing is a stressful journey – that’s why we’re sharing 10 tips for the downsizing process. Since everyone’s situation is super unique, we enlisted the help of fellow Vibe Tribers to bestow their wisdom upon us!
Whether you’re moving from a house to an apartment, buying an RV & hitting the road, or simply beginning to declutter your life, these tips can shed light on the path forward and encourage you to take the first step toward material freedom.
Watch The Video & Read The List
The first tip of the day comes from Lisa & Kent of Living Light RV. Developing a strategy is the best way to start any journey. In this step you’ll want to assess your goals, your timeline and your actual stuff. Writing the plan down on paper helps – the strategy can then turn into monthly, weekly or daily goals
Lisa shares their strategy:
For us it was get rid of the physical first and then take our time to go through the emotional and memorabilia heirloom items.
Dan & Lisa from Always on Liberty recommend using Facebook to sell items locally. There are two ways to do this: the Facebook Marketplace or on local Facebook Yard Sale Groups.
Lisa offers up very sound advice in terms of personal security during this process:
When you reach an agreement you’re going to want to meet in a safe place. Make sure its light outside…and never meet in your home.
We sold a few items on Facebook during our downsizing journey and realized that we could make more money per item sold via Facebook, but there was also a lot of effort involved in each sale. We’d recommend this for bigger ticket items, not knick knacks.
Get creative with your marketing when you decide to have your first big yard sale! Doug & Harmony of Fummins Family Roadtrip used Pokemon Go cards to drum up excitement with their estate sale. Encouraging potential shoppers to look deep, they hid cards throughout their sale items.
The options are infinite for a fun, grassroots marketing campaign. The only cost will be fliers to post around town. If you have way more dog snacks than you need, offer free dog treats to everyone who brings their furry friend. You can even pull out your corn hole game and offer 50% off to anyone who can toss the beanbag in the hole.
This should probably be tip number one! I know for a fact, we began our downsizing months too late.
The process is long, emotional and physically exhausting – give yourself ample time to complete the job.
Dan from Always on Liberty says:
You’ve accumulated a lot of stuff in the period before you go on the road. Your cupboards, your pantry, your attic, your basement; it’s just crammed full of things…you need to get an early start on it!
During the process of decluttering, Ronnie of the Tribe found that re-living memories gave him unexpected joy. Rather than throwing an item in a box, honor them and re-live the fond moments they represent.
We loved this tip from Ronnie! It’s important to remember that the process of downsizing can bring joy.
Lisa & Kent of Living Light RV bring us another powerful tip – honor others when downsizing. Have open communication with the loved ones in your life. Let them know that you no longer have the same goals and aspirations you once had…and, because of this, you have to let go of items that were given to you in kindness.
We have a lot of items that people have given us over the years…wedding gifts, artwork our kids had painted for us, silverware & fine china. I think its important to look at an item and say “will this offend someone else if I just get rid of it?”
If the answer is “yes” its important to talk to that person…and say “hey, you know what, we’re in a different stage of life now. We are downsizing, we’re going to be living in an RV and we’re turning over a new leaf.
Communicating with the person who gave you an item will create an open dialog and honor their thoughtfulness.
The drawer method is pretty simple. Take all your kitchen utensils, put them in the bottom drawer. When you use one, move it to the top drawer. After a month you’ll have a good idea of the utensils you really use.
This method can be used in your clothes closet and your bathroom, too!
What about your turkey baster or Christmas platters? Well, we say, let it go.
Keep your eye on the prize and remember your WHY! If you’re like Lisa & Kent, keep watching those RV travelers on YouTube and imagining the beautiful roads you’ll travel.
It’s also important to celebrate your successes. This can be as simple as going on a date night after you get rid of that 50″ plasma TV. You can even use those recent sale-funds to pay for the date!
We stayed inspired for our entire year of preparation by planning hundreds of potential routes and plotting must-see points on the map.
As important as staying inspired, its also important to let go. If you can wrap your head around the idea of “letting go”, you’ll have a much smoother ride through this downsizing journey.
Lisa for Always on Liberty also reminds us not to be offended if people don’t want your stuff.
You might not make as much money from yard sales as you’d like – thankfully thrift stores are always accepting STUFF!
Using a scanner called Doxie, you can easily (and wirelessly) turn all those physical photographs into digital files and have them on your computer in no time.
Few things are more refreshing than taking a leisurely drive past stunning landscapes and through otherworldly terrain. Take a break from domestic monotony and focus your next RV adventure on one of the USA’s most breathtaking routes.
Even if you think you can’t be tempted into planning a road trip, these 10 scenic drives may just cure your provincialism and inspire you to explore.
1. Route 66
Also known as the “Mother Road”, Route 66 is one of the oldest and most famous highways in the United States. It trails through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, beginning in the heart of Chicago.
Once an essential passageway to the West, the historical route has inspired various books, movies, and songs. Today, the 2,451-mile drive provides travelers with diverse terrain, unusual landmarks, and nostalgic memories of the Old West.
2. Richardson Highway
Cruise past some of Alaska’s natural wonders along a 360-mile stretch known as the Richardson Highway. Glacial mountains, sprawling canyons, and abundant wildlife line the winding roads from Fairbanks to Valdez.
Before you leave, visit the town of North Pole, where travelers can visit the Santa Claus House any time of the year.
3. Overseas Highway
The beauty of Florida’s Overseas Highway lasts for 113 miles, 7 of which pass completely over the Atlantic Ocean. Not surprisingly, locals have nicknamed this section the “Seven-Mile Bridge.”
Visit when traffic is minimal and enjoy a tranquil drive to Key West, the southernmost point of the contiguous United States.
4. Hana Highway
Hawaii is known for its scenic beauty, so it’s no surprise that its islands hold some of the most beautiful routes in the United States. Hana Highway, which circles most of the island of Maui, snakes along cliffs’ edges, through rainforests, and past Haleakala volcano, ending in Hana.
The entire trip only takes about 3 hours, so you will have plenty of time to stop and admire the waterfalls or sample some of Maui’s famous roadside banana bread.
Although Vermont’s Highway 100 is gorgeous all year round, it reaches a new level of brilliance once a year. Every October, the once-green trees adopt new color schemes of red, orange, and yellow, blazing like roadside wildfires.
In the spring and summer, the drive still offers rushing streams and covered bridges, passing through charming New England towns. If you decide to travel in the winter, keep in mind that you may get snowed in.
6. Great River Road
Passing through 10 states and covering a distance of 2,320 miles, the Great River Road is the longest scenic byway in the United States. It follows the Mississippi River through the Old South, past historic plantations, and up north, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to Minnesota.
The route cuts through the United States and weaves past innumerable landmarks, following the most historically significant trading route in the United States.
7. Bayou Teche Scenic Byway
The Bayou Teche Scenic Byway winds through Southern Louisiana, past Grecian architecture, swampy cypresses, and twisted oaks dripping with Spanish moss. The dark water and haunting stillness of the bayou make it the perfect setting for a Gothic novel.
Following the marshy river into Louisiana’s French Region, you are likely to encounter Cajun cuisine and locals who still speak an authentic Acadian dialect.
8. Pacific Coast Highway
Spanning the entire coast of California is the incredibly photogenic Pacific Coast Highway. Also known as Highway 1, it stretches from the California-Oregon border to the southernmost point of San Diego.
Cruise along coastal bluffs, across Big Sur’s Bixby Bridge, and past seaside redwood forests while taking an unparalleled journey along the West Coast.
Newfound Gap Road carves through the Great Smoky Mountains, offering travelers panoramic views of colorful foliage and sierra sunsets.
Start in Asheville, North Carolina and drive through mountain passes into Tennessee. If you visit during the fall, you’ll be plunged into golden forests along the way.
10. Flint Hills National Scenic Byway
The Flint Hills region of Kansas is breathtaking any time of the day. Drive through in the morning if you’re craving emerald foothills and blue skies, or wait until evening to witness some of the best sunsets in the Midwest.
Visiting in the spring is highly recommended, especially if you’re looking for a drive through vivid prairies bursting with wildflowers.