When you decide to hit the road, traveling by RV, you open up a whole new world to vacationing. You have miles and miles of open road stretched out ahead of you and you decide your destination. You have a freedom of which you’ve never known before, all from hiring an RV. No need for hotel reservations, car rentals, or scheduled itineraries because you travel exactly how you want.
Sound amazing? Of course, it does. There aren’t many people who haven’t loved driving on a summer’s day. If you combine a person’s lust for travel (“wanderlust” as it is more commonly known) and the ability to travel completely how you choose, you’re best bet is RV travel.
How do you get started though? Do you leave your whole life behind you? How does one plan an RV trip? I’m going to tell you how!
How to Start Planning
When you’re in the planning stages, you need to think about how long you’d like to be away for. Weeks? Months? Years?! All of these are possible if your RV engine is reliable and you’ve taken care of business back home. Before you leave, you’ll need to tie off things like utilities, your rent or mortgage, work, and other bills.
Try to have utilities cut off roughly in the same week or same day. This way, you won’t be left too long without hot water or electricity. When it comes to your job, if you think you might be able to get work with your company on an impromptu basis, or even freelance, then don’t be afraid to ask. If not, put your name out there as a freelancer before you leave because unless you’re well off and retired, you’ll probably need some form of cash coming in.
If there are places that you have always wanted to see, plan them into the journey and make a driving route for all of your destinations and favorite landmarks. If you are going more for the love of a drive, then look for longer stretches of road with little more than gas stations and cafes along it. Of course, the beauty of traveling by RV is that you don’t have to stick to these plans! Being able to be spontaneous, change plans, and make things up as you go along is what RV travel is all about.
What to Pack
When you start packing your RV, think about food, clothing, and toiletries. You’ll need enough toilet paper and food to last until your first dedicated stop. Don’t underestimate how much toilet paper to bring, nor forget to pack the first aid kit. When it comes to clothing, try to pack a capsule wardrobe. Bring along a few sweaters, some jeans and tees, a light jacket, and a lot of comfortable driving clothes. A pair of boots and sandals are a great idea too. Just be sure to pack climate appropriate gear for wherever you may be traveling to.
When it comes to food, think noodles, dried pasta, rice, canned goods and items that can be stored for longer periods of time. Don’t forget to pack bottled water, just in case your water tank runs dry. Most RVs have a refrigerator; if yours does, then you can buy butter, cheese and other fridge snacks in large quantities. If you have planned your first stop pretty far away, then you can even make a bunch of sandwiches in advance so you can quickly grab them as you go.
Be sure to carry all important medications with you as well. Painkillers, bandages, antiseptic, and other first aid items as well as basic mechanical tools should be packed in your RV. For emergency purposes, it’s also good to have:
- Jumper cables
- Extra gas
- Duct tape
- Spare tire and jack
- Spare car fuses
- Flashlight and batteries
- Aerosol tire inflator for flat tires
- Small tool kit and/or a multitool
- Fire extinguisher for cars (ABC type)
- Washer fluid
- Roadside flares
- Car escape tool (one that breaks windows and cuts seatbelts)
- An atlas or trusted road map, in case you lose cell service
- Umbrella or rain gear
- And if you’re heading into cold territories, be sure to pack a small shovel; extra hats, gloves, and socks; antifreeze; a candle and lighter; and some sand in case you get stuck in the snow.
Where to Park
When you’re traveling by RV, you will need to make sure that the places you visit are suitable for large recreational vehicles. There are a few websites that will let you search, give you info, and provide you with the best rates. You may also choose to free-park. There are rules and restrictions in many places so be sure you know the rules before you park. A great way to get access to information and some parks is to join an RV membership. When you park, you can hook your RV up, get power, and refill your water tank.
Traveling by RV, like all forms of traveling, has its positives and negatives. One of the biggest positives is the sense of freedom that comes with driving an RV around. What’s not to love about having a home on wheels? You have many of your creature comforts in your RV, a bathroom on board, comfortable seats, and space to stretch out. The spontaneity you get with traveling by RV allows you to go anywhere and do anything. The sky’s the limit!
Your RV will come with a range of perks like power sockets and many of the newer RVs also have USB outlets. So if you are able and willing to work on the road, you can. It’s good to remember to take extension cords as well as all necessary cables and electrical supplies for computers, phones, and tablets so you can avoid the hurried search for power somewhere.
If you have opted to take the trip with friends or family, by having other drivers, you can go much further in each designated driving period. You can sleep while they drive, and you can take over while they sleep. This is a big bonus for those who want to clock as many miles as possible.
WiFi can cause some issues, depending on where you are driving so it’s helpful to pick up a gadget like a TEP WiFi wireless gadget to enable you to keep in contact with people, and to get that all important work in. Gas costs can also add up if you are driving long distances.
Also, when traveling by RV, driving can sometimes become tedious. After a few hundred miles on the same stretch of road, you can become bored. If you are alone, you need to avoid being drowsy and take more stops so that you can sleep.
Traveling, especially on the long road, can be emotional. When you have a lot of time on your hands, your mind begins to wander. It’s easy to remember things from the past or start pondering your future. Whether behind the wheel or while stargazing at night, it can be a good time to reminisce, retell stories, and plan the upcoming year.
Just remember that when you’re out on the open road, exploring new states and places, to stop and enjoy the journey. That’s the joy of RV travel – the pleasure is in the travel experience, the adventure, and the drive.
Have fun on the open road!
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