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Thursday - February 28, 2019 8:38 pm     Article Hits:4749     A+ | a- 0
RV travel is about the journey, never the destination!
RV travel is about the journey, never the destination!
By Steve Froese
Blog Contributor

For the last entry in this four-part series, I will finish off the discussion about some of the main advantages and disadvantages of RV ownership. This segment will delve into a second significant advantage, which is freedom. I touched on this briefly in the last blog, as ease and freedom of ownership can be closely related.

Freedom of ownership means you can do what you want when you want. My family owns a membership in a group of private RV resorts in the Pacific Northwest. This means we can stay at any of these parks for free anytime we want. The closest of these, which is our home park, is less than one hour from our home, yet it provides a great family getaway. That family of RV resorts is also part of a more extensive system of parks that includes Resort Parks International (RPI) and America Outdoor Resorts (AOR), among others. Collectively, this network provides access to thousands of private and public RV parks throughout North America that we can stay at for a fraction of the retail rate. Literally on a whim, we can head out in our RV for a night, weekend, month, or any amount of time we wish. We have even been known to pull out in the RV for an afternoon picnic. Freedom also allows us to choose where we want to stay. We may select one of the aforementioned RV Resorts, or we may choose to remain in a state, provincial, or national park. Our journeys may even take us to a non-serviced forestry site. As a family, we enjoy planning each RV adventure, and these adventures will never include waiting in airport security lines or lounges waiting for connecting flights.

We even plan for unplanned events. In other words, while a good portion of our trips are scheduled, we also plan time to make unscheduled stops. For instance, while we may make a reservation for a popular RV Resort weeks or months in advance, we may also book into that site a day later than it would typically take us to get there. This allows us to find a secluded site on the beach on that extra night, or we may choose to stay over at a local casino! There are no other modes of leisure travel that provide this level of travel freedom, and it should not be underestimated!

On the other extreme, freedom also means we can choose if and when to become full-time RVers. We are not yet at the point where we can make this commitment. However, we do know that when we are ready to retire, we will hit the road full-time in our RV. Most full-timers will tell you that is true freedom!

While there are indeed some significant disadvantages to owning an RV, they are far outweighed by the many advantages. Ease and freedom of ownership combined allow RV owners to embrace and enjoy the RV lifestyle truly. One of the most important things to remember about RV travel is that it’s never the destination, but rather the journey that is important! It is hard to say this about other leisure travel.
 
Thursday - February 28, 2019 8:28 pm     Article Hits:4859     A+ | a- 0
Ease of ownership in RVing also means we bring what we want, including our cat and dog.
Ease of ownership in RVing also means we bring what we want, including our cat and dog.
By Steve Froese
Blog Contributor

In this installment of the multi-part article on RV ownership, I will start to discuss the advantages of owning an RV. I will start by stating the advantages of owning far outweigh the disadvantages.

One of the primary advantages of owning an RV is ease of ownership. When many of us travel for leisure, we use the common combination of air and hotel. This requires plenty of preparation, and staying in a hotel rarely feels like home. Virtually all our family vacation time is spent in the RV, whether it is a weekend away close to home, or a longer vacation. Unlike the more conventional means of travel (air & hotel), we can hit the road on a whim, only a little preparation is required. Also, short trips by air and hotel tend to be uneconomical, so many of us do shorter trips by car. While a “road trip” can be exciting, spending up to several hours riding in a car may not outweigh the enjoyment of the ultimate destination. Our RV is permanently stocked with clothes, dishes, non-perishable food, and other amenities. All we need to do is hook up the car, turn on the fridge, start the engine, and off we go. Our first stop is usually the grocery store, but usually, we also bring food from home, especially if it will spoil while we are away.

Ease of ownership also means we bring what we want, including our cat and dog. This is not an easy feat if traveling by air, and many hotels don’t look fondly on four-legged family members. In an RV, you can enjoy the comfort of cooking and eating in or the luxury of eating out. As mentioned, it also means we travel when we want. If we decide on a Friday afternoon we want to head out on the road, we can. While not directly related to ease of ownership, it should be noted that hitting the open road in an RV is by far the best way to travel. It is also the most inexpensive when compared to car/hotel and air/hotel. Instead of waiting in airport lines and lounges and sitting in cramped airplanes, you are riding in comfort, stopping where and when you want, and generally enjoying a relaxing time with your family. Instead of checking into a hotel and unpacking your suitcase, your personal belongings are already close at hand in your familiar home away from home.

So, a key advantage to RV ownership is the ease and convenience with which you can enjoy a getaway, be it short or long. On our way from Vancouver to Southern California last year, we stopped to visit three volcanos along the route. If you own an RV, trip planning becomes about what you want to see and where you want to stop along your journey rather than booking hotels and flights.

If you own an RV, you know what I am talking about. If you are considering purchasing an RV, you will be entering a lifestyle of freedom, which is the topic of the last article in this series.
Thursday - February 28, 2019 8:18 pm     Article Hits:4716     A+ | a- 0
Factor in ongoing maintenance and repair costs when making your decision to purchase an RV.
Factor in ongoing maintenance and repair costs when making your decision to purchase an RV.
By Steve Froese
Blog Contributor

In this second of four installments related to RV ownership pros and cons, I will address a second disadvantage, which is repairs and maintenance. This is arguably one of the most important, yet potentially expensive, factors of RV ownership, and it is often overlooked by owners.

Should you decide to take the proverbial plunge and purchase an RV, do not neglect repairs and maintenance, and don’t try to cut corners either.

If you have ever rented an RV, you have had the peace of mind of not having to worry about repairs and maintenance. If something breaks, it is generally covered under the rental agreement, and obviously, regular maintenance is not an issue for renters. However, many things can go wrong with an RV, and regular maintenance and service are very important. For instance, the simple yearly task of checking and touching up the sealants on the outside of the RV is often overlooked. This can be easily performed by most owners with $10 tubes of sealant and a caulking gun, although this task does require climbing on the roof of the RV to seal up there as well. However, many owners neglect this, resulting in thousands of dollars in repairs a few years down the road when the roof starts to leak. Water intrusion is one of the most common causes of expensive repairs to an RV. Once water enters the walls and/or ceiling, remediation often involves replacing the roof and/or sidewalls, as well as the rebuilding of rotted and damaged woodwork. If you have an RV or are planning to buy one, it is important to be aware of the importance of performing scheduled maintenance and be sure to get any damage or other issues repaired immediately. This cannot be emphasized enough.

While water damage is a notable case, there are many other maintenance issues that must be regularly performed on an RV. Whether you are considering a towable or motorized unit, regular performance of annual and other periodic maintenance will prevent much costlier repairs down the road.

It is important to factor in the cost of regular repairs and maintenance when evaluating and budgeting your RV purchase. Aside from the potential repairs lack of maintenance may cause, failure to address issues also accelerates depreciation of your vehicle significantly. For instance, if your RV suffers water intrusion advanced enough to cause spongy areas of the roof or a sagging and stained ceiling, smart buyers will steer clear of purchasing your unit and you will have great difficulty selling it, and it is likely you will have to price it extremely low. Simple annual maintenance can prevent problems and give you many years (even decades) of reliable use out of your RV. Expect to spend an average of around $120 per month (or $1,400 per year) on RV maintenance and repairs. This should account for issues such as batteries, tires, regular oil and lube services, vehicle registration and insurance, as well as planned or unforeseen minor and major repairs. So be sure to factor this in. It will also depend on what type of RV you purchase, for instance, a travel trailer will not require oil changes or some of the other mechanical maintenance required by motorized units.

The lesson to be learned here is to make sure you understand there are ongoing expenses to owning an RV other than the purchase price, just as there is with your home and other vehicles. When making the decision about whether to purchase an RV, be sure to factor in the ongoing maintenance and repair costs.
 
Thursday - February 28, 2019 7:59 pm     Article Hits:5013     A+ | a- 0
If you decide to purchase an RV, purchase a used one.
If you decide to purchase an RV, purchase a used one.
By Steve Froese
Blog Contributor

In this four-part article, I will examine the pros and cons of RV ownership. I have owned RVs my entire adult life, but I had also rented when I wanted to try out a new type or class. I have financed dealership purchases, paid cash for private purchases, privately sold RVs, and traded in old units for newer ones. All this has given me great insight into the trials, tribulations, and rewards of RV ownership. The first two parts of this article will discuss the disadvantages of ownership, and in this first entry, I will talk about depreciation.

It is important to mention that purchasing an RV should never be considered an investment. As most of us know, if you purchase a vehicle new from a dealership, it has already depreciated the moment you drive it off the lot. When you buy a used vehicle, ensure the price you are paying for it is fair and is not higher than the current market value.

Since the purchase price of a new RV can be extremely high, depreciation is a huge factor. On average, a new RV will depreciate by up to a staggering 30% the moment it is driven off the lot. If you purchase a $100,000 RV, this means it will only be worth about $70,000 as soon as you leave the dealership.  Bear in mind this figure applies across all classes, makes, and types of RV, so purchasing an RV new is a loss leader right out of the gate. After approximately six years, an RV will lose half its value. Buying a used RV can mitigate the depreciation factor; consider purchasing a coach at least five years old. At this age, depreciation has slowed enough to allow you to stay ahead of it with monthly payments and you will never owe more than the RV is worth. National Vehicle is a great resource to help source a used RV. Their professional staff is experienced in finding you the vehicle you want at the right price. Here are some additional data regarding RV depreciation:

• Since RV condition is a factor in depreciation, regular maintenance can help keep your RV from depreciating faster than it should. The same is true regarding repairs, although you will generally never recover the full value of major repairs and upgrades if you sell your unit.

• Certain rare and classic RVs may stop depreciating and start increasing in value if they are in good to excellent condition. On one occasion I was traveling in Washington State and noticed a beautiful red GMC motorhome parked right next to me. It was in excellent condition, and the owner told me it used to belong to Paul Newman. Since GMC motorhomes are in demand, and this one was both in excellent condition and belonged to a celebrity, I expect it has appreciated.

• Regular “wear and tear” is accounted for when looking at depreciation factors, and perhaps contrary to logical thinking, RVs that are stagnant or not used at all depreciate faster.I generally purchase RVs that are up to about ten years old and in good condition. I should also point out that I buy large diesel “pusher” Class A motorhomes. The rate of depreciation is much lower in this age bracket, and these diesel vehicles hold their value much better than other types of RVs.

So the moral of part one of this blog is that if you do decide to purchase an RV, it is prudent to buy a used one. Use resources like NADA, who publish a very comprehensive website for determining RV value, and National Vehicle to help you find the RV you want at a good price. In future articles in this series, I will continue to explore the pros and cons of RV ownership.
Saturday - February 23, 2019 3:35 pm     Article Hits:4890     A+ | a- 0
Being prepared and knowledgable will take the anxiety out of RV travel for newbies!
Being prepared and knowledgable will take the anxiety out of RV travel for newbies!
When the RVing is fun, and the driving and parking are an adventure, that means you have some “miles” under your belt.  The minor noises or movements of the RV that use to make you nervous don’t because now you know what they mean. 
 
The slight rocking movement while driving is how it operates and the noises from the undercarriage are the “road sounds” not a signal of an impending emergency. What you are feeling is the “experienced” RVing attitude and calm. You deserve this kind of confident relaxation, especially after a day of driving. You can feel good enough from the journey to enjoy your chosen spot for setting up your area and settle in for some serious relaxation. With the top five tips we are sharing, you are already doing several of them, but now they are becoming a habit. 
 
The RVers that have taken to the road with gusto and delight are the ones who take care before, during and after with their RV/vehicle…checking to make sure that everything needed for the trip is cared for and checked off the prep list.
 
Conversations with experienced RVers will include amazing stories, but they all come back to being prepared and knowledgeable before and then during their adventures. Here are the top five (5) tips that were emphasized as important, again and again. 
  • Develop an itinerary of your trip to share with those that will need to know where you are going. These people could be your adult kids; dear friends or family members. The point of sharing an itinerary is that someone knows where you are and where you are going to be…a nice backup in case anything happens. All you need is a freak storm, and no cell coverage and no one will know where you are. The itinerary can help a long-planned trip be terrific.
     
  • Make sure that you are organized with your data; manuals; budgets and trip details so you can keep track, yourself, of important information. Most of the RVers had a three-ring binder hole punched with the lists of all of the information needed. When I say data, I mean license, registration, personal IDs and title of the RV, etc. All of these documents can be copies of the originals. Many of the “old timers” made copies of their credit cards; licenses; medical cards for their manuals. Also included were the passwords for devices and computers. 
     
  • Storage, inside and out. Keep it light on anything that does not serve you because once you start loading up, space disappears quickly. The inside storage can be your manuals, kitchen needs, blankets, pillows, flashlights, and jackets. Anything that you think you would need if quickly needing to get out of the RV. The outside storage can be your toolboxes, outside set up needs, coolers, lawn chairs, a rug for the door, etc. These items that stay outside become logical once you know how much space the inside has. I heard lots of talk about not ever having too many flashlights and batteries. Back to the lists for your manual – write up your inside needs and outside needs. You will want this information especially if people are helping you load and if, at the end of a long day of driving, you are trying to remember where you put something.
     
  • Meal planning needs to be simple and tasty. Cooking inside your RV gets old quickly with large menus.  The mess is no fun to clean up, and there is so little room for big meals. Bring the food you like, not what you think you will like.  Make a list of how many drinks, cups, saucers, plates, silverware, wipe up towels, soap, mustard, ketchup, spices. Your frig can only hold so much food and drinks, so be sure to utilize your under storage. If you know where it is stored, many many many arguments will be avoided. You will also not end up with four bottles of mustard and mayo. “Honey do we have any…” will automatically set you up to have too many of one thing and not enough of another. Meal planning was key so that the ingredients could be purchased and stored in the sequence there were needed. Smart huh??
     
  • Turnaround space. When you are making your plans, make sure there is enough room to turn around, hitch and unhitch and maneuver room. Lots of stories about getting stuck and huge arguments because the “space” was not considered. And until you have some experience, you might not know exactly what you need. Backing up a single lane road is not fun nor easy. Your equipment will not get any smaller when you are stuck. Avoid the space issues by letting people know at the RV parks if that is where you are staying, what kind of equipment you have.  And if you do get stuck, find someone who is experienced to help you. Forget pride. You will not get the RV out of a space without some help.  
Bonus tips:  check your water, electrical systems, and generator before you turn the key, and off you go. 
After a very short amount of time RVing, you will be clued in on what is most important to you. You will include those details in the planning of your RV time which becomes precious because it is so rewarding and fun. I often talk about lists in my articles. I also think that if you keep a log or journal of your excursions, you will not only benefit from the details, but you will love the memories they hold for you.

Be safe. Have fun. See you on the road!!

By - Natalie R. Manor is the co-author of 5 books, a blogger www.NatalieManor.com  an executive business coach, a keynote speaker, a new gramma and in her fourth year of researching which RV she is going to buy to see the good ole’ USA. 
Saturday - February 23, 2019 3:22 pm     Article Hits:4865     A+ | a- 0
Use a journal to document your RV adventures!
Use a journal to document your RV adventures!
by Ashlee Zotter
Blog Contributor
Full-Time RVer

Whether you're in your camper for a short vacation, or fulltime traveling in it, you're going to be making memories you never want to forget. We've compiled a short list of simple things you can do to make sure those memories last lifetimes.
 
1. Photographs
This is an obvious one. But do you know what to do with those photos once you've taken them? A lot of people these days have social media accounts that they post photos to. While Instagram is great for saving some of those memories, it may not be the best place to count on them forever. If you do, take advantage of a site like Chatbooks, where you can turn your Insta posts into a book. Or sites like Yearbound and EgoBook where you can choose to print your Facebook photos and statuses selectively, or by year.
 
If you just take photos but don't have a social media account, consider taking your phone or memory card to a place like Walgreens or Walmart where you can print your photos and put them into a scrapbook or photo album. You can even upload them straight to sites like Fluttershy, and turn them into memory books, or simply have the photos shipped to you without having to drive anywhere extra. Bonus? You can have books and photos sent straight to family and friends, too!
 
If you're a sporadic traveler, consider making your photographs into blankets, coasters, rugs, t-shirts, mugs, magnets and more. Even getting a digital photo frame that has a slideshow of your favorite moments can not only be a wonderful addition to any living room, but also a perfect gift.
 
2. Trinkets or other small items
Depending on whether or not you travel fulltime will be a determining factor in whether or not you choose to start a memories collection. Small but great ideas include having a postcard album or a squashed penny book. Both of these things are incredibly cheap and very easily stored without taking up much room. Some people have chosen to have a shoebox with tiny outside finds, and others have chosen to collect things like Christmas tree ornaments to bring back the memory of their travels at the special family Holiday.
 
3. Journal
Journaling can be tough for those of us who are, in the nicest way, wordy. But if you have a journal meant for a specific purpose, such as documenting a trip, it becomes much easier. Label the spine of it with something like "Travels", and at each new adventure put the location and year with a new tab. You'll have your memories of your adventures in your very own words with your own thoughts and feelings of the time, readily available like your favorite book.
 
4. Have a memory jar
A mason jar or even a decorated plastic container (often times better than glass while traveling in a camper) make for great ways to keep thoughts and other small finds on your trip. Simply jot down the thought you had, or the thing someone said or did, fold it up with the time and date and drop it in the jar. Drop a pretty shell or rock or other little treasures inside, too. When you're missing your adventures or feeling stagnant, reach in and pull out a random note and smile at the memory you may have otherwise forgotten.
 
5. Video
You can often take short videos on your mobile phone, and there are countless apps that make it easy to sort through those and turn clips into small movies. But having a video recorder can be just as good, capturing all the moments and having them backed up on a disc. Some people choose to vlog their adventures as well, allowing them to share a story in blog form in places like YouTube. Also consider something like a GoPro if you're an avid outdoor activity lover, swimmer or very active.
 
Though these are some of our favorite ways to make the best out of travel memories, there are many other options, too! Scrapbooks and shadow boxes are other popular choices, or photo calendars, maps, and puzzles! What are some of the things you do to remember your travels?
Sunday - February 10, 2019 8:45 am     Article Hits:5189     A+ | a- 0
Planning your RV trip ahead can make it less stressful for everyone.
Planning your RV trip ahead can make it less stressful for everyone.
By Ashlee Zotter
Blog Contributor
Full-Time RVer

Getting an RV and hitting the road sounds every bit as amazing as it is. But like everything else, it isn't always going to go smoothly. We've compiled a few helpful tips and tricks to make your drive days go off without a hitch and make them a little bit less stressful when things do go awry.
 
Before you hit the road, map your route extensively. If you're using your phone's built-in GPS, add at least an hour to the predicted time. You are bigger, you are slower, and should not be in the fast lane driving at high speeds, trying to keep up with the speeders. Be courteous to not only everyone else on the road, but to your passengers, too, by understanding that it can be stressful for virtually everyone when you're in a big rig. Take it slow, and you're going to cut your risk of accident in half.
 
Also remember that if you pull over for breaks, you're doubling your time there just in finding appropriate parking, turnarounds, etc. Googling or finding RV forums with your mapped route is also helpful. Also know that your phone's built-in GPS isn't going to tell you bridge heights, terrible roads for RVs, or inclines and switchbacks. Consider a GPS specifically for RVers like the Garmin RV 760LMT Navigator, a Rand McNally TND530 Truck GPS, and others like them. It's also always helpful to know how tall and how wide you are. It's not a good feeling to come upon a low bridge or gas station cover and have to start praying that you aren't that tall.
 
You'll also want to be sure to have a roadside emergency kit. Sometimes you can find kits already prepared from places like Camping World, Amazon or Walmart. But your kit should include things like jumper cables or a rechargeable jump start system, a tire repair kit, emergency warning triangles/lights or flares, tow straps, a flashlight, and a portable air compressor. Even having extra engine oil and fuses couldn't hurt. Never forget to assess where you'll be in case of emergency as well, and decide whether you'll want to bring hand warmers, a poncho, handheld fan, extra water, and emergency snacks, etc.
 
Consider how long you'll be in the truck/RV and plan your stops, meals, and playlist accordingly. If there are places you'll want to stop and see, account for the fact that it will add much more time to your drive day than it would if you were in a regular car. So try and be prepared ahead of time with the things you might need for that stop; like premade lunches and a bag with sunscreen, water, hats, coats, etc. by the door. If you're traveling with kids, make sure they have their snacks, coloring books, charged iPads, or that you know some fun on-the-road style games to keep them happy and distracted for a lengthy drive. And those of you with kids already know; have them use the bathroom before you get on the road!
 
In conclusion, don't forget to always account for the obvious. Take it slow, put your blinker on ahead of time, merge early, and for the love of all things RV, account for your tail swing. Happy driving!
Thursday - February 7, 2019 7:00 pm     Article Hits:5166     A+ | a- 0
Tips and resources for planning your first RV adventure.
Tips and resources for planning your first RV adventure.
By Ashlee Zotter
Full-time RVer
Blog Contributor

So you've purchased your RV, now what? Plan your first adventure! Picking a place is often the simplest part of traveling. It's the prep that goes into mapping, driving, and packing that can get messy. So we've done some of the leg work to help you get to planning!
 
When deciding on a campground to stay at, make sure you call and reserve a spot for your camper before you get there. If you wait, you may find that many places book out months in advance or longer depending on the season and that some campgrounds can't even accommodate bigger rigs, including many state parks. Don't find yourself turned away and looking for a parking lot to sleep in last minute!
 
A couple of great resources for planning an RV trip are RV Trip Wizard and Campendium, where you're able to enter an area, price range, and other preferences to help you find an area to best suit you and your needs and wants. Also, don't forget to check for public land areas for dry camping by downloading the US Public Lands app, or visiting the Bureau of Land Management website. Even Google Earth can assist you in some of your decisions but isn't the greatest tool for a thorough plan or extended trip. Also consider downloading a fuel app like GasBuddy that can help you find a station near you, let you know how far away it is and what the cost of fuel is so that you can make the safest and cheapest decision.
 
If you know that you're going to be camping in a place without hookups, know where your closest dump station is, where to get water and check out our six tips on boondocking etiquette. Other important places to know will be gas stations, emergency clinics or hospitals and the nearest grocery store.
 
A major consideration of full-time travel should be groups, clubs, and memberships. Depending on what route you've mapped to travel along, there are helpful memberships that will save you money along the way. Take Passport America for example, which saves you 50% on select campgrounds and only costs $44 for the year. Folks, that can pay for itself in a single use! Their plans also get cheaper depending on how many years you pay for it in advance.
 
Another popular option is Good Sam Club. This club saves you 10% at over 2,400 campgrounds, 30% at Camping World, and 3 cents off the gallon and Pilot and Flying J stations. But there are so many more options, including but not limited to; Thousand Trails, Escapees, RoverPass, Club Yogi, KOA Value Kard Rewards, Harvest Hosts, Fulltime Families and more!
 
Also be sure you account for weather, not only for your camper but for yourself as well. Look up the weather when it's time to get packing and consider clothes, food and even what you'll do if some of those days force you to stay inside. Then check out our tips for using your RV in hot and cold temperatures to make sure you're prepared with all the things you'll need in an extreme situation.
 
Once you've got your trip planned, it's time to hit the road! Don't forget to check out part two for tips on how to handle driving your RV to your destinations. Happy travels!
Sunday - February 3, 2019 9:53 am     Article Hits:5157     A+ | a- 0
RVing Full-Time? Technology and storage are two of the largest considerations.
RVing Full-Time? Technology and storage are two of the largest considerations.
RVing full time is a huge step. And you can get to full-time in the same way you got to buying your initial RV.  Planning and knowing what is most important to you and your lifestyle.   Many of the part-time RVers begin to understand their “full time” mindset after their initial adventures and sometimes disasters.  Beginning to think that each RV trip might lead to living a full-time RV life actually helps you be better prepared for what the “road” has in store for you. 
 
I interviewed a couple, now in their 70s, who went from part-time RVing to full time for 13 years.  They told me several times that part-time RVers need to think like those that are going to be full time if they want to be successful with:
 
·       Storage
·       Technology
·       Their relationships
·       Budgets
·       Maintenance and repairs
·       Stuff – yours, kids, parents, siblings, antiques,
·       Adventures
·       Family needs and wants
·       Outfitting for inside and outside use
·       Who does what with the RV
·       Alone time
·       Itinerary information
·       Scheduling long trips
  
With all the details of shifting from a nonmoving home to a moving home certainly has lots of details to consider.  Let’s look at the specifics or storage and technology opportunities and challenges. 
 
Storage:  As you outfit an RV, no matter what type (class) it is, you have to do more with less.  There is only so much room.  If you are a family, you have to gauge the needs and wants of the family.  If you are traveling alone, the choices are less constraining, but your space is still limited. 
 An example:  you, your wife and kids are big hikers along with RVing.  Besides needing your “inside” the RV equipment, everyone will need hiking shoes; backpacks; cooking gear; specific laying of clothes and overnight gear.  That is a lot of stuff that needs a place in your RV.  Planning will have to be very specific and clear in order to make your RV adventures work. 
 
A unique storage idea to consider:  Storage is constantly an issue especially if you have diverse interests while roaming around the roads you love.  One couple I spoke with decided that they would keep tiny storage units in 3 different locations.  What this solved for them as they did not have to carry skis, hiking equipment, and ATV equipment with them their RV.  Being avid skiers, hikers and off-road enthusiasts, they had what they needed at the exact spot they needed it.  It may seem a budget buster to many to have extra storage units, but for them, it solved their “fun” concerns.  They also made sure that their expenses were low in other areas to support their “storage unit” habit. 
 
Planning and a clear list of wants and needs will keep the family speaking to each other and fully supported for the outside the RV adventures.  Whether you are a single, couple or family, clear lists of the needs and supplies make the RV on the road time truly fun and enjoyable. 
 
Your stuff:  if you are not going to sell everything in your home in order to RV full time, then there is the selection of what gets stored and where.  Consider whether you are going to be traveling in the same patterns or trying adventures in far-flung areas.  Eventually, you might want to get back to some of your stuff and it needs to be in a location that works for you.  
 
The Red Book:  In dealing with your storage needs, there are also documents you will need.  Yes, you can scan all of them into your hard drive, but if you do not have internet access when needed, you will not be able to access the documents.  What if you made a copy of each document important to you – birth certificates; credit cards; ownership docs; taxes; bills; wedding paperwork, etc  - and put each document in a sheet cover and kept them in a 3 ring binder? The Red Book.  With any emergency, you can easily see the book, grab it and have ALL your important papers with you.   
 
Technology:  This a very personal decision for all of us – we have brands we love.  As you travel, you probably want to have the cell coverage that is currently best everywhere and that is Verizon.  What about parts needed to replace your technology pieces – put the receipts and password information into your Red Book so you can deal with the companies that first supplied your equipment. 
 
There are so many more options now for usable and reliable technology in your RV.  From a smart TV to the speeds of the devices.  The caution from all the research is the “speed” of the technology is so much slower on the road.  In fact, there might not be any coverage in many of the places you visit.  For those of you who want to work from the road, you will need to find your best places for speed and connectivity.  In fact, the entrepreneurs on the RV road, plan their trips based on connectivity and speed now.  Adding solar panels to the roof of the RV is now very popular to make sure you have basic electricity with watts to use your devices even if there is no WIFI or connectivity. 
 
There are some great ideas for individual solar-powered devices or pads to use in the sun so your devices can get powered up. Even in bad weather, you could put them in a sunny window and be powered up.  Amazon.com is a source for 100s of ideas for keeping you connected. 
 
The decisions you make about being a part-time RVer to full time on the road, are both personal and lifestyle critical.
 
However, there are now thousands of people who are full-time RVers, who decided they could do this lifestyle and had the passion and commitment to plan, load up and wave goodbye. 
 
Be safe.  Have fun.  See you on the road!!

By - Natalie R. Manor is the co-author of 5 books, a blogger www.NatalieManor.com  an executive business coach, a keynote speaker, a new
gramma and in her fourth year of researching which RV she is going to buy to see the good ole’ USA. 
Sunday - January 20, 2019 7:11 am     Article Hits:5474     A+ | a- 0
10 Tips for Those New to RV Ownership
10 Tips for Those New to RV Ownership
WHEW!!  You have completed your research; followed and commented on the 28 conversations on your favorite RV Facebook sites; discussed “your” first RV with family and friends; have read ALL the sites and magazines regarding:
  • What to buy
  • When to buy
  • Why buy
  • Pricing, design, size
  • Where to keep your RV
  • Buying new versus used
  • Insurance, supplies and RV routine maintenance
  • Who will drive, where to go
  • And found someone who can help you in an emergency
It has been fun, but it also felt like you were getting your PhD. in RV knowledge.
 
YOUR RV is now sitting in your driveway. OMG. You keep going to the window and looking at it, and your adrenaline is building. You are proud, excited and a tiny bit nervous (ok, scared) with this decision.
 
The plan is to RV part-time with your family for weekends, family visits and maybe even a two-week adventure this next fall. 
 
I am delighted to share with you what National Vehicle and I consider ten (10) great tips for your first-time part-time ownership and use. Sure there are other tips, as you will learn with the use of your RV, but right now…
  • Know where you will store your RV? Lots of people have them in their driveways and have even built an RV carport to protect it. Maybe a storage unit business has space for your RV.
  • On the road readiness. You can easily take off with your RV now anytime you want. The caution is to have a checklist of the last time you used it and the next time you use it. Even experienced pilots have a list of what needs to be in place for the flights. You should too! 
  • Emergency help. As a first timer, you need to know who is going to get you or help when something goes wrong. If you are visiting an RV park, there will be so many experienced RVers to give you advice on how to fix something, but you need “expert” help if it is not you fixing your RV.
  • RV supplies that make the trip fabulous. I would also have a checklist for these supplies. It will depend much on where and when you go RVing, (cold, hot, dessert, mountains), but what are the bare necessities you want to have with you? Comfy blankets, favorite soap, mustard, bucket for the clams
  • Storage stuff for outside use. Depending on where you go, you will want chairs, towels, sunscreen, leash for the dog, toys, toolbox, firestarter, etc. (on a personal note, the RV I am researching has the most storage because I will also have my mobile office on the inside, so I need under storage to keep lots of stuff). Know your needs.
  • First aid kit.  You will need it at some point.  Here is a site that I love for first aid kits – or you can easily make your own. Remember, when you need a first aid kit, it is usually a fast find. So have your supplies in a case with a handle and easily accessible. https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/anatomy-of-a-first-aid-kit.html
  • Call list. Put together a list of all the people who are important to you and make a PAPER list to keep with you.  There will be many times where you will not have electricity or cell coverage but need that information. Make a list that includes; RV license number; telephone and travel plans and leave (or email) to those who will need to know. (I never travel without sharing my itinerary with my family). 
  • RV manuals about the operation.  No matter how many times you review and learn your manuals, you will need them.  Trust me, bring them. 
  • Fun stuff. Games, cards, dice, paper/journal for writing about your trip.  Keep track of your trips – the good, the bad and the ugly. It will help you make great decisions for your next trip(s).
  • Food and meal prep/restaurant visits. Your RV is small, and meal prep can get to be messy quickly.  Make a budget for the food you will prepare, and the times you will eat out at diners, restaurants and food trucks.  
We first-timers need support, help, and knowledge. Oh, and laminate those lists, or use sheet protectors to keep them in good shape. Because RVing is so personal, I know you will add things to your list that are important to you.
 
For your storage area, I would not leave town without a cooler, empty bags for filling with stuff (shopping, toys, beachwear), toolbox with a hammer, saw, and matches. DO NOT LEAVE WITHOUT MATCHES. 
 
Most of all, congratulate yourself for getting this far. I am a class C girl, so if I had purchased mine, I would be sitting in the driver's seat right now dreaming about my adventures. Whatever RV you have decided to get, remember your lists; check out your RV for mobility and take your favorite pillow and blanket and GO.


by Natalie R. Manor
She is the co-author of 5 books, a blogger
www.NatalieManor.com  an executive business coach, a keynote speaker, a new
gramma and in her fourth year of researching which RV she is going to buy to see the good ole’ USA.