Ever planned a last minute RV trip and wondered from the onset if it was going to work out? Maybe you have your days planned out with a route and several parks, beaches, and other destinations to hit along the way, but figure you will just cross your fingers and research camping spots along the way. As many RVers have learned, even the best laid plans can sometimes go awry. Construction along your route, major festivals drawing large crowds of other campers, or bad weather that forces a stop sooner than you had planned. How can one plan for the unexpected when the entire point is just a little rest and relaxation? The answer might be a whole lot simpler than you think: an RV Travel Membership.
RV Memberships can offer many small benefits to make traveling a whole lot easier. With participating campgrounds listed along with amenities and reviews from other member campers, you will find up to date information about what to expect in your camping experience before you arrive. Most memberships also offer significant discounts on your stay compared to non-member campers. Other perks sometimes offered are support and social networks to meet other RVers, discounts at travel centers and fuel stations, late and early campsite check in, online travel guides, and member only rallies. Specialized RV Memberships may even offer mail forwarding services and specialized job centers for finding temporary work while on the road.
A quick online search will place you in contact with many of the more popular memberships, including Passport America, Harvest Hosts, and Escapees. From there, you can browse the benefits offered and choose which membership is best for you. Reviews from other RVers are also not hard to find online and can offer some great insight into the benefits and drawbacks of each club.
Most memberships cost less than $50 annually so don’t be afraid to sign up to try one or two out and then drop the one you don’t need. Most memberships pay for themselves in discounts on a single trip. Don’t let the “unknowns” deter you from making your next trip. Try a travel membership and see how these tools can take the stress out of expecting the unexpected.
We all have our own reasons for getting away from the stress of everyday life… the repetitive nature of our work, the chaos of a city commute, challenging relationships with difficult people in our lives, just to name a few. But more than just an escape from the people, places, and things that heighten our stress, travel is important therapy for a healthy and balanced life.
First and foremost, travel gives us a change in perspective. Many times, our stress comes from a place of not being able to see the forest for the trees. Get away from the environment that is challenging you and perhaps you’ll see that those people, places, and things that leave you feeling anxious, depressed, bored, or angry actually have more to do with your own thoughts and emotions than they do with life going on around you. Step outside of that for a little while and you may be surprised what you learn about yourself.
Traveling takes us out of our comfort zone and places us somewhere where things are not nearly as predictable, and that builds character. Sometimes, it comes in the form of navigating harrowing roadways in Baja California and finding a pristine cliffside restaurant in a forgotten town overlooking the Pacific. Sometimes it’s a wrong turn on a hiking trail in a National Park and discovering the best photo of your entire trip with not a single other hiker in the shot.
Observing cultural diversity in the places where you travel and building an understanding of those cultures within your own life experience is invaluable. You may find yourself learning about cuisine that you never dreamed existed or experiencing local music and art that speaks directly to your heart and soul. You may even find yourself learning new languages. And a bonus that you may not have thought about is that all of these experiences look great on a resumé if you intend to bring them forward into your everyday work life. If nothing else, you will gain stories that your friends and family will be eager to hear about upon your return.
Finally, the happiness, adventure, and peace of being that you experience in travel becomes infectious; for people around you of course, but also for your self. It’s just like when you were a child, getting over your fear of that big roller coaster, stepping off your first ride, and declaring with innocent joy, “let’s do it again!”
Planning an RV trip can sometimes be a bit of a headache. For pet owners, one of the road blocks most often encountered when planning a vacation is “who will take care of the dog while we are away from home?”. But you’re bringing your home *with* you… so why not bring the dog along too? There are many benefits to bringing your dog on your next RV trip. Here are several that you may not have considered.
You’ll have no need to invest in doggy daycare, which can become expensive. Instead, invest in caring for your pet in your RV with items like a bed, a kennel if needed, staked tie outs, compact storable fencing, and other items for your dog’s comfort and protection on the road. It is a one time investment instead of day-to-day, plus you’ll gain the happiness of having your pet with you.
Having a dog about can keep wildlife like deer, raccoons, opossums, and squirrels from getting into your campsite to forage. Of course, if you want these creatures about, you can always put the dog inside.
Speaking of putting the dog inside, even the smallest dog makes for an effective alarm system to keep unwanted visitors from lurking about your campsite. While campsite theft is not something we like to spend a lot of energy thinking about, it does happen from time to time. A barking dog that alerts you and all of your neighbors is an effective deterrent against would be thieves.
Finally, including the dog in your trip is good for both you and your pet. Dogs are very social animals and being apart from family can be very stressful for them. Instead, bring them along for the adventure and bonding. You will enjoy having your best friend with you too.
Are you new to RVing? If so, chances are that you’ve noticed a certain lexicon of words and phrases that other RV enthusiasts throw about regularly. Do you not want to appear like a newbie, but have no clue what people are talking about? Look no further! Here is a crash course in RV terminology 101.
Dry Camping – Camping without hookups for electricity, water or sewage.
Boondocking – Dry camping in remote areas, typically with no fees associated for camping.
Moochdocking – Dry camping for free on someone else’s property, like a driveway belonging to a friend or relative.
Gray Water – Wastewater that goes down the sink, shower or bath.
Black Water – Wastewater and waste that goes down the toilet.
Shore Power – Electrical hookup for power, often in the absence of water and wastewater hookup.
Full Hookup (FHU) – A campsite that has RV hookup for electricity, water, and sewage.
Converter – A device that changes 110v AC power into 12v DC power.
Inverter – A device that changes 12v battery power to 110v AC power.
Dinghy or Toad – A vehicle that is towed behind an RV.
Dry Weight – The weight of an RV without any fuel, fresh water, waste water, propane, passengers or supplies.
Dual Electrical System (DES) – An RV electrical system that runs both hookup electricity and/or self-contained battery or generator power.
Dump Station – Location where gray water and black water tanks can be emptied.
Full-Time (Full-Timer, Full-Timing) – Living full-time out of an RV.
Generator – A power supply that is run by gasoline, diesel, or propane to provide self-contained 110v AC electrical power to an RV.
Honey Wagon or Honey Dipper – A mobile service that will empty black water and/or gray water tanks from where you are camped if sewage hookup or dump station is not available.
Hula Skirt – A skirt installed on the rear bumper of a motorhome to prevent debris kick-up while driving.
Kingpin – A device that connects the fifth wheel to a towing vehicle.
Reefer – Slang for refrigerator.
Rig – Slang for RV.
Self-Contained – An RV that is able to supply water, drain, and electrical needs without hookups.
Snow Bird – Someone who travels in an RV to warm climates during winter months.
Toy Hauler – An RV capable of indoor storage of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), motorcycles, golf carts, or other large recreational equipment.
Winterizing – The process of making an RV safe for winter storage.
Workamping (Workamper) – Working remotely to operate, contribute to, or volunteer either on-line or on-site, while living and traveling in an RV.