Here we go again with fluctuating gas prices that are headed up one week and down the next. Here are some tips to help you continue to enjoy your RV lifestyle without the pain in the wallet. The more you save on gas, the more you can spend on quality experiences during your travels. Here are our tips to put more money back into your pocket.
Get a Tune Up
The condition of your RV has a lot to do with how much fuel you use. Make sure that your RV has been serviced as recommended by the manufacturer. If you get a little slack on this, over time you may see significant diminishing returns on your fuel mileage. Tire pressure can have a big impact on fuel efficiency.
Plan Your Route Carefully
If you’re driving on a flat and straight road you’ll see good fuel efficiency. But most of the country has hills and mountains that can quickly turn the rpm gauge up and the fuel gauge down. When you’re planning your trip, avoid routes that will cause excessive braking and choose routes that will keep a steady speed.
Use Gas Buddy
Gas Buddy is a phone application that tells you based on your location where the cheapest fuel is. If you use it just before the low fuel light comes on you’ll be able to navigate to the savings on your route.
Drive Your Other Vehicle as Much as Possible
If you pull a 5th Wheel or Travel Trailer you will have a vehicle to run errands or go on day trips. If you’re in a Class A or Class C RV, pulling a car by flat towing or a tow dolly can significantly keep money in your pocket with fuel savings. You’ll also be able to fit into places like malls that you wouldn’t be able to with your RV.
When the summer heat is on, so is the challenge of keeping your RV cool. Driving the RV in the summer can be brutal in hot regions, but once you figure out how to make your system work for you, you’ll find yourself much more comfortable.
Just like in a house, if you close some vents, you can force cool air into the places you need it. When you’re parked, close of the rooms you can and your living space will get the full benefit of the A/C. Closing the shades and covering the windshield can help keep the sun out as well, helping to keep your RV at the temperature you want it.
Choose your campsite as best you can! If you find yourself in the desert, there’s not much hope of natural shade. Where trees are plentiful, choose a big one to camp under, giving you shade to cover the RV. This can be incredibly helpful with keeping the RV cool and saving your energy.
To avoid showing up at the campground with a warm trailer after a long hot drive, you may need to run the generator to keep your A/C unit going while driving for the last 30 min. It’s also important to know that running the cab A/C while driving in difficult places such as mountain ranges, high peaks, or deserts, can overheat your truck engine.
As with everything in your RV, you need to take the time to figure out the systems you have and the equipment in place to figure out how best you can keep your RV cool and comfortable. Each RV is different and understanding what you have is essential to conserving resources while getting what you need.
Best of luck out there during those hot months and happy travels!
Do you have a Honey-do list that seems to keep growing? Although there might not be a quick fix to all upgrades, there are certainly some that you don’t need to make harder than they have to be. Below is a list of RV upgrades that don’t require you to bust out your toolbox.
Pantry Lighting doesn’t require an electrician. It’s as easy as ordering some stick-on push lights. They’re fantastic for deep dark cabinets that you usually have to use your cell phone flashlight to see what’s in there.
Increased Closet Space
You don’t need to demo your pantry to create more closet space. Rather, all you need is drop down hangers. They instantly create 6x more closet space. We’ve been using them for years and are still amazed at how much you can fit into your RV Closet.
No one looks forward to a flooring project. Unless of course updating your flooring was as easy as applying stickers to your existing flooring! With Peel-And-Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring it can be that easy. Another way to spice up your floors is adding rugs. You can cater the style of the rug to match the room.
Changing out your shower head is a lot easier than you may think! All you need to do is screw the old one off and the new one on. Ta-da, you’re done. This is also great to get a shower head that uses less water for when you’re boondocking and need to conserve on your water usage.
You don’t need a whole new mattress just because your old one isn’t comfortable. Instead, order a memory foam pad to go on top of your mattress and it will make all the world of difference. Make sure to get The My Pillow to make sure you get the best rest possible.
What upgrades would you add to the list to make RVing better?
There’s nothing quite like having fresh baked goods in camp. A certain magical wonder happens with fresh baked cookies or a loaf of banana bread straight from the oven in your RV. But what if you don’t have an oven or toaster oven in your RV? Incredible things can still happen with a dutch oven, a campfire, and a little courage.
For those unfamiliar, a dutch oven is a large cast-iron pot with a matching lid. This cookware can be hung over, set off to one side, or placed directly in the coals of a campfire. Temperature control can be a little challenging, but most baking recipes can be adapted using some general rules. If you have an oven thermometer, these work great for an accurate reading of temperature inside your dutch oven. Otherwise, once the dutch oven has been raised to heat, dust some flour onto it. If it burns quickly, your oven is about 250-300 ºC. If it browns slowly, your oven is about 200-250 ºC. If the flour turns only slightly golden over a minute or two, your oven is about 150-200 ºC.
Next, simply adjust your recipe for baking utensils. A piece of parchment paper in the bottom is perfect for about 6 cookies, to bake just as they would in your oven at home. A small square baking pan or loaf pan can be used for sweat breads, biscuits, brownies, rolls, and cakes. If you are extra brave and attempting yeast bread or sourdough, a boule can be formed by hand and baked directly on the inside surface of the dutch oven or over a small rack placed in the bottom.
Baking time should be roughly the same as what you would use at home. Be sure to check inside of your dutch oven, but not so frequently that heat is lost and baking is slowed. Once baked, items will need to be removed from the dutch oven quickly and cooled on a rack. If items are “near done” but need a little bit more time, the dutch oven can be removed from the fire and allowed to continue baking while the oven cools.
Staying fit and healthy while on vacation is a struggle for all of us. From fast food stops to long caffeine fueled drives to the next destination, traveling in an RV can sometimes be a real challenge to healthy lifestyles maintained when not on the road. Don’t give up so easily though! There are actually many ways to remain fit and healthy while traveling, and here are a few tips and tricks to help.
Plan your meals ahead of time. Prepare and portion healthy meals and snacks for the first several days and stock your fridge or cooler. Plan additional meals roughly and create a general shopping list that you can execute while on the road. Be sure to pack containers for leftovers!
Visit local farmers markets. Farmers markets are a fun way to connect with local commerce and culture along your travel route. As an added bonus, much of what you will find includes fresh and local fruits, herbs, vegetables, eggs, cheese, and other pantry staples. Healthy food is easy to find if you know where to look!
Eat less, more often. Having 5-6 smaller healthy meals per day is often the best way to both eat less overall and have consistent energy throughout your day. Being 15 feet away from your fridge at all times means that snacks will be available almost all of the time. Help your future self out by stocking up with healthy food from the start.
Be sure to get outside once you reach your destination. Hiking, biking, kayaking… whatever it is that you do when in The Great Outdoors, plan to really commit to doing it daily when you arrive. Don’t forget the camera for the memories!
Bring your workout with you. Most exercises that can be done in a gym setting can be replicated with minimal travel equipment while on the road. A yoga mat, a set of resistance bands, and a small set of dumbbells is a great start. Where possible, scope out fitness courses, pools, and on-site gyms at campgrounds along your route. Where not possible, use your travel equipment and an online planning resource like Fitness Blender to help plan workouts ahead of your travel plans.
Arizona is just one of those places where you can find just about anything as far as climate and landscape is concerned. From the breathtaking Sonoran Desert, to snowy mountain terrain, to the haunting beauty of the Canyon Lands… Arizona has it all! And if that isn’t enough, Arizona is also well known as being spa country in itself! Here is just a taste of some of the best spa and resort experiences you may encounter in this jewel of the Southwest.
A true destination spa resort, Canyon Ranch has been so successful in changing people’s lives that there are now two additional physical locations outside of the original in Tucson. With classes and experiences ranging from physical wellness and weight loss, to relationships and communication, to spirituality and meditation, Canyon Ranch has something for everyone. 150 acres of beautiful facilities and surrounding open space. You will leave a changed person.
Mii Amo is an intimately small spa destination nestled among the sweeping red ochre landscape that is Sedona. Insight, awareness, peace. These are the things one can discover at Mii Amo. Whether it be an aura-soma reading, guided meditation with breath work, body treatment, or sweat lodge, you will be sure to find a transformative experience here.
One of the top resort and spa destinations in the United States, Sanctuary is the very name and embodiment of this Asian Inspired respite. Rejuvenating treatments and luxurious environment blend together in a perfectly peaceful desert retreat. Perhaps you will try the Watsu Aquatic Massage, the Wakai facial, or maybe a little of everything with the Satori Wellness Retreat. Either way, your ultimate relaxation is well within reach.
If it’s romance you’re after, there’s no place better than Royal Palms Resort and the on-site Alvadora Spa. Orange groves and Spanish Colonial architecture greet you at this intimate spa setting specializing in treatments for couples. Private treatment rooms with side by side showers, private patios, and beautifully serene indoor/outdoor courtyards connecting the property. Take in a yoga or tai chi class, followed by a soak in the jacuzzi and an orange blossom body buff. Divine!
When it comes to road trips in the United States, we are gifted with some of the most beautiful driving vistas in the world. Whether it be the Pacific Coast Highway or Old Route 66, there is so much in store for the RV enthusiast. Besides the better-known routes, here are a few byways you may not have considered, and perhaps should!
Arkansas: Talimena Scenic Drive
At only 54 miles, this winding drive includes some of the most beautiful autumn colors you will see. Equally breathtaking in Spring when the wildflowers are in bloom.
Indiana: Ohio River Scenic Byway
Spotted with vineyards, art galleries, and historic small towns, this 303 mile stretch of beautiful forest and meadow is simply magical. Clifty Falls State Park is along this route with its gorgeous limestone cliffs for a change of scene.
Massachusetts: Mohawk Trail
One of the most scenic drives in New England. As the name suggests, the original trail was a part of life to Native Americans. When you see how beautiful this stretch of highway is, you will understand why.
Missouri: Highway 19
The Ozark National Scenic Waterways are some of the most beautiful terrain in the world and Highway 19 runs right through much of it. Nearly 200 miles of lakes and mountains.
North Carolina: Blue Ridge Parkway
This 470 mile stretch through Appalachia is simply one of the most charming drives in America. You will need to plan for more than a single day in order to take it all in, but it will be worth it for sure.
Utah: US Highway 89
This is 124 miles of every terrain that the diverse State of Utah has to offer. From sweeping canyonlands to gorgeous mountain passes, it will take your breath away.
The trails are alive with food! Sometimes, it just takes a keen eye to locate it. Fruits like blackberries and apples are pretty easily identified, while mushrooms, for instance, require more rigorous identification before eating. It is always best to have a field guide for the region you are visiting in order to identify edible plants in the wild and many are available for purchase online or to check out from your local library. When staying at National and Regional Parks, be sure to check in with rangers and campground hosts about collecting edible plants in the wild. Here are a few universal plants in North America that you may come across, and taste, on your next hike.
Dandelion – The humble dandelion can be eaten entirely, from flowers to leaves to roots. Young leaves and flowers can be added to salads or eaten raw, while older leaves and roots taste best boiled.
Cattail – This easily identified marsh plant is another plant that can be eaten nearly in its entirety. Young shoots just appearing out of the water are great chopped and steamed like leeks and have a wonderful nutty flavor. Roots are a little fibrous, but can be peeled to the soft, white inner core, chopped, and fried like potatoes. Be careful to inspect the water source where the cattail grows and avoid plants growing in polluted water.
Wild Onion – If it looks and smells like an onion, it can be eaten like an onion. If it does not smell like an onion, leave it be. Related and smaller garlic and chives can be used in the same way and can add some wonderful flavor to any foraged plant on this list.
Purslane – If you are a gardener or tend to your lawn at home, you are probably already familiar with this widely available “weed”. It can be eaten raw or cooked and is a wonderful addition to other mixed greens collected on the trails. Purslane is high in beta-carotene and omega-3 fatty acids and grows low to the ground like a miniature succulent.
Milk Thistle – Milk thistle leaves take a little work to prepare, but the resulting cooked greens are both nutritious and delicious. Use gloves or a bandana to collect the leaves from the plant, cut the spines from the leaves, and boil for an easy meal with other greens, roots, or fruit.
Since its release on Netflix, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” has become a buzz in households across the country. The KonMari Method espouses downsizing clutter, keeping only those household items that spark joy, and efficiently organizing to save time and space. The great thing about the KonMari Method is that it can also be applied to how you clean and organize your RV.
First of all, you will want to deep clean your RV. This is most easily done by removing everything that is inside of the RV, including everything in drawers, cabinets and storage spaces. Keep like things together in stacks or in boxes, but remove them all from the RV. After all things have been removed, start by cleaning all surfaces, appliances, drawers, and shelves, starting from the ceiling of the RV and moving down. Finally, vacuum furniture and floors, and then mop. Voila, a clean palette to start from!
At this point, you’ve seen which cleaning products work best for you. Restock on everyday products for your RV and keep a list of what those products are so that they can be purchased and stored in your RV. Start with the cleaning products you just used. Add consumable items to this list as well, like toilet paper, paper towels, dish soap, shampoo, and cooking oil and spray.
Next up, go through the items that you removed from the RV, one by one. Does the item have utility or “spark joy” for you? Can it be replaced with something newer or more utilitarian? Is there another tool or item that would work better? Perhaps your spice rack needs an overhaul with newer, fresher herbs and spices. Maybe the dollar store set of holiday hand towels in the bathroom could be replaced with something a bit more luxurious. Donate the items that you no longer use or need in your RV and replace them with items that will be a joy to use on your travels.
Finally, organize for tidiness and efficiency. Washable plastic bins and trays are inexpensive and can help keep items separate in drawers and cabinets. Closet and pantry organizing systems can be installed to maximize useable space. Other RV organizing hacks can be found on the internet, like this article. Keep like items together and within reach for the spaces in your RV where they will be used.
One of the greatest joys of being on an RV excursion is how it brings us closer to the natural beauty of the world we live in. For some, that means simply going on a hike with a spectacular view as a destination. However, none of us are unfamiliar with the thrill of encountering wildlife along the way. Indeed, some of us camp for no reason other than to see spectacular wildlife in their natural habitat. By following some of these tips, you can make your wildlife viewing excursion even more successful.
The general rule of thumb for viewing wildlife is three-fold… be patient, be early, and be quiet. You will want to arrive at your viewing destination in the early morning, in most cases before dawn. Once there, you will need to find a comfortable place to be still and quiet. Don’t forget that wildlife often strive not to be found by predators, meaning they will remain hidden until things are quiet and peaceful. Waiting for that right moment can take a while, sometimes up to an hour. Do not give up! Wildlife viewing in itself can be like an act of meditation.
Come prepared with field guides so that you are able to identify the wildlife that you encounter, or anticipate natural habitat where specific wildlife might be found. Pay attention to edge spaces in particular, such as where forest gives way to meadow or a stream cuts through a canyon. Using binoculars or a telephoto lens on a camera is a good way to approach these habitats without being noticed by the local fauna.
Learn to interpret various animal signs, like tracks, markings, or droppings. These can lead you to areas where herd animals like bighorn sheep or bison congregate. Move slowly, quietly, and deliberately while tracking and keep an eye out for viewing areas where you can remain out of sight from approaching animals.
Many rules of etiquette also apply, like leaving pets at home so as not to ruin other wildlife viewers’ experience. Additionally, leave things that make noise behind, like cell phones and iPods. Some wildlife have such a keen sense of hearing that even headphones with music can scare them off. Respect private property and sensitive habitats, as setting foot in these areas can disrupt the natural habitat of the wildlife you are seeking.
Lastly, be sure to bring a journal to document your excursion and the wildlife you encounter. While a photo can sometimes be captured successfully (be sure your volume is turned off if using a cell phone), a journal entry is always effective for capturing how you felt in the moment.