Is Full-Time RVing The Right Lifestyle For Me?

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You are probably wondering, since you clicked on this article, what it is like to live in an RV full-time as your only residence. You’re trying to find out if it’s right for you. Of course, full-time RV life is not without its issues. There’s still the mundane tasks of everyday ‘normal’ life. There’s no escaping certain chores, no matter how you choose to live. There are also going to be new challenges to be had. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges that might dissuade you from living as a full-time RVer. ‘Life’ doesn’t stop because you live full-time in an RV. You’re still going to have to do stuff you don’t want to do.  Of course, you still have to do chores like run errands, pay bills, make dinner, and clean ‘house’. You know, everyday life stuff.

How will you earn money? How will you choose where to go? Will you need good cell reception for internet? Are you going to have solar for power or a generator? How will you find water and sewer dumps? It’s a little more like caveman living. You will have to ‘hunt’ for these things! ? (Full disclosure- I have done it on my own, but now my traveling partner does most of the work of finding these things!)

The good news is boondocking is almost always free, you get way better views than in a campground, and you have much more privacy and peace and quiet. This may be a major factor in your decision. It can make or break living the lifestyle for some. Think about if you are the type of person who likes these types of challenges of if you prefer a more ‘luxe’ lifestyle. If you’re ‘luxe’, you may be a campground/stick in one spot kind of person. Also, keep in mind that the more expensive campgrounds are going to be the nicer ones. If you want ‘luxe’, you will be paying a very high price for it.

8 Tips for Happy Camping With Your Pet

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Your pet is going to have their own idea of how much they like or dislike your imposing a move or trip on them. What we can offer here are ways to help them acclimate to their new situation.

1. Keep Things Familiar

Your pet usually has a schedule at home. A food schedule, walking schedule, a time that you come home, entertainment time and so on. When you go on a trip, try to keep some of that schedule the same. Bring the things they use from home such as their bedding, food and water bowls and any toys that they like to play with. Make an effort to feed them around the same time you usually do at home. ​This isn’t rocket science, but it might not cross your mind until it’s too late. Your pet(s) will appreciate your keeping some things familiar to them. Your payback just might be that they don’t bark or meow incessantly. They will also settle in faster.

2. ​Exercise Your Dogs As Much As Possible

Dogs need stimulation. The best stimulation you can give them is a structured walk. No, we don’t mean taking them out to a dog park and letting them run around with crazy energy. This is akin to letting kids out to play at recess. When they come back in, they are even MORE wound up than they were before recess. Dogs need a mental challenge and a structured, calm, LONG walk is the #1 best way to achieve this. It will get you off of the couch at the same time. What are you doing on the couch on a camping trip, anyway?

3. Don’t Put Them In Your Trailer While Driving​

We understand that not many dog or cat owners out there use a harness/seat belt for their pets when in transit. This was going to be our #1 recommendation, until we saw a video about how many of them fail. We still believe the car will be safer and more comfortable than in your trailer. Why not in the trailer? First, you aren’t there with them so their fear factor is likely to rise​. To them, they are riding alone in what to them could be a building having an ongoing earthquake. They don’t know what’s going on really, so why throw them back there to be alone and scared?

4. Watch Where You Leave Them

As you hopefully are already aware, most RVs can quickly get hot in the sun, much like a car can. If you are camping in an RV park, and you have your A/C on, be aware that the power can shut off without notice, leaving your pet(s) in a very deadly situation if your windows are all closed and it’s a hot sunny day. What can you do to prevent disaster for your pets? ​First, never leave your windows closed and fans not running if the temperatures are going to be even as high as the low 70’s. You should have a good idea of how quickly and how much hotter than the outside temperature your rig gets before you ever leave your pets in your rig at temperatures over 70.

5. Get Them Ready

If you never take your cat or dog in the car for trips, it’s a very good idea to acclimate them to the motion and feeling by taking short trips before your big one. Start with a simple around the block drive. Don’t get all excited before asking them to get in the car, stay calm and assertive. Praise them if they are behaving properly but don’t get too overzealous about it. Once they realize the car isn’t going to kill them, start extending the duration of your trips. Treats may help them learn to associate the vehicle with positive things, but only give the treats when they are being calm, not if they are shaking or are barking/hiding.

6. Bring Their Medications And Vaccination Records

This may seem like another no-brainer, but people do forget these things. If your dog or cat needs a daily medication at home, he’s going to need it on the road as well! Don’t forget these items. It’s just a good idea to have their vet records as well. Don’t want to haul the paper? Scan it into an app on your phone.

7. Get Them Microchipped

If you haven’t done this already, now is the time. If your pet gets out and runs away, their collar with name and phone number is their best friend. However, if they lose their collar somehow or you had it off, say to give them a bath, then the chances of you ever getting them back is extremely low. Microchipping will be the only hope if someone finds your pet and takes them to a vet to see if they are microchipped.

8. Be A Good Neighbor

Let’s be honest. If you have a dog  that you KNOW barks incessantly when you leave, you shouldn’t be bringing them  with you to an RV park if you plan to leave them in your rig. It’s just totally inconsiderate.

6 Quick Tips for RV Beginners

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Whether you’re a family of weekend campers or a retired couple looking to travel full-time, every RV beginner has to know a few important things before making the maiden voyage. Here are six quick tips to consider before you pile in and head out.

Tip 1: Decide Whether to Buy or Rent

This isn’t always an easy decision, with pros and cons for both. However, when you consider a few key factors, the answer becomes clearer.

  • Buy: You plan to go RV camping often or full-time and you have storage for the times when you aren’t traveling.
  • Rent: You plan to go on a single trip, or want to test the waters before making a purchase.

Tip 2: Get to Know Your RV

With little road experience, it’s especially important that RV beginners take time to learn how the motorhome works, even if it’s just a rental. If something breaks, you should be able to assess the problem, and potentially fix it. This saves time and money spent at a mechanic.

When you get to know your RV, you’re less likely to make operational errors. For example, if you don’t know how many amps your main breaker can handle, there’s a good chance you’ll blow it. This is a potentially expensive error that can be avoided by getting to know your rig.

Tip 3: Take a Practice Drive

Consider the roads you plan to drive on, and take a smaller trip on similar terrain. As an RV beginner you don’t yet know what will move around in the living area or how hard it will be to switch lanes, ascend hills, and park.

Once you know the intricacies of driving an RV, you can make necessary adjustments. For example, if your drawers pop open, which they often do, you need to find a way to keep them shut.

Tip 4: Bring Tools and Spare Parts

Pack a well-stocked tool kit, and add in the things that your RV might need, like extra fuses, light bulbs, jumper cables, nuts, bolts and connectors. In addition, be sure to bring parts that are unique to your rig. Without these, you risk having to wait for the part to be ordered and shipped.

Tip 5: Don’t Wing It

The urge to be spontaneous is tempting when your home is on wheels. Beckleys RVs is empathetic: “There’s a certain pleasure in going where you want, when you want.” Still, they recommend you have a plan: “It does help, however, to have a solid plan in place if it’s your first time planning an RV trip.”

When RVing, plan:

  • The budget: How much you can allocate for food, fun and overnight stays.
  • Your food supply: To buy and eat out.
  • The route: The one you plan to take and alternate options.
  • Stops: The places you want to see along the way.
  • Campgrounds: Where along the route you plan to call it a night.

Tip 6: Create a Campground Setup Checklist

As an RV beginner, you might not have a campground routine yet. Therefore, having a checklist will ensure everything is set up as it should be. You checklist should include:

  • Check the site for low hanging branches or obstacles on the ground.
  • Locate the electrical, water and sewage hookups.
  • Pull your RV in, close to the hookups, and level it with blocks or stabilizing jacks, if necessary.
  • Secure your rig by chocking the wheels.
  • Connect to the electrical hookup, and switch your appliances to pull from this source of power, instead of the battery or propane.
  • Attach your sewer hose to the drain hook-up—be sure to wear gloves for this process.
  • Put out your awning and set up the campsite.

RV beginners have a lot to look forward to: RVing is a great way to travel and explore the outdoors. However, knowing the basics is important to having a stress-free trip.

Basic Tire Maintenance for Every Driver

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The tires are the only thing between the vehicle and the road. When they are properly inflated and in good condition, the handling, stability and safety of the vehicle will be maximized. Conversely, when the tires are under inflated, worn out or damaged, all of the safety systems on the vehicle cannot overcome the loss of control that comes with a blow-out or hydroplaning situation. Air pressure in a tire is like oil in an engine; when it is low, the resulting internal damage is unseen until it is too late. Tires naturally lose 1-2 psi per month, so ongoing neglect will eventually result in a tire that cannot support the weight of the vehicle and the occupants. When this happens, the resulting blow-out can result in the loss of control and an accident.

It’s also important to rotate the tires on the vehicle every 5-7,000 miles. Today’s front-wheel-drive vehicles cause the steer tires to wear at a much faster rate than the tires on the rear axle. By periodically rotating the front tires to the back and the back tires to the front, motorists can achieve even treadwear on all four tires and increase the mileage and performance. Failing to rotate the tires often results in the front tires wearing out faster while the rear tires develop irregular treadwear patterns that cause vibrations. The same can be said for alignments. When the vehicle is not properly aligned, the tires will wear out faster which leads to increased operating costs.

Finally, drivers should perform a visual inspection of their tires on a regular basis, especially after hitting a pothole, curb or any type of road debris. Bulges, cuts and other visible damage weaken the internal components of the tire, which can lead to a blow-out. Regular visual inspections will often identify any potential problems before they result in an accident. It’s also a good idea to have the tires inspected by a professional before any long road trips to ensure there are no obvious out-of-service conditions that must be addressed.

How to Take a Digital Detox Vacation

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When airlines first started offering Internet access on planes, there was an outcry from many folks who were connected almost around the clock and therefore cherished the precious time in the air when no one could call, email or text them. Many saw this quiet time as one of the most enjoyable elements of what were otherwise arduous business trips.

Similar debates raged over whether or not to allow cell phone use on planes. Do we really want to interrupt the relative quiet of an airplane with ringing phones and inane conversations?

Most of us know at least one person who has posted something to Facebook or Twitter along the lines of “Aircraft doors closing, stack of magazines and neck pillow at the ready,” with some sort of anti-digital hashtag.

The fact that so many folks announce delight in time away from devices and social media via a device on social media seems as good an indicator as any that there may be something to the growing popularity of digital detox vacations.

Why Do a Digital Detox?

Should I Do This While Traveling — and How?

In some respects, a vacation is a perfect time to eschew all types of digital stimulation; you are out and around, often in an entirely new environment, and have far less exposure to the moments of boredom or distraction that lead folks back to their screens again and again.

On the other hand, most of us know how helpful our devices are when traveling in an unfamiliar place. In fact, it could be argued that a smartphone shifts from a source of distraction to a superb tool when navigating new cities, finding things to do and dealing with travel snafus.

– Be ready for withdrawal symptoms
– Plan to enjoy (and not regret) missing out on what everyone else is doing
– Be prepared with things like paper maps and written phone numbers
– Set small goals (maybe a 24- or even 12-hour detox instead of a week the first time out)
– Plan something that will occupy and entertain you

This last item in particular suggests that travel might be the perfect time to try a digital detox; spending your afternoon snorkeling can make it really easy to skip fitful checks of your phone.

 

Ways to Prevent Identity Theft While Traveling

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Tips for avoiding scams and theft while traveling are a staple of the travel writing genre; pretty much every guidebook or travel website dedicates some space to the subject. 

But in the 21st century, you are as much at risk of having your identity stolen — or more accurately your financial and digital identity — as you are of getting “mugged,” which almost sounds quaint these days (though I do not intend in any way to underplay the misery and danger of actually getting mugged).

Identity theft is a growing problem worldwide — especially for travelers, who are very vulnerable, forced as they are to use unsecured Internet connections, carry extensive personal documentation with them at all times, and share their credit cards with merchants about whom they know nothing and whom they’ll never see again.

Modern technology hasn’t made it any easier for honest folks to avoid identity theft, either; witness the practice of websites like Facebook and LinkedIn, which often keep you logged in to the site, even after you close your browser or turn off your computer. Someone getting unfettered access to your closest friends on Facebook could definitely shake out some very “helpful” information before you knew it.

As time and technology advance, this problem is only going to affect more travelers.

Here are tips to avoid identity theft while traveling:

“Unpack” Critical Documents Before Travel

If you carry some essential documents with you when you are not traveling — the average wallet or purse might include a Social Security card, bank statements, medical documents, checkbook and the like — remove them before you leave home. Essentially, when it comes to documentation, you want to “unpack” before traveling.

Be Very Careful About Shared and Insecure Internet Connections

This is one thing that I have found very difficult to do – when traveling, it is hard to find connections other than public ones at hotels, cafes, airports, you name it. To see the warning “this connection is unsecured and others may see your information” is almost a staple of the travel experience. The risk applies to anything you type into your keyboard while connected, such as email passwords and website logins.

Use Only Bank ATM’s

A recent trend among identity thieves has been to install card readers in an ATM by which they can access your card number and PIN. This happens most often at non-bank, “generic” ATM’s (in hotels, convenience stores, etc.), which have less oversight and are therefore more vulnerable than bank-run and hosted ATM’s. Stick with the ones at banks; these can still be compromised, but tend to be targeted by thieves much less often.

Change Passwords and PIN’s

You may want to change your passwords after a trip; identity thieves are thought to be very patient criminals, and often wait until you are less likely to pay attention after a few weeks at home.

 

How to Escape While Staying Connected

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Leave the laptop behind, dump the mobile device and otherwise abandon anything that could be called “always on” — so goes a frequent recommendation to stressed vacationers. The thinking is that if it’s too easy to stay in touch via phone and email with work, social obligations and the daily grind, you’ll never really get away from it all.

Sounds like sound advice — except that I’m not sure I agree. I have found that sacrificing a little bit of free time to staying connected while traveling typically makes exit and re-entry — when the most draining work of travel and vacationing takes place — go much more smoothly. In the end, checking in a few times during your vacation is a small price to pay to avoid returning home to a chaotic swarm of neglected responsibilities.

Some folks wouldn’t take a walk without all their devices, while others can’t wait to jettison everything and get off the communication grid. When my own five-year-old cell phone suffered some water damage,

Laptop, cell phone, tablet — take ’em along, leave ’em home, take your pick? Let’s say most of us have three primary email addresses (work, home, alternate) and matching triple voice mails (work, home, cell). That’s a lot of stuff to check while you’re trying to unwind; a couple of hours can pass in a blink by the time you have gotten through them all.

Less to Do Before and After Your Trip
As mentioned above, I believe the most compelling reason to stay connected on the road is to reduce the strain of both leaving and returning. As comfortable as home can be, few things can diminish the glow of a good trip quite as quickly as arriving home to find that two weeks of the detritus of modern life has been accumulating in your absence and that it’ll take days to clear it out.

I would say that the only thing worse than a pile of junk mail in a plastic USPS box and fading newspapers on your stoop is a “mail box is full” message on your voicemail and a couple dozen screens worth of email on your first login when you get home.

And it’s not just when you get home. Leaving notes for dog walkers, putting your house in order and letting everyone who might want your attention know that you will be away is almost always more trouble than checking email for a few minutes in a hotel room every day. While traveling, if you can dispatch tasks and information with short, concise emails written in a few seconds during your trip, there is a lot less accumulated clutter when you return, and less to do before you leave.

Fewer Surprises
The only thing worse than returning from a trip to an inbox full of nuisance emails is finding out too late that a major problem has come up. Keeping in touch with work and personal email semi-regularly is the best way to keep on top of big events. It also gives you…

Increased Control
Trying to fix big problems from a hotel is not a fun place to find yourself. If you have a speedy laptop stocked with all your likely contacts, you’ll be well positioned to deal with anything that goes wrong.

Lowered Expectations
An “away” or “vacation” auto response message followed up with an email with a footer that reads “sent from my cell phone” lets you get away with murder in terms of brevity and specificity — folks are just grateful to get a reply so they can keep working on or stop worrying about whatever it is for which they needed your attention.

 

 

Things to know about speeding & traffic laws

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Some roadways are designated as low-speed zones. These include areas with high pedestrian traffic, such as school zones and streets lots of intersections close together. Driving over the speed limit can put you and others at risk of harm.
-Never pass a stopped bus displaying a stop sign to its left. That means children are crossing the street.
-If you hear a siren coming behind you, pull to the side if you can, stop and wait until the police car or fire truck goes by.
-Completely stop at stop signs and look for other drivers and pedestrians before you proceed.
-Obey the posted speed limit at all times. Speeding tickets are costly, and penalties for speeding can include fines, court appearances and loss or suspension of your driving privileges. Also, depending on your insurance policy, speeding tickets can raise your rates.
-When parking your vehicle, always be mindful of handicapped signs, fire hydrants, bus stop zones, parking restrictions for certain times of day, and parking spots that require permits. Just remember to heed all of the signs. Even if you have to circle the block a couple times, it sure beats getting fined or having your car towed.

 

What to do after an auto accident

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If you’re in an accident, first make sure no one in the car is injured. Next, check on the passengers in the other vehicle, pedestrians and anyone else nearby to make sure they’re OK. Then do these five things:
-Stay at the scene. Leaving can result in legal consequences, like fines or additional violations.
-Call 911 or the local police immediately. They’ll dispatch an officer and medical personnel to the scene of the accident. Once the cops arrive, wait for them to complete an accident report.
-If you’re on a busy highway, stay inside the car and wait for the police or an ambulance. It’s dangerous if passengers stand along a freeway or other road with lots of traffic.
-Don’t get into an argument or a fight with the other driver. Simply exchange contact and insurance information. If possible, also get the name and phone numbers of witnesses.
-Call your insurance provider to report the claim. Your agent will ask you for any paperwork you receive about the accident, and will give you important information on getting your car fixed.