Tag Archives: RV

My Top 12 Reasons of Why I Like to RV

Just out of curiousity, I did a quick search to see how RV was trending… so often we seem like the only families at campsites during the off-peak week-day visit.  I was encouraged to see that it is on the rise in the 35-48 age group telling me that more families are opting to use a RV instead of investing in another time share property or staying in a hotel.

Benefits of RVing

So it got me thinking… as a mom to five kiddos what are some of my favorite things about RVing?

1. Bathroom breaks while traveling are MUCH easier. If the kids need to use the restroom, no need to stop and use an unsanitary bathroom at some truck stop or fast food restaurant where you worry if you’re picking up some virus — nope, with a RV, you just alert the driver that you need to “go” and at the first available exit that offers a large parking lot or wide road shoulder area you can simply open the door to your RV bathroom and take care of business quickly and back on the road. Easy peasy — especially with kids!

2. It’s MUCH cheaper than getting a hotel room.  With five children and two adults, we would either have to get two hotel rooms or a hotel suite that has a common area with two adjacent rooms — at the time of this posting that runs about $150-$200.  A typical RV overnight, full hook-up site runs from $35-$55 depending on the time of year and the amenities offered — even cheaper than that if you are off season and stay a month!  That’s about a 77% savings per night putting money back into our pocket to see and do more.

3.  I get to sleep in my own bed.  Call me a germaphobe, but I really like using my own pillow, my own sheets, and sleeping in my own bed.  No bed bugs. No wondering what happened on my bedsheets the night before. I can rest easy knowing what has been on my bed and in my bed. ZZZzzzzzz…

4. No hidden cameras. No wondering if some hidden hotel camera has someone watching me sleep, get it on with my main man, or watching me change.  Believe it or not, this is something that creeps me out about staying in someone else’s condo or in a hotel room. It should creep you out, too. Unless you’re an exhibitionist of course. (Of which I am not.)

5.  I feel more relaxed. Yes, you still need to honor quiet hours and be courtiuos to your RV neighbors, but it wasn’t until we stayed overnight in a hotel room not too long ago that I realized how stressful it felt to keep kids quiet because people were on the other side of the wall.

6.  Feel more connected to the outdoors. I have four sons and a daughter. I am convinced that kids need to be outside, exploring their world and learning thru those experiences.  And there’s something comforting about sitting around a campfire and breathing it all in — these are magical moments for our family where we feel connected.

7.  A door that will lock.  OK, my husband laughs at me on this one, but I love the Jim Gaffigan joke about being pre-packaged for the bears.  I seriously like keeping bad things out and good things inside of my RV.  Maybe that’s silly, but for this girl, it helps me get my guys outdoors while also meeting my need to keep them safe. Win-win.

8.  A sense of community.  I absolutely love how RVers will reach out and say ‘hello’ to new neighbors and share from their resources. In a recent trip to the Florida panhandle, we had a neighbor give us a bag of satsuma oranges (delicious!) and another neighbor brought back oysters from the sandbar they went out to and some conches to show the boys.  You do not get these kind of experiences in a hotel or in renting a condo — at least I haven’t experienced that and I’ve done a good bit of traveling over this life of mine.

9.  I don’t have to get on a plane to experience another part of the world.  Planes are great if you want to get somewhere quickly far, far away, but I really don’t like the process of having to micro-manage the packing for the kids, worrying about getting thru security in one piece with five kids in tow, and then keeping the kids content on a plane so that they don’t disturb nearby neighbors.  This probably would also fit under #5, but feeling less stressed means I live longer, my husband is not as stressed also, and we can travel at a pace that works for everyone without worry about offending a fellow passenger.

10.  I get to bring everything I need for comforts from home and the kitchen sink. Literally.  Well, within reason of course – there are weight limits. But I am not limited by a 50 pound piece of luggage… I can plan ahead and bring along things that will make our travels easier and more enjoyable.  So instead of always having to eat out, we can actually cook a meal and save money so we can explore more!

11. I like a good adventure.  For fun, my grandparents use to take us for “rides”. They lived out in farm country and as a child I would question their mode of entertainment, but they would take me to the lake where we would look at the geese and the newly hatched gosslings… they would take me to stop and look at the miniature grand canyon feature near their home… and we’d drive thru the nearby park to see what the tourists were doing and do some people watching.  What they taught me was to notice. To pause and take in my world. And this has stuck with me over the years I think. I want my children to never stop noticing the little things. I want them to grow an appreciation for history and the diversity of people.  I want them to experience new things and grow as a person in a positive way from those experiences.

12. As we experience new things as a family, we grow as a family.  Sharing new experiences together is not only fun, but it also is deeply satisfying to me personally.  I’d rather make a new fun memory than spend money on a toy to keep my child occupied.  I only have them for a short season. The time to explore and be together is now.

 

RV Turned Guest House: 12 ways to make your house guest feel welcome during their visit

It’s the holiday season and the RV is currently parked. We are busy making treats for Christmas holiday parties and wrapping gifts for a book exchange.  I gaze out my window and there our travel trailer sits, waiting for our next adventure.  I hope it’s soon, I’m getting antsy to go somewhere!

One of the great things about having an RV is that it can also double as a guest house when guests come into town, it provides them with their own private space, away from the noise of the family and common areas where they can relax and recharge.  Here are some things you can do to make your RV welcoming to those visiting your home.

1.  Create an inviting entrance. Put down a welcome mat. Place a potted plant or bushes near the front entrance to the RV.  And if you have a someone who is finds stairs a challenge, make a gradual stair step for them so that getting in and out of the RV is safe.  We also have put down bark to create a path to the walkway which is great in the event that it rains – it keeps the footpath from getting all muddy.

2.  Stock the fridge with snacks and water.  I like to get a mix of fresh fruit, trail mix, chocolate and if I can have it relate to the region where we live even better as it gives it a personal touch.  I also keep some microwave popcorn and ice cream in the freezer for my guests typically.  I will also get 1 gallon of water to put in the fridge to use for coffee and tea and the rest are travel size so my guests can grab and go when they need a drink.

3.  Have a coffee and tea station.  A warm drink is one of those comfort things when you’re away from home, so keeping a small coffee maker in the RV is a must.

4.  A good cleaning… before our guests arrive, we make sure fresh linens are put on the bed and pillows, counters and handles disinfected, floors vacuumed, and all the mirrors and windows sprayed with glass cleaner.  We also make sure all the drawers are empty as well as the closets leaving hangers in case our guests wish to unpack and hang any of their garments.  We also keep some extra blankets in case they are needed as everyone has different comfort levels.

5. I also go thru the medicine cabinet and give it a good walk thru keeping in mind that leaving new toothbrushes in packaging and new toothpastes, mouthwash, floss, hair spray — basically anything that may have been forgotten or left behind because of having to go thru security as a travel carry on.

6. We have a pretty small shower in our RV, so we discourage guests from showering in it because a) it’s small and inevitably we’ve had water damage to our sink area when a guest didn’t close the screen and b) it fills up the grey water tank quickly!  So, instead, I leave a couple of hampers in the tub area where they can toss dirty clothes. They are lightweight and easy to pack to the house in the event that they want us to do a load of laundry during their stay.

7.  We fill the propane tanks and hook up the water so that the facilities can be used.  We make sure that the black water tank is empty and that the stabilizers are put down so that the trailer does not wobble when someone is walking around in it.

8.  It’s also nice to provide some reading material in the event that your guest might enjoy perusing thru a magazine or reading up on the local news if you get the newspaper.

9.  Do a sound check on your radio so it’s tuned and ready to go. It’s nice to have some music softly playing in the background when they arrive.

10.  We also have an Apple TV for our travel trailer which is great because there are a lot of options for guests to choose from when they feel like watching a movie after everyone has gone to bed.

11.  Leave a small note by a charging area with the wifi password in the event they want to connect.

12.  And as a final touch, I also try to put a live plant or bouquet of flowers inside.

Do you use your RV/ Travel Trailer as a guest house when not in use? If so, feel free to share some ideas as well.

To Scrubba or not Scrubba… that is the question

So, the Scrubba caught my attention today… it’s a little sack that you can seal and swish (agitate) small items that need to get cleaned when you don’t have a washing machine nearby.  I’m thinking I need this on my Christmas Wish List for the RV.

First off, I love that it is light weight and collapses. This is a major plus for storage and for traveling when every ounce adds pennies to your fuel bill. If we want to see a lot of sights, then we’ve got to keep things light!

scrubba3

Second, I love that it isn’t very big and clumsy.  I can forsee using this for when the boys soil a shirt, when the littles soil their unders, or wet the bedsheet, or if we need to clean some socks until we get to the next laundry facility.  My mind is reeling with the ways it can save me the hassle and stress from dirty situations. This could definitely be my ally.

scrubba2

One key factor using this set up is you need a spot to rinse and dry items, so keep that in mind if you’re looking at this to buy as well.  But definitely going to circle back to making sure this is on our next trip. I’ll give you a review once I use and let you know if it was worth the $50 or not. 😉

scrubba1

Kids get dirty. This would be a great backup plan for when we don’t have a laundry machine nearby. Maybe I’ll buy five and each kid can do a load. Hmmmm…. Now there’s a thought… 😉

12 ways to light up your RV this holiday season

holiday_5waystobrighten

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without some lights! Here’s our list of 12 great lights for decking the halls (er, or should I saw awning) of your RV this holiday season while at the same time, keeping your travels lite:

12. Super Bright Rope lighting is always a great option for sprucing up your site with lights and the plus side of it is it can be used throughout the year! Just take your rope light and put around the base of your RV when you set up camp and you have instant light at night around your RV to keep from tripping up and down stairs and locating things in the campground. This super bright LED version runs 150′ and they come in a variety of color options.
superbrightlights

11. Innoo Tech’s Chuzzle Ball (each ball is 2.6 cm wide) string of 20-LED lights. They look like spiky little pom-poms and would be super cute in an outdoor plant or fairy garden. Pluses: + LED + waterproof + solar charged. Perfect!

chuzzellights

They also come in red!

chuzzle lights red

10. A star that shone a spotlight and the most amazing birth ever can be remembered with this Sunniemart Solar Powered 30-LED Star string of lights. Pluses: + LED + waterproof + solar charged + can be hung for Fourth of July as well.

sunniesmartstars

9. If you want to have more of an icicle look, the Hikong Star LED Light Curtain might fit your fancy.

twinklehangingstars

8. Note, you might want to keept this River’s Edge American Flag Light Set in mind for the Fourth of July as well!)
FlagStringLights

7. If you’re missing snow, maybe this adorable string of 20-Snowman Lights will cheer you!

snowmenlights

6. We love these Pink Flamingo and Palm Tree string of lights will remind you of warm sunny beaches and tasty margaritas. What better way to celebrate the holidays than to string up a fun set – a great gift idea for the new retiree!

flamingopalmlights

5. Light in the Box Explosion Ball String of Lights are funky and fun!

explosionballlights

4. We love the beach, so I could totally see us stringing up these fun Amscan Shell string of lights and doing a whole beach them while camping at the beach with our travel trailer.
seashelllights

3. This set of White Jasmine string of lights are so pretty that I might hang them all year long as a night light inside the trailer!

jasminelights

2. My guys like to fish, so I could totally see us stringing up the River’s Edge Bass String Lights.

bassfishlights

1. The 2-Color Lazer Landscap Projector Light with Remote is number one on our holiday light wish list this year! This single light can project thousands of beams up to a hundreds of fee to illuminate your RV, nearby trees, landscaping etc. Takes low voltage and is easy to put up and take down!

lazeramazer

Preparing for a Cross Country Trip: State Visitor Guides

FBPOST_statetravelguides

I’ve been pinning areas of interest we’d like to visit via Pinterest for awhile now. But, today I began the process of requesting Visitor Guides from the states we plan on traveling through as a way to involve the kids (holding tangible brochures with pictures and information) in the planning process. We can also use the materials for educational purposes as they learn about each state they visit and add it to their scrapbook. Each state also has digital versions available to download. Click the link and look for “Travel Guide” and you’ll see usually both options: print and digital. Hope this helps your research!

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona + Pins
Arkansas + Pins
California + Pins
Colorado + Pins
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida + Pins
Georgia + Pins
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana + Pins
Iowa
Kansas + Pins
Kentucky + Pins
Louisanna
Maine + Pins
Maryland
Massachusetts + Pins
Michigan
Minnesota + Pins
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska + Pins
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York + Pins
North Carolina + Pins
North Dakota
Ohio + Pins
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania + Pins
Rhode Island
South Carolina + Pins
South Dakota + Pins
Tennessee + Pins
Texas
Utah
Vermont + Pins
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin + Pins
Wyoming

Save the date! Georgia’s Largest RV and Camping Show :: January 23-25, 2015

Save the date! The 2015 Atlanta Camping and RV Show will be January 23-24-25 at the Atlanta Exposition Center South (3850 Jonesboro Road, Atlanta GA 30354. Hours: Friday, 11-7; Saturday 9-7; Sunday 10-5. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for adults 55 and older, $5 for ages 6-16, and free for children under the age of 6. It is important to note that they accept CASH only — there is an ATM machine on site if needed. You can save a dollar or two here by printing out a coupon in advance and bringing with you to the 2015 Atlanta Camping and RV Show. This event showcases products like motor homes, fifth wheels, trailers, wheel chairs, power scooters and more etc. in the Marine & Boat industry.

The largest RV Show in Georgia

Our First Boon-docking Experience

Our first time boon-docking was a bit of an adjustment as we are accustomed to being at a campsite – not on pavement. We weren’t entirely comfortable with the attention we got from curious folks we asked if we were “camping”. My pride twinged a bit and I shook it off as I reminded myself that the money saved that night could go back into the travel and play fund. A woman sat on a nearby curb, having a smoke and talking on the phone – an odd spot being that we were parked at the furthest point away from the store.

The kids felt a bit uneasy, too. My middle child asked if he could lead us in a prayer. I loved that he knew God could be our source to qualm any fears and that we could place our trust for safety in Him. Daddy headed into Walmart to grab some ice cream – a great treat as we watched the sun set. 

The evening was warm and we found it more comfortable to sit outside and enjoy the breeze. At one point, while settling in at night, a van towing a pop up tent parked right outside our front door. My husband asked if he couldn’t park further away being that the whole parking lot was available.

When it came time for bedtime, we fired up the generator and the AC did it’s job to make everyone comfortably sleep. Everyone except Daddy that is. He never quite settled into sleep as any noise had him up checking on things.

Evidently we had a drunk wander past and continued on after hubby opened the door to make himself known. The parking lot cleared out quite a bit. Our youngest woke us up at 7 am, so we just packed things up and off we went down the road in search of coffee and breakfast.

I have to hand it to to Walmart at Hamilton, TN. The manager was very accommodating and friendly. There were other trucks and another camper that joined our area later that evening.

I think one nice addition for our own peace of mind would be so sort of video on the front to see the vehicle and door as well as the back if the trailer – that would give my husband and I some eyes to what might be outside. I know my Mom’s Tiffin has these feature and I can see why that might come in handy now. Otherwise, I loved how we saved money and would be open to trying it again!

RVing with Kayaks

One cost we didn’t factor in with the kayaks riding on top of our vehicle was mileage. We have gone for towing at 11 MPG to about 9 MPG. Depending on how frequently you plan to use them and how far you go with your RV, it may make sense to just rent at a lake when you get to your destination. We use ours a lot and not every lake we go to has kayak rentals, so the benefits are there for our crew.

We also need a way to secure them better to the top of our rig. They are cradled beautifully on a Malone Kayak Saddles atop a Yakima Rack system and strapped down securely with tension straps. For the most part it’s easy to load and secure. What concerns me is that someone with the wrong intentions and a sharp knife could cut the straps and take the kayaks. When we travel, the kayaks do seem to garner more attention, so we need to find a lock mechanism that would deter theft.

 

Be sure you are aware of each state’s guidelines on kayaking. In Georgia, children under the age of 12 need to have an adult with them and within eye sight to operate a kayak. For our 13-year-olds, we have a buddy-system and they’re to be with another kayaker at all times. I know I state the obvious, but it’s a good idea for your kayaker to also know how to swim.

 

Other than that, the kayaks have been a wonderful addition to our RVing. My husband even said that we should sell our boat and just get kayaks for everyone! Lol I’d call that a win!

 

 

Bumps in the Road: Learning to Roll with ’em

When Plans Don't Work Out as Planned

For Mother’s Day, my husband felt ambitious and took on the task of heading out for a three-day week-end. We were going to stay in a state park and when we arrived, we were warmly greeted and given a site. We backed in, unhooked, leveled everything and hooked up the amenities. The kids were settling in to the new space and even the lawn chairs had been unpacked. My husband went to go pay for the week-end and then… we learned that the hosts of the campsite and assigned us a site that had already been rented out.  They wrote down 4-5 options and so my hubby and I drove around to check out the various site.  Settling on one, we returned to the front gate to learn that… you guessed it, once again they had made a mistake.

So we managed to secure our third site choice and paid for it before we even moved the RV. We returned to our original site, unhooked all the water and electricity, pulled in the slides, and hooked up the trailer to our vehicle, loaded five chairs, fishing gear, and lastly five kids.  Down the road we went, found our paid site and unhooked. Rain began to dump from the sky in a torrential downpour, my husband getting soaked as he parked the truck and rain around the trailer to come in.

To say the least the “perfect week-end get away” didn’t feel so perfect.  I felt mad. I felt irratable.

And then I remembered. I had a choice.

I could choose my attitude.

And as the rain thundered and pounded on the rooftop of our RV I began to count my blessings. “Lord, thank you I am not in a tent right now.” “Lord, thank you that I am surrounded by those I love and not alone.” And as I began to do this in my head and heart… my husband pulled out the popcorn and put a batch into the microwave.

It’s amazing what a little thankfulness and the smell of popcorn can do for the heart and mind. Popcorn popped and popped and popped until everyone had their fill. And we smiled again.

You see, not every moment will be picture perfect.  Every good adventure is frought with obstacles to overcome. And some of the best stories have ups as well as downs.