The RV Lifestyle: Traveling with and Selecting the Right RV for You!

The world of the RV lifestyle can be fun, exciting, and adventurous. Recreational Vehicles can be an excellent alternative to camping, using public transportation for travel/excursions, and an opportunity to learn how to be self-sufficient and self-reliant. Trekking across the country in a motor home gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore a variety of communities, towns, cities, and parks with limited expenses, with all of your possessions and assets close by. RV enthusiasts often work while on the road, and adapt well to on-the-go living, and a nomad’s way of life. This allows for full-time camping, maintaining a gas/diesel truck and engine, and keeping up with their own lifestyle needs.

There are camps and how-to seminars available around the country for any future RV campers, and even an Escapees RV Club to bring together those with similar interests. Leaving behind a traditional lifestyle also means creating a sensible budget worksheet, as gas prices, food costs, and general vehicle repair costs are the main components of day-to-day living. Other issues may include insurance, entertainment, and health insurance. Communications via cell phone, e-mail, and wireless laptops are not only convenient, but absolute must-haves for the road tripper. Despite these minor stressors, Rving is not only a unique and dynamic traveling experience, but also an independent and exciting lifestyle.

Selecting the Right RV

When purchasing and selecting an RV suitable for your needs, you have many options to choose from. Travel trailers are easily towed by a car, van, or SUV and let you detach the RV when not in use and park your car at malls, shops, and busy streets. Slide-in truck campers are almost like complete homes, with solid walls, rollaway beds, furniture, and complete kitchens. These are ideal for short-term trips. Travel Trailers are the RVs that most of us are familiar with, ranging from 13-35 feet and available in a variety of floorplans. They often come with television outlets, bathrooms, kitchens, and private bedrooms.

Van campers are the ‘ultimate’ in RV living; these are made for those who spend a long time on the road, designed for long-term living and are often equipped with luxuries and amineites. These come in Class A, Class B, and Class C versions, with each unit designed with permanent kitchen, bath, bedrooms, and burning stoves. Class A motorhomes are usually the most luxurious, and fall into the category of motor coaches. These are plush and full of amenities including washers and dryers, air conditioners, and are fun from a large generator. Class B versions offer wide interiors, electricity, and smaller refrigerators and washrooms. Class C versions are a ‘step up’ from the Class B version, and are often slightly bigger with more family room and sleeping space. These will often look like cars in the front but with the extension of the home space in the back.

Lifestyle and Maintenance

There are some effective and practical ways to live and maintain an RV. These are skills that you will develop over time, and with various trips and excursions; the more you learn the keys to successful self-reliance, the more rewarding your RV experience will be. Some key areas include storage/packing techniques, making the best use of space, cooking and kitchen tips, saving money/budgeting, and creating fun and worthwhile travel plans.

Storage, Packing, Making Use of Space: Techniques

Since campers and motorhomes have limited space, there are ways to overcome these challenges. You should always be packing well but minimally; do throw away old and unused items immediately. Another great idea is to use tension rods to hold open doors and other small cabinets, as this prevents items from rolling and falling over during movement. Use a spring-loaded shower bar to hang up wet clothes and other items within the RV living space/area. You can make use of coated storage racks and closet ‘space saver’ systems with ease, as these make great kitchen/pantry item holders, towel racks, and bookshelves. Having a trailer built into, or onto the RV also creates more space for carrying items and baggage long distance.

Cooking and Kitchen Tips

When cooking on the road, cook large meals that can be eaten over a period of time. This way you’ll never be short on food, or have to search/wait for the next food destination! Cooking in the smaller kitchens can be difficult, but not impossible. Use a crock pot and search for sustainable crock pot dishes that require minimal prep work and time. This will ensure you get a warm and tasty meal whenever you need it! Outdoor grilling is always an option, but a George Foreman grill is probably the most efficient form of a grill and exceptionally easy to clean up.

Saving Money/Budgeting

Chart out a monthly expense plan that includes basic maintenance fees, estimated gas costs, average food costs, and upcoming expenses depending on your next destination. Since rates and prices can fluctuate greatly amongst different areas, it is important to set an average ‘base’ so that you can plan as well as possible. Of course, this will not be perfect! You will need to be as resourceful and realistic as possible when constructing this. Also take the time to research your insurance options; many companies can make a better offer if you show them a picture of your RV, and your general usage. You’ll have a better idea/estimate on what insurance will cost if you do some homework!

Creating Travel Plans

Mapping out each destination, making use of the internet and GPS systems, and tracking/logging your journeys will make your travels fun, memorable, and financially beneficial. You will soon learn how much each trip will cost, estimate gas prices and needs, and where you may need to get your vehicle repaired or maintained. There are thousands of RV campgrounds in each state, and internet research pays off greatly by enabling RV users to research, anticipate costs, and find amenities that they need.

GPS systems help navigate in new areas, easily allowing explorers to find new territory, and accurate forecasts of roadways. Some recommended models are the Lowrance iWay500C, the TomTom GO700, and the Garmin StreetPilot 2720. All of these models provide excellent screens, multiple GPS tracking abilities, and compatibility with most computers.

Basic mapping programs using Yahoo!, MapQuest, and MapBlast are also good tools for navigation, mileage tracking, and interstate information.

There can be many reasons and benefits of pursuing an RV lifestyle, and the pluses range from convenience, efficiency, freedom to travel/explore, learning from a variety of experiences, and becoming superbly self-reliant. The day-to-day lifestyle choices for most homeowners and land dwellers are of no consequence to the RVer; instead, those who pursue this way of life look forward to fresh environments, lower budgets, and a changing and ongoing world on the road.

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