When people are asked to recall the best times of their lives, vacations and other trips are often mentioned.
The places they visited during those excursions are a big part of the memory. But there’s something even larger and more meaningful in those recollections.
And that’s the people they went with and the interactions they had with those folks. Whether it was family or friends or both, some of our strongest memories involve the time we spent with them.
One of the best ways to bond with the most important people in our lives is a road trip. And one of the best ways to get where you’re going on a road trip is in a recreational vehicle.
If you own or rent an RV, there’s a good chance you’ll use it this summer for one or more family trips. And you won’t be alone. Check out these statistics:
- 40 million people in the U.S. go RV camping each year.
- 9 million American families own RVs.
- 16,000 campgrounds and parking facilities throughout the U.S. support RV camping.
- Between 500,000 and 1 million people live in their RV.
- Americans spend an average of four weeks per year using their RV.
- Americans drive their RVs 4,500 miles per year on average.
- 89% say camping is the primary reason for their RV purchase.
- 54% of RV owners take pets with them when they use RVs.
Tips for RV campers
You may be an experienced RV’er or you may be brand new to it. So, these tips will either be good reminders or some things you might not have considered before.
- Choose your campsite wisely. Find out in advance what those sites offer. Including electric hookups and other amenities you may want or need. Such as bathrooms and showers, WiFi, etc.
- When planning your trip, make sure your route includes truck-friendly rest stops. That way you’ll have sufficient parking space. You’ll probably need at least two adjacent parking spaces for other stops you make.
- Know your rig’s height. Jot it down on a piece of paper and keep it on the dashboard. Take note of the clearance signs on overpasses before you proceed.
- Pack a basic tool kit. Make sure it includes items such as screwdrivers, drills, different-sized bits, screws and wrenches. There may be minor repairs needed during your trip.
- Observe campsite boundaries. There are no physical barriers between your RV and someone else’s at campsites. But they exist nonetheless. Show respect for others’ space when you’re walking around the campsite.
- Keep it clean. Don’t toss garbage such as paper plates and plastic cups in a campfire, which can emit a bad smell. Dispose of those items and others properly, in approved garbage receptacles.
- Control your noise. Many folks go to an RV campsite to get away from the hustle and bustle of life. The last thing they want to deal with is excessive noise including loud music and yelling. Follow the rules regarding hours of operation for generators.
- Leash your pets. Unless you have the most perfectly behaved dogs in the world, keep them leashed when you’re near other campers. Keep them from barking excessively. And, obviously, clean up after them when nature calls.
- Be a good neighbor. Some RV campers like to chat it up with neighbors while others want to be left alone. Respect their choice. Either way, watch out for their safety, especially when you see people who look suspicious.
- Make absolutely, positively certain your campfire is 100 percent extinguished when you leave the site. One of the leading causes of forest fires is abandoned campfires.
- Know when to check out. Most sites have specific checkout times. So follow them to avoid late fees and avoid inconveniencing others entering the campsite. Request extensions in advance.
Don’t forget to pack…
Needless to say, you should create a checklist including everything you’ll need on your trip before you leave.
On the one hand, you want to pack lightly to keep the overall weight down. On the other hand you don’t want to forget something you’ll end up needing.
Among the many items to pack are flashlights and batteries, a first-aid kit, and an emergency weather radio. Plus pillows, blankets and extra clothing.
Having a portable source of backup power is also critical. Ideally, you’ll have a lightweight yet powerful generator to keep your electrical devices running.
Have fun this summer. And hopefully, some of that fun will involve time away with family or friends on an RV trip.