It’s Time To Start Planning your Summer Vacation! Here are Some Destinations To Try

Summer’s here! And that means it’s time to plan your next unforgettable summer road trip.

Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong no matter where you set your sights this summer. From the mountaintops to the seasides, America is chock full of amazing things to see, eat, discover, and do. And when you’re road tripping in a motorhome or travel trailer, you always have your very own private place to relax and recover after a long day’s adventures. It really is the best of both worlds.

That said, if you’re looking for some quick summer vacation ideas to help get the brainstorm ball rolling, well, we can’t think of too many things we love more than listing dreamy destinations. (Seriously, can you believe one of our writers actually gets paid for this?)

Without further ado, here are some of our favorite places to go in the summer, whether you’re looking for an epic cross-country road trip or a quick, cheap getaway.

Best Summer Vacations

Some trips are tried and true classics — for a reason. Here are a few indulgent destinations to consider if you’re looking to knock some serious must-dos off your bucket list.

Alaska

America’s Last Frontier is also the first item on our summer road trip list. And to be sure, this one’s a commitment; it’ll take your entire summer to do it right.

The road from Seattle to Alaska is a long one; you’ll spend 24 hours of actual drive time just getting to the state. And since it’s impassable in all but the summer months, now’s the time to tackle the task if it’s an idea you’re into. Then, you’ll have three long, luxurious months to enjoy the nigh-endless sunshine until it’s time to turn around and come back home. (Seriously, the midnight sun is a real thing up there.)

Make no mistake about it: the trek to Alaska is a serious venture and one you’ll want to plan well for. This isn’t a spur-of-the-moment, just-pack-up-and-go jaunt! Fortunately, we’ve got a great PDF guide to help you jump-start your research. Click here and look for “RVing to Alaska” to download it now. (The other guides are pretty awesome, too!)

Literally Any of the U.S. National Parks

Another classic summer road trip: a national park or five. With more than 60 in the United States to choose from (and each one more special and scenic than the last), it’s no surprise that tackling the national parks is one of the most popular summer adventures.

Big names like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon are famous for a reason, but there are plenty of lesser-known alternatives, too — and what’s more, they’ll likely be quieter, less crowded, and possibly even cheaper to enter. And although you might associate the national parks primarily with the wide-open west, there are plenty of federal recreation sites east of the Mississippi, too – especially if you count National Monuments and Battlefields.

No matter which destination has caught your eye this summer, be sure to check out our in-depth national park guides so you’ll know all about the best hiking, restaurants, and campgrounds in each area. And you also might want to pick up a National Parks Passport; that way, you can be sure to collect stamps from each location to make for a fun, affordable memento later on down the line.

Psst — we’ve also written some general national park content to help you create an unforgettable outdoor adventure. Check out these RVshare blog posts:

Cheap Summer Vacations

Epic cross-country treks are great and all, but sometimes, you just need a quick, cheap getaway — or even a longer stay that still won’t break the budget. Here are some affordable summer vacations to consider if you’re looking for fun in the sun.

Galveston, Texas

Take all the excitement and flash of the Santa Monica pier and pair it with some down-home Texas charm — and shave a zero or so off your total vacation budget. Ta-da: you’ve got Galveston, a classic gulf coast summer destination. Along with its Historic Pleasure Pier, complete with a full-sized amusement park that rivals anything you’ll find in California, the town also boasts Bishop’s Place, Moody Gardens, and, of course, Galveston Island State Park, which does indeed offer RV camping. Hookup sites start as low as $20 nightly and many come with a waterfront view, so it’s safe to say you’ll want to make your reservations early.

Okay, just one last thing Galveston has that southern California doesn’t: a classic Glen Campbell country song. Just saying!

Click here to see RVshare rentals near Galveston, Texas.

Coastal Oregon

Want a beachside adventure that’s not quite as hot and sticky? Coastal Oregon offers all the beauty and serenity of the crashing waves without quite the same level of heat and humidity you’d see in a beach town in, say, Florida — not to mention the breathtaking, bolder-studded coastline and agate-filled tide pools to explore.

What’s more, if you’re looking for Pacific shore summer rentals, you’ll do a lot better price-wise in Oregon than you would just a few hundred miles south in California. Even private, resort-style campgrounds are affordable; for instance, Fogarty Creek RV Park, located on a prime stretch of sand between Lincoln City and Depoe Bay, is only $45 per night, even in the summer. They also offer $600 monthly rates. Insane!

Family Summer Vacation Ideas

When you’re bringing the kids along, you have to make sure you choose a fitting destination. It’s not always easy to keep those little faces smiling for a days-long trip! But at the following summer vacation spots, you’ll have no trouble satisfying everyone’s craving for relaxation and adventure in equal measure.

Cedar Point

Hey, midwesterners — think you have to schlep the family all the way to Florida to enjoy a theme park vacation? Think again! Instead, you can set your GPS toward Sandusky, Ohio and enjoy an equally-fun (but way cheaper) set of spills and thrills at Cedar Point.

Need more convincing? Well, let’s put it this way. Daily admission tickets to Cedar Point start at less than $50, and you can upgrade to a seasonal pass for just a hundred dollars more. Disney World tickets, on the other hand, start at more than $100… and that’s just for a single park for a single day. See our point?

Click here to see RVshare rentals near Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio.

A Jellystone Park Near You

Image via campjellystone.com

If you’re a faithful reader of the RVshare blog, chances are you’ve heard us sing the praises of Jellystone Parks before. But what can we say? Those people seriously know how to create a perfect family summer getaway.

For starters, the parks are located in highly-sought-after destinations you probably already had on your list, and they have so many fun features and activities, you wouldn’t even have to leave the campground to have a memorable vacation. With jumping pillows, splash zones, themed events and more, your kids are sure to tucker themselves out — which means you’re sure to get a good night’s sleep. It’s a win all around! Click here to find a Jellystone Park near your favorite summer vacation destination.

Ready to Take Your Summer Vacation to the Next Level?

No matter where you’re headed this summer, if you’re planning on getting there via road trip, we have to say: taking an RV is a serious upgrade. You’ll get all the freedom and flexibility of the highway coupled with the comfort of knowing exactly where you’ll lay your head each night, and you won’t have to rely on so-so gas station snacks or use a single public restroom if you don’t want to.

When you rent on the peer-to-peer market at RVshare, you save a bundle on your per-night rental fees… but you also put your travel funds directly back into the camping community, funding others’ adventures and discoveries and augmenting the friendly campfire vibe you feel when you pull into your favorite park. After all, where you go doesn’t matter nearly as much as the people you meet when you get there, so check out the RVshare rental listings available in your area today!

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8 Grill Accessories Every Camping Chef Needs

Is there anything that goes with camping better than grilling? Maybe fishing or hunting… but both of those things, ideally, just lead to having more stuff available to grill. We rest our case!

Whether you bring along your own portable tabletop charcoal number, splurge on a fancy stand-alone propane-powered grill, or just rely on what’s available for public use at your campground, there’s no two ways about it: grilling is the official cooking style of the #RVlife. And if you want to do it well, you’re going to have to invest in a few grill accessories to help you.

Fortunately, a set of excellent grill accessories don’t have to mean breaking the budget — and if you take care of them and buy a high-quality product to start with, chances are your grillmaster set will last you a lifetime.

Plus, let’s face it: being the official MVP of the campground is well worth going to a little extra expense. Without further ado, here are the essential grill accessories that’ll make you into the pitmaster you’ve always dreamed of becoming. (Do be warned, however: you’re apt to get an influx of potentially-uninvited visitors!)

1. Grill Mats

Image via Amazon

Want all the juicy, locked-in flavor of fire-grilled meat… without the annoying post-grill-fest cleanup? As delicious as that perfectly-striped steak may be, scrubbing the remnants of the meat off the grill bars is no one’s idea of a good time.

Enter the BBQ grill mat: a brilliant invention that allows you to get the best of both worlds. These heavy-duty, nonstick mats are rated to withstand temperatures of up to 600 degrees, so you can just lay them on your grill and proceed as normal. Then, when you’re done, all you have to do is wash the mats rather than putting elbow grease into the project of brushing off your grill. And since many grill mats are dishwasher friendly, it seriously can’t get any easier when it comes time for cleanup.

Grill mats are a great investment for campers for a number of reasons. For one thing, they roll up small, which makes them super easy to store even in an RV’s limited space. And if you’re most often using public grills in campgrounds, grill mats can help you rest easy. You probably can’t ensure that grill is 100% clean… but you can cover it over with a grill mat and call it a day! Pretty brilliant, right?

2. A Grill Cover

Image via Amazon

If you have invested in your very own grill set, obtaining a char broil grill cover can help you extend the life of your purchase and ensure the grill is fresh and clean every single time you set down to cook. These weather-resistant covers are especially important if you’re camped in one place for a long time and leave your grill outdoors in the elements.

3. Grill Brushes and Cleaning Instruments

Image via Amazon

Even if you invest in grill mats as suggested above, every once in a while, you’re going to want to give your grill a good, deep cleaning. That’s exactly why a solid grill brush and scraper is an essential addition to your list of BBQ accessories.

Using a stainless steel grill brush will help keep your grill free of dirt, debris, and potentially harmful pathogens that could hurt your family. You could also consider using a grill scrubbing stone, which is a non-toxic, non-allergenic, and totally green way to make your grill look fresh and new after heavy usage.

4. Grill Basket

Image via Amazon

Want to grill up smaller items like cubed potatoes or grape tomatoes, but don’t want to worry about them falling between the bars? There’s a reason the grill basket is one of the most popular Weber grill accessories on the market — it makes it simple to cook up even items that aren’t traditionally grill-friendly.

Employing a grill basket is a great way to add healthy veggies to your roster of favorite grilled treats, which can help round out those hearty meals of steaks and burgers you’re probably more commonly used to charbroiling up. Plus, these versatile devices are available for less than $25, so it’s a really small investment with a really big payoff!

Even More Amazing Outdoor Cooking Accessories

We’re not done yet! Here are even more grill accessories and items for the true barbecue master’s consideration.

5. An Outdoor Griddle

Image via Amazon

If you’re really devoted to the grilling lifestyle, why not upgrade your grate-style grill to an outdoor griddle? They cost a little more, yes, but there’s no better way to ensure your food cooks consistently… and you won’t have to worry about spending time lighting up charcoal ever again.

A griddle’s flat top makes it possible to cook all sorts of delicacies that are more difficult on a traditional grill, like pancakes and omelets. In short, if you purchase one of these guys, you’re probably done with cooking indoors — like, forever.

6. A Campfire Grill Grate

Image via Amazon

The whole thing that makes grilling amazing is the magic of cooking over an open fire. What better way to step it up a notch than to make your comforting campfire the source?

If you’re boondocking in a spot that doesn’t have designated grills, or just looking for a way to cook with some atavistic charm, consider purchasing a campfire grill grate, which can turn any open flame into the cooking surface for your next meal. You can lay food items on it directly or even use it in conjunction with a cast iron pan or grill mat. Either way, there’s no better way to make dinner with a view.

7. A Useful Grill Lighter

Image via Amazon

If you’re using a charcoal grill, the last thing you want to do is to sit there holding a teeny tiny cigarette lighter for the five full minutes it takes your coals to ignite. (Trust us on this one — we speak from experience.)

Go ahead and invest in a grill light that offers some length and ease of use. Not only will it make things easier come mealtime, but it’s also useful for lighting candles and other household uses with improved ergonomics and comfort. Plus, you can get a four-pack for less than $15, so it’s not like you’re going to go broke over it!

8. BBQ Gloves

Image via Amazon

It happens to the best of us. We’re minding our own business, grilling up a delicious meal, when we somehow suddenly forget that fire is, um, hot. Suddenly you’re pacing around with your angry, swollen finger in your mouth, cursing your silliness. Why did you decide it was a good idea to touch that hot metal grill basket bare-handed?

Don’t let it happen to you one more time. Instead, invest in a pair of heat-resistant barbecue gloves, which will keep your hands safe at temperatures up to 660 degrees. Using a high-tech type of silicone, these gloves make it possible to add more fuel, manipulate items on the grill, and just relax in general without risking painful burns. At less than $25, it’s a purchase you and your skin will be very happy you made!

Ready for a Fun, Fiery Adventure?

Even in your own backyard, grilling is awesome — but when you’re camping in a travel trailer or motorhome, it’s that much more exciting. You can cook up your favorite summertime treats in a brand-new destination, surrounded by all your favorite people. After all, every meal is better when shared.

If you don’t already have a rig of your own to adventure in, why not consider renting one through RVshare this summer? Our privately-owned rigs come in every shape, size, and body style imaginable, so no matter what kind of camping trip you’re after, you’re sure to find the vacation vehicle that’ll make your dreams a reality.

What’s more, each RVshare rental is backed by A-rated insurance policies that keep the stress out of your vacation. You can also elect to access 24/7 roadside assistance, so you never have to spend a single moment of your trip worrying, what if?

Whether you’re broiling up a picture-perfect steak on your own private outdoor griddle or grubbing on some freshly-caught trout cooked on the public grill waiting beside the pond in the park, there are few better ways to spend a summer evening than dining al fresco on something delicious and hot off the grill. Bon appetit!

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How to Choose and Buy an RV Refrigerator in 2019

Having a small fridge with you wherever you may roam is a wonderful thing. In fact, the RV fridge might just be our favorite RV appliance. After all, having a refrigerator with you during your adventures opens up a whole new world of snacking and meal options without the added task of finding and refilling an ice chest every day.

Unfortunately, while they are fairly durable, your RV mini fridge probably won’t last forever. This means you will eventually be stuck either repairing or replacing your refrigerator. In some cases, a repair makes sense. However, in many cases, a repair would be just as costly as purchasing a whole new unit. At this point, it’s time to start shopping for your new compact fridge.

If you’re like the vast majority of people out there, you have no idea what to look for in an RV refrigerator. That’s okay! We’re going to use today’s article to help you figure out exactly what you’re looking for, so you can shop with confidence.

Image source: Kathy McGraw

Finding a Small Refrigerator to Fit Your Space

The first thing you need to consider is the space you’re putting your new refrigerator into. In order to properly fit your space, be sure to measure carefully. You should be able to find a fridge to fit the space in your RV perfectly. If not, you may need to do a bit of cutting to make the new appliance fit.

Besides the amount of space your fridge takes up, you’ll also need to think about the amount of space it offers. Even if a refrigerator is the same size as another on the outside, that doesn’t mean it’ll offer the same capacity inside. Considering the fact that RV refrigerators are pretty small anyway, the more storage capacity you can get out of your new fridge, the better off you’ll be.

Mini Fridge with Freezer vs Mini Fridge Without

In some cases, the space an RV offers for a fridge might be quite tiny. In these cases, a very compact refrigerator about the size of a traditional mini fridge will be all you can fit. This poses the question of whether or not you should give any of your precious fridge space up in order to have a freezer.

Obviously, this is a personal decision and depends on whether or not you freeze things often. Either way, we suggest giving this some thought before starting your quest for a new fridge so you know just what you’re looking for and get exactly what you need and want.

Choosing Between All-Electric and Three-Way

Most modern RV refrigerators are what’s known as “three-way”. This means they can run on either electricity or propane, and have an automatic setting which ensures the fridge switches to propane mode whenever electricity isn’t available. These refrigerators are great for many RVers because they can be used with or without hookups, making boondocking a cinch.

As nice as three-way refrigerators are, they aren’t the only option, and in some cases, the option of an all-electric fridge is better. These refrigerators run on electricity only, just like a traditional house fridge does. In fact, if you choose to go this route, you won’t be shopping for an RV-specific fridge, but simply for a smaller-than-usual refrigerator.

The pros of having an all-electric fridge include:

  • Better cooling ability, generally speaking, than a three-way RV fridge.
  • Much less expensive.
  • More storage capacity than a regular RV fridge would offer.

The cons to having an all-electric fridge include:

  • Less freedom and flexibility since you need electricity to run the fridge.
  • More difficult to find the correct size.

What you choose is completely up to you, and both options are worth considering.

Best Mini Fridge Options

Now that you have an idea of what you’re looking for, it might be helpful to know which refrigerators are best. Below are the ones we think are ideal.

If you’re looking for a three-way fridge and would like a variety of size options, we highly recommend looking into the Dometic or Norcold brands. These RV-specific brands have been used and trusted by RV manufacturers for years and are quite trusty.

Prefer a cheap mini fridge option? A great all-electric fridge that many people use in their RVs is this Avanti model. It’s the perfect size for many motorhomes and trailers and is listed on Amazon, making it easy to order.

No matter which RV refrigerator you purchase, you’re sure to be glad you have this amazing appliance during your travels, making cooking on the road as easy as 1-2-3.

How to Plan the Perfect Girls Weekend

Family travels are super fun, and romantic getaways with your SO are obviously awesome. But every once in a while, what you really need is a girls trip.

Of course, planning the perfect girls getaway involves more than just gathering up your best girlfriends and hitting the road. Chances are, you and your besties all have some pretty strong opinions about what, exactly, you should do during girls weekend — including not only where to go, but how to get there!

So we put together this post with some of our best tips and tricks for planning a girls weekend with minimal drama and maximal delight. From choosing a fun, relaxing destination (or two) to figuring out the very best way to get there, here are our favorite tips for making your upcoming girls weekend one to remember.

Girls Weekend Getaway 101

Whenever you’re planning a group trip, the dynamics are a little different than they would be if you were traveling solo — or even with family members, with whom you’re a little bit more intimate than you are even with your very best gal pals. Here are some ground rules to keep in mind before you even take out your Rand McNally Road Atlas and pick a destination.

1. Get a sense of everyone’s time and budget constraints.

First things first: nobody has unlimited time or money. And in order to create a girls weekend that will suit everyone’s needs, you need to be aware of the constraints ahead of time.

One of the most obvious (and difficult) parts of planning a great girls weekend is scheduling — you’ll have to find a day or two when everyone can take off work at the same time, which isn’t always easy! Since you’ll already be doing that footwork, it’s the perfect opportunity to suss out budget concerns, as well, which can help you choose a destination together. We suggest that whoever’s heading up the project send out a quick survey to all the invitees asking both preferred dates and budget limit, as well as suggested activities or itineraries.

2. Be honest: what kind of trip will work for all of you?

Just because you’re besties doesn’t mean you have the same idea of fun! While one of your gal pals might love the idea of doing a rugged 12-mile backcountry hike, another might much rather just kick back at the campground. In order to enjoy your trip to the fullest, it’s important not to get hung up on which activities you *should* want to do, and instead be honest about what will make you happy — and that goes for all parties involved. Also, don’t be afraid to split into groups, or even go off solo! The point of the trip is to have fun, and sometimes, you all aren’t going to agree on what that means. You don’t have to be together every single second of the weekend.

3. Collaborate on packing to ensure you don’t double up on major bring-alongs… and that your outfits are on the same level, of course.

For instance: if you’re planning on going kayaking, you don’t all need to bring along your two-seaters. Collaborate to avoid excess baggage… and also to make sure you all look fresh when you hit the town together!

4. Establish your own ground rules.

Where should you meet if you all get separated while exploring town? How many glasses of wine can you have before your bestie is allowed to cut you off? What happens to sleeping arrangements if somebody meets someone special? All of these are important considerations to make… before you’re actually in the thick of enjoying your getaway. Write up an official list of rules (and maybe a have-fun mission statement) and post it prominently in your rental RV or hotel room. Fun girls trips are all about collaboration and community, and it takes ground rules to make a community work!

Girls Spa Weekends and Beyond: Picking a Destination

Figuring out where you’re all actually going is one of the most exciting parts of any vacation.

5. Looking for the spa experience? Consider heading southwest.

Image courtesy of Jamie Cattanach

Everyone knows the major hotels in cities like New York and Philadelphia are awash in (expensive) spa services. But did you know you can enjoy a nice, hot soak for a bargain… or possibly totally free?

If you head to the desert southwest, you and your gal pals can enjoy starry skies, spicy food, and the kind of free soak you actually walk to. Taos, for example, has several world-class hot springs located right off the highway… as well as traditional spa services in town, if you still want to splurge.

There are plenty of other destinations with natural hot springs around, but many of them are considered top secret — so we’ll let you do some Googling and asking in the camping community to find the best ones near you!

Click here to see RVshare rentals near Taos, New Mexico.

6. Spills and thrills: when to try a theme park.

Think Disney World is only an option when you have the kids along? Think again. Depending on your group’s personalities, theme parks can make for some of the best girls trips in the business, even if none of you are particularly interested in roller coasters.

Take Disney World in Orlando, Florida, for example. It might best be known for attractions like Thunder Mountain, but it’s also home to Epcot, a theme park offering eats — and, most importantly for a girls weekend, drinks — from around the world. You can tipsily wander through several different cultures in the space of an hour, sampling their best booze and bites along the way. Meanwhile, the whole city of Orlando is waiting outside the park gates… so there’s plenty of opportunity to get your groove on!

Click here to see RVshare rentals near Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Bachelorette Weekend Getaways

Bachelorette parties are often great excuses for girls weekend trips. Here are some tips to keep in mind if your big day is on the horizon.

7. Bachelorette parties go way beyond Vegas.

Sin City may sound like the perfect place to have your last night of extra-marital fun — and don’t worry, you don’t actually have to sin to make it memorable. But there are plenty of amazing girls weekend trips and bachelorette opportunities near you, no matter what part of the country you call home… and hey, bright lights and big cocktails aren’t for everyone.

Instead of taking the traditional get-wild approach, bachelorettes could also consider an alternative girls weekend trip. Heading down to the coast for a relaxing beach day or three, for example, could be a great way to restore and refresh your brain before walking down the aisle… not to mention working up a killer tan to show off in your wedding dress.

You could also consider spending your bachelorette trip doing some other fun and funky activity — like horsing around at a dude ranch or even taking a ski trip, depending on the season. In fact, a bachelorette party doesn’t have to be any different from any other kind of girls weekend… so no matter what you do, make sure it suits your needs specifically!

Up Your Girls Road Trip Game with an RV Rental!

One surefire tip to improve your girls weekend, no matter who your girlfriends are or what kind of trip you choose? Consider taking an RV rental (or three!).

As much fun as road tripping is, it can also be a pain in the neck to have to worry about schlepping your stuff into three different hotel rooms. And depending on how close you and your gal pals are, it could be really nice to maintain a little privacy. (Love you, bestie, but you snore!)

By taking a girls RV trip, you can minimize these annoyances. If you all load into one camper, you’ll save tons of money on hotel costs… and if you caravan with several RV rentals, you’ll get to maintain your privacy while still enjoying a community feel. You can also all meet at some central destination if you’re spread across the country, which happens so often these days. Win-win!

No matter which option sounds best for you, there’s an amazing vacation vehicle waiting to make your dreams come true at RVshare. Check out the listings near you today — and enjoy your girls weekend! You certainly deserve it.

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List of National Parks that Will Give you The Peace and Quiet You’re Craving

A tour of America’s national parks is often on the tippy-top of RVers’ to-do lists. And to be sure, our parks system encompasses some truly enchanting landscapes — which is exactly why everybody wants to see them.

But as anyone who’s ever stood in line to try to get a photo at Delicate Arch or Old Faithful knows, many of our most famous national parks are, well, crowded, to say the least. In fact, if you go at the wrong time of year (i.e., when the weather is nicest), you may find most of the hiking trails more closely resemble rides for lines at Disney World than serene wilderness treks.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t relaxing vacations to be had in and around our nation’s most beautiful places. You just have to know which parks to go to… that is, the ones that aren’t featured on National Lampoon’s Vacation. (Sorry, Grand Canyon.)

If you’re looking for a national park experience that doesn’t include elbowing your way to the front of the crowd for a selfie, here’s a list of national parks to consider for your next RV vacation.

1. Great Basin National Park – Nevada

Nevada may be best known for its bright lights and big, sinful city — but there’s also a whole lot of peace and quiet to be found, if you know where to look. Great Basin National Park is one of the least-visited in the entire U.S. roster, and once you go, you’ll want to keep the secret. With a wide range of elevations and ecosystems ranging from the peak of 13,000-foot Mount Wheeler to the sage-covered valley floor, it’s possible to experience a whole range of natural habitats in a single day during your visit. It’s also home to one of the oldest groves of bristlecone pine, dating back thousands of years — we’re talking B.C., baby!

Click here to see RVshare rentals near Great Basin National Park in Nevada.

2. Guadalupe Mountains National Park – Texas

Hill country may already be on your list, and you’ve probably got plans to explore Austin, too. But you’d be remiss to miss out on this national park that lives deep in the heart of Texas — and is also home to the state’s highest peak, the park’s namesake, which towers 8,749 feet above this mostly-sea-level state.

Even if you’re no mountain addict, Guadalupe Mountains National Park is well worth visiting; its 86,000+ acres also include canyons, deserts, dunes, and the world’s most extensive Permian fossil reef. That’s to say nothing of the dark skying opportunities that present themselves when the Texas sun goes down. Visitors can see more than 11,000 stars and get an eyeful of the milky way on a clear night, and weekly events take place at the on-site McDonald Observatory.

Click here to see RVshare rentals near Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas.

3. Congaree National Park – South Carolina

Think all the best national parks are located west of the Mississippi? Think again. Although it’s situated just a half-hour’s drive from the state’s capital, Congaree National Park is an oasis of relaxation and quiet in South Carolina’s heat, and is home to some of the tallest and most untouched copses of east-coast hardwoods.

While you could easily spend a weekend (or a week) just relaxing by wandering through this mysterious swampland, the park also puts on an array of ranger-led activities that are both educational and entertaining, including a nighttime “owl prowl” to help you get acquainted with some of the park’s night-faring friends. Plus, once you decide you’re done with your nature retreat, Columbia’s just a quick drive away — and filled to the brim with restaurants, museums, and shopping opportunities.

Click here to see RVshare rentals near Congaree National Park in South Carolina.

4. Voyageurs National Park – Minnesota

Minnesota is known as the land of ten thousand lakes, and if you want to see some of the most pristine of them, you ought to head to Voyageurs National Park. It’s home to four large lakes and more than twenty smaller interior ones — in fact, water comprises 40% of the park’s 200,000 acres.

It’s no surprise that Voyageurs is a popular destination for kayakers and canoers in the summertime and ice fishers come winter. But thanks to its extensive network of hiking trails under the lakeside forest canopy, it’s also a great place to just get out and take a walk… or head out on cross-country ski or snowshoe during those intense midwestern winters. Local guides also offer birding tours and rental vehicles (like snowmobiles) to help you get better acquainted with the park, no matter what time of year you visit. And with fewer than half a million visitors each year, you’re sure to get the peace and quiet you’re after!

Click here to see RVshare rentals near Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota.

5. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park – Alaska

Everyone wants to go to Denali. But this Alaskan destination bears not just one, but two distinctions — not only is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park one of the least-visited parks in the country, it’s also the largest! At more than 13 million square miles, it’s certainly an easy place to find silence and solitude. In fact, we’ll be frank: it’s a bit of a challenging landscape, with mountain peaks towering up to 18,000 feet, active volcanoes, and native wildlife including grizzly bears, lynx, and wolverines.

Due to its enormous size and also the fact that several indigenous cultures continue to live traditional lifestyles inside the park’s boundaries, tourist facilities and travel services are limited. However, with some planning, a fun and fulfilling trip to this wilderness is still possible, thanks to many guided tours available from both park rangers and a variety of private companies in the area.

Click here to see RVshare rentals near Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska.

6. North Cascades National Park – Washington

Here’s another one that’s a bit of a surprise — because although North Cascades National Park is located just three hours from Seattle, one of the largest cities in the Pacific Northwest, it also barely saw 30,000 visitors in 2018. Considering those visitors were spread over 500,000 acres, it’s safe to say this is a quiet place to take a retreat from the city!

Along with the typical hiking, biking, kayaking, and other outdoor adventure opportunities, North Cascades is also home to more than 300 glaciers, making it a unique place to observe these one-of-a-kind ecological features in the lower 48. It’s also a great place to observe wildlife and wildflowers, so be sure to bring your binoculars.

Click here to see RVshare rentals near North Cascades National Park in Washington.

7. Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska

Yes, we’re putting another Alaska park on the list, because skipping this one would be a shameful missed opportunity. Although it’s tucked more than 35 miles above the Arctic Circle, it would be easy to confuse this surreal landscape for one much further south — like Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. That’s because Kobuk Valley boasts the largest active sand dune field in the Arctic, not to mention over 8,000 years of fascinating and unique history. Long used as a caribou hunting grounds by indigenous peoples, the park is still home to the graceful creatures today — as well as wolves, bears, a wide array of fish and birds, and wood frogs.

Considering how far north it is, getting to Kobuk is no easy feat; there’s no roadway access, so you’ll have to fly in from Anchorage or Fairbanks. Once inside the park, you’ll have to hoof it or use a packable watercraft; some brave adventurers even hike into the park from the nearby settlements of Bettles or Kotzebue, a strenuous, multi-week adventure over challenging terrain.

Click here to see RVshare rentals near Kobuk Valley National Park in Alaska.

Psst: looking for an insider scoop on the national parks on this list, or any park you have on your travel itinerary this year? We’ve written up extensive guides on each and every national park in the country, including the lesser-known, harder-to-reach ones like the Dry Tortugas and Channel Islands. Click here to check ’em all out!

And no matter which parks you’re headed to, be sure to bring along your national parks passport to get your stamps and stickers, particularly if you’re headed to these more remote, off-grid destinations! It’s an affordable and easy way to look back on all of your adventures and inspire you to take some new ones… and hey, it’s a little satisfying to know you’ve been to some parks your campground neighbors have never even heard of.

Have fun!

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Your Ultimate List of Summer Gear for Camping, Festivals, and Soaking up Some Sun

Summer time and summer travel are basically synonymous. Everyone wants to take advantage of those long, luxurious days to spend some time in the sun, especially after a cold, dark winter.

But in order to take a stellar summer trip, you’re going to have to invest in some summer gear. After all, it gets hot out there!

Whether a summer music festival’s caught your eye and you’re already busily planning, or you’re just thinking ahead on the short weekend getaways you and your family always take, here’s our list of summer gear that’ll keep you cool as a cucumber during your upcoming warm-weather ventures — even if your RV doesn’t have air conditioning.

Summer Vacation Must-Haves

No matter what your destination this June, July, and August, these summer items are absolute must-haves.

1. Sunscreen

Yes, this should go without saying… but it’s important enough to repeat, even though you already know. Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and it’s sensitive to UV radiation… as you’ve almost assuredly figured out for yourself by now.

Bringing along (and actually wearing) sunscreen on your summer trip is non-negotiable, and that 2 SPF tanning lotion doesn’t count. For real sun protection, choose 30 SPF or higher… but keep in mind that as those numbers climb, they start to have diminishing returns despite their higher cost.

You can also get separate sun-protection products for your face and body, particularly if you have sensitive skin. We love Neutrogena’s “Sport Face” lotion, which is breakout-free, sweat-proof, and high-SPF. Spray cans make it a whole lot easier to get the rest of your bod, however.

2. Chapstick with SPF

This just in: your lips are skin, too! And they need special protection to keep them from getting sunburnt and chapped. We suggest Burt’s Bees All-Weather Moisturizing Lip Balm, which is affordable, water-resistant, and infused with zinc oxide to keep your smile safe from the sun.

3. A great sun hat

Never underestimate the power of an excellent hat to keep you shaded and cool… and help you look great on the beach, too! These big, floppy hats are affordable and also fun to pick up at your destination, or to order ahead of time from Amazon.

4. Cooling neck wraps

Image via Amazon

If you’re someone who gets really heated, you might want to consider getting a freezable neck wrap, which can help cool you down even in the hottest of environments. Just pop it in the freezer and wrap it around your neck, and boom: you’re ready to tackle the great outdoors, even in a Floridian August. (Well, maybe.)

What You Need to Bring for Summer Music Festivals and Concerts

For many campers, summer fairs, events, and concerts are the biggest reason for the season. And if that describes you and your crew, you’ll definitely want to bring along these summer items!

5. Sand-free (shakeable) beach towels

Not every concert venue allows you to bring along folding chairs to set up on the lawn. But almost all of them are okay with beach towels, which offer a little bit of protection from the wet grass and dirt.

And we speak from experience when we say this is one piece of summer gear that’s definitely worth upgrading. Because while traditional towels will keep all that dirt locked in (and therefore get it all over your car or camper), those special sand-free beach towels actually let you shake it off much more easily, and they’re waterproof, to boot.

These towels can also fold down really small so they’re easy to stuff into a beach bag or backpack, making it much less stressful to get through security at your concert or event. When you’re done, just toss it in the washing machine with the rest of your sweaty festival clothes. Easy peasy!

6. A great set of patio furniture — if it’s allowed

Image via Amazon

You may or may not be able to bring folding chairs and the like into the concert venue proper. But if you’re attending a summer music festival where you set up camp for the weekend and walk to the stage, having a great patio set up outside your RV or tent is the best way to enjoy your “off” hours.

Folding camp chairs have improved so much from their humble beginnings; today, you can find actually-comfortable versions with reclining abilities, cupholders, and more. Yes, you’ll pay a little bit more than you would for the traditional four-post canvas chair, but isn’t your time outside the whole point — and therefore worth it?

If you are RV camping, don’t forget to add some other patio items to your summer camping gear list. From a high-quality ground cover mat to a sizable and reliable outdoor cooler, check out this post to learn even more about setting up an amazing outdoor space to enjoy alongside your camper.

7. Personal fans

Image via Amazon

No matter how much fun your event may be, it’s going to be miserable if you’re overheated. That’s why personal, handheld fans are a great item to add to your list of must-bring summer camping gear… they’re lightweight, affordable, and these days, even USB-chargeable!

Carrying a fan can turn a super-sweaty event into a fun and enjoyable experience… and after all, chances are you paid dearly for those tickets, so you want to be having fun every single moment. At prices under $15 a piece, it’s worth investing in one for each member of your camping party, because trust me, you’re not going to want to share!

8. Portable water bottles

Image via Amazon

We’ll end our list of must-bring summer items with one just as obvious, but important, as the first one. (In fact, this one is even more important than sunscreen, if you can believe it.)

Everyone who’s ever taken a basic health class knows the importance of staying hydrated — and when the sun is out in full strength, it’s even more critical. Sweating is your body’s natural way of keeping you cool even when it’s hot and humid, but it means you’re using a lot more water than you would on a day-to-day basis. Particularly if you’re spending your summer days walking around a big summer festival event venue (where drying substances like beer are also being consumed), carrying around some water is absolutely non-negotiable.

There are a variety of water bottle options to choose from depending on your preferences and budget. For example, if you just have to have freezing-cold water at a moment’s notice, Swell bottles do a great job of keeping your liquids cold for up to 24 hours — and can also be repurposed as coffee mugs, keeping hot liquids hot for up to 12 hours. If a lower-tech (and lower-budget) option works for you, Nalgenes are classic. And at a 32-ounce standard, they hold more than most of the insulated bottle options, so you’ll be sure to stay well hydrated.

Finally, if the venue doesn’t allow backpacks or bags, finding a way to carry your bottle without having to hang onto it can be key. These water bottle caddies are really inventive and many venues allow them even if they have a no-bags policy, but you can also go low-tech and just buy a carabiner clip to keep it on your belt.

Looking to Attend Summer Events in Style?

Want to know the most important piece of summer camping gear? (Spoiler alert: yes, this is the part where we’re going to plug our own services. But we have good reason!)

Hitting the road in a travel trailer or motorhome is a great way to combine all the freedom of your summer road trip with the privacy and comfort of having your own place to stay. And, unlike even the fanciest tent on the market, most RVs have an HVAC system… which is hard to argue with when you’re dealing with that harsh summer sun.

Whether you’re interested in a towable vehicle or a plug-and-play motorcoach system, our trusted owners have what you’re looking for. Rigs of every shape, size, style, and footprint are available all across the country, and each and every one of them is backed by our A-rated insurance coverage throughout the duration of your rental period. That means you have nothing to worry about… except staying cool, of course!

For more information on privately-owned RV rentals near you, check out the RVshare listings in your area today. Along with finding your perfect getaway vehicle, you may even make a new travel buddy — which is the very best thing to add to your list of summer camping items.

Enjoy!

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Tips for Keeping RV Summer Essentials in Good Working Order

Although the official start of summer might not be until June 20, temperatures are definitely on the rise — and many travel plans are already well underway! These warm, sunny months mark some of the most popular for travelers of all stripes, including, of course, RVers.

Of course, that summer weather that makes traveling so alluring during June, July and August also makes for some extra considerations when it comes to your vacation, particularly among those going by motorhome or travel trailer. After all, chances are you upgraded from tent camping to the #RVlife specifically because of creature comforts like air conditioning… you definitely want to make sure those features are in proper, working order before you set out on the road!

Along with keeping your camper cool, collected, and in proper working order, taking on some pre-summer-trip maintenance can help ensure you enjoy every single second of your trip. I mean, who wants to take time away from their vacation to worry about fixing some sort of technical issue… or worse yet, shelling out for a visit to the RV mechanic?

While keeping up with a regular preventative maintenance schedule is important at every time of the year, certain RV features are particularly important during your summertime travels: specifically, we’re talking about your air conditioning unit, fresh water tank, and generator. In this post, we’ll give you some basic hints, tips, and tricks to help you keep all three of those systems ship-shape and ready for your summer adventures — and throw in a few bonus ideas to help you maintain your rig, too!

So, ready to get outside and enjoy summer while staying calm, cool, and well-hydrated? Read on to learn everything you need to know to tackle basic summer RV maintenance issues!

RV Air Conditioner

Let’s start with the most important stuff: staying cool. Because when you’re RVing in the dead of summer, there’s simply no substitute for a killer AC system, which means it’s time to ensure yours is in proper working order.

Which begs the question: when, exactly, was the last time you took a trip up onto your rig’s roof to check out your RV AC unit? If it’s been a while, it might be time to grab the ladder and hoist yourself up to have a look.

The specific steps you’ll need to take to keep up with your rig’s HVAC maintenance will depend on what type of unit you have. (For example, the instructions for a Dometic AC may be different than a Coleman, and it’s ALWAYS a good idea to check out the owner’s manual before you do anything suggested online.)

But in general, you’ll want to ensure you’ve got nice, clean, new filters where they’re necessary, and getting up top to ensure the plastic casing looks nice and solid is a good idea, too.

This is also a good time to run your hands around the seams surrounding the AC unit on the inside of your rig to ensure the seal is still water-tight and you haven’t sprung any leaks. Water damage is one of the leading causes of serious RV maintenance and repair issues, so getting ahead of it is key to ensuring your RV enjoys a long, healthy life full of adventures.

If you’re running into issues with your RV AC unit and are looking for troubleshooting help, check out this RVshare blog with tips and tricks for DIY AC maintenance. And if it’s time to replace the unit entirely, don’t despair! We’ve also written the Ultimate Guide to RV HVAC.

RV Generator

Here’s the thing: even if your RV’s HVAC system is in perfect running order, it won’t do you a lick of good if you don’t have a camping generator to run it — unless, of course, you’re staying at a campground with shore power.

That said, half of the fun of summer camping is about getting off-grid to go boondocking. And even if you are planning on staying solely at developed campgrounds, it’s always nice to have a failsafe.

As you may know, generators aren’t cheap to repair or replace, so keeping the one on your rig in proper working order should be a high priority. The good news is, a little can go a long way when it comes to performing regular maintenance to extend your generator’s life.

One of the most important things might sound familiar, because your doctor likely says the same thing: regular exercise! Although it may seem like refusing to run your generator would save up its life for later use, the opposite is, in fact, true. Generators perform better when they’re run on a regular basis.

You’ll also want to ensure your generator’s oil levels are appropriate and change the oil as necessary, just like you would with a car. Also, check the air inlet system for any debris or gunk buildup, which could keep the unit from properly cooling — which is a major no-no.

RV Fresh Water Tank

So, what’s the only thing that’s even more important than keeping cool in the summertime?

That’s right: keeping hydrated. And although it’s likely (and a good idea) to bring along extra potable drinking water on your adventure, making sure your RV’s water tank is in good working order is never a bad idea.

Before you set out for your trip, turn on the water pump and run the taps to ensure the pump is working. If it’s not, it may be an electrical issue; see our RV water pump troubleshooting post for more information.

This is also a good time to ensure your tanks are nice and clean, so you’ll feel good about using the water that comes out of your kitchen and bathroom sinks. Filling and flushing the tanks with a diluted bleach solution can disinfect them and kick any nasties that have been lingering out before you head out for your adventure.

Finally, if you’ll be using your rig to take showers (or even just wash dishes), you’ll also want to ensure your RV water heater is doing its thing. Along with just double-checking that it’s working, you can also use this opportunity to flush out the tank entirely, which can clear it of calcified deposits and sediment that naturally builds up over the course of time.

More RV Essentials for Summer

With these steps taken care of, you’re well on your way to enjoying a relaxing summer RV trip, free of worries — and ideally, free of sweat!

But there are a couple more tools we want you to have at your disposal when it comes to planning an epic summer adventure.

The first is a discount camping club — and we already know what you’re thinking. “Good Sam, Escapees, RoverPass… there are so many of these things. How do I know that signing up for another one is worth it?”

Well, let’s put it this way: at less than $50 per year, a Passport America membership can pay for itself in a single weekend. That’s because it gets the holder 50% off their campsite accommodation fees at almost 1900 campgrounds across the nation — including locations in Mexico and Canada. Seriously, it’s hard to think of a safer investment than that!

Along with a Passport America membership to ensure you find affordable campgrounds, you also need to be able to find an affordable rental vehicle. That’s exactly where RVshare steps in! Because our fleet of well-maintained rental rigs are managed by trusted private owners and adventurers like you, they’re often available for a fraction of the price you’d find if you went with the big guys. (After all, a private owner doesn’t have to worry about footing the overhead costs of keeping the lights on at a dealership, which means they can afford to list their rigs on the cheap. It’s a win-win!)

When you rent through RVshare, you get access to a whole, wide world of RV options that aren’t readily available through traditional markets. For instance, if you’ve been dying to try out an Airstream or see what life is like in a tiny fold-out camper, you can do that on the peer-to-peer rental marketplace. It’s a lot harder to find those kinds of vehicles for rent at one of the nationwide franchises!

Finally, keep in mind that all RVshare rentals are backed by A-rated insurance coverage for the entire duration of the rental period. That means you’ll have absolutely nothing to worry about… except figuring out how to narrow down your list of destinations.

Happy summer, campers! Stay cool out there!

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How to Install and Mount Your Truck Camper

Truck campers are an awesome option for a number of reasons. On the flip side of that, these unusual RVs can also seem a little bit daunting at first. After all, it isn’t exactly crystal clear how one might go about getting into the things, let alone how they might be mounted and secured onto a truck bed.

Fortunately, it’s not nearly as difficult as it might seem to use such a camper, and once you know how you’ll be well on your way to having a fabulous time in your teeny tiny RV.

Preparing to Mount Your Truck Bed Camper

Before you ever attempt to mount your cabover camper onto your truck bed, you must ensure you’re properly prepared. This preparation should consist of obtaining and installing the proper tie-downs and purchasing high quality turnbuckles.

Finding and Installing the Right Tie-Downs

You’ll need four tie-downs in all: two for the front of the camper, and two for the back. In our opinion, the best tie-downs mount directly to the truck bed and don’t require any drilling, mounting brackets, or extra fuss. Read reviews to get an idea of which tie-downs are ideal for your situation.

When installing your tie-downs, be sure to read the instructions carefully and follow them closely. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure the front ones are installed a bit in front of the front anchors on your camper, and the back ones a bit behind the back anchors. This will pull the RV in both directions, ensuring it doesn’t slip one way or the other.

Finding the Right Turnbuckles

Look for turnbuckles that lock into place, removing the need to adjust them from one trip to the next. Additionally, you will want to read reviews before making any turnbuckle purchase in order to ensure you are purchasing from a reputable company and that your camper will be held securely in place.

Keep in mind that these turnbuckles are the only things keeping your tiny home from slipping off your truck, so you want something high quality and durable.

Pickup Camper Installation

With your tie-downs installed and your turnbuckles in hand, it’s time to move on to the camper installation. This process is the same for both pop-up truck campers and traditional truck campers, and should be done with great care in order to ensure the process is completed safely and successfully without damage to the RV.

Begin by lifting the camper until the bottom of the RV is about six inches higher than the bed of your truck. Do this by using the camper jacks to lift the front end of the camper a few inches and then raising the back to match, going back and forth until the RV is where you need it to be. Never lift the back of the camper higher than the front, as this could result in tipping, which is both dangerous and damaging.

Once the camper is high enough off the ground, slowly and carefully back your truck under it, stopping briefly to plug the camper in once you are close enough to do so. Be careful not to hit the jacks in the process, and make sure you have a spotter available to tell you when to stop.

With the camper in place, begin lowering it onto the truck bed. Start by lowering the back end by a few inches and then lowering the front to match, repeating until the camper is resting on the truck bed and the jacks are off the ground. Finish by using turnbuckles to securely attach the RV to the truck.

Use the aforementioned indicators to ensure the turnbuckles are tight enough, but be careful not to overtighten, as this can mess up the turnbuckles or even pull your tie-downs out.

What You’ll Love about Truck Bed Camping

As mentioned before, truck bed camping is a fabulous way to travel, not to mention spend some time in nature.

Truck campers allow you to fit in tight spaces, don’t require nearly as much fuel to bring along as a motorhome, travel trailer, or fifth wheel might, and are generally much cheaper than all other RV options. Being in a truck camper no longer has to mean being squished either. There are plenty of truck bed RVs on the market with multiple slide-outs now, and they can actually feel quite spacious.

Ready to hit the road in a tiny truck bed home of your own? Do a search for truck bed campers for sale in your area and see what you come up with!

Trouble-Free Tips for Urban Camping

Getting out in the wilderness is great and all, but every once in a while, you need a little taste of city life. There are way too many amazing U.S destinations to forego urban destinations entirely, even for the outdoorsiest among us.

Of course, you could always go the traditional route: fly into your destination, arrive in a big, crowded airport, and find your way through the maze of city streets to an overpriced hotel room. But you can also experience the city life from the comfort and convenience of your travel trailer or motorhome — and we’re not talking about just parking on a city street, crossing your fingers, and hoping for the best (though some RVers have certainly done so with not-terrible results.)

So if you’re in the mood to conquer a concrete jungle, don’t go hanging up your RV keys quite yet. Here are a few surprisingly simple solutions if you’re wondering, “Where’s the best urban RV camping near me?”

Hassle-Free Urban Camping

Although the term “RV park” readily brings to mind a forest-covered stretch tucked away from the city’s hustle, there are plenty of resorts that exist within urban boundaries. Don’t get us wrong, they’re not free… but for a few days in the city within easy proximity of attractions or mass transit, they may just be worth it.

Choose an urban RV resort.

No, it’s not an oxymoron! There are actually quite a few RV campgrounds and resorts that are situated right in, or very nearby, big city centers. For example, if you’re looking to explore the Big Apple while calling your motorhome home, you’ll want to check out Liberty Harbor RV Park, which is situated just 15 minutes from the heart of NYC in Jersey City, New Jersey. You can get into town on the train or ferry, and even better, you’ll have a relatively quiet, calm place to retreat to once you’ve had enough of city life… which, let’s be frank, can happen pretty quickly in Manhattan

Liberty Harbor isn’t the only urban RV resort — far from it! Here are a few more reputable RV campgrounds that are within a stone’s throw of major metropoles.

Although not all cities have these sorts of resorts available, it’s definitely worth scoping out ahead of time, since it’s a totally-hassle-free, comfortable, and convenient solution. Of course, big city livin’ comes at big city prices, so be prepared for many of these campgrounds to charge $100 a night or more.

Alternative Urban Camping Tips

Headed to a place that doesn’t have a nifty urban RV resort like the ones above — or just not into paying those premium per-night prices?

Here are some alternative RV camping tips if you’re stopping over in a big city for a night or two and need a place to park your camper.

Visitors Centers and Chamber of Commerce Buildings

If your city’s travel bureau has an operant visitors center, the large parking lot may be friendly to overnight RV stays — although it’s always important to check inside and make sure. The same goes for Chamber of Commerce facilities, which need supersized parking lots to handle their municipal duties.

Of course, information on whether or not overnight RV parking is allowed may or may not be available on the organization’s website. We recommend calling ahead of time to confirm, just to make sure you don’t end up you-know-where without a paddle.

Casinos, Resort Hotels, and Convention Centers

If you’re headed to a city that’s a major gathering spot, chances are they have some super-sized hotels and convention centers with ample parking. These facilities may or may not allow overnight RV parking, and some may charge a fee… but it’s also not unheard of for a hotel to offer hookup RV sites within convenient distance to city attractions. (For a fee, of course.)

For example, Jason and Nikki Wynn of Gone with the Wynns were able to explore urban Chicago (which they were visiting for a music festival) by parking their RV at McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America. They paid $22 per night plus an $8 reservation fee for a total of $30 per night — which isn’t nothing, especially for dry camping. But they were also within easy biking or public transit access to just about everything they wanted to do while they were there.

Casinos are another solid option if you’re in an area that allows them, and many even have parking areas set aside specifically for RVs. You may even end up with a meal voucher or other incentive to get you to go inside and gamble. Bet at your own risk… but definitely take them up on the free meal.

Plain Old Parking Lots and Garages

Yes, you may actually be able to park your motorhome or travel trailer in a paid city lot — though length and height limits will, obviously, apply. And considering that parking a regular car in these lots can be prohibitively expensive, expect to dish out for the privilege of keeping your camper there overnight.

On the other hand, city lots do sometimes feature 24-hour security, which can be a real boon when you’re camping in an urban location. There’s also, however, noise to consider… if the lots are open all night, chances are cars will be going in and out, which may be difficult to deal with if you’re a light sleeper.

General RV Camping Tips for City Living

Urban camping is a fun alternative adventure to the traditional RV camping life, which usually involves getting as far away from the rush of city living as possible. But if you are going to tackle an urban destination, here are some general tips to help keep you happy in the midst of the city’s chaos.

Light sleeper? Bring earplugs.

No matter where in the city you camp, chances are, it’s gonna be noisy — and as most RVers know, these vehicles generally lack the sound insulation you get in a sticks-and-bricks home. Sleeping well is absolutely essential to not hating your waking hours, so if you’re a light sleeper, toss some earplugs onto your packing list… or maybe consider upgrading to a white noise machine.

Try to avoid driving, if you can.

One-way streets, crazy city traffic, a veritable orchestra of honking horns… driving in the city is just plain no fun, no matter how you slice it. Which is exactly why you want to try to find a campsite that’s close enough to the action that you can get there by bike, public transit, or on foot.

Save cash by eating at home.

One of the very best parts of RVing is your ability to make your favorite meals on the road, thanks to your built-in kitchen. And while you’ll obviously want to splurge on a few local delicacies, cities have a way of — excuse the pun — eating through your travel budget quickly, so saving some coin by cooking breakfast and lunch at home is a great way to make it through without too bad of a case of sticker shock!

How to Find the Best RV Sites No Matter Where You Are

No matter where you’re headed, if you’re a fairly serious RVer (or even just someone who takes a trip a few times a year), we highly recommend investing in a Passport America membership. It’s true, there are plenty of discount camping club memberships to choose from, so what makes this one different? Well, for less than $50 per year, you’ll get 50% off your campsite accommodation fees at almost 1900 campgrounds across the country, including some in urban locales as well as those further afield. Especially when you’re talking about big city pricing, that discount can pay for itself in the space of a single weekend — and plus, it’s a really great way to learn about campgrounds that might not otherwise have been on your radar. For more information and to sign up for your own Passport America membership today, click here!

Whether you’re after big-city adventure or a lower-key off-grid trip, we’re here to help make your RV vacation absolutely perfect at every step along the way — and we can’t wait to hear about the results!

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Tools and Tips for Mapping your Next Road Trip

Taking an RV trip is awesome. We doubt many of you reading this blog will have any bones to pick with that statement!

Planning an RV trip, however — that’s a bird of a different color. Depending on how much of a Type A personality you are, you may think that the planning is almost as good as the actual road tripping… or you may be totally dreading even opening your map app.

Fortunately, no matter which end of the spectrum you fall on, following some road trip tips and getting the right tools for the job can help take the pain out of the planning process. So if you’re in charge of doing the footwork for your family’s upcoming excursion, here’s our very best advice to help you get through it with a smile instead of a scowl.

Playing Road Trip Planner? Here’s What You Need to Know

Being in charge of planning a road trip is exciting when done right, but don’t get us wrong — it can also be totally overwhelming! Here are some tips to keep you from feeling too frazzled. (After all, the whole point of a vacation is the opposite of that!

1. Get detailed — but not too detailed.

Here’s the thing. Some of you are probably raring to go with your color-coded spreadsheets, while others would much rather just pack up the rig, stick the keys in the ignition, pick a direction, and go.

But the very best trips come from a planning level somewhere in between the two extremes. Because, listen, Type A folks — I’m one of you, I sympathize — but if you plan out every last minute of your vacation, you’re going to walk away from the experience feeling worn out instead of refreshed. And I promise, no matter how good at time management you are, you can’t actually see everything.

Meanwhile, you lackadaisical folks who just want to play it by ear are on the right track… but if you don’t do any planning, you may find yourself boondocking in a Walmart parking lot because all the proper RV parks are filled up. Sure, it’s free and easy, but it’s also not anyone’s idea of a scenic place to wake up in the morning.

Our suggestion? Sit down with your Rand McNally Road Atlas or your travel wish list, and at least get a sense of where you want to go. (If you need help thoughtfully choosing an RV destination, try this RVshare blog post on for size!)

Centering your trip on a specific theme or set of activities can be helpful, or you can just start knocking things off your travel bucket list. Either way, set a general timeline and maybe look up some campgrounds ahead of time… but be sure to leave plenty of wiggle room for extended stays, interesting-looking back roads, and other unplanned surprises!

2. Use the right tools to help you find what you’re looking for.

Once you have a basic idea of your itinerary or route, you may want to get into more depth. But if you’re going to use a driving route planner system, it’s helpful to employ one that’s specifically made with RVers and long-distance road trippers in mind — that way, you’ll be able to find the hidden gems you might otherwise not know to look for. (Or, you know, gas stations that actually stock propane.)

To that end, let’s move on to our next section…

Which Road Trip Map Should You Use?

In case you missed it, travel is having a bit of a moment. And because it’s so popular to get out there on the road, there’s been a proliferation of tools, programs, and apps designed to help you do just that.

3. Going with GPS? Invest in an RV-specific model.

GPS systems have been a godsend for those of us with the travel bug who are, shall we say, not directionally inclined. And thanks to the ubiquity of mobile technology, you don’t necessarily have to buy a fancy, standalone model to get top-notch positioning help. (More on how to properly employ apps like Google Maps in just a second!)

But if you are going to front the money for a fancy-pants system, you might as well get one that’s actually made with RVers in mind. That way, your GPS will automatically know to avoid low-clearance areas, narrow roads, and more, while also directing you to the gas stations that offer the fuels you need, including propane. Some are even pre-stocked with campgrounds to check out, and may have filters available specifically for big rigs, pet friendliness, or other considerations.

We’ve written up a post comparing some of the best makes and models of RV GPS on the market, but we’ll be frank: it’s over a year old at this point, and technology moves fast! So we suggest tapping the very best advice resource we know of: the RVing community as a whole. Chances are, the campers you know have great recommendations as to which systems are worth their pretty pennies.

4. Google Maps has all sorts of functions you probably don’t know about!

If you have an Android smartphone (or honestly, even an Apple, considering the shenanigans that went on when Apple Maps launched), chances are you’re familiar with Google Maps, the ubiquitous navigational tool that’s in almost everyone’s pocket. But did you know you can do a whole lot more with the app than just find directions to your next destination?

If you know what you’re doing, you can download maps for offline use, add multiple stops to an ongoing trip, and more. So if you’re going to plan a road trip with Google Maps as your navigation device, check out these insider tips and tricks to get the most out of the software. You can even access your history to revisit all of your past adventures — which is especially helpful when you just can’t remember where that one amazing campground was last year, for instance.

5. Check out these other road trip planner apps to help you find your way — and more.

You don’t have to have watched every single episode of all the travel shows to be the best road trip planner out there. (Besides, even if you did, there’d be stuff that would escape your radar — that’s just how it goes!)

But if you’re playing cross-country road trip planner and you want to find some hidden gems you might otherwise not know about, we suggest checking out Roadtrippers, one of the best planning apps on the market. You put in your route, and it populates the map with restaurants, attractions, and other filterable fun you might never have known about if you didn’t check it out first.

Another unsung app made specifically for RVers is called RVillage, and it’s basically a social media platform to help you find other campers just like you. Many of the folks on RVillage are full-timers looking for on-the-go community, but it could still be a useful resource for shorter-term RV travelers looking to find adventure buddies, folks to share campfire stories with, and more.

Finally, we’ll take a moment to plug our own service — because if you don’t already have a rig of your own, renting on RVshare is the best way to save a bundle while also meeting interesting travelers just like you! Check out the listings in your area today.

Looking for Even More Road Trip Tips?

Don’t get us wrong, mapping out your itinerary is a very important part of any road trip… but it’s just that: a part of a larger project. A well-executed vacation takes a whole lot more to pull off, from creating an efficient packing list to thoughtfully choosing a destination in the first place.

Of course, here at RVshare, travel is our livelihood — so we’ve written tons of engaging content to help you find ways to do it well. From saving money on the road to avoiding an overpacking nightmare, here are a few of our favorite road trip tips and tricks for beginners and pros alike.

No matter where you go in your rig, and whether you’re a diligent planner or a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants sort, happy camping! We can’t wait to hear all about the many amazing places the road takes you, whether you intended to go to them or not.

This post may contain affiliate links.

How to Fix Condensation in Your RV

Nearly every RV owner deals with condensation at one time or another. Not only is RV condensation super annoying, it can actually lead to some serious problems. In this article we will discuss the issues that can be caused by condensation in your RV, what causes condensation, and how to go about getting rid of all that extra moisture.

The Problem with RV Condensation

Wondering what kind of damage condensation might cause to your tiny home-on-wheels? Well, it’s a lot more than you might think.

As you probably already know, water damage is not something you want to deal with in your motorhome or travel trailer. Unfortunately, not all water damage comes from leaks. Some of it is caused by condensation.

As this extra moisture collects on windows and walls, it will start to drip. Without anywhere to go, this water finds its way into nooks and crannies or gets stuck between objects and the wall. This, in turn, leads to mildew, mold, and even rot.

Condensation on Windows and Walls inside the RV

Obviously, mildew, mold, and rot are not things you want to have in your RV. Therefore, it is imperative that you find a way to prevent condensation.

Generally speaking, you will likely find this condensation inside windows of your RV. However, it can occasionally form even on the walls in your motorhome or trailer. In both cases, the condensation forms when the moisture in the air cools down to a liquid, which then sticks to cold surfaces.

Knowing this, you can probably guess that the best way to get rid of condensation is by getting rid of excess moisture in your RV. Here are our best tips for doing just that:

  • Invest in a dehumidifier and run it religiously. This will pull moisture from the air for you, allowing you to dump the water outside or down the drain.
  • Place DampRid in every cabinet and closet to prevent moisture buildup from happening inside these small enclosed spaces.
  • Avoid running the propane furnace, stovetop, and oven if at all possible. Burning propane releases moisture into the air. Instead, use ceramic electric space heaters, an electric cooktop, and an Instant Pot or NuWave Oven.
  • When you do cook, consider taking it outdoors—or at least covering your pots and pans to keep the steam contained.
  • Run a vent fan while showering in order to let steam escape outside.
  • Crack a window. In some cases, cracking a window and allowing the dry outside air to mix with the more humid indoor air is helpful.

Condensation on Outside of Windows

Occasionally, you may notice condensation forming on the outside of your RV windows. This usually happens when the interior of your rig is very cold from running the A/C while the outdoor air is hot and humid. Fortunately, moisture on windows on the exterior of your RV is not nearly so concerning as interior condensation, as it doesn’t tend to lead to issues as long as your windows are well sealed.

That said, this moisture buildup can be annoying. This is especially true if you have a motorhome and find yourself ridding the indoors of water in order to drive. It can also be a pain if the water drips and causes streaks down the side of your RV. For these reasons, you may be looking for ways to prevent condensation on windows outside.

Here are our tips for doing so:

  • Use RainX on your windows. Sure, this is made for rain on cars, but it works just as well for condensation on RV windows.
  • Turn up the temperature. Turning the thermostat up by a few degrees may not feel all that different to you, but it could be just the thing for getting rid of that exterior condensation.

Following these simple tips should help you get rid of damage causing any unsightly condensation. This is great because it means you can focus less on this annoying problem and more on having fun camping with your family and friends.

The Best Aquariums Across the Country

From playful porpoises to surreal sea lions and everything in between, a trip to the aquarium is a favorite family activity for many travelers. And the good news is, a ton of U.S. cities set aside space and resources to get you up close and personal with some new seafaring friends — even if the towns themselves are miles from an ocean.

Whether you’re looking for something to do on your next camping trip or just hoping to find the best aquarium in your area, here are a few scenic sea spots to add to your itinerary!

Best Aquariums in the U.S.

“Where’s the best aquarium near me,” you ask?

Well, if you live in any of these towns, you’re in luck. Here are some of the best aquariums in the country, just waiting to be discovered by a sealife lover like you.

Monterey Bay Aquarium; Monterey Bay, California

One of the most famous aquariums in the world, let alone the country, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is more than just a visitor experience. It’s also a forerunner in the world of wildlife conservation and educational programs, which means you can feel good about the money you spend on admission — which is, we’ll admit, a fairly pricey expenditure at $49.95 for adults and $29.95 for children aged 3-12. (Kids under 3 get in for free, and students and seniors get a middle-of-the-road price at $39.95.)

Along with helping the aquarium maintain and amplify its programming, you’ll also get access to some of the most exciting and unique marine and freshwater exhibits in the world, including flamboyant cuttlefish, regal Giant Pacific octopuses (which, yes, is the correct pluralization), a “rocky shore” touch tank, an “open sea” exhibit complete with sea turtles, and more. And let’s not even get started on the rest of the stuff there is to see along the central California coast. We’ll just put it this way: you’re not going to be bored, that’s for sure.

Click here to see RVshare rentals near Monterey Bay, California.

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas; New Orleans, Louisiana

You might more readily associate the Big Easy with the party scene than sealife — but it’s actually home to one of the biggest and best aquariums in the world. A subset of the larger Audubon Nature Institute, the Aquarium of the Americas offers tons of interactive fun suited for the whole family, including a stingray touch tank, 400,000-gallon Gulf of Mexico exhibit, a penguin habitat, southern sea otters, and more. Plus, you can grab a package deal and visit the organization’s suite of other attractions, like the Insectarium, Nature Center, or Zoo. When you’re done, you’ll find yourself in the heart of one of the most exciting cities in America, with tons to see and do even if Bourbon Street isn’t your style.

Click here to see RVshare rentals near New Orleans, Louisiana.

Biggest Aquarium in the U.S.

Good things often come in small packages…  but when it comes to aquariums, the more room you have, the better. After all, lots of sea animals aren’t exactly small! Here are a few of the largest aquariums in the country.

Georgia Aquarium; Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta may be landlocked, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an amazing destination for sea life lovers. The Georgia Aquarium is not only one of the top aquariums in the U.S. based on its diversity of species and exhibits, but it’s also the largest in the country — and, with 10 million gallons of sea- and freshwater habitats, was the largest in the world until the Marine Life Park opened in 2012 in Singapore.

That much water means you’ll have the opportunity to see some serious sea-dwellers, including massive whale sharks, beluga whales, and manta rays whose wingspans will knock your socks off. You can even take the special “Behind the Seas” tour to get a unique, backstage look at some of the aquarium’s most popular exhibits, including its one-of-a-kind filtration room.

Click here to see RVshare rentals near Atlanta, Georgia.

Shedd Aquarium; Chicago, Illinois

Featuring a three-level ocean exhibit, interactive educational exhibits, and a host of unique events to participate in including a penguin party and overnight stays — we’ll avoid a “sleeping with the fishes” pun — Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium brings the amount of oomph you’d expect from the nation’s largest midwestern metropole. (And besides, the Windy City is definitely already on your to-visit list, is it not?

Shedd Aquarium also offers private, personalized tours as well as summer programs aimed at kids, adults, and teens, so you’re sure to find something suited to everyone in your camping party. Once you’re sick of the sea — if that’s even possible — spend some time enjoying Chicago’s vibrant cultural and foodie scene. (Have some deep dish for us!)

Click here to see RVshare rentals near Chicago, Illinois.

Want to Check Out the Coolest Aquariums?

We’re not quite done yet! Here are a few more amazing aquariums to check out in the U.S.

Miami Seaquarium; Miami, Florida

Where better to see what’s under the sea than this beloved seaside metro? Miami Seaquarium has been a renowned destination for ocean life lovers for decades, offering a host of unique activities including the chance to swim with dolphins.

Better yet, if you’ve decided you’ve had enough of looking through glass, you can get up close and personal with the real thing at any of the area’s many beach and waterscapes. You’re also right next door to Biscayne National Park, a mostly-aqueous recreation site that’s perfect for swimming, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, and boating — and, of course, learning even more about the flora and fauna that live under those scenic waves.

Click here to see RVshare rentals near Miami, Florida.

Tennessee Aquarium; Chattanooga, Tennessee

Nestled on the Tennessee River in the heart of Chattanooga, one of the hottest up-and-coming American destinations, the Tennessee Aquarium offers visitors way more than the opportunity to look at some glass-encased fish. It’s also home to a huge 3D IMAX theater, which screens wildlife-themed films with themes ranging from oceanscapes to pandas, and also offers a stocked calendar of events to get you and the kids involved in the aquarium’s program in a hands-on way.

Daily events include live feedings, secret reef dive shows, playtime exhibits with feisty otters, and so much more. Plus, a portion of proceeds go to conservation measures that help to protect America’s rivers, which are a critical component of the health of our overall ecosystem.

Click here to see RVshare rentals near Chattanooga, Tennessee.

How to Take an Unforgettable, Low-Cost RV Trip

What better way to enjoy access to any of the aquariums on this list — or even one near you, which we’ve missed — than to take an RV getaway? When you road trip in a travel trailer or motorhome, you combine all the freedom and flexibility of the road with the comfort and convenience of having your very own place to stay, no matter where that road may lead you.

Of course, travel isn’t free. And here at RVshare, we know you want to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to seeing the country. That’s why we’re so excited about the way our platform connects people across the camping community, making affordable camping opportunities accessible to campers like you — and putting money back into the pockets of regular, everyday RV owners. (The better to fund their own future adventures!)

What’s more, when you rent through RVshare, you never have to worry about the safety of your sensitive information or wonder what might happen if you get into an accident or come upon some other surprise on the road. Each of our rental periods is backed by A-rated insurance coverage offered by the most reliable insurers in the business, and our unique and easy-to-use platform means all of your communications and monetary transactions are totally secure.

Finally, the best part of all: because you’ll be renting from regular RV owners as opposed to a big, nationwide dealership, you’ll benefit from serious cost savings when compared to what you’d spend at your typical franchise. After all, the travel trailer owner down the street doesn’t have to worry about footing the bill of keeping lights on at a dealership; they’re just looking to make a little bit of extra cash to help them better enjoy the hobby — and that means they can pass on those savings to you in the form of lower per-night rental prices. In short, it’s pretty much the definition of a win-win situation.

To learn more about RVshare rental rigs available in your area, head to our homepage and pop in your zip code to check out the listings near you. Whether you’re hoping to experience the modest campervan lifestyle or go all-out in a large, Class A motorhome, your dream rig is waiting… and there’s so much out there to explore!

This post may contain affiliate links.

Tips for Hauling Less Weight in your RV

If you’re the proud owner of a travel trailer, you know the importance of watching the scales — and we don’t mean the one you keep in your bathroom at home. Staying at an appropriate weight is even more important for your towable RV than it is for your waistline. It can literally become a safety issue!

That said, when you’re camper hauling on a regular basis, or even full-timing, it can be easy to accidentally go over your target, especially if you’re the type to stockpile goods or overpack. I mean, water alone is eight pounds a gallon, and you’ve also got groceries, clothing, and adventure gear to contend with. It’s not surprising that your curb weight is on the up.

But pursuing a minimalist lifestyle is one of the main reasons many of us get into camping in the first place, especially if you’re trading your sticks-and-bricks home for a mobile palace on wheels. So in this post, we’ll go over some basic tips to help you decrease your hauling weight — and to more effectively create the tiny-living experience you’re aiming for.

Step One: Downsizing Well to Start With

Whether you’re just packing up the camper for a weekend away or you’re trading in your stable life for one more footloose and fancy-free, when you move from your house or apartment into a travel trailer, you’re going to have to do some prioritizing when it comes to deciding what to bring. Even the largest fifth-wheel trailer with multiple slide-outs is pretty darn small when compared to the average American home!

When you only have a limited amount of square footage to contend with, you have to get really picky about what stays and what goes. And if you’re planning to take to the road full time, this means downsizing your home will become an even more important project, with longer-term implications and permanent decisions to be made.

If you’re just taking a vacation, whether it’s a long weekend or an epic cross-country trek, move onto the next subhead: smart packing. There, we’ll give you some hints and tips to ensure you don’t end up drowning in your belongings during your trip. But for now, we’re going to focus on those of you who plan to implement full-time RV living, or who are in the process of downsizing your home for any other reason.

It’s 2019, so chances are, by this point, you’ve heard of Marie Kondo, and we’re not breaking any new ground by telling you to surround yourself only with items that “spark joy.” (Psst: if you’ve somehow been living under a rock for the last, oh, half a decade, check out her seminal work, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, or catch her new special on Netflix.)

But as hokey as it may sound, Kondo’s method is taking the world by storm precisely because it is so effective. In a world where many of us are told to acquire as many possessions as possible (and then to hold onto them at all costs), Kondo’s theory suggests that living with less might actually allow us the room we need for a fuller life. It’s emboldened thousands of people to get a lot more ruthless when it comes to decluttering and reorganizing, as opposed to keeping around items that have long since overstayed their welcome.

So even if you don’t take her method verbatim, going category by category through each and every one of your belongings, don’t be afraid to do away with more than you may at first feel comfortable with. After all, things — even the most valuable or sentimentally significant things — are just things. Most of them can be replaced, and even the ones that can’t aren’t anywhere near as important as our experiences or memories.

Gathering new experiences and memories is likely exactly what you took up RVing for… and it’s way harder to do so in a rig that’s packed to the brim with all sorts of stuff you never end up needing.

So next time you go about reorganizing your closet or going through your kitchen drawers, instead of thinking, what if I need this? — consider reframing the question to, what if I don’t?

Smart Packing 101: What Not to Bring

Okay, now that we’ve gotten some of the theoretical stuff out of the way, let’s get down to brass tacks. How do you channel those minimalistic intentions into a reasonable packing list?

Well, let’s ditch the packing list for a second and talk instead about what not to bring… or at least, how to use timing to your advantage when it comes to certain necessities.

First things first: water is weighty. So if you want to maintain a low hauling weight, wait to fill up until you get to your destination (or just before!). Obviously, it may not be possible to fill up on the spot if you’re headed to a remote, off-grid campsite, but you don’t have to drag your water all the way from home. Waiting until the last minute to fill your freshwater tank and dump your holding tanks means you’ll have a fresh batch of water waiting, and plenty of room to spare before your RV’s need to “go” forces you back into civilization.

The same goes for food! There’s no need to stock up on tons of bulky groceries ahead of time. You can make the shopping trip once you’ve arrived, which will keep your towing weight low and ensure you have the freshest meals possible.

As far as your wardrobe, accessories, and gear, there’s a lot of wiggle room and your individual results will vary widely depending on your personal camping style and vacation activities. You may, in fact, need to bring a heavy piece of equipment like a kayak, or have three different sets of hiking boots at your disposal.

But most of the time, we tend to bring way too much thanks to that pesky but what if? mindset it’s all too easy to adopt. Chances are, if you don’t use it on an everyday basis at home (or have a specific event in mind for it), you probably don’t need to bring it along on your trip. And the good news is, no matter where you’re headed, chances are there are stores either at your destination or along the route… so if you do forget something critical (like, say, sunscreen), you can totally replace it.

One of our top tips for RV owners specifically is to stock your RV with the basics ahead of time and just leave them on board so you don’t have to think about it every time you’re getting ready to hit the road. Getting a dedicated set of sheets, bath towels, and kitchen items like cookware will save you stress before your trip and ensure you always have what you need — and not way more than you need! When you’re grabbing stuff in a rush from home, it’s a whole lot easier to take too much along with you.

Finally, for even more tips on what you most likely don’t need to have on your trip, check out our post on items to leave firmly off your packing list. From that hot (but painful) pair of heels to the family-sized sack of rice, there are plenty of items that’ll do nothing but weigh you down… so avoid them.

Minimalist Living

Keeping yourself from giving into the urge to overpack won’t just help you take a more simplified and stress-free vacation. It can also help you achieve the minimalist life you’re looking for — one where your experiences and adventures take precedence over your material items and things. Living a scaled-down lifestyle is a great way to make room for the stuff that really does matter, and when you’re intentional about what you surround yourself with, you find yourself surrounded by only the things that matter most.

Minimalist living is a huge deal in the RVing community, which has close ties with the tiny house movement and others who are working to create more intentional ways of moving through the world. Full-time travelers take this to its logical extent by foregoing their oversized houses (and oversized mortgages) in exchange for homes, vehicles, and lifestyles that allow them to incorporate travel into their day-to-day lives.

In the end, so long as you have food to eat, clothes on your back, and good company beside you, you have everything you need for an amazing adventure. So if in doubt, leave it out. Both your trailer’s axles and your mental health will thank you.

This post may contain affiliate links.

How to Clean Your RV Windows

Keeping your RV looking neat and clean is not always easy. After all, our motorhomes and trailers have been known to venture into some pretty dirty and dusty places. Still, nobody wants to drive a filthy RV around, which means cleaning is a must.

Some of the most important things you’ll need to wash during your RV cleaning sessions are the windows. That said, cleaning the windows can be a little bit tricky, especially after a particularly messy trip.

Why RV Window Cleaning is Important

Because cleaning your windows is a bit more difficult than cleaning some other parts of the RV might be, you might be tempted to skip the windows. However, we must advise against this. Cleaning the windows is important for a variety of reasons.

The first and most obvious reason to keep up with your windows is purely the fact that clean windows will make your whole rig feel cleaner and brighter, both inside and out.

Another great reason? Allergies. Dirt and dust have a tendency to work their way into the windows, leaving a layer of potential allergens in the nooks of every window. Regular cleaning prevents this buildup from getting out of hand.

The Best Glass Cleaner (and Other Products)

In order to make window washing as painless as possible, you will want to make sure you have the very best window cleaner, as well as any other products you might need close at hand.

Here’s what we like to have on hand for the job:

  • Windex — By far the best product for the interior of all your windows, Windex is the most popular glass cleaning solution for good reason.
  • Windex Outdoor — Perfect for the exterior of those harder-to-reach windows. This outdoor window cleaner connects to a garden hose and is simply sprayed on and rinsed off—no scrubbing involved.
  • Squeegee — A squeegee is a great tool for leaving a streak-free shine.
  • Paper Towels — Sometimes a bit of scrubbing is necessary to remove stubborn spots. In these cases, paper towels are good to have around.
  • Ladder — While the outside window cleaner can sometimes completely remove the need for a ladder, it’s still good to have one available in case extra washing is needed on higher up windows.
  • Damp Washcloth — This is necessary for cleaning dirt out of window sills and other nooks.

The Best Way to Clean Windows on an RV

To clean your RV windows, begin by removing the curtains for washing. If you have blinds, you will want to clean those as well. The best way to clean blinds is with a microfiber cloth and a bit of soapy water. Dip the cloth in water and clean each slat individually.

With the window coverings nice and clean, continue by opening every window and removing all screens. Using the damp washcloth, clean the dirt from all window sills and other nooks and crannies, rinsing the cloth often to avoid spreading the dirt.

Once that is done, close the windows and clean the insides using traditional Windex, the squeegee, and the paper towels when necessary.

Finally, head outside and spray the exterior of every window with Windex Outdoor. Be prepared to break out the ladder and paper towels in case of stubborn spots.

After spraying the outsides of the windows, you may be left with streaks on the exterior of your camper, which will require you to wash the whole thing. If you prefer to avoid this problem, stick with a ladder and traditional Windex solution on the exterior of your windows instead of breaking out the outdoor spray solution.

When to Call In Professional Window Cleaning Services

Of course, there are times when it’s best to pay someone to do the job for you. If you are not physically capable of cleaning your own windows, or even if you just don’t have the time, calling in window cleaning services is a perfectly fine thing to do.

Other reasons to call in the professionals include especially dirty windows (such as those on a ride that spent time in the desert) or on a used RV you’ve just purchased.

No matter your reason for bringing in the pros, you’re likely to be glad you did.

The Top 4 Things that Make your RV Lose Value

Purchasing an RV of your own is a big investment in your future travels — and a big investment, period. Even a moderately-priced rig can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and unlike foundation-built homes, they do depreciate. (RV stands for recreational vehicle, of course, and we all know the struggle of losing money right off the bat when we buy a car.)

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t steps you can take to ensure your camper values stay as high as possible throughout the life of your RV — or even, in some rare cases, increase them. Not only will taking good care of your motorhome or travel trailer ensure you’ll have a great vacation vehicle ready to go as soon as the travel bug hits you, but it’ll also help you earn back more of your purchase price if you decide to sell your rig down the line.

In this post, we’ll talk about some of the most common things that can tank your camper’s values, as well as strategies to avoid those eventualities and keep them high. We’ll also discuss why RV values are different from home values, even if you’re using your rig as a full-time residence.

How RV Values are Different From Traditional Homes

As we briefly mentioned above, it’s important to remember that RVs are vehicles, not homes, when it comes to their monetary value. Aside from rare cases (which usually involve some significant renovation), your rig is going to depreciate in value as opposed to building equity.

That can be scary for a camper on the market looking to buy a motorhome or travel trailer of their own. It’s hard to put down thousands of dollars on something and know that, for all intents and purposes, a big hunk of that money is just gone.

That’s why it’s important to wait until you find the right rig and do as much research as possible. (One of the very best tactics: head to an RV show or five! You’ll get the chance to walk through a huge number of travel trailers and motorhomes and interface with a variety of dealers, which can give you a much better sense of what you’re looking for, even if you’re not ready to buy.)

However, as much as vehicle depreciation can hurt owners, it can also be a boon to those who are willing to buy something that’s seen a few miles already. Used RV prices are significantly lower than buying brand new, and you can take advantage of this fact by shopping the used market. Along with saving money, you’ll also get a rig that’s likely had a few of its “bugs” worked out; many RVs come fresh from the factory floor with minor issues that only reveal themselves after a few hundred miles of travel. If your rig’s already done that with a previous owner, chances are, she’ll have taken care of the clicking cabinet or sticky window already!

How to Keep Your Motorhome and Trailer Values High

Now, let’s dive into what drives travel trailer and motorhome values down — and strategies you can use to keep that from happening.

1. Age

Everything gets older, and there’s not much you can do about it. But it’s a simple fact of life that RVs tend to drop in value with each passing year of their existence.

Jim Harmer of Camper Report performed an in-depth analysis of more than 200 different RV purchases and their depreciation, and found that rigs depreciate about 25-26% just three years after their manufacture date. That’s a whole quarter of your original purchase price… gone! (If you pay full price, that is.)

You can’t stop time, of course. But you can get ahead of the game by purchasing a rig that’s already old enough to have seen the steepest drops in its depreciation journey — which, according to Harmer, tends to be about five years old. He also suggests you look for one that has low miles, but not too low… which brings us to the second item on our list.

2. Many (Many) Miles

As in other areas of the auto industry, a high odometer reading can lower your RV’s value. The further it’s traveled, the more wear and tear it’s gone through naturally. But there is a caveat to this story.

As Harmer suggests, if you get a used rig with too few miles, it could indicate that the RV has been sitting in storage for a long time. And RVs are built to move — sitting still for too long can make all manner of things go wrong. Maybe the wastewater tanks weren’t flushed entirely, and some gross liquid has been sitting in them for months. Or maybe the slide-outs haven’t seen a drop of lubrication in over two years and are now permanently stuck in the “in” position.

Just like with a home, when RVs sit empty, nature takes its course and starts breaking things down. So ideally, you want to find a motorhome that’s seen some action, but not too much. (And if you’re trying to keep your own rig’s values up, a piece of fun homework: use it!)

3. Water Damage

Ah, water. We need it for life as we know it… but it’s also one of the biggest banes of an RVer’s existence. Most RV owners know that water damage is the likely cause for their rig’s eventual death, even if you’re as vigilant as possible. (Psst: here’s how to keep on top of potential leaks!) And although small leaks and the resulting rot can be repaired, a leak can quickly turn into a catastrophic problem — and wreak havoc on your RV’s value.

This is why it’s important to keep your RV under covered storage if possible, or at least invest in a quality RV cover. Keeping your rig out of the elements will stop rain from entering if there are any vulnerable spots, of course… but it’ll also help keep your finish fresh and strong and prevent those leaks from forming in the first place.

4. Visible Wear & Tear

It’s a fact of life: human beings are visual creatures. And although cosmetic issues might not mess with your RV’s capabilities, they can still wreak havoc on your travel trailer’s values.

That’s why it’s so important to create and stick to a preventative maintenance schedule, and to perform in-depth cleanings of your RV before and/or after each trip. On a seasonal basis, you’ll want to go even further and do things like clean your RV’s holding tank sensors. And when you notice things like a scratch in your paint job or a torn curtain, don’t wait: go ahead and take care of them today. It’s all too easy to let that stuff go now, only to later discover a huge drop in your used RV’s values.

Where’s the Kelley Blue Book for RVs?

If you’re a savvy vehicle shopper, you’re probably used to checking out Kelley Blue Book for your car’s most up-to-date value. But where’s the Kelley Blue Book for used RV values, you may be wondering?

While Kelley Blue Book doesn’t evaluate RV trade-in values, there is another trusted source that does. If you want a complete picture of the total value of your RV, head to…

NADA RV Values

The place to find your RV’s trade-in value is not KBB, but rather NADA, which stands for the National Automobile Dealers Association. As the name suggests, they valuate cars and trucks, but also boats, motorcycles, classic cars, and — you guessed it — RVs.

You’ll be able to search your rig by type, make, and model, and specify all the options to get the most accurate valuation possible. Of course, at the end of the day, your RV is worth whatever somebody will pay for it… so it might also be worth shopping around for the best buyer.

Finally, keep in mind that in rare occasions, it’s possible to eclipse your rig’s depreciation with extensive remodeling — especially if you have a highly sought-after make of RV, like an Airstream. Well-built vintage campers are increasingly popular from a stylistic standpoint, especially with redone interiors, and customers have faith that these rigs will keep on trucking for decades.

Regardless of your RV’s financial value, don’t forget about its most important value: as a vacation vehicle that will bring countless hours of memories and fun to you and your family! Even though RVs do depreciate in value, some things are worth spending money on — and we can’t think of a better example than travel.

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Quick and Easy DIY Crafts to Make Your RV Feel Like Home

RVing is all about making the most of the journey as well as enjoying your destination. And one surefire way to ensure the trip is as memorable as the stops along the way is to travel in a well-decorated, homey rig.

Of course, one trip to Pier 1 proves that home decor isn’t always affordable, even when it’s on sale! (Sorry Pier 1. We love you… but we also need to fill our campers with gas!)

That’s why DIY RV home decor is so popular amongst travel trailer and motorhome owners. You can make some really amazing additions to your RV’s interior design with just a few bucks and a couple of hours of crafting. (That’s the other awesome thing about DIY projects: they make amazing rainy day to-dos to keep both you and the kids occupied!)

So without further ado, here are some of our very favorite crafts to whip up to enhance your RV’s atmosphere. From hanging planters to mason jar nightlights, you’ll be shocked at how quick and simple these adorable designs come together.

How to Make a Macrame Plant Hanger

RVers often think they have to leave houseplants behind during their trips. But just like at home, having a few well-placed ferns and greenery in your rig can make it more inviting, and even improve air quality!

There are plenty of plants that fare well in low-light scenarios, and adding a few to your RV’s interior can help you feel at home as well as breathe more easily. Of course, if you have tabletop plants, they’re liable to slip and slide when your rig is underway — which is why we love the idea of creating homemade macrame plant hangers.

It’s surprisingly simple to put together a good-looking plant hanger, and the materials you need are cheap. With just a few pieces of cotton cord and a brass ring, you’ll have a beautiful planter set up in no time — and some shiny new knot-tying skills, too. We love the simple-to-follow tutorial video embedded above, but you can also check out a step-by-step written tutorial here.

Psst — wondering which plants will fare well with minimal light and maintenance? Check out this post on the most RV-friendly species available, and prepare to have a much greener RV interior!

Mason Jar Crafts Worth Trying

Mason jars have a reputation as the hipster drinking vessel of choice, but they’re also useful for a variety of fun DIY camper decor. In fact, there are more than 30 fun and easy crafts you can do with mason jars — and that’s just according to one of the many lists of DIY mason jar projects on the internet!

One of our very favorite and most simplistic mason jar decorations is to simply coil a string of fairy lights inside one and use it as a desk lamp or nightlight. It’s a charming, low-energy way to illuminate the inside of your camper, and it brings that rustic-chic feel to any RV interior.

Battery-operated fairy lights work well for campers, especially if you’re boondocking and trying to avoid using the house electricity. They’ll also keep you from having a dangling string running from your mason jar light to the nearest outlet — although that can be pretty, too, depending on your placement!

You can also make mason jars into terrariums, hanging planters, vases, and more. Or, of course, you could use them for their originally-intended purpose: to actually can your own food items, or at least store dry goods! Buying things like rice and nuts in bulk is one of the best ways to avoid food waste while also enjoying fresh, healthy meals on the road, and mason jars make amazing reusable food storage containers.

… And, yes, of course, you can also drink out of them. In fact, some are now manufactured with handles specifically for that purpose. Whether it’s lemonade, beer, or plain old water, you’ll up your Instagram game while also staying hydrated!

Wine Cork Crafts That Justify That Spent Bottle

Let’s face it: at the end of a long day of driving, there’s nothing quite like a nice glass of wine to help you wind down. Or, you know, maybe two glasses. Or three.

But if you find yourself amassing spent corks and bottles, don’t just toss ’em — even into the recycling bin! There are plenty of cute crafts and DIY home projects you can do with the “evidence.”

Corks are especially useful, and can be used for a huge variety of DIY decor projects from creating mini succulent planters to crafting a fun and useful jewelry organizer. (This idea is an especially camper-friendly one, given the space limitations of even the most generous travel trailers and motorhomes. You could even rig it up to hang inside your bathroom cabinet, which will keep your jewelry well-organized and stationary while you’re on the road!)

Corks can also be repurposed into fun tic-tac-toe pieces, which is great for rainy days on multiple levels. Not only will you and the kids enjoy creating the pieces in the first place, but you’ll then have something you can use in the future when Mother Nature dashes your otherwise-carefully-laid plans. Win-win!

Wine bottles, too, can be used for a variety of DIY decor options, from simply repurposing the bottle as-is for a vase or using one of those fun melting drip candles to make it into a colorful art object. But we’ve also seen people get a whole lot more creative, making their used bottles into mini gardens or hanging lamps. You can also turn them into fun bird feeders, or get real meta and flatten it to make it into a charcuterie board! (Hey, you know you’re going to drink more wine, and the best thing to pair it with is definitely cheese and salami. And then… you’ll have even more bottles to use in the future!)

Looking for Even More Fun DIY Crafts?

Crafting is a fun way to take ownership of your RV’s interior design scheme while saving money and finding a fun way to pass a few hours all at the same time. Crafts are as fun for adults as they are for kids, and it’s always rewarding to look around your camper and see decor items you’ve actually spent time and energy making!

There are plenty of other cool crafts to consider for your RV, from DIY wall art (turn that paint-by-numbers project into bathroom decor!) to clever storage solutions that combine thriftiness of both money and space.

We’ve written about lots of other DIY projects to get your RV in ship shape, from fun artsy crafts to more serious interior remodeling projects. Here are just a few RVshare blog posts to check out if you’re one of those independent, do-it-yourself types:

By the way, all of these crafts can be implemented in your sticks-and-bricks home, too — which may be important to you if you don’t actually have an RV yet!

If you’re still on the market for a rig of your own, or even just interested in trying out the camping lifestyle, renting on the peer-to-peer market at RVshare is an amazing way to get a genuine taste of the #RVlife. Our owners have a variety of well-maintained and well-kept rigs available for you to choose from, whether you’re looking for a luxurious Class A diesel pusher or a modest pop-up trailer. Plus, our simple-to-use system keeps all of your sensitive information safe and sounds; every communication and monetary transaction takes place through our proprietary platform!

RVshare rigs are also backed by A-rated insurance policies for the duration of your rental agreement. And since there are thousands of listings to choose from across the nation, you’ll be able to be really picky about exactly what you want in a rig. You can even set filters for things like pet friendliness or a delivery option. (Yes, some of our renters will deliver their rigs directly to your destination!)

No matter where your well-decorated RV brings you and whether it’s outfitted with store-bought decor or handmade items, we can’t wait to hear about all of your adventures… including the indoorsy ones. Happy camping — and happy crafting, too!

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