Planning for a Safe and Fun RV Road Trip
When you get ready to take to the open road for an RV adventure, the last thing you want to think about is what if something bad happens while you are traveling. What if a tire goes flat, you run out of gas, or you can’t fix something that goes wrong, etc. One can imagine many of these scenarios but take heart: others have traveled this road before and you can learn a lot from them about being prepared.
Go Online Ahead of Time
Due to the Internet, we can share much information and knowledge that others have taken the trouble to discover. We can go online and virtually visit almost anywhere on the planet. We can also plan in advance using the tips we find there and take our smart phones with all kinds of apps that will help us if we encounter trouble on the road.
Resources to Help You Before You Hit the Road
1. Your RV Rental company – This is your security blanket. Most will give you an 800 number to call if you experience any mechanical difficulties; they also pack your RV with many accessories including the First Aid Kit, spare jugs of water, and so forth. Check if the company you rent from offers housekeeping and personal kits to outfit the vehicle with pots and pans, blankets and towels. Even if the company furnishes those items, you should bring a plastic tablecloth with picnic table clips, your personal soap and laundry supplies and clothespins. An “Astroturf” doormat for outside your RV’s door will help keep your floors cleaner, too.
2. Look up any coupons for discounts at restaurants, motels or campgrounds ahead of time online. Bring along printed coupons or have them sent to your smart phone so you can use them at appropriate places.
3. Find Gas Price Apps ahead of time. I use Gas Buddy™ and it is fast and accurate, showing you all the gas prices within several miles of the area you are traveling in. More of these apps are available in the market. Shop for one you like and install it in your phone so you have it ready to go.
4. Use your phone to find a good GPS program or try a new one like Waze Social GPS Maps & Traffic. This is a new twist on GPS that includes community based mapping, traffic and navigation. This app can help you save time, outsmart traffic and save gas money.
5. The American Automobile Association is a resource for roadside assistance, mapping and other travel tips. Online you can also find the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, the Family Motor Coach Association and several RV clubs for the RV Camper in addition to the Triple A’s. Consult these websites for many resources.
A Checklist to Prepare for your Trip
Prepare ahead of time to make your trip safer and more fun. Here is an example of a checklist you can use or modify it to suit you.
1. Pack appropriate clothing for the weather and season. Check the weather Apps on your phone and add the major locations you plan to visit. Taking an umbrella along can save you from getting unexpectedly soaked.
2. Be sure to take a first-aid kit in the car and extra fuses, bulbs, water, and motor oil. You should have an emergency car kit with a flashlight, a sharp knife, jumper cables, screwdriver, and duct tape. You also should have emergency numbers to call for help and emergency equipment if needed.
3. Take cell phones and chargers, your laptop computer and/or tablet if you use them. Take chargers for each of these. Remember your camera.
4. When traveling with children, bring their favorite toys and games along. If your vehicle is equipped with a DVD player, bring along a few favorite DVD’s for the kids. Bring energy bars, apples and other snacks, good juice or water to drink and even blankets and pillows.
5. If traveling in your own vehicle, make sure it is properly prepared and all maintenance done. Ensure you have good tires, properly inflated. See that the oil has been changed, the brakes, spark plugs and other essentials checked out by a qualified mechanic. Check coolant, oil, transmission fluid, washer fluid and brake fluid levels as well. Inspect hoses and belts, batteries, blinkers, windshield wipers and A/C and see that all are in good shape. Take along your own WD-40 or similar lubricant.
Most of all, remember your purpose for traveling and now that you are prepared, have fun!