Since international travel on pause, folks have considered exploring their own backyards. From the U.S. to Canada to England, Europe, and New Zealand, folks are getting back in cars, campervans, and RVs and moving out on road trips. In the end, it permits you to social distance while still getting outside!
Today, I’ve invited my friends Mike and Anne from HoneyTrek to talk about their RV advice. They’re full-time RVers and can help you get the next RV adventure started easily and on a budget!
A year or two back, the van life craze had everyone interested in rubber-tramping across THE UNITED STATES. Perhaps you thought, nah, I favor my city apartment or jet-setting abroad.
Then COVID-19 hit. Suddenly, getting away from Dodge with a residence on wheels began to sound excellent, didn’t it?
There is absolutely no doubt that RVing is probably the easiest and safest methods to travel at this time. No crowded planes or questionable resort rooms required — an RV offers you the freedom to explore and the reassurance of experiencing your own space.
During the period of our eight-year “HoneyTrek” we’ve tried just about any design of travel — backpacking, house-sitting, small-ship cruising, backcountry camping, five-star honeymooning, etc. — however the day we rented a campervan in New Zealand, we knew this is our preferred mode of travel.
For days gone by 3 years, we’ve been traveling full-time inside our 1985 Toyota Sunrader “Buddy the Camper,” from the Baja Peninsula to the Arctic Circle and 47 states among.
We’ve learned a whole lot along the way and so are excited to talk about what we think will be the most important what to know before aiming on your own RV journey.
Here’s a video we just filmed which covers all of the basics (or browse the post below):
How exactly to Select the Right Size RV
For maximum adventure and comfort, we’d recommend a camper around 21 feet long. We realize those big RVs tricked out such as a penthouse apartment look tempting, but understand that every foot long costs mobility. A shorter rig permits you to:
- Access rugged terrain
- Easily fit into a standard parking space, even parallel park
- Avoid length restrictions on a few of America’s most beautiful winding roads and ferry rides
- Progress fuel consumption (Most rigs get 6-10 MPG. Ours gets 19.)
- Have less stuff to break, this means additional time exploring and having a great time!
And, while even shorter 16- to 19-foot-long campervans do have the best mobility, there are several things you have to know before you fall for that adorable Westfalia or stealthy Sprinter.
First, life ain’t so pretty without your own indoor shower and bathroom. And, while we respect the vanlifers who put up with public restrooms, bucket toilets, and catholes (digging a hole outside if you want to go to the toilet), let us let you know the virtues of experiencing a flushing loo: privacy, cleanliness, and autonomy.
We are able to maintain a city center or a protected conservation area and conveniently and responsibly stay the night time. In these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever before to be self-sufficient rather than depend on shared facilities.
Besides a bathroom, a 19- to 22-foot long RV is big enough to also provide you with a proper bed and ample storage while still being small enough to explore with wild abandon.
The way to get Power (A.K.A. the Virtues of Solar)
RVs and campers have a residence battery to perform the lights, water pump, fans, and power electronics. Listed below are the many way to keep it charged:
- Drive a couple of hours each day
- Pay to plug in at a campground
- Run a generator
- Have solar power panels
Your average road trip will probably offer you enough charge from driving, but in the event that you actually need power, an RV park is never a long way away. If you are seeking to slow-cruise the wilderness and decrease your environmental impact, solar power panels are a must. The easiest & most affordable option ($70-150 USD) is to obtain a portable panel and utilize it whenever you’re stopped as a way to charge up the home battery of your RV. This obviously isn’t as convenient or powerful as a built-in system, but it ought to be enough to keep your phone and laptop charged.
For anyone who is in this for the long term, though, you’re likely to want to set up a solar system. We bought 300 watts of flexible monocrystalline solar power panels, installed them to the roof, and wired all of them as well as a charge controller, lead-acid battery, and power inverter in about 20 hours — all for $1,200 USD.
If you need the very best efficiency and lifespan, spring for a lithium-ion deep cycle battery, just like the Relion RB100. If a DIY electrical project sounds too scary, you might have it professionally installed for $1,000-2,000 USD. We realize that’s is a chunk of change, but buying solar has allowed us to invest the last 3 years without needing to ever purchase electricity, worry about running out of power, or generating any greenhouse gases.
Ways to get Internet
Your smartphone is your on-the-go router. It’s vital that you use a carrier with a thorough national network (AT&T or Verizon) to get reception in remote areas (the dream is usually to be making use of your laptop from a secluded beach, right?).
We use our Verizon phone as a hotspot for our two laptops, getting 50GB unthrottled monthly, plus unlimited calls and texts, for $109 USD.
While that’s a respectable amount of data, it’s not really a home internet plan by which you could be streaming all day long. If you’ll be on the highway for greater than a few weeks, monitor your usage with the GlassWire app and install NetLimiter on your own laptop to greatly help ration your data. Save your valuable big downloads and uploads free of charge Wi-Fi zones.
We love working at libraries, not only for the internet but also for their inspiring spaces, tranquility, community offerings, and open invitation to remain all day long.
And, when everything else fails, McDonald’s and Starbucks have wifi that’s usually strong enough to tap from the comforts of your camper.
Where to find Places to Camp
Your basic campground typically offers a set parking spot with a picnic table, fire bowl, and shared bathroom for $10-30 USD per night. In the event that you boost to $35-80 USD a night, you’re in RV park territory and can likely get power, water, sewer, and shared amenities such as a clubhouse and a pool.
But do you realize there are thousands of free campsites scattered around the wilds of the united states? The government has reserved 640 million acres of public lands (national forests, BLM [Bureau of Land Management] land, national conservation areas, etc.) for your enjoyment. These sites are pretty bare-bones (sometimes it’s only a clearing in the forest) but, since we’ve a self-contained camper with this own normal water and bathroom, all we want is a peaceful spot with an excellent view.
This form of independent camping has many names: dispersed camping, wild camping, dry camping, freedom camping, & most commonly “boondocking.” We find well known boondocking spots via the best Campgrounds app, which we use to see what sites are nearby.
If we’re striking from that app, we turn to iOverlander and FreeCampsites.net.
With these apps, we’re in a position to find great camping on the fly and rarely pay a dime.
Having said that, there exists a time and place for more traditional campgrounds. They could be a terrific way to meet other campers, like a few extra services, or stay static in the heart of a national park. ReserveAmerica.com may be the main campground portal (290,000 listings!) for public (national and state parks) and private campgrounds. HipCamp.com also offers extensive offerings and is well known for unique sites on private land — it’s just like the Airbnb of camping. KOA has a great deal of options too.
In the event that you know there exists a certain place you intend to be on a particular night, you can book beforehand. But also just don’t hesitate to go with the flow — there’s always a lovely boondocking spot somewhere!
Talking about boondocking, it’s not only for the woods. We’ve spent countless nights “camping” in the heart of cities, and in the event that you stick to a few simple rules, you can feel confident doing the same:
- Obey all street signs and curb markings and keep carefully the meter fed. If it says “no overnight parking,” take heed. When there is any ambiguity in the signage (street cleaning conflicts, permit parking, etc.), find another spot.
- Don’t overstay your welcome. We usually limit our amount of time in the same parking spot to two nights.
- Don’t draw focus on yourself with excessive lights, music, noise, etc. Despite the fact that our 1980s RV is definately not a stealth camper, we’ve slept in over 50 cities rather than been asked to “move along.”
Be smart, be respectful, and the world is your campground.
How exactly to SPEND LESS on Gas
We realize gas is around $2 USD/gallon right now, but when it involves your long-term travel budget, just counts. Below are a few ideas to save at the pump:
- Get the GasBuddy app. It permits you to start to see the gas prices along your route, often saving up to 50 cents per gallon, especially if you can wait to cross circumstances line or get farther off the highway.
- Get hold of a Discover card and/or Chase Freedom Unlimited card; certain months of the entire year, they provide 5% off your fill-up.
- Join gas station rewards programs, especially Shell and Pilot, which give 3-5 cents off per gallon.
- Keep your tires inflated at the recommended PSI, and drive under 55mph. As well as the gas savings, it’s safer and prolongs the life span of your rig.
Where to find the trunk Roads
Set your GPS to “avoid highways” and you’ll discover precisely how beautiful this country could be. Interstates have blazed straight lines over the nation however the old network of roads, dealing with the contours of the land and connecting historic towns, still exists.
The very best routes are America’s Byways, a assortment of 150 distinct and diverse roads protected by the Department of Transportation because of their natural or cultural value.
Better still than that website (because you can’t depend on back roads’ cell reception) is a difficult copy of the National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways. It maps out the prettiest drives atlanta divorce attorneys state, with something to marvel at even in “the flyover states.” We make reference to it each time we take up a big drive and find out interesting landmarks, quirky museums, scenic viewpoints, quintessential eateries, and short hikes, which always improves the ride.
Take Glamping Breaks
To be sure you don’t burn up on small-space, off-grid living, treat you to ultimately the casual glamping getaway. Creative outdoor accommodations with a plush bed, hot shower, and friendly host always remind us just how much we love the woods.
Whenever we reach a glamp camp, we are able to leave from our normal responsibilities (establishing camp, cooking for ourselves, and DIY everything) and truly relax. A striking treehouse, dome, yurt, or safari tent has been made with your enjoyment at heart, and if you want anything, your host reaches the ready.
Just a little pampering and fresh undertake the outdoors provides you with the energy to continue truckin’.
To find fabulous getaways along your route, have a look at our glamping book, Comfortably Wild: THE VERY BEST Glamping Destinations in THE UNITED STATES.
How exactly to Protect Yourself as well as your Ride
You’ll be exploring remote areas, heading down rough roads, and having wild adventures (get excited!). Examine these three types of protection and you’ll be equipped for whatever comes the right path:
- RV insurance — While that is specialty car insurance, the good thing is it might be cheaper than insuring a sedan (we pay $375 USD a year for our Progressive plan).
- Travel cover — Some people think of travel cover for big international trips, it usually kicks in 100 miles from your own house, covering health emergencies, trip delays, canceled reservations (from campgrounds to river rafting excursions), and many different other snafus. Instead of getting insurance each time we hit the street, we utilize the Allianz All Trips Premier Plan so we’re automatically covered wherever we go over summer and winter.
- Roadside assistance — Good ol’ AAA has RV plans, but we like this Good Sam was created designed for RVers and doesn’t charge reduced for this. An annual membership covers towing RVs of most sizes, tire blowouts, running out of gas, locking your keys in your automobile, plus plenty of other benefits and travel discounts.
As full-timers, we’re incredibly passionate about RVing and lot to talk about road trip itineraries, advice about investing in a vintage camper, and lessons learned from 3 years on the road. Since there is a lot to find out about RV travel, renting a camper is a safe and easy way to begin with. And there’s a wonderful RV and #vanlife community online which will be pleased to help too.
Mike and Anne Howard left on the honeymoon in January 2012 rather than came home. They created HoneyTrek.com to chronicle their journey across all seven continents and help people realize their travel dreams. They will be the authors of National Geographic’s bestselling book, Ultimate Journeys for just two, and the first-ever book on glamping in THE UNITED STATES, Comfortably Wild.
Book Your Visit to the united states: Logistical Guidelines
Book Your Flight Look for a cheap flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite se’s because they search websites and airlines around the world and that means you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you would like to remain elsewhere, use Booking.com because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
- World Nomads (for everybody below 70)
- Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)
Looking to discover the best companies to save lots of money with? Have a look at my resource page to get the best companies to use when you travel! I list all of the ones I use to save lots of money when I travel — and I believe can help you too!
Need an inexpensive RV for your road trip? RVshare enables you to rent RVs from private individuals all over the country, saving you the big bucks along the way. It’s like Airbnb for RVs, making roads trips fun and affordable!
Want MORE INFO on traveling america? Make sure you visit our robust destination guide to the united sta