Tips We’ve Learned from our Full-time RV Life – Part 2 – Where to stay?

Last week we provided 10 tips for purchasing your RV which you can find here. Now that you have the perfect rig, it’s time to plan your trip.

Booking Campgrounds

There are lots of different trip-planning websites and apps out there, and it really comes down to your preference and how much detail you want.

We like RV Trip Wizard. There is a $49/year fee, but you can try it out for 7 days for FREE. This program is loaded with information about all kinds of camping locations and is very easy to use.

Important Things to Remember

Regardless of which method you use to plan your camping experience, here are some suggestions of things we’ve learned on almost two years of full-time RV living.

  1. Reservations are a must if you require full hook-ups, good cell and WiFi, and specifically, a large site. We have a 41ft. RV and we need a larger site. You don’t want to be calling around from a parking lot somewhere searching for a place to stay, especially if it’s for more than one night. Pre-planning is key now that so many people are living the RV lifestyle.
  2. Know if your campground accepts different mail delivery methods. There are some campgrounds that do not accept any deliveries, some that only accept UPS, Fedex, and Amazon, and some that accept everything. When it comes to USPS, that can depend on your length-of-stay. If you’re in a campground for several months, they will most likely allow you to have mail sent to their address. Always check before you book!
  3. Don’t rely on campground WiFi for work. We have two hotspots, one for Verizon and one for AT&T, so that we always have our own secure internet connection. The campground internet may seem good in the early morning, but once everyone is up and checking their social media accounts, it slows considerably.
  4. Locking a specific site at reservation – This is a relatively new concept. If you have a specific site in mind and want to make sure you get it, pay the fee (usually around $20) and lock it. We have recently been to a couple of campgrounds that told us one site number at reservation, and then changed it when we arrrived. It still worked out for us, but we had to move for the last night. Campground owners are trying to accommodate as many people as possible while the market is still hot. They’ll be happy to give you sites for your entire stay, but you may have to move for part of that stay. During a recent stay, we saw three guests shuffle in a single morning, all for their last day. In fact, we did as well, but we were told up front that this would occur.
  5. One-night stands – There are quite a few sites that offer overnight accommodations, usually with no hook-ups.
    1. Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts are two that we belong to. For a yearly fee, we have access to a website listing places in our location where we can stay for free overnight. Harvest Hosts is attractions, breweries & wineries, etc., where you can show your thank you by patronizing the business. Boondockers Welcome is a website listing private individuals who are allowing you to stay on their property for free.
    2. Walmart, Cabella’s, Sam’s Club, & Cracker Barrel offer overnight parking. Not all of them do, however, so call ahead before showing up to make sure it’s okay to spend the night. We’ve done this before, and then shopped there as a thank you.
  6. Mind Your Manners – This may seem obvious, but as we and others have experienced, sometimes this bears repeating.
    1. Respect the space of others – Don’t walk through others’ campsites. We’ve had to caution people who have gone through our site about hoses, stakes, and other hazards.
    2. Adjust the noise level – This is especially true if you are playing your radio or outdoor television. The noise should not be heard two or three sites over. And when it comes to quiet time (the campground’s noted quiet hours), respect them.
    3. If it’s yours, it’s your responsibility – This really means don’t leave your trash for the next person—especially in the fire pit. And if you’re boondocking, it’s even more important to take it with you!
    4. Basic common courtesy goes a long way in helping everyone enjoy their camping experience.

Remember, there is more to camping than just packing up and going. Especially now, when there are so many of us out there, a little planning can go a long way in helping you enjoy the experience and make lasting memories.

Next week – Back to the fun stuff and our trip to Biltmore!

Check out my 10 Tips for Downsizing to an RV or Smaller Home if you need a little motivation to get started!

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