30 RV Money Saving Tips!

With the RV season in full swing, I thought it would be helpful for us to share some ideas on how to save some money on your RV trips.  Hopefully some of these tips will allow you to keep a little more money in your pocket after your next trip.

  1. Buy a local newspaper when checking into a campground or RV park and check it for coupons, bargains, and savings before going out to shop for groceries.
  2. Don’t buy all of your groceries at supermarkets. Buy food and other necessities at thrift bakeries, discount stores, dollar stores, church and charity bazaars, flea markets, roadside fruit and veggie stands, canning plants, and u-pick orchards.
  3. Shop at a local farmer’s market and chat with the folks selling the fruits and veggies. Pick up something “new to you” and ask them how to prepare it—then go back to your RV and try it.
  4. When in a campground connect to “shore power” and use THEIR electricity, not YOUR propane, to heat your water and run your refrigerator. Water heaters in particular consume considerable amounts of propane.
  5. If you’re staying in a metered park and paying for the electricity, you can determine which energy source is most economical—paying for the electricity or using your propane. Multiply the kilowatt rate being charged by 20 and compare that to the price of a gallon of propane.
  6. When eating out, look for 2-for-1 coupons and early bird specials.
  7. Eat out at lunch instead of dinner.
  8. Eat in. Cook your family favorites in the convenience of an RV and avoid the higher costs of eating out. Better yet, cook over your campfire!
  9. Check the local paper for free community events including concerts in the park, lectures, plays, etc.
  10. Attend festivals, fairs, and parades. Tourism offices and RV magazines offer calendars of events.
  11. Visit the public library and check out a few movies, make some popcorn, set up the TV outside the RV and have a date night or family gathering under the stars.
  12. Take free tours of state capitol buildings.
  13. Visit churches, cathedrals, and architectural sites.
  14. Visit museums on their free days—most have at least one a month.
  15. Take a factory tour—sometimes they’ll include bonus samples.
  16. Try local wineries for wine tasting and tours.
  17. Check out cheese factories, breweries, and farms that offer tasting tours.
  18. Pack a picnic and spend an afternoon at a local park relaxing, eating, talking, reading, exploring, daydreaming…did I mention relaxing?
  19. Window shop a fancy part of town. End the afternoon with a cup of coffee, tea, or other refreshing beverage in said “fancy part of town.”
  20. Follow the trails of the pioneer settlers as traveled the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri to the Pacific Oregon.
  21. Discover the history and charm of America’s historic routes such as the Ohio and Erie Canalway in Ohio; Historic National Road in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia; and Historic Route 66 in ArizonaCalifornia, Illinois, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
  22. Explore Americas Scenic Byways such as the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway in Oregon, Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia, and Natchez Trace Parkway in AlabamaMississippi, andTennessee.
  23. Check out the travel section of local bookstores for guidebooks on historical, cultural, and scenic travels.
  24. Visit the birthplace and memorial libraries of presidents such as the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts and George Herbert Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.
  25. Visit the birthplace and homes of other famous people such as Thomas Edison and Henry Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers, Florida.
  26. Take up bird watching.
  27. Explore the public parks and gardens around the continent such as the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and Stanley Park in Vancouver.
  28. Explore the beauty of the outdoors by taking a walk along a river or lake or hiking into the wilderness.
  29. Take advantage of regional bargains. Each area of the country has bargains you can take advantage of as you RV.
  30. Take a walk in nature—breathe deep, walk softly, and observe your surroundings.

While all of these tips might not be applicable to your RV vacation, take the principles that are above to heart and you will certainly be able to keep a little more money in your pocket.

Let us know what you think of this list by leaving a comment below!

[Source: RV.net]

 

Minnesota State Water Trails Interactive Map

As you already know, Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes.  Within all these waterways, you can understand how there could be some difficulty discerning one from the other as well as the tributaries and rivers that connect this wonderland of water.  In comes a new online interactive map to help residents and visitors easily navigate throughout Minnesota.  This new wonderful tool will help all aspects of MN outdoors enjoyment.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has released a new online interactive map to help people explore the Minnesota state water trail system, which offers 4,400 miles for canoeing, kayaking, boating and camping along rivers and in Lake Superior.

The interactive map includes all 32 designated water trails, in addition to public water accesses and campsites along each route. The map makes it easy to zoom, search, and pan and to find and print information about facilities.

“Minnesota is the state of paddling,” said Mel Baughman, president of the Minnesota Canoe Association. “We are fortunate to have the premier water trails system in the nation. There is a DNR water trail within about an hour of almost anywhere in the state. These new interactive maps will make it easier for paddlers and boaters to plan outings and find new adventures.” The new digital map format provides paddlers and boaters with an opportunity to create a customized map and to take advantage of the connections between water trails and other public lands, such as state parks, state trails, wildlife management areas, and state forests. DNR still distributes free paper maps as well.

The interactive maps and other trip planning resources can be found atmndnr.gov/watertrails.

This could be a very useful tool in planning your next RV getaway!  Let us know what you think about the new interactive map by leaving a comment below!

[Source: The Pilot-Independent]

National Parks to Offer Free Admission Days!

What’s better than getting out on the road in your RV?  How about a free stay at a National Park!  The National Park Service has announced that they will offer a couple free days at a National Park this summer.  Check out the press release and remember to mark these dates on your RV calendar:

The U.S. Park Service will celebrate the first day of summer with free admission to all national parks on June 21. Many families schedule their RV trips and vacations around free admission days or use the free days to explore lesser-known national park sites. Admission to national parks will also be free on September 24, National Public Lands Day, and on Veterans Day weekend November 11 to 13.

With budget worries causing several states like California to close some or all of their state parks, RVing families are taking the opportunity to explore the country’s 394 national parks, monuments, battlefields, historic sites, recreational areas and more. Last year, more than 280 million people visited America’s national parks, from the tiny .02 mile Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial inPennsylvania, the nation’s smallest park, to Alaska’s massive 13.2 million mile Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, the largest U.S. park.

If you are planning RV vacations to multiple national parks this year, the $80 annual America the Beautiful pass is a good value, providing a year of free admission to national parks and federal recreation areas. Seniors (age 62 and over) can obtain a lifetime pass for just $10. The senior pass also provides a 50% discount on certain amenities such as camping, swimming, boat launch fees and other special services. U.S. residents with disabilities are eligible to receive a lifetime America the Beautiful pass at no charge. Find details at www.nps.gov.

Do you plan on taking advantage of either the free days or the ‘America the Beautiful’ passes?  Leave us a comment below and share with the rest of the RV readers!

[Source: RVT.com]

Do You Always Drive Around With Your Trailer Hitch?

Have you ever heard anything about trailer hitches being hazardous on your truck when not in use? Well, apparently the answer is a resounding yes!  The following video will show how it can affect your driving.  Do you keep your hitch on your truck all the time?

When you think about it, hitches are used to pull boats, RV trailers, jet skis, work trailers and more.  Logic would stand to show that many people have hitches on their cars.  Let’s find out why it can be dangerous.

Roughly 40 percent of vehicles on the highway have a receiver hitch (sometimes referred to as a trailer hitch). Many times when a vehicle is finished towing, the ball mount is just not removed from the hitch. This result’s in a collision from the rear there’s a 22 percent increased chance of a whiplash injury to passengers. Learn more in this one minute video. [RV Videos]

While I had thought about hitches sticking out and the accidents that they may cause, that statistic really makes me think of the importance of removing your trailer hitch when not in use.  Check out the video below for some more information.

 

8 Quick Tips for the RV Season

Before you head back out on the road in your RV for the season, there are a many things you need to do and check.  Safety is always very important and going through your checklist is a good way to be prepared.  I came across an article with a few such tips for your viewing pleasure:

Clean it up and air it out. Open all roof vents and windows and then remove any pest control items you may have placed during winter storage. It is also a good idea to clean or replace air conditioner filters.

Check for damage.

  • Look for deterioration of seals around doors, roof vents and windows and reseal as necessary.
  • Check awnings for damage, mildew and insects.
  • Examine the hitch system for wear, loose bolts and cracks.

Change the engine oil and spark plugs. Many manufacturers recommend changing the oil and filter prior to storage and again in the spring. During storage, oil can separate and cause condensation buildup that may harm the engine. While replacing spark plugs, be sure to set the gaps to the recommended manufacturer’s setting.

Inspect the engine.

  • Check the battery.
  • Check the cooling and fuel systems.
  • Drain and flush the entire system of the nontoxic antifreeze you used before placing the RV into storage and replace with the proper coolant.
  • Check for cracks in hoses and fan belts and replace if necessary.
  • Replace fuel filter, and examine the fuel lines and fittings for cracks and leaks.
  • Change the transmission fluid and filter.
  • Flush the water system.

Inspect the tires. Check for cracks, worn treads and correct tire pressure.

Check all lights. Make sure headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals are all functioning properly.

Prepare for a safe season. After checking all mechanical components, it’s always a good idea to inspect your safety equipment. This means installing new batteries in flashlights and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and restocking the first-aid kit.

Check your coverage. After making these routine checks, don’t forget to review your insurance policy to make sure it meets your current needs.

Just like you we are really excited for the upcoming season, but make sure your RV is in tip top shape before heading out on the road.  While these tips are a good start, make sure you do your due diligence.  Is there anything that you can think of that can be added to the list?  Leave a comment below and share it with us!!

[Source: Village Soup]

A VW Towing an RV?!?

When we think of a fifth wheel trailer being pulled by an automobile, we usually think of a truck or SUV.  However, that is not always the case, as seen in this video where a VW Bug pulling a smaller trailer.  If this was the only aspect to the video, it would be interesting.  But with the added value of getting 20 miles to the gallon and being able to turn on a 360 degree radius makes this car concoction nothing short of amazing!!
Check out the video and let us know what you think!!

Knowing Your RV: Class Differences

They always say variety is the spice of life.  And that is no different when dealing with RVs.  From a smaller fifth wheel to the bigger Class A motor homes, you have a lot to take in before you buy or rent an RV.  Do you need a quick refresher on the different types of vehicles?  I found a good excerpt from an article that may clear some things up if you are not sure.

People that are not informed about the RV industry are confused about “Class A” motorhome? “Class C” motorhome? Van campers? Isn’t there some way to keep RV shopping simple?

Class “A” or type “A” is the largest of all of the commercially produced motorhomes. The manufacturer starts with a chassis with an engine and transmission. On top of the chassis the motorhome is built.

Many luxuries and options tend to be put in any Class A motorhome. You will see many “slide out rooms,” which add floor space when utilized. A Class A with slide outs can feel as though you’ve stepped right into a good sized home.

These are also the most costly of all motorhomes, with prices starting at $50,000 and up to over a million dollars or better. Since they’re so large, it can be hard to locate an appropriate spot to park them. Also they are hard to drive, use more gas and are difficult to park. Many National Parks and US Forest campgrounds simply don’t have room for some of those rigs.

Class “C” motorhomes are smaller and are built on a van chassis. These are priced much lower than the larger Class A rigs. They are nice RVs though. Some Class C rigs have slide outs, but are a bit smaller than the Class A motorhomes.

Class C motorhomes are easier to maneuver; can park in public campground spots and often park at a Walmart up by the store. While Class A folks often tow a small round-town car (a “toad” if you will) to permit them to leave their big rig in camp, often Class C rigs are handy enough to be used directly for local transportation.

Costs to get a Class C motorhome, by industry estimates, start out at around $48,000. Insurance and fuel costs are substantially less for a Class C rig.

Finally, the least commonly sold, but not uncommon for its use, is a Class B, or “camper van.” Using a van chassis and body, the manufacturer tricks out the inside, adding sleeping, cooking, and teeny-tiny bathroom facilities. The roof of a Class B rig is often raised, giving occupants more headroom and accommodating cabinets and accessories.

Don’t count on towing much with a Class B rig. But they can go anywhere a car goes, parks easily, and takes up no more space than a passenger van, but don’t count on towing much with them. The fuel economy here might be better of all three . If you can drive a van, you are able to drive a Class B motorhome. Look to pay starting at the low $40 thousands to the mid $70 thousands for a new camper van.

For long-term RVing, it can be quite cozy inside a Class B rig. The other two camps will argue to whether Class A or Class B motorhomes are better for snowbirds and full-time RV living, by the reality shows both of them are used. Look for a fulltime RVer in a Class B? Maybe, but it will be a rarity.

Trying to make a choice? Consider renting one of every class for a quick road trip. Renting a motorhome can really demonstrate how things size up. You will soon see the difference in how these different rigs will suit your lifestyle.

So if you are looking to buy a new RV and are not sure which one suits your needs best, it might be prudent to try to rent the types you are interested in.  Let us know if we can help in any way!

[Source: New RVer]

A Way to Convert your RV to a Hybrid?

Hercules, in mythology, is known for his great power.  When talking about RV’s, what is one way we categorize power?  It’s MPG!  MPG is a powerful acronym when speaking about RVs and automobiles in general.  The rate your vehicle burns through miles per gallon, can effect which auto you choose or your wallet.  Green technology has been booming over the past decade or so with little to help people with bigger vehicles to achieve “higher MPG”.  In steps Mary Meadows, a retired environmental medicine physician, who decided that she wanted to look beyond helping just people, and focus on helping the Earth.
Mary has come up with the newest in MPG technology to help all of us save the world as well as save some money in the process.   She came up with a product that produces hydrogen and injects it into the gas in order to increase MPG and overall fuel usage.  It is made for all sorts of vehicles and is constantly evolving in order to meet the needs of different automotive patrons.  Here’s how it works:

The company manufactures the Hercules Hydrogen System, which is about the size of a car battery and can be installed under the hood or in the trunk. The system manufactures hydrogen, mixes it with gasoline and puts the mixture into the engine by air intake.

“It’s a very sophisticated system,” Meadows said. “A lot of systems out there don’t work; they don’t last.” She says her system works and lasts.

One of the problems to overcome was that cars and pickups newer than 1996 models contain computers that sense when a vehicle is using less fuel. That triggers the computer to increase gasoline or diesel to compensate.

To counteract that problem, Meadows has a chip that affects the air/fuel ratio and allows the hydrogen mix to power the vehicle without triggering the computer.

Meadows recommends that mechanics install the system, but some vehicle owners have installed it themselves. She provides buyers with detailed instructions on how to install, and she will stand by on the phone to advise mechanics.

Hercules retails for $3,500, but Meadows is offering it at a discount for $2,500. The system works with any kind of fuel: gasoline, diesel, propane or biodiesel. It can also be traded among vehicles, such as moving it from an RV to a car.

Long-haul truckers can expect a 30% increase in mileage, she said. Cars and pickups have seen increases of 30% to 50%, and RVs, 50%, Meadows said.

Imagine being able to increase your RV mileage by 50%!!!  While this technology is new and is continued to be studied, we can only hope that this will lead to worldwide change in the industry as we know it.

Have you ever heard of the Hercules Hydrogen System?  If so, give us some insight below as to how it works for you.  If not, let us know what this could allow you to change in your RV adventures!!

[Source: RV Business]

Looking for a GPS for Your RV?

Rand McNally has just launched its first “RV Only” GPS device called the TripMaker RVND 5510.  How many times have you been in a car and saw the functions brought to you through a GPS and wondered how this could help you on your next RV vacation?  Just a couple more weeks to find out as they have marked June for its release.

Take a look at some of the features this RV GPS device allows:

– RV-Easy Routing with a base of award-winning navigation from Rand McNally, the TripMaker RVND 5510 layers on all the information needed to have an enjoyable and safe trip in an RV.  The routing includes legal (including propane and other RV-only), height and weight restrictions, right- or left-turn preference based on 11 different RV types, and a quick reference to the Rand McNally Road Atlas. Turn-by-turn spoken and text directions keep the driver focused on the road ahead.

– The TripMaker RVND features more than 14 million points of interest – including festivals, and national, state, and regional parks.  Other key information includes:
•    RV campgrounds, RV dealers and service, parking and rest areas, travel centers with detailed amenities such as dump stations, propane availability and more.
•    Detailed exit information and available amenities on upcoming interstate exits.
•    RVer Tools such as checklists for set up and take down, maintenance logs, trails back to your campsite, and quick mileage calculators.
•    Pet-friendly locations including parks, animal hospitals, and beaches.

In addition to routing and tools critical to RVers, the TripMaker RVND features Rand McNally Editor’s Pick Content – proprietary data provided by our editorial staff with video and photos.  The content includes:
•    Best of the Road – three-to-four day adventures including unique stops, photos of the locations, maps and more to plan a memorable adventure.
•    Regional Trips, Scenic Tours, Weekend Getaways, and City Trips.
•    12,000 researched locations that will make any trip exciting and unique.

How would you use a device like this on your RV travels?  Are you gonna purchase one upon their release?  Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think about it!!

[Source: RV Business]

 

Basic RV Battery Information

Is there a more annoying sound than turning your RV key and realizing your battery is dead?  Making sure your battery is working properly is very important.  If you ever had this happen to you, check out the following information to help you out the next time!!

Some Basic Battery Info

In today’s RVs everything relies on 12-volt batteries to function–everything from the roof air conditioner to the refrigerator. Once the roof air conditioner and the refrigerator are turned on they run on 110V, but the computer used to start the air conditioner and refrigerator uses the 12-volt. In addition, your water heater and your furnace are also all 12-volt operated.

Without your batteries in working condition none of these things would work properly and the simplest daily functions in your RV would be impossible to carry out.

The type of batteries in your RV should be deep cycle batteries. This just means essentially that they are designed to store a large amount of power, discharge that power very deeply, and recharge over and over again.

To get the most out of your deep cycle battery and have it last as long as possible before you have to pay for a replacement, you’ll want to spend the few minutes it will take to maintain it.

RV Battery Maintenance – Filling With Distilled Water

With proper maintenance an RV battery lasts an average of 5 years. To achieve a longer life span one important thing you’ll want to do is keep your batteries full with water (distilled water is recommended).

To get started remove the battery cap and give a look in there. You’ll see a tube going into each cell with slits up the sides. These slits allow the gases to flow from cell to cell. Fill until the water touches the bottom of the tube and be careful not to overfill.

If you overfill and cover the slits in the side of each tube you will see liquid oozing from your caps and making a mess of everything around there. Battery trays and connections will all stay cleaner if you take care not to overfill and maintenance is done correctly.

When To Get A New Battery

If the lead plates are not covered in water when you check them chances are good you need to get a new RV battery. At this point, if the battery is not completely ruined then you’ve at least taken a lot of the life out of it.

The best and most inexpensive way to avoid this problem is to not let the water get that low. If you regularly follow the above maintenance strategies you will maximize the lifespan of your battery and only have to worry about this when it’s unpreventable.

Charging Your RV Batteries

There is nothing more important than keeping your battery’s connections clean with the above process, but it is also important to keep them consistently charged.

When doing this, keep in mind realistic timeframes to charge up. If your RV batteries are reading low on the monitor, it will take around 72 hours to charge them. If you just charge them for a day, as some owners may do right before a trip, they will only have 1/3 of the total charge.

Think of your batteries as a 5 gallon water bottle. You can pour the water out quickly and easily–that’s apparent enough. But imagine the only way you can fill the bottle back up is through a separate hole the size of a pencil. The refilling will take much more time. In other words, it is much easier to drain your batteries than it is to recharge them.

It doesn’t hurt your batteries to be low on charge, but it will make your life easier just to keep them charged up.

When storing your RV for two months or more, you will want to make it so your batteries do not discharge. To do this, simply disconnect the ground wire. Your batteries cannot discharge without this ground (unless the battery is already bad, of course).

Dry CampingIf you try dry camping–that is, camping with no electrical hook ups–all you need to do is run your generator three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening and you will be fine forever.

If you don’t have a generator consider getting solar power, it works extremely well and I highly recommend it. However, if you don’t have a generator or solar power and want to go camping, the key is just to not bring your kids (They never seem to turn a light off! Ha!)

Other Relevant Info

Most RVs have a 2 amp draw (or more) on the engine starting battery even when the batteries are turned off using the auto disconnects. This is the factory setting. I don’t like it this way, so don’t get mad at you RV technician, it isn’t his/her fault.

Having the RV plugged into 110V shore power will not charge the engine battery, so if stored for a long time, disconnect the grounds at the engine battery. They only charge when the engine is running.

NOTE: To all RV owners, if you are plugged into 110V shore power remember to leave your house battery’s disconnect on. Batteries won’t get a charge if they are off and it overworks your converter charger big time if the disconnect is not on. You should have the engine battery off because remember it won’t get charged from the converter anyway.

I hope this was helpful info for you and your RV health!  Please leave a comment with more suggestions or good RV battery stories!

[Source: Money Saving RV]