Friday, November 27, 2020

RV Travel and Campground Reservations NOW

Blog copyright Janet Groene 2020, all rights reserved. To ask about advertising here email  janetgroene at


It's important to start  planning NOW

Campground Trends–the New Normal

    * It’s hard to find a ski resort in the East that has a campground but some do, and some others allow camping in the parking lot. Ask. 

    * Stay abreast of spring opening dates for seasonal campgrounds and their  reservations opening dates. Many are accepting reservations now for spring and summer, 2021. 

    * Water hookup may mean a shared faucet and that could mean reduced water pressure. 

    * When a campground lists a dump station, it doesn’t always mean it’s free.

10 Things You Didn’t Know
About RV Cruising Alaska

    It’s time to book next summer’s RV trip to Alaska. Wouldn’t that make a great Christmas gift for the family? In any case, the summer season there  is short and intense,  and reservations are a must, so advance planning starts NOW.

1. Just getting to Alaska can consume too much of a two- or three-week family vacation. If your time is limited, consider a fly-drive rental. Rates vary wildly depending on the date, size of the RV and the length of the trip.

Official Visitor Centers are worth a stop

 2. One-way and round trip  fly-drive rentals are available.

3. One-way Seattle-Alaska delivery rentals are a good bargain in the early spring, when rental fleets are being re-positioned for the summer season. Fly to Seattle, pick up an RV, leave it in Anchorage and fly home.

4. Whether you go in your own RV or a rental, the latest edition of The Milepost is a must. It gives detailed highway information with everything you need to know about sightseeing and services.  Fuel stops and other points of interest can be far apart, so it’s essential to plan your itinerary.  Most roads are narrow and lay-bys not always handy, so it’s important when driving a large vehicle to plan ahead for these stops.

5. Don’t plan on covering a lot of miles each day. The joke is that Alaska has two seasons, winter and “under construction”.  This means delays.  Sightseeing everywhere is awesome,  so take your time on the road. Remember that days are very long in summer. You'll also want to spend time in campgrounds to chill out, build a campfire, take hikes and jawbone with other campers.

6. Never pass up an official Tourist Information or Visitor Center. They have adequate parking for an RV, clean rest rooms, guidance from knowledgeable locals, discount coupons and often a small museum or other displays.

7. Don’t miss at least one passage on the Alaska Marine Highway, a network of ferries connecting a state that is mostly made up of water. Most ferries carry RV’s . The sightseeing from the water is a special treat. 

Stop to meet a sled dog

8. Alaska gets a lot of cloudy, drizzly days. Nature’s  nature’s beauty takes on a silvery sparkle, so don’t stay inside. Wear a slicker and boots and get Out There to enjoy the hiking, fishing, nature watching, wildflowers and so much more.

9. Whether you eat in restaurants or in the RV, plan to spend at least 25% more than you do at home for food.
Gas prices and campground rates are also higher. At this writing, campgrounds are coy about their rates for next summer and gas prices too may be higher or lower than today.

10. Breakdowns happen. If you rent an RV, rent from a major company that has a full roadwude support system and backup plans or refunds  in case you are stranded. If you drive your own RV, bring a good supply of spares and at least a basic tool kit. 


 Survival Food Handbook, written for sailors and campers, is especially useful in provisioning an RV for  Alaska.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Women Need to Know This About RV Travel

Blog copyright Janet Groene, all rights reserved. For permissions or to ask about our low rates to advertise or to sponsor one or more posts, email 

 Campground Trends of the Week

    In this new weekly feature we try to keep up with the “new normal” in campground rates and rights.

    * It’s common for hotels and resorts to charge a daily “resort fee” to cover such incidentals a towels at the pool. Now I see this in some campgrounds. It's a flat fee daily and is in addition to taxes that can be 20% and more.

* Also common in hotels is a “hold” on credit cards to cover in advance a set amount in extras such as meals or spa. Now some luxury RV resorts are following suit. If you’re close to your credit card  spending limit, keep an eye out for these “hold” charges so you don’t incur an over-charge fee.

    * Big Brother is watching you. At least one campground in Canada is now requiring campers to fill out a contact list for tracing in case COVID turns up. It hasn't happened here yet that we know about but in China, tracking is done by your cell phone. If you have been in proximity to a COVID case, even if you didn't know it, you may receive a call at any hour of the day or night with orders to show up at a COVID test center. 

    *Deep in the fine print about a campground you may that you’ll be required to show not only ID on check-in but proof of insurance. This is a common practice in marinas and boat storage facilities, where a fire in one boat could cause millions of dollars in damage to other boats as well as to the facility itself. Keep track so you don't go over your credit limit. 

Smart RV Safety Tips

    Today’s high-tech automation is a good thing for RV campers until it kicks in at the wrong time, or malfunctions, or turns on but fails to turn off. Here are some safeguards for RV travel or your home while you’re away. 

One Mo’ Time


    More than 10,000 home fires a year are caused by unattended appliances. Before leaving your RV make just one more check, inside and out, using your eyes, ears and nose. You might also choose turn off some circuit breakers, water or pumps.   

Prevent Towing Thefts
    State Farm Insurance suggests turning the wheels of a parked RV toward the curb and setting the parking brake to prevent thieves from hitching it up and towing it away. Do this  too if you must leave a disabled RV and go for help. Last year a reader told me he’d been victim of a scheme. He left his crippled travel trailer drove his dinghy to the next town, where he called his insurance company and arranged for a tow.
    However, the tow company’s dispatch was overheard on the radio by a competing company that rushed to the scene. No harm was done but now the RV owner found himself doing business with a renegade company, not the one chosen by his insurance company.  

DSL Warning
    Also from State Farm comes a warning that improperly wired DSL Internet service can sometimes prevent an alarm system from transmitting alarm signals to the monitoring station. If your alarm relies on DSL, talk to the alarm company and the phone company about remedies.

Debit at the Fuel Pump
    These days the penalty for going over your debit card limit is $35 or more. Don’t risk using your debit card at the fuel pump unless you keep a generous cushion of cash in the account. Here’s why. With fill-ups costing $100 or now for many vehicles, gas stations have started debiting your account as much as $100 automatically, before you start pumping, just to make sure there is enough in the account to cover the full cost of a fill-up.
     If just want only a few gallons of fuel to tide you over, you may not realize that a $100 hold has been put on your debit account and it stays there for up to three days (the time it takes for the gas station to send in its reports.)  If you must use a debit card for fuel, ask in advance how much of a hold has been charged to your account.

Outlet Malls
    We love the shopping, savings and generous parking at the nation’s outlet malls but there are tricks to the trade. The term Factory Store may mean that the merchandise was made for outlet sale and may be made to lesser specs than the same item made for better stores. With so many malls closing these days, check the mall’s website ahead for hours, news, a list of current stores and coupons.



Women of all ages who love travel and intrigue  are catching on to the Yacht Yenta series of cozy mysteries on Kindle, Nook and other e-book formats. Author Farley Halladay is a salt-cured widow who has an online business arranging boat charters anywhere in the world.


 Readers get a virtual look at the seas of the world while Farley cooks, copes with caregiving and solves crimes. There are five books in the series starting with January Justice and now May Misfire

Start with any one book. You'll want to know what happens next to Cap Kowalski, the alcoholic; Dayle, Farley's ditzy sister; Maeve, the young woman Farley helps start a new life at sea  and Danielle, Farley's best friend who has vowed voodoo justice on the people who assassinated her parents back in Haiti.

Friday, November 13, 2020

RV Women and the Full-time RV Life

blog copyright janet groene. To donate $5 a year as a voluntary subscription to this weekly blog, use your PayPal account to janetgroene at



This new feature supplies weekly updates on the "new normal" in camping and campgrounds.  
 * Take picture or video. Risk a fine. 

 I’ve written about many ways to make a living on the go while full-timing, with warnings about knowing the laws about licensing, fees,  permits and rules against soliciting in campgrounds.

    Now a couple who are You Tube stars have been issued a $1,000 fine for taking videos in a national park,  without a permit, for use on their You Tube channel.  And they are banned from national parks in the future!
    The key is whether you are filming for  profit.(Your blog or YouYube may not be profitable yet but it is still a commercial enterprise if you accept ads, commissions, paid subscriptions or other material gain.) To get a permit to shoot still photography or video on national land you’ll pay an application fee from  $25 for student use to $1,000 for a feature film plus $75 to $300 per day of shooting. Permit holders need a 14-day advance submission to gain access to their scene.

     This is not new. Such charges are common for TV and movie makers anywhere, not just in national parks. As newbie, be aware that violators can be arrested.

    * Monthly and seasonal campground rates are usually the best buy. Extras may include metered electricity and, if there is no sewer hook-up, the cost of dump stations or a honey wagon. 

  * So many campgrounds are announcing higher rates for next year I am not going to try to list them all. Also, some sales and/or tourism  taxes are also going up and reservations fees may also rise. When making reservations, know what you’ll be paying in 2021.

Can you afford to live and travel in an RV?
Copyright Janet Groene, all rights reserved


    The answer may surprise you. 

    If someone asked  how much it would cost to live in a Maine farmhouse or a condo in San Francisco, you’d think it's a stupid question.  The same is true of RV life yet I'm often asked how much it costs to live in an RV. So I reply, “Well, what kind of RV life are we talking about?”
    Do you buy only organic foods at a high-priced supermarket? Play the slots?  Have weekly spa treatments or $100 haircuts? Buy season tickets for the opera?    There are no easy answers.

    The RV itself is just part of the budget picture for women who want to live on the go. Life in the same RV could cost twice as much for one woman as for another depending on personal preferences, your skills as a smart manager, and just plain luck. There are hundreds of variables and unknowns, so get out a sharp pencil and  start with what you know now. You’ll be surprised at how many of your expenses will stay the same, RV or not. 


Even if you are an experienced RV traveler, living aboard for extended periods has its own budgets, do's and don'ts.  Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, covers costs, getting started, living the life, earning a living, home schooling, choosing a home base,  and ends with finding an exit strategy when the time comes.


Expenses That Won’t Change
When you live full-time in an RV you will probably spend the about the same as you do now for:


  ♯ Banking, brokerage, financial advisor, other financial and legal services
♯ Cell phone, ISP, domain
♯ Child support, eldercare or alimony, if any
♯ Debt service (credit cards, car/RV payment, student loans)
♯ Dues, church, charity
♯ Entertainment (movies, books, downloads, concert tickets)
♯ Food and drink including restaurants
♯ Gifts
♯ Health needs such as dental and eye care, vitamins, birth control, memberships (gym, RV clubs and associations, Weight Watchers)
♯ Insurances
♯ Non-food supermarket purchases ( greeting cards, cleaning products, magazines)
♯ Personal care (toiletries, cosmetics, hair salon, bling)
♯ Pet care
♯ Retirement fund contributions
♯ Soft goods (wardrobe, shoes, household linens)
♯ Sports and hobbies (lift tickets, greens fees, court time)
♯ Subscriptions, publications, dues    
♯ Other

    Go through your check book and credit card bills for the past year to get a ballpark figure of what you spend monthly, weekly or annually. Be honest about where cash dribbles away, such as a daily $6 latte or $5 in weekly lottery tickets. No matter how good your resolutions to quit smoking or give up fast food,  these small indulgences will probably go on the road with you.


Friday, November 6, 2020

RV Women See New Normal for Better or Worse

Blog copyright Janet Groene 2020. To contribute $5 a year as a voluntary subscription, use your PayPall accoun to janetgroene at

Campground Briefs


    In this new feature for seasoned RV-ers as well as newbies, we look at the “new normal” in RV camping. ALWAYS CHECK AHEAD BY PHONE FOR CURRENT CONDITIONS IN THE CAMPGROUND AND SURROUNDING AREA.

* Red Alert! This warning just in from a reader newly returned to his home state from camping in New Mexico to fish the San Juan River. He says, “The Governor has reinforced the ban against any out of state campers in any of the State Parks in the State of New Mexico. The Park Rangers are actually checking drivers licenses of all vehicles with out of state tags and if you are caught in the camp grounds or on the river in the State Park the fine is $250.00 {includes court fees).” This reader said he had to stay at a campground outside State Park property. 

    * You may feel at home in a campsite but that doesn’t mean you can have friends in. Campsites have a size limit and a people limit. Non-registered people who want to visit your site will be evicted (and you may be too).

    * There’s usually a limit on how many  units are permitted per campsites. Say you have a tow truck, a travel trailer and a pop-up tent for the kids. A car and two tents? An RV plus a tent and you also tow a boat? Will you be charged extra?

RV News to Use

    * Clark Howard has just posted remote jobs for the holidays. Some of them may be right for women who live and travel in an RV and are equipped to work remotely. See


    * It’s always smart to have a pet carrier with you in the RV for emergencies. Evacuation? A visit to the vet? An outdoor shelter SAFE FROM BUGS AND THE SUN? Keep your cat or small dog safe in the campground with this airy, expendable, durable tough carrier for under $40. Folds flat to 1 ½ inches for easy storage.  


   * Does someone in your family need to go cold turkey on wireless? Green Bank, West Virginia, actually bans  cell phones, wi-fi, or other kinds of modern technology due to a high-tech government telescope. The nearest campgrounds are in Durbin, Bartow and Dunmore WV. 





    * A new kind of medical and ID bracelet is a way to have your medical information with you at all times, available yet private. Using the simple instructions, you input the USB only with the information you want to provide such as a list of your medications or your emergency contacts.  There’s plenty of room for much more, depending on what you want to put on it. You’re in control, so you can update or delete any time.  There is no monthly fee, it’s password protected and it’s weatherproof. It looks like one of those expensive fitness bracelets but it costs only $29.95.  Call (844) 731-8091 or go to  



Women get it. The new Yacht Yenta cozy mystery series by Farley Halladay on Kindle speaks to a woman's heart. Farley is a widow who copes, cooks, solves crimes as she remember her travels with her husband. There are now five books, January through May. Start in the middle with March Malice, then you'll want to read the rest.






    * Do you use your RV to volunteer for a charity? Here are some costs you can deduct according to H&R Block.

    * Away-from-home travel expenses while performing services for a charity However, these expenses aren’t deductible if there’s a significant element of personal pleasure associated with the travel, or if the services for a charity involve lobbying activities.

    * The cost of entertaining others on behalf of a charity, such as wining and dining a potential large contributor — but the cost of the volunteer’s own entertainment or meal is not deductible.

    * If you use you RV you may deduct their actual unreimbursed expenses directly attributable to the services, such as gas and oil costs. Alternatively, they may deduct a flat $0.14 per mile for charitable use of their vehicle.

    * Volunteers can deduct the cost of a uniform worn when doing volunteer work for a charity, as long as the uniform has no general utility (e.g., a volunteer ambulance worker’s jumpsuit).

    Keep careful records of dates, figures, miles, then see your tax advisors.


    * The new UV sanitation wands are a plus for RV travelers and this one does a lot in without taking up much space. . With the wave of a wand you can sanitize wash done in the public laundry or the picnic table or the grocery bags you bring into the RV. This one uses four AA batteries, a plus for users who prefer batteries over the need to add yet another rechargeable  appliance.




    See Janet Groene’s camp and RV-tested recipes at  
Make your own, healthful snacks with Janet’s recipes seen at

Friday, October 23, 2020

RV Women: When Kids are On Board

blog copyright Janet Groene, all rights reserved. To contribute $5 a year as a voluntary subscription to this weekly blog use PayPal to pay to janetgroene at

Campground Trends
    In this new regular feature we report on rapidly changing trends in camping.

* Campground reservations are becoming so hard to get, some people set their alarms for midnight on the day the desired date opens. Advance times vary but are usually six months ahead.

* When you read campground reviews, the biggest complaint against a campground is “dirty restrooms.” The most frequent compliment is “sparkling clean restrooms”.

* Before you take a “dry” campsite, note generator rules and quiet hours. (They are usually listed on the website and/or handed to you on check-in). Generators are noisy and stinky. Loud music, firecrackers and other noise may or may not be regulated.


Kids on Board! 

Can Your RV
Be Safer for Little Ones?

    Keeping the smallest children safe in and around your RV involves the same, sensible rules you observe anywhere, but with a few exceptions. First, the RV is a vehicle, so kids need seat belts even when riding on the living room couch. Second, your RV has all the comforts of home but in different environments each time. Review fire drills and  escape routes often.

   Debra Smiley Holtzman, J.D., M.A. is a nationally recognized child safety expert and  the author of the popular child safety book, The Panic-Proof  Parent: Creating A Safe Lifestyle for Your Family When I asked her recommendations, here is what I learned.

     * Cover all unused electrical outlets, even those that aren’t “hot” when you’re not hooked up.

    * Check out the RV from a child's perspective. Crawl around on your hands and knees. Ask yourself what would look tempting to a toddler, and what’s within reach. Check floors and carpets for buried dangers like pins or coins.

    * Make sure child safety devices are properly installed and well maintained. Check them frequently. The use of a child safety device does not mean that the item is completely childproof. Proper supervision is always required, Holtzman says.. 

    * Review safety equipment including a first aid kit stocked for both adults and children, a  fire blanket, and fire extinguishers.

     * Use child resistant fencing or gates at strategic spots as necessary. Keep constant eye contact and close supervision. Hand over responsibility for the child just as naval officers hand over the watch. Sailors say aye-aye for good reason.  Give or receive a reply when you and other adults turn over responsibility for the child or communicate an important message. The saddest words on earth are, “But I thought she was with you.”

Have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms

   * Ms. Holtzman recommends latches and locks for drawers and cabinets. Beware of window blind cords and other types of dangling cords, ropes or strings. They can strangle kids

    * Keep  tools, batteries and machinery locked and out of the reach of
children. Lock up poisonous materials, all sharp objects and flammable materials
including matches, emergency flares, and lighters

    * Use a spill resistant mug and mug holders for hot beverages. Don’t hold  or carry a child while holding hot things.  Use the back burners on the stove and turn pot handles toward the back of the stove. Keep  appliance cords from dangling over the edge of counters where kids could grab them.

    * Set the RV’s hot water heater no higher than 120 degrees F. to reduce the chance of scalding.  Supervision at bath time is important for the child’s safety, and to prevent water waste.  If you use campground showers, be doubly careful about water temperatures. 

    * Install toilet locks. Unlike an adult, a child's weight is concentrated in the top half of the body. When they lean into a toilet bowl, they may lose their balance, fall forward and drown in as little as one inch of water.

    * If you carry a crib on board, make sure it meets current national safety standards and
has not be recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 800-638-2772 or 

    * If firearms are carried in the RV (where legal), keep them locked, unloaded and stored
out of reach. Secure ammunition in a separate, locked location. 

        See Janet Groene’s RV-ready recipes new each week at

Scroll down to see what you miss in previous posts.

RV Travel and Campground Reservations NOW

Blog copyright Janet Groene 2020, all rights reserved. To ask about advertising here email  janetgroene at   It's important to...