Friday, May 18, 2018

Coming Clean about Women and RV, Motorhome, Camper Travel

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Do you yearn to quit your job and travel in an RV before you get any older? Retire now, work as you go. We did. Book tells how. 

Talking Dirty

Note: No endorsement of any service or product is implied.  This information is provided to help you do your own research. 

When your RV is too high to reach and too dirty to ignore, it’s time to look at RV washing services and/or equipment for doing the job yourself.  
How to sort out the confusing array of services and price packages available?

                                          How to Choose an RV Car Wash

* Go to a specialist in washing RV’s. While a truck wash may be big enough for your RV there are differences. An RV specialist will know the best treatments for the roof, body, materials, slides, seals, trims. Different pricing may apply for various surfaces. (Aircraft aluminum campers, for example, require different, and usually more costly, care than a camper made with corrugated aluminum or painted steel.) 

* RV detailers often specialize in both  boats and RV’s and that’s a good thing. They are familiar with products  for steel, aluminum, painted surfaces, decals, plastics and fiberglass.

* Mobile RV wash service franchises are found in thousands of locations around the nation. One company is (www.),  (800) 601-0626. Just enter your zip code to find the nearest mobile car wash near you. You can also do a search for RV+Carwash+Name of Your City. 

* If the detailer comes to you, know what equipment they bring (ladder, pressure washer, wash and wax supplies, vacuum)  and what you must provide, such as water and electricity.  Your homeowner association,  landlord or zoning may not permit this work to be done on your property or campsite because of environmental concerns, water use or runoff.

* If it’s a drive-through truck wash, what about slides and the awning? 

* Areas that have a large number of RV travelers, such as Las Vegas and Orlando, may offer specials that include one or two free camping nights or coupons for a discounted meal.  Ask your campground host for a recommendation. 


Because so many services and products are available for so many types of RV’s it’s difficult to price shop unless you get very specific. 

     Generally, detailing is priced by the foot with options for regular wash, wash plus wax,  and  wash, wax and buff plus detailing the interior. Plan to spend about $7 per foot for washing a corrugated aluminum camper, $18 per foot for wash and wax, $34 per foot for wash, wax and buff. Because of the special polishes involved, the full treatment for an aircraft aluminum trailer (e.g. Airstream) may run $80 per foot or more. 

                                                           Do It Yourself

If you want to clean and maintain your RV’s exterior yourself, costs for equipment such as a pressure washer and materials can add up quickly. However, you can do a lot with a few basic items that can be stowed in the RV itself. This Carrand flow-through brush attaches to a hose, allowing you to wash and scrub gently all at the same time. The handle telescopes to 71 inches.  See it at   A smaller model telescopes to 55 inches. 

With a wide brush or mop you’ll want a rectangular bucket, 

     Inexpensive baby shampoo is ideal for basic washdowns. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Beating the High Price of RV Fuel

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Fuel for Thought

        Fuel prices are inching towards $4 a gallon and may already have passed  that in your area. 
It’s time to take another look at ways to save fuel money when driving your RV.

* The largest portion of your fuel dollar goes to state, county and federal fees and taxes. When you’re on a cross country trip, use an app such as Gas Buddy to check the next state’s fuel prices as you approach each border. It may pay to tank up before you leave one state, or wait until you’re in the next one.  

* Look at a map of your area and find all the camping parks, resorts and boondocking places available within 25 or 50 miles. There will be more sites, with a better variety of things to do there,  than you expect. Discover all the new close-to-home places where you can have a camping weekend. 

* Some experts recommend adding an extra fuel tank. The advantage is that you stop less often and can take a large load of fuel when you find a good price. With a big rig you might also qualify for bulk discounts.  On the minus side, it costs money to haul around this added weight.

* The old rule still applies. Keep the engine in tune and tires at optimum pressure. 

* New apps and GPS make it easy to plan the shortest route between waypoints. Interstates versus two-lane highways? The slow lane saves gas but means more stops and starts. 

* Free apps for finding the cheapest fuel in any area include, and mapquest fuel prices. 

* Pilot and Flying J fuel stations are popular with RV-ers for providing truck stop services such as large car wash, overnight parking, discount programs, showers and other conveniences. Sign up for the myRewards program. 

* Which credit card to use? That’s a huge puzzle and the scene changes constantly.  We all use cards for different reasons so it’s a personal decision. You might use one card to gain airline miles,  another for low interest rate, another for a cash back bonus.  Walmart’s credit card provides an easy discount at a large number of stops. Your card may offer up to 5% cashback at all times, but watch it. When the receipt says “Jiffy Food Store” it  may not be recognized as a fuel purchase. 

* As you travel keep an eye out for local practices and specials such as  supermarket chains that sell fuel, or will sometimes sell $50 fuel credit card for $40 when you spend  X dollars on groceries. 

The dollars you spend on RV travel are just part of the picture and they are dollars well spent. 

Do you yearn to quit your job and travel in an RV? It's possible to live on the go and earn a living too. We did it 10 years. Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Editions, covers full-time life on the go from making the decision to going back to "real life" if and when the time comes. Order the book here for yourself or a gift. It's available in paperback or Kindle.

Friday, May 4, 2018

RV Women Travel, Earn, Travel

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Join the Amazon CamperForce
copyright Janet Groene

Do you want to retire now, travel full-time in your RV and make a living along the way? Amazon Camperforce sounds too good to be true, but it’s real. 

Amazon courts RV campers for good reason. They need armies of workers, often only at peak periods. It’s almost impossible to fill those temporary jobs with local people or to provide housing for temporary workers. 

As an RV-er  you bring your own housing with you and, as a traveler,  you’re happy to move on when the contract ends. You are perfect for their needs and they for yours. 

What’s the downside? 
The work is hard. Physically hard. Hours are long and you’ll probably be standing, if not running,  for the whole 10-hour shift. Pressure is great to meet deadlines, quotas, standards. The campsite may be within walking distance of the work, or may be several  miles away. And they may not be the classiest campgrounds in town. 
The region where you want to work may not be hiring, or jobs there may not be available at the time of year you want to go.  You may have been a college professor or CEO before but here you’re just a cog in the monster machine. 

The upside?
The deal includes training, paid campsites, good wages with time and a half for overtime plus shift differential, a completion bonus when you stay until December 23rd, referral bonuses and a nice package of  insurances.  Best of all, you work to fill your nest egg, then move on. Depending on their spending habits many RV full-timers support a year of travel by working only four to six months of the year. 

(For more ideas on how to support yourself as an RV full-timer, including working  for yourself anywhere via the Internet, see my book Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition. Go to

To Qualify for Amazon
You must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and be fluent in English. That means speaking, reading and writing. Security is high. Workers pass a drug test and go through metal detectors when leaving and entering buildings. 

Things To Know or Do NOW
* Start the application process online as early as possible. You don’t have to be at the location to apply in person. After you apply you can check your application status online.  After you're accepted, some training is available online before you arrive. 
* Amazon CamperForce isn’t the only game in town. Many RV Workampers sign on with temp help agencies, work seasonally in campgrounds or resorts, house sit or find other creative ways to work on the go. Many theme parks including Walt Disney World seek workers who bring their own housing with them. 

CamperForce Campgrounds are found in:

New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina

Go to or 1-855-9-CAMPER

Friday, April 27, 2018

Campground Reservations Made Easy for RV Travelers

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Know your site before making a reservations deposit. Not all campsites are pull-through or even RV accessible. Some can be reached only on foot or from the water. Some accommodate only a tent or motorcycle. 

Everything You Need to Know
About Campground Reservations

Camping without reservations is a gamble and it’s a good bet you’ll lose, especially at the most popular parks on weekends and in peak season.

Now that Reserve America (  is one big,  convenient reservations center for camping on federal and state public lands, life is easier for RV travelers  

But that’s just part of the story. 

Whether it’s public or private park, RV travelers need to know all the rules, pitfalls and fine print that apply.

* Before committing to a reservation, make sure the site meets your requirements (length, width, hook-ups,  pull- through, patio slab,  pets permitted,  number of people allowed per site, etc.)  Some campsites can be reached only on foot or  from the water. 

* Some campgrounds operate only on a first come, first served basis. Others take reservations but keep some sites in reserve for first come, first served campers. Some campgrounds have overflow areas where an RV can be parked but may not have hookups.
* How far in advance can you get reservations? (Usually one year).  Seasoned campers who know the drill actually pounce on popular campgrounds at one minute past midnight on the first day reservations can be made. 

* Rates usually vary with the seasons. So do some of the rules. However dates for high, shoulder and off seasons vary greatly.  Check with each part. Georgia State Parks, for example,  have a one-night minimum stay Sunday through Thursday and two-night minimum Friday through Sunday all year. Campground cottages in the same parks have a two-night minimum off season and 5 or 7 night minimum in peak season.

* Public lands often have a maximum stay of, say, two weeks. Private campgrounds, by contrast, may offer yearly, seasonal and monthly rates at a  discount. If you have a campground membership, check its rules. 

* Cancellation policies vary greatly. Know how long a grace period you have, and what penalties apply if you cancel or change. . You may pay a fee or lose your whole deposit. 

* If you’re planning for a group get together, different seasonal  rates and minimums may apply for a cluster of sites or for reserving a pavilion or picnic shelter.

* Since campgrounds are usually in rural and wilderness areas, they may  have to close suddenly because of a forest fire, drought, flood or other hazard. Once you’re committed to a place and dates, visit the website to stay aware of conditions there. 

* Campgrounds covered by Reserve America are just the beginning. Do a search for Campground+RV+Name of City, Region or State to see the wealth of information that pops up. 

The good news.  In public lands alone, the National Park Service offers 29,000 campsites in 440 campgrounds in 401 national parks. The USA  has 7,800 state parks with more than 220,000 campsites. Canada has thousands of provisional park campsites. National Forests in the USA hold more than 4,000 campgrounds in 155 locations. 
Bureau of Land Management Recreation sites are found over almost 265 million areas while U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites hold thousands more campgrounds. Lastly,  National Wildlife Refuges permit camping  in some places where it won’t intrude on conservation. 

How much food is enough for an RV weekend in the woods for two people?  A week in the outback for four?  An emergency that delays your trip for three days? 

Janet Groene's newest book, Survival Food Handbook, is about planning provisions for camping, boating and home emergencies. Unlike other prepper books, this one calls only for familiar, affordable staples from the supermarket. 

Every recipe in the book can be made with foods that keep on your RV's pantry shelf for weeks. See the book here

Friday, April 20, 2018

Get REAL About Motorhome and RV Travel

Blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. To donate $5 per year in support of this blog use your Paypal account to janetgroene (at) Thank you. 

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Get REAL About
The RV Lifestyle
You’re at the showroom or RV show and just lost your heart to a motorhome, camper or travel trailer. It’s the right size, color, style, layout and the price? Well, it’s a stretch but the down payment is do-able and you think the monthly payments might work for you if you're careful.


Let’s get out a sharp pencil and crunch some numbers. Here are figures you can know ahead of time. 

Costs Up Front 
* Monthly payment for the RV itself and storage if you need it. 
* Insurance 
* License and personal property tax. You'll need a license right off the bat, but the tax bill may come out of the blue later in the year. 
* Membership in an RV association, such as FMCA, that has benefits including road assistance and discounts on essentials such as campgrounds and insurances.  

* Furnishings. You’ll need to add dishes, pots and pans, bedding, sheets and towels for living and there will probably be RV accessories you want to add such as an awning, tire covers, patio rug, folding bicycles, ad inf. 

Costs That Depend on Usage
* Campground fees (can vary from free to $100 or more a night)
* Parking at some attractions such as theme parks or city lots near museums, etc. 
* Eating out (but you don’t have to)
* Fuel, oil, tolls, propane, truck wash
* If you’re wise you’ll start a fund for costs that will come due eventually such as tires, warranty renewal, repairs, replacements
* Satellite TV and Internet unless you’re prepared to be in some areas with no reception

The above costs apply to all RV owners. The list grows longer if you plan to live on board full-time. But that’s for another day.

Bottom line: The down payment and monthly mortgage are just the start, not the end of the cost of owning and loving an RV. And love it you will, if only you make the right decisions in that showroom. 

Warning: Buy a trusted, established brand from a trusted, established dealer who is known to stand behind its customers. That means the place and personnel to deal with any problems that arise under warranty. Otherwise your RV could spend the camping season in the shop, not in the campground. 
        RV’s are NOT covered by the so-called Lemon Law in all states. You’re buying not just one item but components that include a chassis, living quarters,  furnishings and appliances, plumbing and wiring, drive train, engine and so on, all made by different makers with different warranties. 

I’ll see you down the road. Janet Groene

Do you long to live full-time on the go? We did it for 10 years, earning a living along the way. The book makes you think, asks questions, suggests options

Friday, April 13, 2018

Pet Travel for RV, Camper, Motorhome Travelers

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Pets on Board
For many women, the most important RV travel companion is a snuggly cat (that doubles as a mouser) or a dog that also serves as a burglar alarm and body guard. If you love your pet it’s a heavy responsibility to keep it safe and healthy on the go and also keep it from annoying campground neighbors.

A beloved pet needs food, water, exercise and shots. In the campground it must play by the rules and also be protected against natural hazards such as snakes, poisonous plants, wild animals and other pets that may have broken loose. (I once had a scare when a campground  neighbor’s dog got loose and  tried to get at Gypsy through the RV's screen door.) 

For both you and your pet there are new challenges each time you move on. Every stop opens the door on different scenes, sights and sniffs. It must be confusing.

Your pet probably wants to be outdoors with you when you’re working or relaxing around the campsite. You could tie it to a stake (here’s one made by Coleman  Or use some type of enclosure.

The enclosure must be tall enough, large enough and strong enough for the pet, which can make for a very large and heavy fence to carry in an RV. Compromises must be made. 

Here’s where the Kritter Kondo comes in. Lisa Illman is a “litten smitten” cat lover who invented the Kritter Kondo line of folding outdoor enclosures for pets. They come in many sizes and colors and they fold up to stow for travel. They weigh only 21 to 33 pounds. Various configurations are available. Accessories include sunshades to cover all or part of the top of the enclosure.  See the Kritter Kondo here.

Kitter Condo sizes are best for cats and smaller dogs, which can rest or play inside. It’s no substitute for exercise  I wouldn’t let any pet outside alone, even in an enclosure. Other pets or wild creatures could be a danger and, with a soft enclosure, there is always the chance your pet would chew its way out.

The Kritter Kondo is light to carry and handle, attractive, a snap to put up and stow in its own carrying case,  and an excellent value that should last for years. 

Two other products go everywhere with us.  Gypsy immediately took to drinking out of this stainless steel water carrier when we are on a hike. I also keep this spill-proof water bowl filled for her in the RV at all times.

For her safety and mine, I also put her in a seat belt underway. She hates it but soon settles down and snoozes. We stop often, at least every 60 to 90 minutes, which is also good for me as well as for her. Doggie seat belt, 

Note: While this image shows a restrained pet in the passenger seat,  pets should not sit there underway. If an air bag deploys, the pet could be killed.

Everyone is devouring my book Survival Food Handbook. It covers food prepping for camping, RV travel, a vacation home and home emergencies, using familiar, affordable supermarket staples. See lists, how-to’s, tips on provisioning for the long haul, cooking without an oven, preserving foods, water supply and cleaning up after a flood or fire.  See it at

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Friday, April 6, 2018

Decisions, Decisions for RV, Motorhome Travel

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Recreation Vehicle: A motorhome, camper or travel trailer that has cooking, sleeping and bathroom facilities. 

RV Decisions, Decisions

When you have an RV you have a complete home anywhere highways hie and roads ramble. You’re as rich as those old-time moguls who had a private rail car or yacht. You’re more comfortable than hotel travelers because you sleep in your own bed and, when you feel like it, cook your own meals your own way. And you don’t have to pack and unpack to visit each new place.

Having a motorhome, travel trailer or camper means you have choices. However,  some of them aren’t as easy as you think. Here are some to ponder. 

Should you...

Rent your parked RV through AirBB?

Pro: The income can be good and even spectacular in some instances, such as during a  hotel crunch when your city is hosting the big game or convention.  

Con: In addition to the obvious considerations of liability and stranger danger, renting your RV to people who aren’t familiar with RV’s could cause extra wear and tear, not to mention expensive plumbing and electrical damage.  

Rent Your Motorhome to Others for Travel?

See above and multiply by 10. It could also void your insurance coverage. 

Buy a Used RV?

Pro: Save a ton of money. Get little extras the former owner added. 

Con: You may inherit a world of woe, even if you have the best inspection done by the best inspector. Do you get warranties or has the paperwork been lost? Is the unit coming due for some inspection, recall or update based on mileage or a calendar date? It’s possible to get a loan for a used rig, but terms might not be as good. Is the manufacturer still in business or the RV an orphan? 

Change out carpeting for laminate?

Pro:  Early RV’s had linoleum floors. Then carpeting came into vogue. For now, wood and laminate flooring are trendy. Cost may be higher or less. 
Con: Hard surfaces are more slippery than carpet and  make for a noisier ride. If you fall or drop something, the landing can be nastier. Hard floors are less forgiving about scars and scrapes and, like carpeting, are subject to sun fading, stains and damage such as burns. 

Get a bigger RV? 

Pro:  More space, more comforts, more likely to take longer trips more often. Insurance may be more or less depending on other factors.  
Con: More to park, clean, fuel, more to handle on the highway. More axles mean higher tolls. Higher storage costs.

Buy a Fixer Upper RV?

Pro: Cheap to buy. While rehabbing, you get to choose the colors amenities, qualities you want. Possible profit if you flip it.
Con: Usually costs more money and time than expected, so you could lose money.  May be difficult to insure. When you’re rehabbing an RV you aren’t traveling. This is home improvement, not RVing.  

Do you yearn to travel full-time in an RV and want to do it NOW?

Not just retirees but many younger couples and singles are doing just that, making a living and raising kids along the way. Buy the book that tells how from A to Z.  Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition is a Guide to the Full-time Life on Wheels