Friday, April 20, 2018

Get REAL About Motorhome and RV Travel

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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

Friday, March 30, 2018

Motorohome Travel and Found Money

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The RV Woman and

As a traveler, you have a special reason to wonder if you ever left money on the table. I don’t mean a lost wallet or the lottery ticket you bought at that last fuel stop three states back.  I’m talking about money that is YOURS for the asking.

Rainy day in the campground? You might turn it into a payday by checking a few sites on your computer or phone. 

Here are just a few scenarios:

* You once rented a campsite that had its own electric meter, and paid a deposit when you opened an account with the power company. It’s your money and  may even have accumulated interest. 

* While traveling in your RV, you took a temporary job in another state. You may be due a pay check, state income tax refund or refund on a pension plan. 

* You had mail forwarded to a temporary address. After it expired, your dividend check, refund or other check went back to the sender. It’s now in that state’s Unclaimed Assets fund. 

* You married, divorced or changed your name. You have a business name. 

* While traveling, you opened a small bank account or rented a safety deposit box for convenience, then forgot about it. 

* If you’re an heir, even to someone who has been dead for many years, check their names. While you’re at it, check in the names of your minor children too. 

* Did those “worthless” stocks come alive again and gain value?  

First, three important warnings.

 (1) Your right to the money may have expired. Lottery winners, for example, must claim their winnings before a certain date.  

(2) Some states have a deadline for Unclaimed Assets. After so many years,  the money goes to the state. 

(3) Crooks have found dozens of ways to scam this system.from stealing your name to stealing your identity.  If you get a letter or phone call claiming there is money waiting for you, don't give out any personal information just yet. Check to see if any money exists. If it does, it's not illegal for the finder to charge a fee but it’s easy and free to get the money on your own.

Begin with and/or Both are endorsed by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. Searches are free. Check under all addresses and names you have used including variations on your name such as using a middle name, middle initial or hyphenated name. If your name has an apopstrophe or accent mark, search with and without.  Search for income tax refunds that didn’t reach you and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp for pension payments you may have missed. 

Go to to check on unclaimed savings bond payments. If you have ever had life insurance, go to the insurance company’s website to see if any funds remain. 

Do you yearn for a full-time life of RV travel even though you aren’t yet retired? We did it for 10 years, earning a living along the way. Read  Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition (be sure get the latest edition, which covers jobs available in the Internet Age). It's available from

Friday, March 23, 2018

High Wages, RV Travel, Motorhome Life for Women

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Support Your RV Travel 
as a Medical Technician

Are you looking for a way out of your present lifestyle into a life of RV travel freedom?  With pay? 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall jobs for radiologic and MRI technologists will grow 13 percent between now and 2026. The median annual wage for MRI technologists was reported as $68.420 by the BLS  two years ago. Radiologic techs in general earn $57,450. 

I thought health care jobs were out of reach for free-roaming RV women because each state has its own licenses. Now Annie Evans, a certified radiologist, sets the record straight. If you want to practice your medical profession while traveling in an RV she says,  “ It’s possible to do both.”  

First, if you aren't already in the medical field, invest at least two years into getting the basic training and an Associate degree. The more experience you have, the better the jobs. At least a year of clinical experience is almost a must. If you invest in a bachelor’s degree,  prospects get even better and, of course, more benefits accrue with further studies.

Once you have your resume, contact a staffing company or recruitment agency that specializes in travel healthcare jobs . They include names such as or An agency will find assignments for you based on your qualifications and your travel preferences. Temporary assignments can last anywhere from 8 to 26 weeks. Working as a  contractor for the agency, your expenses for state licensing, housing, and travel are usually covered. The agency usually also provides health benefits.

What Medical Occupations? 

Healthcare occupations available as travel jobs include nursing, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, medical imaging, and others. You may work in hospitals, clinics, or other types of medical facilities that have  a temporary need for someone with your qualifications. I once heard from an RN who lived on cruise ships with his wife and two children, traveling the world while earning a living. 


In addition to the education and clinical experience In general, healthcare professionals who want to work travel jobs should be highly adaptable, because you’ll change work environments and job duties often.  You’ll also need to be a quick learner. when starting a new assignment you'll usually get only a day or two of orientation in the new environment. Request jobs in places you want to go. 


Traveling healthcare workers usually receive higher pay because positions are temporary. Pay varies depending on  your qualifications, the area and how desperate is the need for your skill set. Janet advises:   there may also be dry spells or long distances to travel between gigs, so keep a good reserve fund. 

Another benefit is that travel job agencies usually cover a number of costs such as travel, housing, and state licensing, along with health benefits and retirement plans. Finally is the fact that you can continue to work while traveling all over the U.S. You’ll have lots of adventures, meeting wonderful people and living in a variety of places along the way.

Careers range from hands-on patient care to desk jobs, from underling to CEO. The best book for finding your own path to a medical career is Hot Healthcare Careers. 

Janet Groene lived full-time on the go for ten years ashore and afloat. She describes the homeless life and how to hack it in Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition. Be sure to get the latest edition, which covers the new Internet economy and earning on you go. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Emergency Plan B for RV Women

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Alphabet Soup
The A.B.C.s of a 
Plan B for an R.V. 

Do you have an R.V. back-up plan?  No, this isn’t about driving in reverse.  It’s about all the little lifesavers that go with the unique form of travel in a complete home on wheels.           RV travel is unique because you provide your own vehicle, electricity, plumbing and pantry.  Here are just some of the ways to save the day by having an ace up your sleeve.

* Carry a small solar or hand-operated charger for the cell phone. You may be out of range but never out of juice. If you travel with a partner it’s a plus if you have cell phones from different companies. One may be in range when the other is not. 

* Bring cans and packages to make at least one or two complete meals for emergencies. Stuff happens. Good emergency rations include canned Boston brown bread, canned ham, corned beef, tuna in cans or pouches, crackers, canned or powdered milk, peanut butter and crackers.

*Flashlights galore. I love the little LED flashlights that are so bright, so compact and yet burn so long on a set of batteries. 

* Spare fan belts. You may not be able to install them but you’ll have the right sizes in case of a breakdown.  Small town garages can’t carry every size. 

         * A stash of cash or Traveler's Checks. (Yes they are still available). Also a supply of change for tolls, coin-up machines and the few pay phones that still exist (and may be there when you need one most). 

* CB radio is still handy on the highway. In areas where there is no cell phone signal, it can be a lifesaver.

  * An electric hot plate. I love my RV gas stove plus a campfire, An electric hot plate is added insurance. It takes up little space and it is a quick, easy cooker to use anywhere there’s an electric plug. Use it with any pan, skillet, coffee maker, corn popper, pressure cooker. 

* One or two books you always wanted to read. When you’re stranded somewhere with time to kill, a good book can carry you away. Crossword puzzles are also  boredom busters.

* A small mending kit, duct tape and WD-40 spray lube. If one of these three things won’t fix it, it probably can’t be fixed. 

* A personal locator beacon is the ultimate lifesaver. It's small enough to carry in one hand or wear, tuck in a pocket or keep within reach in the RV cockpit. Like locator beacons used in boats and airplanes, it sends a strong signal from anywhere including out to sea. It sends the signal  farther, stronger, longer than any cell phone. It broadcasts from places where cell phones cannot AND there is no monthly cost. 

Do you dream of taking to the open road for a new life of carefree travel in a self-contained RV? Do it now, not at retirement age. Work as you go. I full-time for ten years, making a living as a travel writer. Book Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, tells how. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

Turn Your RV into a Pop-Up Party

Copyright Janet Groene, all rights reserved. To donate $5 per year in support of this blog use your Paypal account to

Rustle Up an RV  Party 

I’ve always loved to entertain and make someone feel special. Despite the tiny space and limited resources, that goes for RV travel life too. A young couple in the campsite next door were driving a battered van conversion with foreign license plates. I asked them to dinner, eager to hear about their tour of the U.S. in an RV they brought from Europe. 

At such times I rummage through my compact “special occasion” supplies, searching for ways to hang a ruffle on a meal. It doesn’t take much space to keep them on hand. 

Here’s how to carry a lot of celebration supplies in a small space.
Fun with Color

Forget individual holiday themes. Instead go for solid colors that do double or triple duty.  Green goes with St. Patrick’s Day, Earth Day, Christmas and the Green Bay Packers game.  Red is for Christmas, 4th of July, Valentine’s Day and the fund raiser for the American Heart Association. Pastels are for springtime, babies and girlfriend get-togethers. 

Orange is for Halloween and harvest festivals White party goods are always a plus because you can add any color. 

I shop at post-holiday sales when party supplies sell for as much as 90% off.  The best buys are big, disposable tablecloths that can be used for a campsite table covering or cut into wrapping paper, place mats  or trims. A big, white, paper tablecloth can be dressed  up with motifs for any occasion, worn to a toga party or turned  into a ghost for Halloween. 

Here are more guest-able  ideas:

* Invest in a “you are special today” plate to serve the honoree. I love the iconic red pottery 'You Are Special Today” dinner plate that many families keep on hand, but they sell for about $50 . For only $15 I found this Melamine 10-inch “You are Special” dinner plate that is lighter and more practical to carry in the RV.  Use it often, not just for birthdays but for silly little occasions like a good day's fishing or Junior's  new Boy Scout badge. 

* Carry a string of plain white fairy lights. Use them all year in a dozen ways, a dozen places. 

* Buy a set of seasonal garden flags and unfurl a new one for every occasion. Fabric flags take up  little space. You can keep them under a seat cushion. 

* You don’t need special pans to bake special occasion cakes.  Cakes are baked in everyday round or square pans, then cut and decorated into the most clever shapes imaginable. See patterns at

* Other easy, temporary but festive decor can be achieved with spray-on snow, sidewalk chalk, crepe paper streamers, and water-washable poster paint. 

* Get an origami kit for a lifetime of  fun. Make colorful decorations for any occasion. Entertain children. Give token gifts. 

* DVD’s take up no room at all. Turn your RV’s television screen into a flickering fireplace in winter. In summer, play an aquarium or waterfall. Show Disney World   fireworks DVD   for Labor Day, 4th of July and Memorial Day.

It takes only two to make a party, one to be honored and one to do the honoring. And you can do it on a shoestring.