Episode 120: RV and Travel Lessons Learned

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On this weeks show my travel buddy and BFF Carol and I continue the conversation on lessons learned while on the road. In the 12 years since we began RVing we’ve traveled thousands of miles in every conceivable weather condition. Along the way we made a few mistakes, dodged a few bullets and had our confidence tested. We are sharing these experiences and those of our online community on the Girl Camper Podcast Facebook page, in the hopes that others might avoid our mistakes or at least know an appropriate course of action if they run into trouble.

Travel Day Lessons 

  • Be realistic about how long it will take to get somewhere when you are towing.
  • When traveling into the night without reservations, look ahead for campgrounds and check availability.
  • Don’t depend on the GPS alone. Always have paper maps.
  • Try to arrive at the campground before dark. If you arrive after dark, consider staying hooked up and setting up in the morning.
  • Fill or start looking for gas when the tank is half empty. Use IExit App to find gas stations. Remember that is sometimes harder to find diesel so don’t let tank go too low.
  • Always have cash with you. Sometimes you can’t use your credit card or don’t want to in unrecognized locations.
  • Have all of your Roadside Assistance numbers in your phone and your account numbers as well in case of emergency. Find out ahead of time if your Roadside Assistance plan will tow your RV and your tow vehicle.

Be realistic about the added time that towing adds to a GPS estimated arrival.

Weather Worries 

  • Be prepared to adjust your driving plans for bad weather
  • Change routes if necessary to avoid extreme weather
  • Pull over and wait out bad weather along the way
  • Delay departure if high winds or sever weather is called for
  • Have a weather alert App on your mobile device to warn about dangerous weather
  • NEVER drive through high water
  • Know where tornado shelters are in the campground before you need them

I was driving parallel to this fierce looking thunderstorm on my way to Buffalo, Wyoming.

Campground Booking  Lessons Learned 

Call the campground when booking rather than booking online.

Ask the campground employees:

  • What is the most requested site?
  • Are the sites level? Shady? Sunny?
  • How close am I to the access road with all the rigs coming in, bathroom, playground, pool?
  • What time is check out? Is late check out available? Is there a fee?
  • Full hook ups?
  • Read the online reviews

This campsite in the Tetons was thoroughly investigated before booking it and it did not disappoint.


Packing Tips 

  • Put extra t-shirts, towels, soft items in decorative zippered throw pillows and use them as decor while storing extra supplies.
  • A five gallon bucket can be used as a porta potty, foot stool, wash bucket, dry lock for fire starters, extra seat to name just a few.
  • Use a Dollar Store pack of shower caps to put on muddy shoes before storing them, as a cover for bowls and to cover the seat of your bike in the rain.
  • Have designated camping bins in the garage for grilling supplies, and campground gear so that you can load the trailer or tow vehicle quickly and not forget anything.
  • Use packing cubes, and ebags to keep cabinets organized.

Packing cubes and bins helped me stay organized in my trailer.

Tips From our Online Community

“Run water before attaching your hose and filter. I ruined a new water filter when mud ran through it. It also gets the earwigs out.” Liz Deck

“Always have headache medicine and sunglasses with you. Driving and squinting in the sun can give you a headache.” Sally Bauer

“Replace factory tires before you have to.” Lori Little Wolf

“Be willing to take a day off from driving even if you have an itinerary.” Karen Polansky

“If you dry camp and stay hitched, don’t leave your electrical hooked up to the tow vehicle. If you use all of your trailer battery it will pull from your tow vehicle battery and you will wake up to a dead tow vehicle.” Denise Webster Mahoney

“Go to Harbor Freight and buy solar rope lighting for $10. Charge them on your dashboard while driving and when you arrive at the campground lay them out around the drive in area so you can see your margins in the dark.” Debbie Hamm

Camco’s Curved levelers  are designed to level your travel trailer by raising it up to four inches. You wedge them under the tire that is lower and drive up onto them until the trailer is level. You then place the chock under the wedge to hold it in place. So easy! Camco’s curved levelers have fixed a few of the problems similar brands struggled with. They are made with a honeycomb design that will hold up to 30K pounds and prevents slipping. The chock has a built in handle and anti slip rubber grippers to hold in place. They are shorter than other levelers so if you have closely set tandem wheels they will fit without needing to be cut down. There’s a great Youtube video channel here!!