Wednesday

10 Tips for Taking to the Open Road

More and more Hidden Valley RV is seeing a trend toward a full time RV lifestyle. Whether it's an "on the go" couple traveling the country with the goal of seeing at least some of each state, people whose jobs keep them away from their permanent state of residence, families who home school children and use the RV lifestyle as a series of 'field trips,' or those who just love their RV and have taken to the freedom it allows. Some sell their houses, lock stock and barrel, others leave homes in care of family or friends or renters, if they're really adventurous.

Having spent several years on the road, staying some places a few nights, others a few weeks others for a season and some for a couple yrs., here are some things I've discovered are important things to consider:

1. Having an RV that is well-suited for full-time use. Before you can embark on such an adventure, you have to start with your rig. Does your RV have enough room for you to comfortably live for an extended period of time? Is it in good repair? Is it durable enough to be used on a daily, ongoing, basis? Is it new enough so that pickier RV parks will let you stay?

2. Are you familiar enough with the RV lifestyle that you will feel comfortable with your ever-changing scenery? Do you have the temperament, skills and/or financial resources to deal with constant change and the possibilities of breakdowns in unfamiliar places?

3. Do you have a source of income? If not, do you have some reserves? Although there are organizations such as Workamper News that can help travelers find work, it’s best if you have some cash reserves on hand in the event that you don’t find a job right away. Computers and eBay have given many a very mobile lifestyle choice. At Hidden Valley we hire the talents of many of our residents, long and short term. It usually works out well for both us and our visitors. A few creative examples I've recently seen are: A local RV couple have just opened up a new business doing RV service and repair and others offer, with park permission and arrangements for water use, an RV washing service.

4. Do you have a plan for receiving your mail? Do you have friends or family who can forward your mail, or will you use a mail forwarding service? Although switching the majority of your bills to online bill pay will be helpful in reducing the amount of mail you receive, it won’t eliminate everything and you’ll need to plan for it. For example, at Hidden Valley we allow your mail to be forwarded even in advance of your arrival. This can be very helpful if your stay is short and you won't be able to extend your stay to wait for slow mail.

5. Are you banking with a national bank that has branches in the areas where you will be traveling? If not, how will you handle your banking needs? Computer?

6. What will you do with all your stuff? RVs are often short on space, and you’ll need to get rid of, or store things like furniture, collectibles and other personal property that can’t go on the road with you. If you choose to store your goods, make sure you choose a storage facility wisely, purchase insurance, and pack your stuff carefully so it’s not damaged while you are away.

7. If you have kids, have you worked out the details for their education? Charter schools often lend themselves well to home study and distance learning, so you can leave children in their current school when you decide to hit the road. If your kids go to a more traditional school, you’ll need to work out other arrangements like computer or even snail mail home schooling. Some confident parents develop their own curriculum and use the road very effectively as a learning tool. Have you made arrangements for any pets traveling with you? This includes medical records, medicines and travel supplies for kitty and/or pup.

8. Is your computer, preferably a laptop, set up for wireless and/or can you use your cell phone to access the internet?

To some this may not be important but to others is as important as a cell phone. For those who travel or those who live full time in their RV it can make life much easier: reservations for your next destination or at least researching it, maps, homeschooling, yellow pages, banking, paying bills, ordering supplies or other needs and an unlimited source of info at your fingertips.

9. Vehicle registration/Insurance. Since your home is where you park, you can register/insure your vehicle/s in the state of your choice. Some states are much more reasonable than others. Do some research and math before you buy a new vehicle or register one.

10. Are you leaving yourself an escape plan? Have you considered what you will do if you really don’t like RV life? Don’t be a in a rush to sell your home and all your household goods if you aren’t sure that you’ll be completely happy with your decision. Although most full-time RVers are very happy with their nomadic or not so nomadic lifestyle, not everyone enjoys it forever. Make sure that you don’t make irrevocable decisions too quickly.

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