Today we are celebrating our 1 year nomadiversary! On July 15, 2017, we officially moved into our camper. We thought a special post was in order, and so we decided to post our list of top 10 things we’ve learned while traveling.
*Special Note: Jason has been working on this list for some time now. I asked him to give me his file of what he had written so far, and as I scrolled to the bottom I noticed his list included 41 items. No joke! I decided to group like items together. I think it’s safe to say, you can expect a few more “things we’ve learned” posts in the future! This post in particular includes a mix of tidbits we thought you’d enjoy ~ Hillary
#1 - Keep a Travel Log
“What day is it?” Keeping track of the day, date, and even time can be a real challenge when you are out and about enjoying nature. Even more challenging is keeping track of when you camped where.We highly recommend you keep a Travel Log. We have a small notebook where we keep track of this very helpful info – one page per month, we list the monthly dates down the side. On each date we write down where we were parked for that night– name of the park/area and the state. Many people like to track how many miles they travel in a day and from where to where they drove. That’s great – you can even keep a daily log of details if you want to. But this one page – one month spread – makes it easy for us to see where we’ve been in a particular time frame, very quickly. We also use it to calculate how many nights we pay for camping and how many nights are free at the end of each month.
#2 - Keep a Budget
If you don’t keep a budget while on the road, how do you know if it's saving you money, or how long you can stay on the road? We keep a detailed budget of items such as fuel, camping costs, food, household goods, medical, propane, entertainment, etc. We first started off doing this on paper by hand, but we have now switched to an excel spreadsheet. As you go along, your budget may need to be adjusted. We have adjusted ours several times, luckily the month totals haven’t changed, but the category budgets have.
#3 - Off Season Camping is now Part of Life
Being a full-timer means that you will be camping during the off-season. (In case you aren’t familiar with the terminology, the on-season is between Memorial Day and Labor Day) This has many benefits, and a few minuses. A benefit will be that the campgrounds are quiet…..if they are still open. Boondock spots that are popular during the summer will usually be empty. Many of the State and Federal campgrounds that are still open either have reduced rates, or no fees at all, however this usually means that there will be no trash services, and no water. If you want the full tourist experience with eateries and gift shops open on the corners, then off season camping may not be for you. If, however, you want to enjoy the beauty without tourist competition and don’t mind the cooler weather – then go for it!
#4 - Park Pricing
Pricing of campgrounds varies a bunch from state to state. We have found the best deals to be in New Mexico at $10/night, without electric, yet with great shower facilities. We have seen between $10-30+ in State Parks and National Parks. The further east you go, the more expensive it gets, and the harder it is to understand their sign-in process. If a State or National Park is using a contractor to run the park then you should expect higher rates at that facility.
#5 - Humidity
A trailer is a tight enclosed space with little venting. During cold nights in more humid areas, you should expect moisture inside of your unit. In order to combat the excessive moisture, you can open windows and run exhaust fans losing all your heat, or go with a dehumidifier that is sized for the space you are in. We learned quickly that Damp Rid and Damp-Ezz are only good for small spaces and eventually upgraded to a Frigidaire Dehumidifier that we highly recommend. It’s a large unit that does draw some power but works very well for our space and keeps our belongings from feeling damp.
#6 - You Need Multiple Heat Sources
On a cold night you don’t want to take the chance of your RVs furnace quitting on you, and leaving you out in the cold. We carry a Big Buddy heater that can be used off of disposable propane tanks, or a hose kit to hook to our larger tanks. We also have an electric heater that can be run off of our generator, or when we are plugged in to power at a campground. A furnace not only takes up propane but also battery juice, so a big buddy heater can also be needed if your battery bank is running low.
#7 - You Need to Clean Every Day
Living in a small space doesn’t allow for much clutter if you’re trying to keep your sanity. When you go from 2500 sq. ft. of house to 200 sq. ft. of RV, things get tight very quickly. To help with this, you will need to keep the clutter put away. No longer can you just let things sit on the counter for a week, or let the dishes pile up. The great thing is that it’s a small space, and only takes a small amount of time. At our old sticks and bricks house, it would take a good 30 minutes to vacuum the entire house. In our RV it takes a few minutes with our cordless vacuum. It is constant, especially with dogs, but it is quick. We also wipe down the shower after every use, this way it never gets any build up that requires scrubbing.
#8 - Pets are More Work
Dogs come with a little more maintenance while traveling. No longer can you just open the door and let them run into the back yard to do their thing. You will constantly be in new places, so where to take a squat for your pup won’t be second nature anymore. Bring a poo rake and shovel if you are planning on being in one spot for a while. As you travel they will need several walks during the day, because a “tired dog, is a happy dog”!!! We have also found many towns to have great dog parks, and friendly locals to chat with while playing with Fido. As challenging as it can be, we couldn’t imagine this adventure without them! Read our RVing with Big Dogs Series HERE
#9 - Other Critters will want to go for a Ride
If there is a way, then yes, rodents they will make their way in. We quickly discovered that our bumper-pull camper made it very easy for them to get in. The first night we heard it, we would have sworn there was a raccoon on the roof. You need to be very diligent in finding and fixing the easy spots for rodents and pests to get in. Spray foam insulation is what we used to fill a 1/2” gap left by the manufacture between the frame and the front of the trailer. In order to catch them we had to use traps. If you do let them go after catching them, make sure it’s over a 1/2 mile from your trailer or else they will find their way back.
#10 - Unplug
Unplugging is a beautiful thing. We get so caught up in today’s world of technology, that we forget to connect to the more important things in life. While we need cell signals and wifi to do our work online, we also need time away from it. There is nothing more rejuvenating that spending a few days disconnected!
We are now on INSTAGRAM!
*RV Like Midgley contains affiliate links with Amazon. An affiliate link simply means that if you click through and purchase (costs you nothing extra) We get a few pennies too. If you appreciate the information provided here, shopping through these links are a great way to help keep us creating and sharing. http://amzn.to/2ByqGT8
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hi, I’m Hillary! Wife and dog mama. I am a retired 6th grade teacher, but still seek to share and help others at Teach Like Midgley
I enjoy spending time with my pups and my husband. I have a passion for rescues, and would save more pups if I could. I enjoy books and I am a mustang enthusiast. Thanks for reading!