I have an item on my bucket list that is not shared by my husband, Mr. Excitement. I want to go on an RV (recreational vehicle) trip in the United States. In my mind’s eye, I picture slow travel, with no fixed itinerary. Consequently, I was very happy when fellow baby boomer travel writer, Carolina “Carol” Esguerra Colborn, agreed to share her 10 Commandments for RV cruising.
In her native Philippines, Carol made impressive use of her studies and degrees in math, accounting, and business in both the public and private sectors. She served as Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in the Philippines and held prominent positions in the information technology (IT) field. I’m guessing Carol didn’t imagine she would spend much of her “retirement” living the RV lifestyle, land cruising the United States, Canada, and Mexico, married to an American guy she met on line.
In 2008, Carol and her new husband, Bill, set out to land cruise America in their RV. They did so for some 8 years, finally settling into a home base in Phoenix, Arizona from which they travel the world. Carol has been blogging about her travel lifestyle with Bill since 2011. Her blog has matured with her and is now titled Carolina, Cruising Past 70. Carol also published a memoir, Carolina: Cruising the American Dream that is available for sale on Amazon.
Based on her years of land cruising experience, here are Carol’s 10 commandments for RV cruising:
10 Commandments for RV Cruising
1) Follow the sun; maximize the fun.
Commandment One is the most important. It is the main benefit of RVing! Because you can move in your RV, you don’t need to shiver in the cold nor blister in the sun. Spend summers in the North and during the winters, go South!
2) Plan and document your trips well.
Enjoying the places and activities is only one-third of the fun. Another third is planning and visualizing the fun. The last third is reliving the fun. Thus, plan and document well. Utilizing technology is a must.
3) Don’t move around too much.
Take advantage of your land cruise to do slow travel. Explore an area well before moving on. If you flit around too much, your fuel expense could become an impediment.
4) Stay healthy; build healthcare needs into your plan.
We learned this Commandment for RV cruising as a lifestyle, the hard way. If we were given the chance to do it all again, we would make sure we had some months a year with a regular family doctor.
5) Choose an RV (and dinghy) that meet basic needs, not wants.
Your RV must meet basic needs and be comfortable for long term RV land cruising, but because fuel is expensive, it also should be as small as possible. Miles Per Gallon (MPG) becomes especially important to RVers. We did not opt for a fifth wheel because they are towed by a pick-up truck, meaning low MPG. (Note from Suzanne: In this context, a “dinghy” is a vehicle towed behind an RV. It is usually not practical nor desirable to have to drive your RV around for sightseeing and shopping once you’ve set up in an RV campsite.)
6) Always travel light.
We learned to travel light when we had to go on business trips. In RVing, this is the Golden Rule. Remember, you have to move your home or hotel room around with you, so live with the barest minimum.
7) Become a member of a network.
You can reduce camping expenses if you join a network of campsites. If you camp a lot in a year, you can enjoy highly discounted rates if you are a member of a campground network. The task and uncertainty of looking for campgrounds is also eliminated.
8) Look for work or payback opportunities that blend with the RV lifestyle.
Many of those we met on the road work with seasonal job opportunities in different parts of the country. Amazon’s fulfillment centers and others offer such opportunities. For payback (volunteer) work, Habitat for Humanity has a Care-a-Vanners program that provides low cost or free campsites for RVers volunteering on their building projects. No experience is necessary. (Note from Suzanne: Some RVers are essentially “digital nomads“, supporting themselves or supplementing their income with on line work.)
9) Use nationwide services, but also buy locally.
When you have something to fix in your RV or dinghy, it is best to use nationwide chains that honor the quality of their service or product anywhere. Doing this is not contradictory to buying locally. For higher cost products and services, it is best to go with nationwide chains, but for simpler jobs and lower-value goods, it is an excellent practice to contribute to the local economy. Besides, flea and farmers’ markets sell the season’s best produce and the community’s best crafts at the lowest prices.
10) Stay connected to friends and family.
Don’t be afraid; use technology! The hardest part of the RVing life is being far from your loved ones. Technology helps to bridge the gap. And camping in their driveways is a neat thing to do! (Note from Suzanne: WhatsApp is an app I’ve found very useful for staying in touch, even (especially) when I or the other person is in a different country. It’s available for free for both android and I-Phones.)
I am bookmarking Carol’s 10 Commandments for RV Cruising. Who knows? Maybe one day, Mr. Excitement will be
nagged persuaded to join me in satisfying my RV cruising fantasy.