10 Ways to Stay Safe and Healthy on a U.S. Road Trip

by: Bree Weidman

If you’re planning an RV-style road trip across the United States, you’ve probably got one thing on your mind- adventure! From the endless deserts and painted skies of the “Wild West” to the coastal plains and rolling seas of the Eastern Seaboard, the U.S. has plenty to offer international visitors.

To help you prepare for your trip, we’ve taken into account both U.S. culture and the rules of the road to devise these 10 health and safety tips:

  1. Don’t advertise yourself as a tourist

When you look like you don’t know where you’re going (or if it’s clear you’re “not from around here”), thieves are more likely to view you as an easy target. Keep the road maps in your car out of plain sight, recommends RoadTripAmerica, and “if your vehicle is laden with luggage, park where you can see it from a restaurant or store.”

Don’t want to dress like a tourist? Learn all about American clothing and style with this free guide.

  1. Make frequent stops

Every few hours, pull over and take a break- even if you don’t think you’re sleepy. Use this time to stretch your legs, revel in the fresh air, and get some nourishment. But don’t park on the shoulder or in the breakdown lane unless you have an emergency, says Independent Traveler.

If you’re traveling in a group, rotating drivers will allow you to nap without wasting valuable time. And if you’re traveling solo, the site recommends listening to music, cracking your window, and refraining from using speed control, since concentrating can help keep you awake. If you’re too tired to drive, certainly pull over for a nap!

  1. Understand distracted-driving laws

Hopefully you already know not to drink and drive (and to always wear your seatbelt). But did you know that using a hand-held cell phone while driving is against primary enforcement law in 14 U.S. states? This means you can be cited even without committing an additional traffic offense.

The U.S. has primary enforcement laws regarding the use of seatbelts, too. For additional info on seatbelt laws, DUI laws, and more, check out this Guide to U.S. Culture and Customs. 

  1. Have an emergency plan in place before severe weather hits

Upon arriving in a new location, take time to devise an emergency plan, suggest Jason and Kristin Snow of Snowmads.com. Be sure to find the nearest storm shelter and evacuation spots- especially in areas prone to floods, hurricanes, or tornadoes.

The “snowmads” also recommend that you react quickly to severe weather threats, value your life (and the lives of law enforcement) above the welfare of your possessions, and gather “the most up-to-date weather data available.”

  1. Prepare your vehicle for long-distance travel

Like cars, RV’s need to be properly serviced and maintained. According to Camping World, oil and filters should be changed at regular intervals, roof seals and seams should be inspected every 6 months, and tire pressure and lug nuts should be inspected before every trip. Before jetting off on your vacation, check with your RV rental company to see what your responsibilities are.

  1. Pack an emergency kit

No traveler really wants to consider the possibility of becoming stranded on the side of the road, but emergencies happen- especially on long-term trips. Having these 6 things in your emergency kit can save you a world of trouble.

  1. Invest in physical maps – and a guidebook

While it’s a good idea to load your smartphone with travel apps (Google Maps, GasBuddy, and iExit will all come in handy), there’s still a chance you’ll run into spotty cell service in the U.S. For those times you can’t get a signal, a fold-out atlas is ideal.

A Dangerous Business travel blog recommends a Rand McNally road atlas and a book like The Next Exit, a complete guide to interstate highway amenities.

  1. Get international travel health insurance

Did you know that a broken leg can cost up to $7,500 to fix in the United States? Before departing your home country, it’s your responsibility as an international traveler to find out whether your standard medical insurance policy covers you outside your home country.

If it doesn’t (and many do not), an international travel medical plan can provide coverage for eligible expenses resulting from unexpected illness or injury. Not only do these plans provide financial protection and access to quality medical care, but some plans include benefits like Medical Evacuation, Natural Disaster, and Personal Liability.

  1. Read up on social etiquette

There’s more to feeling safe and secure on a road trip than simply avoiding injury. In addition to prepping your vehicle for travel, following traffic laws, and acquiring insurance, be sure to read up on social etiquette in the U.S. By understanding behavioral norms, you can bypass uncomfortable (or, in worst-case scenarios, threatening) situations.

This Guide to U.S. Culture and Customs has everything you need to know- from general manners, acceptable gestures, and welcome topics of conversation to dining etiquette and tipping guidelines!

  1. Keep your valuables safe

Get in the habit of locking your RV each time you head out, no matter how safe a campground appears. Lock valuables in either the glove compartment or trunk before you reach your destination, suggests Independent Traveler. If possible, luggage should be stored in the trunk.

Kampgrounds of America recommends also keeping your shades closed and purchasing devices to protect your vehicle while you’re gone, like a safe, trailer-hitch lock, or motion detector.

If you thought these tips were helpful, find these and many more in this free, downloadable Guide to U.S. Culture and Customs! Following these tips and tricks will result in a seamless cultural transition- no matter where you choose to stop along the way. 

Bree Weidman is a Marketing Specialist for Tokio Marine HCC – MIS Group, a full-service insurance organization offering domestic short term and travel medical insurance products to international travelers worldwide.  Though she’s been writing her entire life, Bree has been a contributing author of the MIS Group blog for about a year now, covering topics paramount to global adventurers: health, safety, culture, and insurance, to name a few. When Bree isn’t writing, you’ll likely find her daydreaming about her next international vacation!

Posted in RV Travel Tips, USA travel, Vacation Planning, vacation tips | Leave a comment

Rent an RV Guest House for the Holidays

Are friends and family coming in for the holidays and your house is full to the rafters? Instead of reserving hotel rooms for your visitors, why not rent an RV as your holiday guest house?

El Monte RV Premier Motor Home Rental 2014 Model

El Monte RV Premier Interior View of a Motorhome

Keep reading to learn why an RV rental is the perfect way to open your home to more visitors this holiday season.

  • RV Styles for Every ‘Guest House’ Need: With so many styles of motor homes to choose from, every holiday host can offer comfortable accommodations. From top-of-the-line ‘bus style’ Class A units to roomy cabover Class C motorhomes with convenient slide-outs, there’s an RV to accommodate your overflow housing needs. Whether it’s the newlywed cousins or a family of six coming to stay, there’s a style of motorhome to meet your needs.
  • RV Comfort to Pamper Your Guests: Offer your holiday season guests the luxury and comfort of today’s RVs. Separate bedrooms, modern kitchens for preparing midnight snacks and an amazing amount of storage keep holiday visitors comfortable without paying for pricey hotel rooms. Tips for even more holiday fun: use the extra space to organize late night card games, a grown-up girls’ slumber party or football night in the RV man cave!IMG_3856
  • RV Guest House Privacy and Convenience: Too many guests in one house can spell trouble over the holidays! Even the closest of friends or families can get on each other’s nerves when squeezed into cramped quarters. Let your guests enjoy the convenience of separate space in your “RV guest house”. For guests who need their privacy, even on a holiday trip, your guest house on wheels will become a favorite hideaway. No better way to keep your visitors jolly!
  • RV Holiday Rentals are Affordable:   All that comfort and they’re affordable, too! RV rentals, especially when you take advantage of special holiday rates, beat the price of hotel rooms hands-down. Check out rental pricing for a motor home that sleeps your number of extra guests comfortably and then compare it to local holiday hotel rates for the same number of guests. Amazing, isn’t it, how affordable RV accommodations can be? Factor in the convenience, comfort and flexibility of renting motorhome guest quarters and you’ll be booking a rental RV for every holiday!   Picture of Holly
  • Renting an RV for the Holidays is Easy: With convenient El Monte RV Rental locations across America, finding and renting the perfect RV guest accommodations is easy. Just let us know how many guests will be sleeping in the motorhome, how many nights you’ll need the extra space and when you’ll need to pick up the motorhome. Our helpful staff at every location will help you select just the right RV and check that holiday task off your list.Why send extra guests away to hotels when an RV guest house keeps them close to the holiday fun? Give your holiday visitors a special treat this year—the privacy, comfort and convenience of guest quarters just steps from your front door. Your home might just become their favorite holiday destination!
  • Santa's One RV Open Sleigh Saves the Day!

    Santa’s One RV Open Sleigh Saves the Day!

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Create an RV Camping Classroom for the Kids!

Smart families start planning their spring RV camping trips early to get the best reservations and discounts. There’s another reason to plan early for your next camping vacation with the kids—you’ll have time to create a fun ‘RV camping classroom’ to keep them entertained, educated and challenged as you travel.

Family Fun in an El Monte RV

Family Fun in an El Monte RV!

We’ve got lots of ideas for teaching young campers as you travel—and they won’t even mind the homework!

RV Camping Classroom Ideas

  • Catch the Camping Bug:  Bring along a magnifying glass (or load a magnifying app on your cell phone) and plastic containers with lids and go on an insect safari. Have youngsters look up ahead of time what kinds of bugs live where you’ll be camping. Give a small prize (gummy bugs?) for each kind they find, and ask them  to write about, draw or make up a story about the insects they catch. Tip: Accompany younger kids to avoid insect bites!
  • Create a Colorful Campground: When it’s time to take a break from swimming, hiking and other outdoor activities, set up watercolors and sturdy paper on the picnic table. Encourage young artists to interpret nature on paper, and take along fishing line and bag clips to make a campground art gallery.
  • Vacation Memories in a Box: Another artistic way to encourage campground learning is to bring a shoebox for each child, along with a collection of art supplies. Have each young artist create a diorama that represents their favorite memories of the trip—natural wonders, campground antics, animals in the wild—you may be surprised by what they want to remember! Pack their creations carefully to display back home.
  • Camping Finance Challenge: RV camping makes vacations affordable, but do the kids know what it costs to take your trips? Give each child a ledger (paper or app) where they can record expenses along the way (here’s a great sample ledger.) Give them a head start by taking them shopping for camping trip groceries and supplies. Point out where to see the cost of gas on a pump and how to figure tips at roadside cafes. Up the ante by giving each child a budget for their own camping expenses like souvenirs and snacks. Award the best budget hound for keeping accurate track of the most expenses.
  • Look to the Skies! One of the things we love most about camping in the great outdoors is the ability to see stars and constellations invisible in the city. Teach your kids about the heavens by taking along a telescope, using a helpful astronomy app like Pocket Universe or just laying on a blanket and looking up. There are lots of ways to expand this RV classroom exercise—draw, paint or sculpt what they see in the sky, write a story about space travel or challenge them to make up their own planets, complete with occupants!
  • Animal Arithmetic: Create a simple set of miniature playing cards on paper, with a photo or picture of common birds or animals on each and a numeric value assigned. Have the youngsters cut them out and put a set for each of them in envelopes. As you travel and camp, instruct them to watch for those birds and animals, look them up on their cards and track the numeric value on the outside of their envelopes. Decide how much you’ll let them score for spotting unusual species. On the last day of your RV camping vacation, have them add their totals and award a prize to the child with the highest score.
  • Camp Captain: Teach your children leadership skills on vacation by telling them ahead of time they’ll be in charge of one family activity.
  • Assign them a campground meal to plan and enlist others to help them cook.
  • Let them decide what hiking trail the family will take and then ask them to plan how long it should take and what they’ll need to take along (water, snacks, sunscreen, first aid kit, etc.).
  • If you’re camping near historical sites, have them choose one as a day trip and then prepare a preview for the family.

Any kind of activity families can do while camping can be turned into a fun and educational experience. Remember to allow young campers to do things to their own ability and don’t expect perfection—you’re on vacation, after all!

Let us know what types of RV camping classroom ideas you’ve tried while traveling with the kids. Share your epic successes (and your funny failures) below so other camping families can learn from your experience. And don’t forget to let us know if you need help planning an RV rental

Photo Credit:  An El Monte RV customer photo, permission granted.

Posted in educational trips, Family RV vacations, family trips, family vacations, Motor Home Camping, Motor home vacation blog, Motorhome Camping, RV blog, RV Camping, RV Camping Resources, RV Rental, RV Rentals, RV Road Trip, RV Sales, RV Travel Tips, RV Vacation Ideas, RVing with kids, Vacation Planning | Tagged | Leave a comment

Five Day Trips to Take While RV Camping in Tucson

Are you looking for new ways to enjoy the great outdoors while RV camping in Arizona?  Why not try Tucson, home to year-round campgrounds and some of the prettiest desert scenery around?

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park

To spark your imagination, we’ve collected helpful tips on five day trips you’ll want to take while in Tucson.  Let’s start our tour by saying that the weather in Tucson is fabulous for a winter holiday vacation.  With highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s, it’s perfect for hiking, biking and sightseeing to your heart’s content.

And that’s a good thing, because our first day trip suggestion is to Saguaro National Park, a hiking and biking paradise divided by the city of Tucson.  Photograph the giant saguaro cacti in the Tucson Mountain District to the west or take one of the Rincon Mountain District’s scenic drives or trails to the east of the city.  Either way (or both!) it’s going to be a memorable experience.

There’s no camping in the National Park, which closes to motor vehicle traffic at sunset, but there’s plenty of camping nearby.  Campgrounds such as Desert Trails RV Park, Prince of Tucson RV Park and Whispering Palms RV Park help keep RV camping in Tucson pleasant and affordable.

The second day trip suggestion we’d like to make for Tucson visitors is a picnic/hiking day at Agua Caliente Park.  Once a warms springs resort and ranch, this lovely spot offers palm tree-lined trails around the springs, as well as historical ranch structures to explore.

Your third day in Tucson wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Sabino Canyon in the vast Coronado National Forest.  Less than thirty minutes from downtown Tucson, this hauntingly beautiful setting can be seen by tram or on one of the many trails.

Day four on your RV camping trip to Tucson can be spent indoors, if you’d like, at one or more of Tucson’s excellent museums.  The Pima Air & Space Museum is the largest privately funded aerospace museum in America, so plan lots of time to take in acres of aircraft and educational exhibits.  Another great choice for a day indoors is the International Wildlife Museum, where hundreds of species have been preserved for study and enjoyment (great day trip for the kids!)

Pima Air and Space Museum

Pima Air and Space Museum

On Day Five, let’s take a quick road trip about an hour south of Tucson to Kartchner Caverns State Park.  Pack a picnic lunch in that convenient RV kitchen and then head underground for one of the tours through these caves’ most spectacular rooms.  It’s southern Arizona from a whole new perspective!

These are just five of the ways travelers to Tucson can amuse themselves on a camping trip.  Take the bikes, hiking gear and cameras and take full advantage of the natural beauty in and around this exciting Arizona city.

We’re happy to help with an Arizona RV rental, so be sure to give us a call as you make your plan.  The comfort of an RV, combined with hundreds of ways to have outdoor fun in the Tucson area, make RV camping in Tucson the way to go this winter.

What are you favorite day trips when camping near Tucson?  Let your fellow readers know by commenting on this post.

El Monte RV

El Monte RV Rentals and Sales

For more information on renting or buying a motor home CLICK HERE! or call 1-888-337-2208

Photo credits: Saguaro National Park by Jimmy Thomas ; Pima Air and Space Museum by Clemens Vasters; all are licensed under Flickr Commons

Posted in AR RV Camping, AR RV Vacation, Arizona hiking trips, Arizona motorhome trips, Arizona motorhome vacations, Aviation vacation, AZ RV Camping, AZ RV Vacation, City Fun and Outdoor Adventure RV Vacation, Cost effective RV Vacation, Desert vacations, Family RV vacations, family trips, family vacations, Motor Home Camping, Motor home vacation blog, motor home winter vacations, National Parks, National Scenic Byways, Native American History, Nature travel, Nature/Sightseeing vacation, North American RV Vacation, Pet Friendly Vacation, Recreational Vehicle, Rural RVing, RV, RV destination, RV Destinations blog, RV Rental, RV Rentals, RV Sales, RV trail hiking trips, RV Travel Tips, RV Vacation Ideas, United States RV Vacation, USA travel, Winter Fun, Year-Round RV Parks | Leave a comment

RV Adventure to Cumberland Island National Seashore

Georgia’s Atlantic Coast can be your RV camping playground year-round.  One of the best places to experience the wild beauty and unspoiled nature of the area is with a visit to Cumberland Island National Seashore.

Cumberland Island Shoreline

Head out on this inviting boardwalk to the Cumberland Island shoreline!

As Georgia’s largest barrier island, this paradise is just two hours north of the El Monte RV Rental location in Orlando, Florida.  With fifty miles of hiking trails, an amazing collection of wildlife and a wide range of historical sites to discover, isn’t it time you took a trip to Georgia’s island treasure?

We’ve put together a guide for RV travelers planning to visit Cumberland Island, with answers to your most frequent questions.

Where Can We Camp Near Cumberland Island National Seashore?

The National Seashore itself is undeveloped, with no paved roads and access only by the Cumberland ferry system.  Plan to camp nearby and take advantage of the ferry for an authentic wilderness experience.

Here are some suggestions for RV parks near Cumberland Island:

Crooked River State Park, located in St. Mary’s, GA, is just seven miles from the Cumberland Island Ferry landing.  It features campsites with electricity in a beautiful setting worth discovering after your day on the National Seashore.

Fort Clinch State Park in Fernandina Beach, FL, is right across the Cumberland Sound from St. Mary’s GA.  Enjoy their full-service campsites in a scenic setting, with quick access to the Cumberland Ferry.

A Big Wheel RV Park adjacent to Crooked River State Park is a privately run campground that receives rave reviews.  It accommodates any size RV!

Incredible Path on Cumberland Island

Incredible Path on Cumberland Island

How Should We Prepare for our RV Camping Trip?

Glad to hear you’re the kind of RV camping enthusiast who plans ahead!  It’s especially important, when visiting a natural, undeveloped setting, to know what to expect.  Here are some things to consider when making your plans:

    • You can only reach the Island by ferry (passengers only, no vehicles) so be sure to make reservations in advance.
    • Only 300 people are allowed on the island each day.
    • Ferry passengers not on dock at least 30 minutes ahead of departure lose their reservations, so arrive early!
    • Pets are not allowed on the ferry.
    • If you’d like to rent a bike to travel around the island, be sure to tell the ferry concessionaire when you call.
    • There are no services on the Island other than water to refill bottles.  Bring your own food, water and normal hiking necessities like hats, sunscreen and insect repellant.
    • Take along a trash bag, as this wilderness island has a ‘pack in, pack out’ policy for all visitors.
    • If you plan to fish while visiting Cumberland Island, purchase a Georgia fishing license and make sure you have the required Saltwater Informational Program Permit attached.

What Kind of Weather Can We Expect? 

Like any well-prepared RV adventurer, you’ll want to know what kind of weather to expect when you go.  The weather in November at Cumberland Island National Seashore is magnificent, with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s.  Even in December, expect to enjoy 60 degree weather, with nighttime temps in the high 40s.

Wild Horse on Cumberland Island Coast

Wild Horse on Cumberland Island Coast

What Will We See on Cumberland Island?

History!  The Island was once mostly owned by the Carnegie family, and the ruins of their mansion, Dungeness, are just one part of its historic appeal.  Reserve a seat before you come on one of the Lands and Legacies Van Tours if you’d like to learn about the Native Americans who once inhabited the island, the large slave population who built the First African Baptist Church and, of course, the Carnegies and their opulent island lifestyle.  If you’re up to a lengthy hike or ride through variable terrain, you can also travel to these sites on foot or by bicycle.

Nature! Not only has the Atlantic formed a sixteen-mile stretch of perfect beach for you to explore, you’ll also find lush maritime forests, salt marshes and picturesque dunes here.  Stay on the marked trails to help preserve the wilderness for future generations and be sure to bring your camera!

Wildlife!  From feral horses to armadillos and alligators, this island has plenty to appeal for wildlife lovers.  No domesticated creatures call this island home, so keep that in mind while hiking or biking the area.  Keep a sharp eye out for the island’s famous wild horses, the sea turtles that nest here in early autumn and a surprising variety of shore birds.  Have we convinced you it’s time to visit Georgia’s barrier island paradise?  Here’s a link to more information, courtesy of the National Park Service.  We don’t often find unspoiled beauty that’s open for everyone to explore.  Let us know if we can help with an RV rental.  Please don’t miss the chance to discover Cumberland Island National Seashore and all it has to offer!

El Monte RV

El Monte RV Rentals and Sales

For more information on renting or buying a motor home CLICK HERE! or call 1-888-337-2208

Photo credits: Cumberland Island Path by db rolenrock, Cumberland Island Boardwalk by Jon Dawson, and Wild Horse Along Shoreline by Doug Anderson; all are licensed under Flickr Commons

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What to Pack When You’re RV Camping

Are you planning for your first-ever RV camping trip and aren’t sure what to pack?  No worries! We’ve created an RV packing checklist to help ensure your motorhome camping premier is a success.

Get Away as Far as the Road will Take You in an El Monte RV!

Get Away as Far as the Road will Take You in an El Monte RV!

Here’s how to get started:

    1. If you haven’t called to rent an RV for the trip, do that now for best selection.
    2. Buy storage containers with lids in several sizes (check your local thrift store for bargains on both containers and basic camp supplies.)
    3. Pack these basics inside and stow them in your RV for quick access when you set up camp.  You’re going to love the convenience and economy of cooking meals in your RV kitchen.  Plan your menu first, with an eye to using the same pots, pans and serving dishes to save space.  There are plenty of excellent RV cookbooks to help you plan.  Here’s a basic packing list for your RV kitchen:

Essential RV Camping Supplies – Kitchen Essentials

  • We’ve divided the things you’ll need to pack into several categories, to make your planning simpler.  The list may seem overwhelming at first glance, but once you’ve checked off the list for your first trip, you’ll be ready every time you go camping!
  • Dutch oven with lid
  • Skillet with lid
  • Smaller sauce pan with lid
  • Microwaveable bowls
  • Spatulas and spoons
  • Basic dish set – plates, bowls, cups, glasses, eating utensils
  • Serving dishes
  • Camp percolator or teapot, coffee, tea and filters
  • Water Pitcher
  • Small cutting board
  • Pot holders and dish towels
  • Dishpan, dish soap and scrubbers
  • Food storage supplies – foil, sealable plastic bags, containers, plastic wrap
  • Small utensils – potato peeler, measuring cups/spoons, corkscrew, paring and chopping knives, can and bottle openers
  • Food items from your menu (don’t forget the spices!)

Essential RV Camping Supplies – Cleaning

  • Keeping your motorhome clean throughout the trip means a safe, enjoyable vacation, so be sure to pack these basic supplies. Use a plastic trash container with a lid to stow these essentials.
  • All purpose cleaner
  • Toilet brush
  • Sponges
  • Disinfectant spray ( make sure RV is well-ventilated or it may set off the carbon alarm.)
  • Dual purpose mop/sweeper & pads
  • Trash bags
  • Plastic trash containers – large & small
  • * NOTE that many RV rental companies such as El Monte RV offer housekeeping and kitchen kits that provide some of the aforementioned items for an additional fee.  Check website for exact details.  This makes sense for many RV renters who wish to save time.  (Please note:  these are not available at all locations.)

Essential RV Camping Supplies – Safety/First Aid

  • Basic first aid kit –
    • adhesive bandages
    • antiseptic wipes
    • tweezers
    • antibiotic ointment
    • insect repellant
    • sunscreen
    • aloe skin lotion
    • saline eye drops
    • gauze pads and white tape
    • daily and emergency medications
    • pain reliever
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Flashlights
  • Small kitchen fire extinguisher

Essential RV Camping Supplies – Miscellaneous

  • These are the things you’ll wish you’d packed!
  • Duct tape
  • Small tool kit with screwdrivers, hammer, wrenches
  • Jumper cables
  • Bungee cords with hooks
  • Extra batteries
  • Cellphone chargers
  • Lanterns – battery or gas
  • Power strip
  • Lawn chairs (bagged, collapsible ones pack best)
  • Doormat
  • Sun glasses
  • small ice chest for keeping drinks close at hand while outside.
  • firewood and matches – if you’ll being enjoying campsite camping as well.

Essential RV Camping Supplies – Comfort

  • Bedding – sheets, pillowcases, comforters, pillows
  • Small electric or battery powered fan
  • Toilet paper & tissues  that are designed for septic tanks.  It will prevent clogging issues!
  • Wash cloths & towels
  • Hand sanitizer & liquid hand soap.
  • DVDs for the DVD player.  It’s nice to remember that the kids enjoy watching movies while travelling on the road.

Once you’ve gathered and packed the items above, all that’s left is clothing and toiletries and you’re ready to hit the road. Remember – you can buy many of these things (and the storage containers) at second-hand stores.  If you purchase separate kitchen, cleaning and safety items for camping, you can store them in their labeled containers between trips for a quick grab & go vacation and they will work double-duty as Emergency KIts as well.  You really are setting yourself up for a great camping experience as well as  being prepared for an unexpected emergency!   You can get a jumpstart on all of this prep work way in advance of your trip and enjoy the peace of mind that you’re prepared to handle just about any situation on the road or at home.  Camping in RV comfort takes planning, but the ease of living on the road in a motorhome makes the preparation worthwhile!  What’s your #1 essential item you pack for every RV vacation?

El Monte RV

El Monte RV Rentals and Sales

For more information on renting or buying a motor home CLICK HERE! or call 1-888-337-2208

Photo credit:  photo is an El Monte RV stock photo.

Posted in Cost effective RV Vacation, Cross Country Trip, family vacations, honeymoon vacation ideas, Hunting, Motor Home Camping, Motor home vacation blog, National Parks, North American RV Vacation, Pet Friendly Vacation, Recipe, RV blog, RV Camping Resources, RV Rental, RV Road Trip, RV Sales, RV travel in the western states, RV Travel Tips, RV Vacation Ideas, RV Vacation Preparation, United States RV Vacation, Vacation Planning | Leave a comment

RV Football Tailgating – It’s Game On!

The college and NFL football seasons are in full swing, so what’s your game plan for the best RV tailgating season ever?

Syracuse University Football

Syracuse University Football

First things first; don’t own an RV?  No worries – we’ve got the plays mapped out for an affordable RV rental close to the game.  With that detail off your mind, let’s talk about your winning strategy for epic RV football tailgating.

Play #1: Do Your Tailgating Homework!

Parking the RV and firing up the grill is your ultimate goal, but first, you’ll need to do a little homework.  Find out before the game where you can park your motorhome, whether the stadium allows tailgating and how soon you can stake out a parking spot.

Whether you’re gearing up for college football tailgating or a pro football game is in your future, we’ve gathered a lot of advance intelligence.  Be sure to also contact the stadium if you have questions!

Play #2: Pick the Best RV Tailgating Recipes

Already have a respectable tailgating repertoire? Good for you!  Why not kick things up a notch this season by adding new game day desserts?  It’s easy in an RV kitchen!

Another way to build your fan base is by adding a sizzling side dish to your favorite barbeque or champion chili.  Grilled veggies, cheesy mini biscuits and rice & veggie salads are already emerging as MVPs this season.

But if you’re brand new to RV football tailgating, the field’s wide open!  Pick your favorite recipes for a crowd – your convenient RV kitchen makes prep time and cooking a snap kick.  If you need a little help planning the menu, sites like Chow.com have dozens of ideas for your pre-game feast.

Play #3: Game Day Tailgating Success

Every successful tailgating chef has a super secret sauce, brilliant barbeque brainstorm or spectacular side dish strategy, but what they all have in common is a plan.

Rent an El Monte RV and Save

Rent an El Monte RV and Save

  • Where will you park the RV on game day?
  • How much does RV parking cost?
  • Will you need electrical hook-ups to cook?
  • How many football-loving friends will you be feeding?
  • Who else is bringing game-time goodies?
  • What cooking and serving utensils will you use?
  • What groceries do you need and how will you pack them?
  • Will you bring the grill or cook for the crowd in your well-designed RV kitchen?
  • What beverages complement your menu?
  • RV storage is always an added plus; pack it up for any kind of weather!
  • For more ways to save visit El Monte RV’s Newsletter for RV specials!

Once you’ve got your tailgating playbook planned, it’s time for kickoff!  The convenience, comfort and affordability of RV tailgating at football games make it a tradition for thousands of fans.  Why not find out how tailgating in a motorhome can make your football season even more fantastic?

El Monte RV

El Monte RV Rentals and Sales

For more information on renting or buying a motor home CLICK HERE! or call 1-888-337-2208

Photo credits: football photo is an El Monte RV stock photo.

Posted in Big City RV Excursions, College Football Tailgating, family trips, Football RV Rental, Green RV'ing, Motor home vacation blog, RV blog, RV destination, RV Rental, RV Road Trip, RV Sales, RV Tailgating, RV Travel Tips, RV Winter Vacations, Superbowl RV Trip, USA travel | Leave a comment

Winter Beach Camping at Mustang Island

What could be more perfect than sand, sea, and an average daytime temperature of 72 degrees?  Winter RV campers should definitely make plans to visit Mustang Island, off the coast of Texas in the Gulf.  Beach camping at its best awaits, so what are you waiting for?

How to Get There

This Texas barrier island is easy to reach by RV; travel to Corpus Christi and then across the JFK Causeway to Padre Island.  Mustang Island is minutes away on Hwy 361.  By the way, if you don’t own an RV, El Monte RV Rentals in McKinney and Palmer, Texas will be happy to help!

McKinney, TEXAS, El Monte RV Location

McKinney, TEXAS, El Monte RV Location

What You’ll Find on Mustang Island

The whole family will find a new favorite activity on Mustang Island. Besides seaside RV camping, you can spend your winter vacation days hiking the dunes and soaking up the Gulf Coast sun.  Nature lovers in your crew will find an amazing abundance of birds to watch here; in fact, there are several local stops along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail.

And the Gulf itself has so much in store for Mustang Island RV campers!  Snorkeling, scuba fishing, windsurfing, swimming, dolphin watching, shelling and beach strolling are just the beginning of what you’ll find to do on eighteen miles of public beaches.

Soothing Waters of Mustang Island, Texas

Soothing Waters of Mustang Island, Texas

Mustang Island State Park, the heart of this barrier island, not only offers scenic 50-amp RV campsites, it tempts winter Texas travelers with its unspoiled beaches and fascinating variety of wildlife.  Plenty of fishing awaits at the Park, too; you can even borrow fishing gear if you forget to bring yours!

When you’re ready for a bit more civilization, roll into the scenic island town of Port Aransas. A wide range of shops and museums (and a convenient trolley system) offer delightful ways to pass your time.  And the food!  You’ll find the freshest seafood on the Gulf right here in Port Aransas.

Speaking of seafood, we also hear a trip to Keepers Pier will keep the fishermen in your party happy – Cobia, Red Drum and several varieties of Shark are pulled from these waters regularly!

One more excursion idea – take the family on a water tour around the Lydia Ann Lighthouse in Aransas Pass.  For an even more memorable experience, bring the kayaks and paddle the Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail that winds through black mangroves and tidal waters near the lighthouse.

We’ve already mentioned the RV campsites available at the State Park, but there are plenty of other places on the island to park an RV.

Spots like On the Beach RV Park will welcome you for Gulf-side camping and easy access to the entire island. Nearly a dozen RV campgrounds in the area ensure there’ll always be a place to call home on your Mustang Island RV camping trip.

Winter camping at the beach builds memories for a lifetime! Get to know the Gulf Coast of Texas this winter with an RV camping expedition to Mustang Island.

El Monte RV

El Monte RV Rentals and Sales

For more information on renting or buying a motor home CLICK HERE!  or call 1-888-337-2208

Photo credits:  The Mustang Island photo is licensed under Wikimedia Commons and the El Monte RV location photo is an El Monte RV stock photo.

Posted in Coastal RV Vacation, Corpus Christi vacation, Cost effective RV Vacation, Dallas, Family RV vacations, RV Travel Tips, RV Vacation Ideas, RV Vacations Southern States, RV Winter Vacations, TX RV Vacation, United States RV Vacation, USA travel, Vacation Planning, Year-Round RV Parks | Leave a comment

Keeping Your Pets Safe and Happy on an RV Vacation

Millions of Americans head out on vacations all over the country every year, and many of them will bring pets along when they do.  Pets are a part of the family and have their own special needs.  When you head out on your RV vacation this year, make sure you follow these tips to keep your pet healthy and safe so that you all will have as much fun as possible by avoiding unnecessary complications.

Vacationing with Pets!

Vacationing with Pets!

Begin your pet planning at least one month prior to departure date.  Some of the initial steps you should take to keep your pet safe and secure need to be done in advance.  Before you even get the RV gassed up, check over your pet’s vaccinations and ensure they are up-to-date!   Checking on this early allows enough time to schedule an appointment with your vet and take care of any vaccinations that need to be addressed.

Another vital step before leaving home is to ensure that your pet’s collar fits and that it has an accurate ID tag attached.  Many families do not have pets wear collars while at home, but they are vital while out and about on vacation.  An exterior ID tag is also vital.  Even if your dog or cat has an implanted ID chip that can be scanned at a veterinarian’s office, you won’t necessarily have to wait for an escaped pet to show up at a vet if it has an ID tag.  Whoever spots your dog can call you right away to let you know that your missing pet has appeared.

As your travel time arrives begin writing down a list of all pet traveling necessities.  Pet carriers and extra leashes are a must!  Even if you’ve planned on having your pet ride in the cab of your RV for the entire trip, you should still bring a pet carrier with you.  You will want to take special precautions to make sure that your pet is secured whenever you stop in a new location.  Pets can become easily stressed in new environments and the comfort of their pet carrier provides a safe place for them, especially if you are leaving them in the RV while you’re out site-seeing.  You don’t want your beloved pet running off with their temporary neighbors or getting into mischief while you’re away!   It is highly recommended to keep an extra leash on hand per chance one gets torn, soiled, or destroyed in some way, you’ll be ready to stroll without any delay.

If you are traveling to a warm location, remember to provide plenty of water for your pet, preferably in a self-filling container.  Strap the container to one of the walls of your RV so that your pet can’t accidentally tip it over.  Also, think twice before leaving your pet alone in your RV in warm weather.  Without air conditioning turned on, an RV could potentially heat up inside to the point that your pet starts to get dehydrated.  When camping with hook-ups, keeping the air conditioner running shouldn’t be a problem.

El Monte RV Motor Home Rental Vacation at Grand Canyon National Park

El Monte RV Motor Home Rental Vacation at Grand Canyon National Park

Summer is almost over, so have fun on your last RV trips of the summer and any trips you plan to take this fall.  Take your pets along to make the journeys even more memorable, but follow these tips to ensure your furry friends are having a great time, too!  Pets enjoy being with you on vacation and would fair better by going with you rather than being kenneled without you.  Try it and prepare yourselves for a successful trip!

El Monte RV

El Monte RV Rentals and Sales

For more information on renting or buying a motor home CLICK HERE!  or call 1-888-337-2208

Photo Credits:  Owner with pet by Terry Bone and El Monte RV at Grand Canyon by Grand Canyon National Park.  Both are licensed under the Flickr Creative Commons license.

Posted in Arizona motorhome vacations, City Fun and Outdoor Adventure RV Vacation, Family RV vacations, Motorhome Camping, North American RV Vacation, Pet Friendly Vacation, RV blog, RV Camping, RV Rental, RV Road Trip, RV Sales, RV Summer Vacations, RV Travel Tips, RV Vacation Ideas | Leave a comment

Oregon Caves National Monument – a Novel RV Vacation Experience in the Northwest!

If you’re looking for a fun and unique RV trip to take before the end of summer, but have no idea to which destination you want the road to take you, then this article may provide the perfect solution to your dilemma!  There’s so much to explore in this vast and beautiful country, so we didn’t have to search too far to discover this little RV vacation gem in the Northwest.  The Oregon Caves National Monument is one of the best outdoors vacation destinations in the Pacific Northwest, and an RV vacation is the perfect way to get there and enjoy your visit!

Gorgeous Nature Path at the Oregon Caves National Monument

Gorgeous Nature Path at the Oregon Caves National Monument

To start off your trip, pick up your RV in Sacramento, and you’ll be rolling towards the caves in less than a day.  On your way to the monument, make sure you pause to take in the redwoods of northern California.  These giant trees have to be seen to be believed.  The redwoods get so big that some have roads running through them!  Your RV probably won’t fit through one of these natural wooden tunnels, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a great spot to stop and stretch your legs during the drive.

Once you arrive at your destination, you’ll need a good RV campground, and Lone Mountain RV is well-liked by visitors to the area.  After setting up, head down to Cave Junction and grab a bite to eat.  Lots of visitors enjoy the jerky at Taylor’s Country Store, but if you’re in the mood for something a bit more upscale (and historic) consider stopping at the “Chateau at the Oregon Caves.”  This lodge is one of several that were built in Oregon in the 1930’s, and it is on the list of the Great Lodges of the National Parks.  You can just get coffee if you like or stay for a whole meal in a dining room that has a stream running through it!

If there’s one thing you can count on in Oregon, it’s rain, and it was the effect of rainwater sinking through the forest floor that created the caves.   The rain eroded the underground marble to the point that it created these rare and beautiful caves full of awe-inspiring formations.   Exploring these caves is a great way to cool off from the summer heat.  Kids love to go exploring and these caves are sure to bring out the kid in you as well.

Oregon Caves National Monument

Oregon Caves National Monument

The best way to visit the caves is by means of a park service guided tour.  The professional park rangers can teach you all about the long history of these stone chambers.  In addition to exploring through formations like the “Throne Room” and the “Ghost Room,” visitors can also walk along a creek that disappears into the ground and then flows through the cave itself.  In all, the cave passages are more than 15,000 feet long.  The park that surrounds the cave also boasts eight smaller caves.

During the summer you can take a tour that is guided by candlelight in order to get a feeling for the way the first explorers saw these natural wonders.  Also, later in the year during October, guides deliver “Haunted Candlelight Tours” where you just might hear a few local ghost stories mixed in with the history of these spooky caverns!

Whether you decide to go now or to wait till later in the season, the Oregon Caves National Monument is fun trip for getting the whole family outside and exploring underground.  Start planning your RV vacation today!

El Monte RV

El Monte RV Rentals and Sales

For more information on renting or buying a motor home CLICK HERE!  or call 1-888-337-2208

Photo credits:  Nature path by James Chang and the Oregon Caves National Monument center by James Wellington both are licensed under Flickr Commons.

Posted in Family RV vacations, Motor home vacation blog, National Parks, Nature travel, Nature/Sightseeing vacation, North American National Preserve vacation, North American RV Vacation, OR RV Vacation, RV blog, RV Campgrounds, RV destination, RV Destinations blog, RV Rentals, RV Sales, RV Summer Vacations, RV Travel Tips, RV Vacation Ideas, RV vacations in the northwestern United States, United States RV Vacation | Leave a comment