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!

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Five Reasons Why Electric Bikes Are Amazing for RVers

It’s no secret that RVers are adventurous folks, always looking for a great new way to explore our country, see its many beautiful sights, and come up with fun and innovative ways to travel. What some RV fans might not know is that there’s another vehicle, of sorts, that also fits the bill: electric bicycles. In fact, we think that RVs and eBikes are the perfect complement for one another, a real match made in recreational heaven.

So, let’s check out why this is such a perfect pairing.

They’re Fun

Remember how much fun you used to have riding your bicycle? Well, whether you’ve stayed an active biker, or have gotten a bit rusty over the past few years, an electric bike will get you back biking again, and having all the fun you once had as a kid.

Electric bikes let you either cruise just on battery power, or give you a slight electric boost as you pedal along. This lets you get back into all the fun of biking without worry about getting too tired, or wobbling as you relearn to ride, or getting sweaty when you encounter hills. And with your battery boosting you, electric bikes let you cruise along at 25 to 30 miles per hour.

And if you’re RVing with the family, the fun isn’t limited to just you. Couples can ride side-by-side, not worrying about one partner getting tired. And if you have kids that have been consistently kicking your butt on trails or treks, now you’ll be able to not only keep up with them, but even show them who’s boss, all atop your ebike.

Huge Health Benefits

As you age, staying healthy can become more of a challenge. Those that spend a lot of time in their RV know just how valuable stretching your legs can be. With an electric bike, you’ll more than stretch those legs; you’ll engage in an enjoyable workout that’s high in healthy cardio and low in dangerous impact.

By getting your legs kicking and your heart pumping, you’re staving off heart disease and other ailments. And with an electric bike, you can pedal as hard and fast as you want, assuredly knowing that if you get too tired, you can always get home on electric power alone.

See More Sights

Say you’ve parked your RV in some beautiful preserve. Once you’re there, you’ll have endless sights to explore, but unfortunately only so much time to do so: legs get tired, and moving your RV to a new trailhead can be a real hassle.

With an electric bike, you can kiss those limitations goodbye. Anywhere in the park you want to get to – just hop on your ebike and you’re there. And instead of plodding along a trail at 3 miles per hour, you can zoom along any bike-rated trail many times faster.   guest_blog_post_2016-05

And the convenience doesn’t end at the trailhead. Running errands around town suddenly becomes much easier when you’re not trying to park your 40 footer in front of the convenience store. Simply hop on your bike to pick up groceries, meet up with a friend, or what have you. Suddenly those nightmares about having to parallel park your camper will disappear forever!

Amazing Reliability

Some RVers used to bringing ATVs or motocross bikes with them might assume that any vehicle that’s tagging along with their camper is just an added hassle.

New electric bikes, powered by a mid-drive motor, have all their electrical components kept in one central component, which can be removed with just two bolts. Flat tires and tune-ups are handled just as easily as on a standard bike. And if there’s ever anything you don’t want to deal with yourself, any bike shop the world over should be able to take care of it for you in just a few minutes. Add in how simple modern ebikes are to store on a normal bike rack, and the simplicity of recharging them, and you have yourself a real hassle-free helper.

Best of All – They’re Affordable

Now, given all these amazing perks and benefits, you might think that an electric bicycle is going to cost you a pretty penny. A few years ago, you would have been absolutely right. But as ebikes have gained in popularity, they’ve dropped dramatically in price.

You could head to your local sporting good store, or even a Target or Walmart, and see dozens of models, many as low as $500 to $1,000. But in our opinion, it’s worth spending a little bit more to get a real electric bicycle, one that’ll really last. Many industry leading brands start at around $2,000, but can be affordably had for less than $200 per month thanks to 0% financing.

Two grand certainly isn’t money to be flip about, but an electric bike isn’t just a purchase, it’s an investment. You’ll save on gas, you’ll stay healthier, and you’ll have a lot of fun doing it. No wonder ebikes are so popular with RV enthusiasts!

From our friends at www.evelo.com.

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