In case of an accident in a strange area, it’s a good idea to check the location of a medical facility close to your destination before you start your trip.
Vehicle insurance may also be an issue that needs attention, check with your provider before you head out.
Pet Medical Records
If you are planning an extended trip and taking your furry friends or crossing into another country, you will need to take your pet vaccination records along.
Food & organics
The USA is especially strict about bringing anything organic into the country, even firewood. We were turned back once with firewood and other times we had food taken away. So don’t stock up before you cross the border. Most things are cheaper in the USA anyway. For US Customs info click this link http://www.cbp.gov/
Traveling from the US into Canada or Mexico the restrictions are not as strict, however, be aware firearms are against the law and if you get caught trying to cross the Canadian or Mexican border be prepared to pay a large fine and have your gun confiscated or worse.
Passports need attention long before your trip begins. Check to see if they are current. Some countries will not allow you to visit if your passport expires in less than 6 months.
Medication for your trip is, of course, important, make sure you have enough for your trip.
If you plan to visit Mexico or the southern US most prescription drugs are cheaper in Mexico. Dental care is also much cheaper. My wife and I are Canadians, dental care in Canada is extremely expensive if you do not have a plan.
Traveling to Mexico (Algodones) just south of Yuma Az. for dental work, the money we save easily pays for our vacation. The dental work performed by many of these dentists is as good or better than our dentists at home.
GPS & Maps
Good navigation is key to any successful vacation. A GPS is an essential piece of equipment, especially if you are traveling with an RV. There is nothing more frustrating than hitting a dead end road or taking the wrong exit off the interstate.
Don’t forget to update your GPS before you hit the road.
Check out this best-selling portable GPS on Amazon.
A GPS is mandatory,but you also need good detailed maps. I like these soft cover atlases with rec. sites and topographical information.
Having a good travel plan is essential for a safe and uneventful trip. Plan your overnight stops, when Lynda and I are on the road I plan how long we will travel for each day, then subtract our stop time. Usually fuel stops are good for potty breaks and a longer stop for lunch.
An hour and a half per day is usually enough time for breaks and lunch unless we plan a long traveling day in which case I subtract another meal break.
Sandwiches and snacks made ahead of time are a great way to save time on meal stops and healthier also.
If you’re planning weekend trips, especially long weekends register early in the year to secure a spot. If you cannot get away early it may be an idea to pay for an extra day.
Take an alternate less traveled route to a popular destination, it could save frustration and time. Traffic on direct routes will be heavier.
Road Conditions & Weather
Part of the travel plan is picking your route, for example, as I am writing this there is a huge wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. This would be an area to avoid, the roads are jammed with vehicles and some of the highways are closed.
Road conditions including weather can be a factor all year, especially during winter and the shoulder seasons. Always check road weather and construction delays.
Believe it or not, some towns do not have RV parks, Walmarts or motels, a place to spend the night. Random overnight parking for the night will draw the attention of the local police force. No fun being woken in the middle of the night and told to move.
When on the road we prefer to stay the night at a casino , Walmart or some other free and safe spot. For us spending more that $20 to park and catch a few hours sleep is a crime. We try to avoid truck stops, it’s difficult to get a good night’s sleep, the big rigs are coming and going all night.
Cell Phone Coverage
As we all know cell phone companies are not created equal. If your trip takes you into the boonies or outside major cities coverage can be limited. Check your provider’s coverage maps prior to leaving.
Device charging can be a challenge. If your vehicle is not equipped with one, buy one or a power bank would be the answer.
Bring along passwords to web sites, bank accounts etc. they may come in handy.
RV Park Reservations
Remember to make RV park registrations well in advance. If your plan is to be in a particular park for more than 3 days often the weekly rate may be cheaper.
Don’t forget the addresses of your stops along the way or your destination,
It can be embarrassing if your credit card is declined, notify your credit card company of your departure date and return date.
Proof of Residence
If you are visiting another country it’s a good idea to bring a utility bill or something that has the same address as your driver’s license.
Length of Stay
Most countries have a maximum length of stay, it may be a complicated calculation of several years as in the USA. Conversely, some states and provinces have restrictions as to how long you may be away from home, this mainly involves medical insurance.
For example, some provinces allow you to be out of the province for 7 months while others are less and the USA allows visits of a maximum of 6 months.
Proof of Ownership
If you are taking anything with you of substantial value, such as ATV’s, motorbikes, etc. make sure you have proof of ownership. Many states and provinces require a license plate on your ATV and some require insurance. Check your destination for restrictions.
Satellite dish and receiver
Check out this satellite finder on Amazon
Many RV’s are equipped with satellite TV dishes – if you want to stay in touch with your home news etc. It can be a challenge to set up but very possible with a satellite finder @ Amazon, these are for the regular TV dish. An antenna booster for your roof mounted TV antenna is also an option to pick up local TV stations.
If you have a manual satellite dish (a dish that is not automatic) remember to bring the coordinates for your destination. These are available on the internet, www.pointdish.com. You will need to know the name of the satellite/s your system uses.
There are several sophisticated automatic Satellite TV dishes on the market , the higher priced ones on full automatic just set it outside and plug it in or mounted on the roof of your RV.
Check this roof mounted unit on Amazon
A good assortment. I usually have a project or 2 related to our RV so I bring whatever tools I would need to do this. Waxing the exterior is a project, it keeps the graphic decals from fading, so I’ve read.
Mail and House Sitter
Make arrangements for someone to pick up your mail while you are away. Some post offices will keep your mail until you return. Cancel your newspaper.