RV Traveling – Check Lists.

Rv Cartoon 1
We love to take extended trips in our RV, the trips allow us time for relaxation. Even though Lynda and I are retired our days are full, although not as busy as when we were working.
The mornings are slower, we awake without an alarm, (the best part)…… between 6:30 & 7:30 and then its the news while walking the treadmill and coffee times 2 and breakfast.
Only then does our day begin. We are always on the go, with various part-time jobs like heading into the forest to cut firewood to sell.
When a neighbor asks if I can do a job for them I respond,……….

“I’m not very good, but I’m slow and charge lots,”

sleman

They laugh and ask,” when can you start”, just goes to prove honesty is the best policy,…..go figure.
It is not that I am run off my feet but when I commit to a project I like to complete it quickly. I can only relax once all the jobs and chores are completed.
This is one reason we love to get away for an extended trip, time to relax and smell the???……. But before a trip can be considered or a destination decided much discussion must take place.
  • If you are not retired, can you take time away from your job or business?
  • Can you afford the cost, a budget may need to be created?
  • Are elderly parents or dependent children a concern?
  • Do you have any medical issues or health problems that need to be dealt with?
  • Are there projects or obligations that need completing?
  • Will your RV last through a long trip?
The Plan
tailer cartoon
Now that the preliminary questions have been answered the plan can evolve. For me planning the trip and the anticipation is almost too exciting, like Christmas eve as a child. I have lost many a nights sleep over the visions of far away places. Sooo exciting!!!
This year our plan is to travel with 2 couples we became friends with after we retired and moved to our lake cottage. The plan is to meander down the Pacific coast of the US, starting in Washington State just west of Seattle, traveling 4 to 6 hrs a day enjoying the amazing scenery. We have done this trip previously but it has been many years, our children were young and my mother was with us.
I was asked to plan the trip, I guess because we have traveled south many times since retirement, and our friends read my blog. I guess they think I know what I am talking about………….got them fooled.
We plan to be away for about 6 weeks, from the end of Oct. till mid Dec. The decision to leave in Oct. was to allow enough time for our trip and still time to return home for Christmas preparations. Also the hot temperatures in the south will have eased a little by the time we arrive mid Nov. Although it may be a little wet on the north coast.
Weather and temperature can determine your destination and your route. Click here to check out my article on this subject.
I am not sure how we came up with the idea of the Pacific coast, but it should be an easy, relaxed trip on the windy coast road. The scenery will be the highlight of the trip although stops at the Oregon Dunes, Napa Valley for wine tours and San Francisco on Halloween will be exciting.
Hit the Road
The beauty of traveling in an RV is, few reservations or scheduled stops need to be incorporated into our plan, in other words, a loosely contrived plan will suffice. We may extend our length of stay at a particularly enjoyable location or conversely cut our stay short if situations are not panning out or the natives get restless.
Our Trip Checklists
Checklists are invaluable for peace of mind, they will prevent sleepless nights wondering if everything has been packed. Maybe even heated discussions if not downright (let’s say) heated arguments………. because someone forgot to pack something.
I have probably published a checklist prior to this one but like any list, they evolve, so here is our current evolvement??? lol
My wife, Lynda, has a great talent for organization, she has created several lists and master lists, each slightly different depending on our plans, destination and time of year. She enters the lists into the computer for updating and printing later. Preparing for an extended trip would be chaos if it wasn’t for her organization and attention to detail.
The route
When picking a route to your destination there are plenty of options to consider.
  • How much time do we have, do we need to take the direct route or can we take the less traveled route?
  • Does the highway pass through an area that may be subject to poor driving conditions?
  • What will the traffic or road construction situation be?
  • Will our route take us close to family or friends for a quick visit?
  • Check your route for interesting spots to stop, so you are prepared and will not be disappointed as an interesting stop flashed by.
  • Click here to check out Mountain Directory, most mountain passes, and road conditions
 Trip Checklist – Preliminary
Many of these items can or should be done months prior to the departure date of your next adventure.
  • Apply for passports – allow 6 months or more to be safe, we have had issues when the passport people screwed up and had to rush to get them to us, lucky we were on top of it.
  • Research rates and purchase extended health insurance -increases every year.
  • Address book
  • Check expiry dates on drivers license, health cards, credit cards
  • Check your vehicle &/or RV insurance to make sure it does not expire while traveling.
  • Check calendar- reschedule any appointments.
  • Photocopy all credit cards, passport, ID, take a copy with you & leave a copy with a family member.
  • Deposit all important documents in a safe or safety deposit box, wills, birth certificates, etc.
  • Satellite radio –  great when traveling
  • E-mail or mail your itinerary to friends and family.
  • ATV registration & insurance
  • Set up a cell phone for a subscription for roaming or purchase a pay as you go plan?
  • Ensure your GPS data has been updated.
Health Check
  • Any health issues? Make appointments – visit doctor, dentist, optometrist etc.
  • Prescription drugs – pick up enough plus an extra month’s supply to be on the safe side.
  • Supplements- stock up on those you may have trouble finding on the trip.
 Financial Check
  • For Canadians buy US money or traveler’s checks, also many businesses in the US prefer cash or a check over credit cards, it’s a good idea to have a US checking account.
  • Record all passwords and access codes.
  • Put utilities on vacation hold, for example, our internet can be suspended and the cost drops to $5 per month but still allows e-mail access.
  • Cancel newspaper deliveries (we don’t actually have any)
  • Look at income taxes for this year – will you be home in time for filing – if not you can file your tax on the road by mail or e-mail.
  • Set up pre-authorized payments for all bills wherever possible
  • Check for any annual bills (bills that arrive once a year)
  • Inform all credit card companies of your travel plans, this is very important to prevent CC companies from declining purchases or deposits.
Trip Checklist – The RV 
Trip Checklist – Things that Stay in The RV
Some products you may want to be included on your Rv trips
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  • Waterhose
  • Engine oil, various fluids, mechanics manual
  • RV mat
  • Water container
  • Walkie talkies
  • GPS
  • Compass, hand held
  • Flashlights (check batteries), solar powered flashlight
  • Propane or solar lamp
  • Candles, lighters, string, wire, misc. screws and fasteners
  • Small sewing kit
  • Dishes, utensils, pots and pans, 2 wine glasses not plastic
  • Bed sheets, pillows, towels, washcloths, tea towels, quilts or comforter, not that I need to mention quilts, Lynda is a quilter and they are everywhere…….not complaining.
Trip Checklist – Packing the RV
Our RV is stored at our daughters’ house 3 hours away, so this makes the check list particularly valuable., because we do not see our trailer for weeks or months at a time.  Before the list I would end up with 2 of everything.
Besides the household items that are already in the RV we bring:
  • Footwear – sandals, hiking boots, running shoes, ATV riding boots
  • Rain gear (you never know)
  • Personal hygiene
  • First aid supplies, sunscreen
  • Dog grooming, innoculation proof, razor & scissors
  • Binoculars
  • Water bottles
  • Sunglasses, reading sunglasses
  • Reading glasses,
  • Battery charger-  re-chargables
  • Camera, extra memory card & USB cord for downloading pictures
  • Mp3 player
  • Laptop, jump drive, tablets & chargers
  • Hot spot, & amp; charger, this is the one we use works great even boondocking
  • Kindle & charger, my wife never leaves home without her kindle
  • Map books, reference books, novels
  • Camping guidebooks and travel guides
  • Trip diary – from previous trips?
  • Click here to check out Trip Diary soft ware.
  • Sundry and food items unique to your area, bring extra.
  • Work out clothes, fitness equipment.
  • Bicycle rack, and bicycles
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Hobby, writing, pens, paper, pads and craft supplies – Lynda quilts most days so she never forgets her stuff.
  • Blood pressure monitor
  • Diabetes blood tester
  • Check route weather forecast for upcoming trip.
  • Cell phone and charger, a great way to recharge your phone when traveling.
Family Goodbyes
Because we live 4 -5 hrs away from our children and grandchildren we try to have a get together before hitting the road. Usually a family dinner works well to say so long.
Closing Up the House
Unless you have a house sitter, you need to make your home secure. Home security is always on our mind when traveling, below is a highly rated security system.
  • Arrange for mail pick up (option to have post office hold it for a fee).
  • Turn off heat & hot water tank
  • Arrange for someone to do a regular house check. (Insurance usually requires it).
  • Arrange for plant watering or take them to family or neighbor to look after.
  • Arrange for snow removal and/or lawn mowing
  • Discard any perishables that may attract mice
  • Empty and clean fridge and freezer (normally we leave our chest freezer running)
  • Leave fridge door open or leave a cup of coffee grounds (absorbs odors)
  • Turn off gas/electric to appliances?
  • We take the fridge contents along, it saves buying these items.
  • Check & Lock all exterior doors & windows.
  • Leave spare keys in case of emergency.
  • Dump the trash, garbage. (something will rot)
  • A great security devise
    Sky Bell see who is at your door no matter where you are in the world, Click here to check it out.
For Winter Trips – Closing The Home
  • Turn the heat down or off, remember electric heat registers may not be off even though they have been turned to the lowest position.
  • You may want to turn off the breaker?
  • Turn off water & open taps to allow for drainage.
  • Drain hot water tank.
  • Put anti-freeze in drains, windshield washer fluid works well and is cheaper, although not great for septic tanks.
  • Clothes washer and dishwasher- check the manuals for winterizing
  • Fridge may have an ice maker meaning a water line, check manual for winterizing
  • In extreme climates canned goods and any liquid could freeze and rupture.
Before The Day of Departure
  • Check weather forecast for route
  • Start the fridge &/or furnace in the RV.
  • Load RV – take your time and make sure everything is secure especially breakables.
  • If you are expecting freezing weather do not fill fresh water tanks or turn on water pump, it could cause frost damage, instead fill a fresh water jug, for drinking and cooking.
  • Hint – if you need to use the toilet have a gallon of windshield washer anti-freeze or RV anti-freeze to pour into the toilet to flush.
Departure Day
  • Unplug the TVs (even though the screen is black most modern TVs still use power)
  • Unplug PC computers and other appliances.
  • Remove batteries from remotes, clock etc.
  • Check all doors and windows
  • Draw the blinds.
  • A final walk through the house.
  • Review all checklists, but remember if something is left behind chances are you can buy it on the road.
  • Set alarm & lock the door.
 Some Last Thoughts
Meal Plans – After departure we often travel for as many hours as possible so our trip doesn’t cut into our time at our destination, or if it’s winter we are anxious to hit warmer weather. Whatever the reason Lynda usually plans & prepares  meals for a couple of days.
She plans well so in the mornings we can be on the road in short order after brewing a pot of coffee for the thermos, and some hand held meal and snacks.
Lunch is usually prepared ahead of time so our interlude is short. When we stop for dinner it is also prepared so again a brief stop and back on the road.
If our travels include over night stops, these are usually spent at a casino, Walmart or some other handy free spots, and then on the road early.
A couple of products we find particularly useful when traveling is a 12 volt slow cooker or a 12 volt stove.
The Bottom Line

No matter what kind of trip or adventure you see in the future taking enough time to plan, create check lists, and prepare will help to avoid mishaps and disappointments and make your trip more enjoyable.

Click here to check out free trip planners on Amazon.
I hope your have enjoyed this article and it helps with your RV travel preparations.

For your convenience I have compiled another comprehensive list of equipment and items you may need for your RV and camping travels, complete with product  links, click here to check out my list & links.

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Thanks for visiting.
Gord B.

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