Dumb to Dumbest: 50 RV Camping Mistakes NOT TO DO!

Have you made a really dumb mistake while RVing? You’re not alone! Here are the dumbest RV camping mistakes.

RVers—even smart ones like you and me—do some really dumb things.

Here are 50 of the dumbest mistakes RVers make. The dumber mishaps are more traumatic and costly which is why you definitely don’t want to make them yourself. So, read on, learn from the mistakes of others and save yourself some serious grief and cash!

What are the dumbest RV camping mistakes you’ve seen? (I don’t want to be one of THOSE guys!)

Like I said, we have all made mistakes. 

Camping at Texas Lakeside Resort, Port Lavaca, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The good news is that we can laugh about some of the dumb things we have done. The bad news is that some mistakes may cost you time or money, or both!

The following are some dumb mistakes that RV campers make. Read on so that you can be sure NOT to make the same mistakes!

1. Forgetting to close the black water tank valve

2. Bringing dogs that bark constantly. Try to teach your pet how to behave around the campsite. 

3. Walking through your neighbor’s campsite. Be respectful of their space.

4. Placing dog poop bags on the picnic table. 

5. Forgeting to bring bug spray on your trip.

Using a secure sewer hose connection to avoid spillage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Thinking that your vehicle is strong enough to pull your trailer when it is not. Make sure you account for extra weight, like water, fuel, propane, tool kit, clothing, and other items.)

7. Driving out of camp with the antenna up. An excellent way to ensure that you hit a tree and rip it right off of the RV!

8. Pulling out of the camsite without realizing the windows are still open. 

9. Forgetting to close or secure a storage hatch door. 

10. Forgetting to place the handrail in the travel position. 

11. Forgetting to unplug and stow the power cord. Dragging the cord is a hazard plus you’ll do considerable damage to the campground’s power pedestal.

12. Driving away without retracting your stabilizers. Your trailer may just tip and cause you to go flying! Great photo op, though!

Water connection with pressure regulator © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

MORE dumbest RV camping mistakes

13. Forgetting to ensure that the trailer is level BEFORE unhooking. It is really annoying to have to rehook and reset your rig.

14.  Making noise early in the morning or late in the evening. Most campgrounds have designated quiet hours. These hours take effect typically around 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. Be respectful of the other campers and turn down your music and keep noise at a minimum.

15. Taking turns too fast and too soon. If you turn too soon, the tail swing from your rig may come dangerously close to things you wish to avoid!

16. Not locking up your food appropriately. Even if you’re not camping in bear country, you might attract other unwanted visitors. 

17. Not double-checking your hitch and your jack or landing gear. 

18. Driving too fast! Being safe in your RV may just save a life and save you from getting caught in a speed trap.

19. Not retracting the entry steps.

Flushing back and gray water tanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

20. Not setting a timer when flushing the black tank. Otherwise, you might forget and your toilet will morph into a geyser! It won’t be a pretty picture.

21. Forgetting camper walls are not soundproof. Be careful with your words and noises!

22. Window coverings are not always opaque. Be careful not to expose yourself to others. 

23. Forgetting to retract roof vents when prepping for travel. 

24. Not putting away any camping gear that you don’t want stolen.

25. Forgetting to check if your tailgate will hit the trailer hitch before opening it.

26. Forgetting to turn off the outdoor sink faucet when turning on the water inside the rig. Otherwise, you can have a flood!

27. Not retracting your awning at night or when leaving your campsite. Awnings are not made for inclement weather and rain or wind can damage them. They are expensive to replace if you’re not careful! Since weather can change quickly, always stow your awnings before retiring for the night or whenever you leave your RV for a prolonged period of time.

28. Not cleaning up after your dog.

Electric Management System © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

29. Not using an electric management system (often referred to as a surge protector) on the electric box. Otherwise, you may damage your RV electrical panel and sensitive electronics on board. To be in the know read Is Your RV Protected from Electrical Issues?

30. Not wearing gloves when draining the septic tank It’s best to use disposable vinyl gloves. 

31. Do not forget that you put your sewer hose in the back of the truck to dry before leaving your campsite. You will no longer have a black hose and other campers may not appreciate it. 

Use disposable vinyl gloves when dumping sewerage tanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

32. Forgetting to remove the chocks before driving off. This does happens, Have you ever seen one of my favorite road trip movies, RV?!

33. Forgetting to turn off your outside lights when you retire for the night. 

34. Using the freshwater tap to clean your sewer hose. Yuck!

35. Not checking that your RV is shorter than the basketball hoop when backing into your driveway! (The same is true for going under overpasses!)

36. Not being courteous to other campers and staff.

Is your smoke alarm in working condition? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Even MORE dumbest RV camping mistakes

37. Not understanding your RV’s tail swing! It can be an expensive and unsafe mistake!

38. Locking yourself out of the RV. Have several sets of keys and keeping one outside of the RV. If you lose one during hiking or another adventure, you don’t want to have to break into your rig. 

39. Not blocking your trailer’s wheels before unhitching. You really don’t want your trailer to roll down the hill.

40. Not making an RV checklist and following it every time. 

41. Listening to music or the television too loudly, especially outdoors.

42. Not packing enough water. People tend to drink more when camping than when in the comfort of their home.

How NOT to treat your tires © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

43. Not keeping your batteries and tires in good condition!

44. Overflowing. Be respectful of each other’s space by not overflowing your own RV camping site and into your neighbors. If you bring a bunch of gear like bikes, chairs, and outdoor games, make sure it fits inside your site.

45. Putting your grill on the picnic table. Grills can leave stains, cause the table material to warp, and leave a residue. Instead, bring along an inexpensive portable table so you can leave the campsite clean for future campers. 

46. Speeding through the campground. A speed limit is just that—a limit. Don’t go over the posted number. Campgrounds are busy with campers walking their dogs, children chasing balls, bike riders, and RVs pulling in or out of their site. For the safety of you and those around you, slow down.

46. Forgetting to do a walk-around. Before you hit the road, walk around your RV and check to ensure everything is put away and in its proper place for highway driving. Now do it again. Two walk-arounds may seem excessive, but trust me, drive-off disasters do occur.

Damage from a fallen tree during major wind storm © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

47. Not checking that your cupboards and fridge doors are secure.

48. Ignoring sounds and signs that something is wrong. RVs have a lot of moving parts. There’s nothing like driving down the highway listening to something beep or rattle behind you to realize you’ve got something terribly wrong. While on the road, be sure to listen to your rig and check your mirrors often to be certain you are secure and safe.

49. Overloading your RV. The best way to avoid RV accidents caused by overloaded RVs is to pay attention to your weight and respect the manufacturer’s weight ratings.

50. Trailer sway. Trailer sway is a side-to-side motion of the trailer you’re towing. Not only does that side-to-side motion make it difficult to stay on the road but it can build to the point where it becomes whipping, tossing the trailer back and forth violently. This can—and often does—result in very serious RV accidents.

While you want to avoid making as many mistakes as possible, just know that you are bound to make a few along the way. 

Yes, they may cost you some time and money but most will end up being funny campfire stories.

Be familiar with the operation of your fresh water and gray and black sewerage systems © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Check this out to learn more:

Worth Pondering…

Have you put…

Step up

Antenna down

Wife in?

—sign at a Dickson, Tennessee campground

UNWRITTEN Rules for Camping with a Dog

Everyone knows you need to pick up after your dog but do you know these UNWRITTEN rules of camping with a dog?

Are you planning to take your dog on your next camping trip? If so, read this first!

Taking your pets on adventures can be one of the greatest pleasures. But, when camping with your dog there are some UNWRITTEN rules that you will want to follow. 

The following outlines seven essential rules of camping with your dog to help keep them, you, and your camping neighbors happy.

While you love having your dog along for the ride with you, there can be a challenge to make RV life more pet friendly. Here are some tips that may help you along the way. Check out my other guides for traveling with pets:

Keeping your dog on a leash and picking up after them are right at the top of the written rules of campground policies. Of course, those are the two BIG rules everyone should follow.

But they’re not the only ones! The UNWRITTEN rules of camping with a dog are just as important. By abiding by them, you’ll be spared from unwanted complaints or annoyed neighbors. Besides, you don’t want to be a bad camping neighbor, to begin with.

By the way, I have a series of posts on UNWRITTEN rules of camping:

A fake dog doing its business © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Walk them away from campsites to do their business

Even if you pick up after your dog, it’s bad etiquette to let them do their business on other people’s campsites. This is true whether they’re lifting their leg, squatting, or dumping their black tank.

Proper etiquette is to walk your dog away from others’ campsites and let them relieve themselves away from people’s belongings (including their RVs). Most campgrounds have trails, open grass areas, or even designated pet areas to use in such cases.

Dog on leash © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Use biodegradable or composting dog poop bags

Campers love nature which means we also love protecting it. It’s best to use certified compostable dog poop bags or biodegradable bags. Be careful what you buy, though! Many brands claim to be biodegradable but don’t meet ASTM D6954-04 standards.

A campground pet parade © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Don’t let them bark incessantly

Dogs bark—I get that. And most camping neighbors won’t even flinch if your dog barks every now and then. The problem is when your dog barks incessantly.

In many cases, the dog owners are blissfully unaffected since dogs usually bark more when their owners leave them unattended. It’s the neighbors that are subjected to the noise while the owners are away.

If your dog is a barker, then proper camping etiquette requires you to invest a bit of time and money in training and training products. You can almost immediately fix the problem by getting an affordable and humane bark collar for dogs. These training collars use vibrations and/or beeps to train your dog not to bark. In many cases, the beep alone works and eventually putting the collar alone on is reminder enough for the dog to stay quiet.

If you’re opposed to collars, you can learn how to teach your dog not to bark through one-on-one training. There are YouTube videos for that.

A campground pet parade © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Keep your dog cool

Leaving your dog in a hot RV is no different than leaving them in a hot car. The inside temperature of a vehicle (including RVs) can get up to 45-50 degrees F hotter than the temperature outdoors.

If you leave your dog inside your vehicle or rig, ensure it is not hotter than 70 degrees F outside. Or ensure your rig’s interior temp doesn’t exceed 80 degrees. A favorite way to do that is to use Waggle Pet Safety Monitor.

I have heard of instances where camp hosts have had to break into RVs to get the dogs inside to safety.

Tip: If you are worried about a dog left in an RV, you should notify the campground host or the police. You should not break into the RV yourself as that exposes you to serious legal risk.

This rule also covers your dog being outside in extreme heat. Make sure your pup has access to plenty of water and shade. 

Traveling with a dog © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Keep them tick-free

One of the biggest threats to your animals is some of the smallest and easily overlooked. They can also be a threat to you! I’m talking about ticks.

Lyme disease is no joke and is spread by ticks. Some milder symptoms of Lime Disease are fever, fatigue, headache, and a rash. 

But if left untreated, it can spread to your joints, heart, and nervous system. One of the worst effects causes people to be unable to think clearly for months after treatment. 

I have a few helpful articles on keeping your pet, your RV, and YOU tick-free:

6. Keep an eye on your dog (or hire someone to)

When traveling with your dog, you are bound to need to leave your rig at some point. But what do you do about your pup? 

You can buy excellent cameras that help you keep an eye on your dog when you are not around. One great option is the Furbo dog camera. Not only does it easily allow you to see what your dog is doing from your phone. It also helps keep your dog entertained by tossing treats when you tell it to!

Plus, it can alert you if your dog is barking. (Remember UNWRITTEN Rule #3)

When a camera doesn’t cut it, you can hire a pet sitter pretty much wherever you travel.

Dog on leash © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Keep your dog under your control

Ensuring your dog stays under your control is for both your own safety and other’s enjoyment of the park. Having your dog under your control means your dog is unable to approach others, wander from your campsite or general area, bother wildlife, or be in a scenario where the dog may cause harm to property, people, or animals. 

Bring and use a compliant tie line, anchor, and leash for your dog.

Many parks and campgrounds ensure your dog remains under your control by listing a maximum leash or tie line length. Examples follow:

  • National parks maximum leash length: 6 feet
  • Wisconsin State Parks maximum leash length: 8 feet
  • Michigan State Parks maximum leash length: 6 feet
  • KOA (Kampgrounds of America) maximum leash length: 6 feet
A campground pet parade © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. Keep your dog secure on your campsite

Whenever you leave your dog alone at the campsite, they need to be secured in your RV. But when you’re present, it’s nice to give them a secure area to roam or play.

One fantastic device is an invisible fence. This is a way to allow your dog to roam freely and explore in a specific, designated area that you choose. This is an excellent option for boondockers or people who camp in more wide-open areas. 

There are also portable fence options like the FXW Aster Dog Playpen and IRIS USA Dog Playpen. These fences are great for standard campsites (at campgrounds where dog fences are allowed).

Looking for a way to keep your dog on your property without using a physical fence? Check out SpotOn GPS Dog Fence. Spoton works almost anywhere but you need a lot that’s at least ½ acre. Why? Because you’ll need to allow for the fence alert/warning zone. The effective boundary for your dog is 10 feet inside the fence boundary that you walk. Walk your planned boundary with SpotOn’s dog collar and your phone or draw your fence in the app. True Location™ technology builds on conventional GPS and makes it better, giving you the most reliable fence boundary that never requires calibration. So your dog can have a great adventure without risking a great escape. Get professionally-developed training programs that’ll have your dog using SpotOn in a few simple steps!

Some RVers travel with a cat © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What about traveling with cats?

Dogs are not always your best friend. Sometimes it’s your cat!

And no matter what species your furry best friend is, you should be able to take him or her along with you on your next road trip.

Traveling with a cat comes with some added challenges but it’s nothing you can’t handle especially if you’re prepared with the right cat travel accessories.

Worth Pondering…

A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.

―Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

12 Dog Friendly National Parks

More than 300 million nature lovers head to a national park annually, many with their four-legged friends. Not all parks, however, welcome them. Which parks are the most pet friendly and which should you avoid when accompanied by a furry friend?

Although most of the 63 national parks don’t allow dogs so as not to disturb the wildlife, a few permit dogs on leash and in designated areas (except service dogs who are allowed to move around more freely).

A tour of America’s national parks is on many RV bucket lists but bringing your pet to these destinations can be a challenge. It’s important to know pet restrictions in the national parks you’re hoping to visit to minimize your impact on these sensitive environments. But an easier alternative is to target the most dog-friendly national parks in the US. Some of these parks offer miles of pet-friendly hiking trails as well as boarding services if you plan a hike to a location where your pups can’t go. 

So let’s check them out!

Zion National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Zion National Park, Utah

Stunning sandstone cliffs naturally colored in brilliant orange and pink hues leave visitors amazed in this 229-square-mile national park including a 15-mile-long narrow canyon popular for hiking through. Dogs must be on a leash no longer than six feet at all times and are allowed on the Pa’rus Trail. All other trails and wilderness areas are off-limits. Pets are allowed along public roads and parking areas, in developed campgrounds and picnic areas, and on the grounds of Zion Lodge. No pets, other than service animals are allowed on shuttle buses.

Get more tips for visiting Zion National Park

New River Gorge National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

New River Gorge National Park, West Virginia

One of the newest areas under the management of the National Park Service is also one of its most dog-friendly parks. Dogs are welcome on all park trails which provide spectacular views of the gorge. 

Several trails lead to spectacular waterfalls where you and your pup can cool off during the summer. There are also several pet-friendly campgrounds down in the gorge if you’re looking for a beautiful place to camp right along the river. 

Get more tips for visiting New River Gorge National Park

White Sands National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

White Sands National Park, New Mexico

Explore miles of ever-shifting dunes with your pup by your side in this unique New Mexico national park. Your pup has to remain on a leash with a maximum length of six feet but dogs are permitted everywhere in this park aside from public buildings. 

Be aware that there is very little shade out on the dunes. So your best bet is to explore first thing in the morning or take your pup out for a sunset stroll if you’re spending the night in this otherworldly national park. 

Get more tips for visiting White Sands National Park

Petrified Forest National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

Petrified Forest is a unique stop just off Interstate 40 about two hours east of Flagstaff, Arizona. At one time, the environment here held the ideal conditions for preserving (well, petrifying) vast stands of now-extinct conifers. 

You’re allowed to bring your dogs on all park trails and along paved roads as well as into official wilderness areas off-trail. Just be aware that the park can be hot, offers minimal shade, and contains many fossil deposits that dogs should be discouraged from gnawing on. 

Get more tips for visiting Petrified Forest National Park

Shenandoah National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

In a park that boasts more than 500 miles of hiking trails only 20 miles are off-limits to our four-legged friends. Dogs are also welcome in park campgrounds, picnic areas, and pull-outs along the park’s famous Skyline Drive. 

Whether you and your pup are looking for some wilderness solitude, picturesque views, or cooling waterfalls, you’ll find them here. Plus, you’re even welcome to explore sections of the famed Appalachian Trail. 

Get more tips for visiting Shenandoah National Park

Congaree National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Congaree National Park, South Carolina

While a swampy sanctuary in South Carolina might not be your first thought for a pet-friendly vacation, Congaree permits leashed pets on all hiking trails and campsites. The fall and winter months are the best time to visit after the summer heat dwindles and flood waters recede. 

Plus, you’ll avoid the height of mosquito season. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even rent a kayak or canoe to explore one of the most diverse ecosystems in North America so long as you don’t mind catching the occasional sight of an alligator. 

Get more tips for visiting Congaree National Park

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Heading down into the canyon with your pup is not an option here but walking on a leash along the paved South Rim Trail is permitted. So you can enjoy the views down into the canyon while your pup gets some exercise. 

The 13 miles of trails along the South Rim give you a chance to get away from the park’s most crowded areas but the South Rim Kennel is an option if you want to board your pup and explore a little further. The Mather, Desert View, and Trailer Village campgrounds are all pet-friendly as well. 

Get more tips for visiting Grand Canyon National Park

Capitol Reef National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Pets are allowed on leash in the developed areas of the park and on the trail from the visitor center to the Fruita Campground. Pets are also allowed on the Fremont River Trail from the campground to the south end of Hattie’s Field in unfenced and/or unlocked orchards in the Chesnut and Doc Inglesby picnic areas and campgrounds. The apples were certainly unexpected treats.

Pets are allowed within 50 feet of the centerline of roads (paved and dirt) open to public vehicle travel and in parking areas open to public vehicle travel. Pets are not permitted on other hiking trails, in public buildings, or the backcountry.

Get more tips for visiting Capitol Reef National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee

In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, dogs are allowed in campgrounds, picnic areas, and along roads but must be kept on a leash at all times. Dogs are only allowed on two short walking paths—the Gatlinburg Trail and the Oconaluftee River Trail. The Gatlinburg Trail is a perfect hike for dogs and it leads right into the town of Gatlinburg. Streams, creeks, little bridges, and friendly folks will all be found along the way. You may see bears during your time here, so if your dog is reactive, just keep that in mind.

Get more tips for visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Joshua Tree National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Joshua Tree National Park, California

You’ll love Joshua Tree National Park! Pets are allowed within 100 feet of roads, picnic areas, and campgrounds. Pets are also permitted on the paved Oasis of Mara and Keys View trails. Be aware of hot sidewalks and pavement that will burn your pet’s feet and walk only during the cooler parts of the day.

Unpaved roads offer spectacular scenery and a chance to immerse yourself in the desert landscape with your pet while following park regulations and protecting the park. Anywhere you can drive your vehicle you can go with your leashed pet. Some unpaved roads require 4-wheel drive and/or high clearance.

Get more tips for visiting Joshua Tree National Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

Can you say prairie dogs? So cute and so plentiful in Theodore Roosevelt National Park! Leashed pets may be walked along roads and road shoulders, sidewalks, parking areas, and in campgrounds and picnic areas. Seeing your dogs looking at the prairie dogs from the car will be so memorable. The sidewalk at the Painted Canyon Visitor Center (I-94, exit 32) is a good place to walk dogs and has fantastic views of the badlands all along the way. Pets are not allowed on trails.

Get more tips for visiting Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Badlands National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Visitors take a trip to the prehistoric past when visiting Badlands National Park known to contain one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Ancient rhinos, horses, and saber-toothed cats once roamed the area that’s now home to bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorns, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets in the 244,000 acres of protected grass and prairie lands.

Dogs must be on a leash no longer than six feet at all times and are only allowed in developed areas such as campgrounds, picnic areas, and other areas open to motor vehicles. Pets are not allowed on hiking trails, public buildings, and backcountry areas.

Get more tips for visiting Badlands National Park

Your Dog Can Become A B.A.R.K. Ranger!

The Bark Ranger program was introduced by the National Park Service as a way to encourage responsible national park travel with dogs.

Visit a park. Take the pledge. Get a badge.

Worth Pondering…

The dog lives for the day, the hour, and even the moment.

—Robert Falcon Scott

9 Things to Consider Before Making an RV Park Reservation

Finding a good campsite begins at home when you are planning your road trip

Finding the right RV site may be one of the most important decisions to make as you plan your next road trip. Before you book online or over the phone ensure you have a site that meets your needs. This may be one of the most important judgment calls to make on your trip.

Club house and pool at Red Bluff KOA Journey, Red Bluff, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The quality of your time at the park may rest on whether you’re near the hustle and bustle of the clubhouse or pool, in a remote site under a shady tree, or backed up against a busy highway or railway tracks.

A+ Motel and RV Park, Sulphur, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For the best results phone RV parks to make reservations. You can find out about any specials going on, any activities or events you might be interested in, and have a better opportunity to secure a prime site in the park. Calling also allows you to have your questions or concerns answered. You can also find out about the park’s amenities such as Wi-Fi, cable TV, pool access, and special activities.

Canyon Vista RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Most parks will require a credit card number for the first night to secure the reservation. Some RV parks will assign a site number when you make your reservation while others will wait for you to check into the park. Make sure to keep the reservation confirmation number or e-mail confirmation.

Related: How to Choose the Perfect RV Park and Campsite?

Choose wisely, consult guest reviews, and consider the following nine things:

Pull-in site at Vista del Sol, Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1) Size and Configuration

Most RV parks offer several types of sites: pull-through, back-in, and drive-in. A pull-through site allows you to enter and exit a site without unhooking the toad or backing up. Backing an RV into a site is one of the less appealing chores in the RV lifestyle but if you plan to hunker down for several weeks or more, a roomy back-in site may be preferable.

Pull-in sites at Bella Terra Resort, Gulf Shores, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Some of the newer parks offer drive-in sites. This is particularly appealing for RVers with a Class-A motorhome. The site may face a river, fountain or water feature, or scenic vistas like the sites offered at Vista del Sol RV Resort in Bullhead City, Arizona (see photo above) or Bella Terra of Gulf Shores, Alabama (see photo above).

Leaf Verde RV Park, Buckeye, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4) Location, Location, Location

Each site in an RV park has its pluses and minuses. A site near the club house and pool is convenient but the foot traffic and noise may pose an annoyance. The same for sites near the playground or a dumpster. Study the park map to get the lay of the land.

Related: Consider Your Needs When Choosing RV Parks and Campgrounds

Cajun Palms RV Resort, Henderson, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5) Site Amenities

Consider the amenities that you like in an RV site. Fire rings and picnic tables are musts for some campers. Do you have room to unfurl the awning, fire up the barbecue, and watch the big game from your exterior TV? If you’re camping in the height of summer, look for a shady site. If possible, choose a north-facing site so that the summer sun has limited penetration into RV living quarters and your refrigerator is in the shade.

Dog wash station at Sun Outdoors Pigeon Forge © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7) Camping with Buddies

Are you RVing with friends? Some parks allow RVers to park in contiguous spaces giving them a chance to camp next to each other. You can arrange a “buddy site,” like those offered by Red Bluff KOA Journey (formerly Durango RV Resort, in Red Bluff, California (see photo above) . These sites feature pull-through sites up to 90 feet in length with a common grassy area.

Related: What Makes an RV Park A Five-Star Resort?

Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8) Non-RV Alternatives

Do you plan to meet up with non-RVing friends? Many parks offer adjacent motel units, cabins, or park models. Then consider the following RV parks and resorts: A+ Motel and RV Park in Sulphur, Louisiana (see photo above); Canyon Vista RV Resort in Gold Canyon, Arizona (see photo above); Leaf Verde RV Park in Buckeye, Arizona (see photo above); and Cajun Palms RV Resort in Henderson, Louisiana (see photo above).

Dog washing station at Tucson/Lazy Days KOA, Tucson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

9) Canine Considerations

Dogs make great traveling companions but these furry passengers sometimes can be challenging. If your canine barks at everything that moves, you’ll want a site as far away from foot traffic as possible. The same goes for cats that are prone to stress. And if you opt to camp close to a dog run, you can give Fido a chance to burn off steam nearby. Some parks even offer a dog washing station including Sun Outdoors Pigeon Forge (formerly River Plantation RV Park) in Sevierville, Tennessee (see photo above) and Tucson/Lazydays KOA (see photo above).

Related: What to Look For in an RV Campground?

The RV site is an important part of the travel experience. A good site can contribute much to a great road trip and a poor site will deter from the overall experience.

Worth Pondering…

If a man does not know what port he is steering for, no wind is favorable to him.


Camping Travel Tips for Pet Owners

Whether you’ll be camping with your pet for the first time or just need a reminder, this article may provide some helpful hints for you

Planning to take your pet camping with you this summer?

Then you are in good company.

Traveling with your pet © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

More and more campers and RVers are traveling with their pets and finding it makes camping even more enjoyable. Camping and pets are, in most cases, a good mix.

According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), more than 50 percent of RV travelers bring pets on their travels. Among these pet owners, 78 percent bring dogs, 15 percent travel with cats, and the remaining pet owners travel with birds or other small pets.

Pet parade in an RV park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And in the travel industry at large, more and more families are traveling with their pets and experts say pet travel is fast becoming a multi-billion dollar industry due to the popular trend.

Traveling with your pet can be rewarding for you and your family’s pet but the key to a successful camping trip or any mode of vacation travel is advanced planning and preparation, common sense, and sometimes a dose of creativity. Only friendly, non-aggressive dogs should be brought to campgrounds.

A cat on a mission in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The most important thing to remember before making plans is to make sure your pet is healthy enough to travel. A pre-vacation check-up with your veterinarian is just what the doctor ordered to make sure Fido or Fluffy is up to snuff and ready to hit the road. Make sure your pet is up to date on all shots and bring copies of vaccination records with you, as you never know when you might need them.

Some RV parks offer dog-washing stations © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When packing for pets, it’s important to remember food and water dishes, an extra collar and leash, licenses, medicines or supplements, brushes, tie-outs, shampoo, and something familiar from home like a toy or blanket. If a dog is comfortable sleeping in a crate at home, that should be brought along too. Consider giving your pet bottled water for continued consistency.

Ensure your pet is properly identified. Also, obtain identification with the address of your destination. Carry a photo of your pet. You’ll be glad you did if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of making, photocopying, and posting “lost pet” notices.

Pet parade in an RV park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bring along your pet’s bed and favorite toys so it will feel comfortable and at home on the road. If traveling with a feline friend, think through the cat-box arrangement. Having extra litter, a covered litter box, plastic bags for disposal, a scoop, and baking soda to cover the bottom of the box will keep mess and odor to a minimum.

Your dog feels as cramped as you do after hours of traveling. You must walk your canine pet when you take rest stops. If your pet is a cat, walks aren’t an issue, but plenty of stretching room is.

Pet-washing station at Tucson/Lazydays KOA © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To make camping with your pet an exciting experience for the both of you, be sure to research the campsite ahead of time, take note of any restrictions or regulations, and bring the essentials along with you.

When registering at a campground or RV park check the location of the nearest veterinary doctor or clinic and how to get there. After settling into a camp or RV site with pets, it is important to be a responsible camper and pet owner. This includes cleaning up after pets, keeping them leashed, and making sure they stay out of prohibited areas.

Looking for your pet cat? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The most important thing to remember is they are your pets and you must make some changes to your RVing lifestyle to ensure their comfort. They may have an accident in the RV and you need to accept that. They may require medical attention that could extend a stay when you are traveling. You need to be flexible in your plans to accommodate pets when you decide to bring them along on your travels and camping trips.

If you plan and are prepared, camping can be a rewarding, memorable experience for both owners and pets.

Worth Pondering…

A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.

―Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

Tips for Walking Your Dog When Camping

Seven tips for walking your dog when traveling in your RV

Like their human counterparts, dogs are eager to explore their new surroundings at pit stops along your travel route and once the RV has reached its destination.

But before putting the leash on your four-legged friend to explore the area or hit the trail, consider the following seven tips:

RV park pet parade © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Plan Pit Stops along Your Travel Route: You will need to stop for bathroom breaks as often as you would let them out at home, so don’t expect to cruise down the highway for hours and hours; make sure to plan adequate pit stops along the way.

RV park pet parade © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Adequate exercise is essential when traveling with dogs. Not only does exercise keep them healthy, it prevents bad behavior stemming from boredom or anxiety. Plan for at least an hour pit stop for each day of driving so that your dog can let off some energy.

RV park pet parade © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Right Leash For Dog Walking: Prior to taking the first steps on the walk, make sure you’re using the proper leash. Retractable leashes are great for expansive areas with lots of room to explore. However, if you’re setting out on a narrow trail with deep underbrush and heavy foot and bicycle traffic, you’ll need to be able to keep your dog from wandering into danger. In that case, keep your dog on the proverbial “short leash.”

RV park pet parade © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Dog Walking Location, Location, Location: Be aware of the hazards and distractions that might stimulate your dog during the walk. Does your pooch dart after other dogs or people? If the answer is “yes,” try to avoid walking during high-traffic periods.

You might also scout out a less-busy walking area. If your dog’s unruly walking behavior is a problem, consider training options.

Guard dog at Hilltop RV park, Fort Stockton, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Walk Your Dog This Way: Always avoid allowing your dog to poke its snout into underbrush or exposed crevices under rocks; these habitats are homes to skunks, rattlesnakes, and other dangerous critters.

At the same time, avoid letting your dog get deep into the shrubbery or tall grass. During tick season, these little parasites like to perch at the ends of branches, just waiting for a free ride on your pet. Also, make sure your dog doesn’t venture into another RVer’s campsite. Not everybody loves dogs as much as you do!

RV park pet parade © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Man-made Dog Walking Hazards: Be careful when walking your dog on lawns. Pesticides and fertilizers can be toxic to dogs. Also, exercise caution around flowers. Some dogs have an appetite for tulips and other pretty blossoms that might be planted throughout the RV park—these can cause stomach problems for canines.

Guard dog at Hilltop RV park, Fort Stockton, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What to Bring When Dog Walking: Regardless of the length of your walk, you should always pack plastic bags for waste—you never know when nature will call.

Water is another essential—even on relatively short hikes, dogs can become dehydrated. Portable water bowls will make drinking convenient for your pooch.

Last but not least, don’t forget dog treats—these will come in handy when you want to reinforce good behavior.

RV park pet parade © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Train to Win At Dog Walking: Consider enrolling your dog in a training class before hitting the trail. Training will address problems your dog might have when it comes to dealing with other dogs, strangers, and wildlife. A well-trained dog means a happy human, and that will go a long way toward making your walk much more pleasurable.

Dog washing station at River Plantation RV Park, Seviereville, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

More RV parks than ever are laying out the welcome mat for pets. Creating a safe, nurturing environment inside your home-on-wheels ensures that everyone stays happy no matter where the road takes leads.

If you plan ahead and are prepared, camping can be a rewarding, memorable experience for both owners and pets.

Worth Pondering…

If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.

―Mark Twain

RV Emergency Kit Essentials

Here are nine RV emergency kit essentials

While the optimists among us tend to imagine life through the lens of the best case scenario, the realists of this world know that things don’t always go according to plan. That’s why it’s important to think about disaster preparation and to have an emergency essentials kit packed and ready to go for whenever the need arises.

For peace of mind consider the following for your RV emergency kit.

Camping at Leaf Verde RV Park, Buckeye, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Important Documents

Keep paper copies in your RV emergency kit of all important documents including: Identification (driver’s license, birth certificate, Passport), health care information, insurance documents, proof of ownership, banking information, and list of emergency and other important phone numbers.

Camping at Eagles Landing RV Park, Auburn, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

First Aid Kit

Your first aid kit should include: Bandages (different sizes), sterile gauze (different sizes), rolled bandages, triangular bandage, cleansing wipes, tape, safety pins, tweezers, scissors, skin rash cream, anti-itch cream, antiseptic cream, sunburn cream, painkillers, antihistamine, ice packs, emergency blanket, disposable sterile gloves, and first aid manual. You should also have any prescription medications on hand. 

Camping at River Run RV Park, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


A flashlight is essential to help you get around in the dark. It can also be used as a signal. As a camper, it’s likely you have a few flashlights already in your RV. Make sure you keep at least one per person and have spare batteries. 

Camping at Creek Fire RV Park, Savannah, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Non-Perishable Food

You already have food in your RV—the fridge and freezer found in most RVs make it easier to bring food. However, you also need non-perishable food. This includes: Canned food, fruit, granola bars, cereal, dry beans and peas, sauces and condiments, trail mix, chips, spices, flour, sugar, oils. Most of these food items are useful to have in your RV, emergency kit aside. Make sure you check expiry dates and store this food in a sealable, animal/rodent-proof container. Of course, you’ll need a can opener at the minimum.

Camping at Terre Haute KOA, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


As most RVers don’t keep their water tanks filled (especially when traveling), you should always keep an emergency supply of water. The general recommendation is 4 gallons per person, per day. 

Camping at Lakeside RV Park, Livingston, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


Be prepared for a variety of weather. Layers are always important, as many places can get quite cold or wet. Include the following for each member of your family: Socks, underwear, warm sweater, warm jacket, waterproof jacket, wide-brimmed hat, sturdy footwear.

Camping at Buccaneer State Park, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cell Phone Charger

Cell phones are incredibly useful in emergency situations—you can communicate with loved ones, seek emergency help, figure out where you are, and get important information and updates. Always keep a phone charger in your RV emergency kit.

Camping at Hacienda RV Resort, Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Personal Toiletries

Personal toiletries can provide comfort and be functional during an emergency. Here are some of the items you should keep in your RV emergency kit: Toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, hairbrush or comb, shampoo and conditioner, hand sanitizer, toilet paper.

Camping at 7 Feathers Casino RV Park, Canyonville, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Roadside Maintenance Kit

Here are a few basic tools to keep in your RV emergency kit: High visibility cones, reflectors and/or vest, wheel chocks, tire pressure gauge, assorted wrenches and screwdrivers, pliers, hammer, duct/gorilla tape, work gloves. You should also keep jumper cables and extra fluids (windshield washer, oil, and coolant). If you’re driving in winter you should also keep an ice scraper, shovel, and traction aid (cat litter or sand).

Camping at New Green Acres RV Park, Walterboro, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Other Items for your RV Emergency Kit

There are a few other items that can be included in your RV emergency kit, too: Whistle, garbage bags, waterproof matches, paper and pen, extra blankets, tarps and ties, maps.

Camping at Dakota Campground, Mitchell, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pet RV Emergency Kit

If you have pets, you shouldn’t forget to include them in your RV emergency kit: Pet food, medications, toys, blanket, collapsible food/water bowls, cat litter and pan (if you have a cat), leash, collar/harness, and copy of your pet’s vaccination and medical records.

Camping at Goose Island State Park, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Assembling Your RV Emergency Kit

You likely have many of these items in your RV already. Even if you do, it’s important to ensure you have all necessary items and have them organized. Start with making a list. Identify the items you have and what you’ll need to buy. Assemble and pack them in your RV. Regularly check on first aid, toiletries, and pet items to ensure they haven’t expired.

While you hopefully won’t need to use of the items you have assembled, it’s important in the event of an emergency situation.

Worth Pondering…

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!

Camping Etiquette: Getting Away From Each Other & Doing It Together

Be smart. Be kind. Be considerate.

Since I am writing this article during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ll start with the caveat that camping etiquette now includes respecting the health of others by maintaining social distancing and sanitary protocols. Much as we crave our former levels of interaction, this is a time when it’s absolutely okay to politely decline an invitation to a potluck or other gathering—unless you know your neighbors well and/or are comfortable with the level of safety precautions that will be taken.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With the arrival of summer, one thing is certain. Americans and Canadians will flee the cities by the thousands in search of open space and a chance to get away from the rest of us. The situation is akin to the hippie movement of the ’60s when everyone was being different but doing it all together.

Jack’s Landing RV Resort, Grants Pass, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

That means that virtually every campground and outdoor recreation venue within four hours of every major cities will be full each and every weekend—full of people getting away from it all and doing it together.

Eagles Landing RV Park, Auburn, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Plan ahead and take care of last-minute errands sooner rather than later since a brief stop on the way out of town Friday afternoon could cost you that last available camping spot.

Campground courtesy (the unwritten rules of etiquette) is an easy way to ensure that a group of people living in close proximity together where sounds travel and light can be a disturbance continue to camp together in harmony.

Whispering Hills RV Park, Georgetown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Spending time in a campground requires a certain level of community patience and a willingness to live and let live, there are some basic rules of camping etiquette that will help create a friendly atmosphere and make the camping experience more enjoyable for everyone.

Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be friendly and greet other campers. Again, this is part of being within the camping community and even though you may not know the other people, you all have a common goal of enjoying the camping experience.

Palm Canyon Campground, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keep in mind that I may be in the campground to get away from it all and wish to hear the wind blowing through the aspens, the chatter of squirrels, or perhaps the call of a jay. While I recognize your right to enjoy a little music, I don’t necessarily share your musical taste unless, of course, it’s Willie’s “On the road again…“. That is why they make headphones.

Jekyll Island Campground, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In that same vein, remember not all generators are created equal. Some are designed to run very quietly, and others are not. Quiet hours are there for a reason.

Follow the campground rules and regulations. These rules usually include speed limits, fire regulations, quiet times, and so on. Adhering to these rules is one of the basics of campground etiquette. Be sure to review and enforce the rules with your children, as well.

Lackawanna State Park, Pennsylvania © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be considerate when arriving late or leaving early. If you arrive at the campsite after dark or leave before dawn, remember that others may be sleeping. Be as unobtrusive as possible. If setting up, do the least amount you need to get through the night and keep voices quiet and lights dim. If you are leaving early, pack up the bulk of your items the day before so you can make a quick get away with the least amount of disturbance possible.

Edisto Beach State Park, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Contain yourself and your camping gear and supplies within your campsite area. When you set up your RV, don’t allow slideouts or awnings to extend beyond your site and into the neighboring  area. Keep all belongings, chairs, mats, toys, etc. within your campsite. If you need to place your satellite dish in another campsite in order to receive a signal, ask for permission from the people occupying the site.

Custer State Park, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Another common misstep is that of walking through another person’s camp without being invited. Treat other campsites as private property. A campsite is a person’s home away from home. When someone is set up in a campsite, that site becomes their property for the duration of their stay. It is their personal space, and it should be treated that way. Never cut across another occupied site without permission. If the washrooms or beach access are on the other side of a site, walk around.

Lockhart State Park, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be a responsible pet owner. If you are traveling with pets, make sure they are well taken care of. Keep dogs on leashes whenever they are outside so they are not bothering your neighbors and discourage them from barking. Never leave a dog that barks or howls unattended. Clean up after your pet—always.

Deadhorse Point State Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Clean up after yourself. When you prepare to exit the campsite, be sure to remove all trash regardless of its origin. Always leave the campsite as clean, or cleaner, than it was when you arrived. The camp host and the next camper will appreciate it.

The bottom line is that camping requires us to respect the land and one another. When it comes down to it, continued success of this ongoing social experiment requires it.

Monahans Sandhill State Park, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Have an enjoyable and safe camping summer.

Worth Pondering…

When Robert Frost declared his intention to take the road less traveled in his 1916 poem “The Road Not Taken,” who could have guessed that so many people would take the same trip?

8 Reasons This Summer Is the Best Time to Try RVing

It’s summertime and the RVing is easy

There has never been a better summer than this one to get out into the great outdoors. We’ve all had a challenging few months. Nature is a tonic and we need it now more than ever. Traveling by RV, even if just a few hours from home to a state or national park, forest preserve, or RV park, may be the safest form of travel and the safest type of overnight stay.

Camping at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Millions of people enjoy RV travel in the summer. The weather can be ideal for being outdoors and the days are longer meaning more time for outdoor activities. Yes, there are mosquitoes and other bugs to contend with but there are also birds to watch, animals to spot, horseback riding, and campfires for cooking and enjoying the evening.

1. RVs Provide the Ultimate Travel Freedom

Traveling along Newfound Gap Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Traveling in an RV gives you the ultimate freedom in traveling. You get in and you go. There are no airport security checks or crowds to navigate. Everything you need fits in the RV which is the biggest suitcase you will ever have. It’s all on board: clothes, food, kitchen, recreation gear, lounge, and the all-important restroom.

2. Summer RVing Is Better Than Your Backyard

Camping in Badlands National Park, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Get away from the noise, the city light, and the traffic, and enjoy some wide-open spaces. Campgrounds at national, state, and local parks are designed for outdoor recreation. You can experience nature up close and personal in all its beauty when you open your RV door. Tranquility is abundant.

Fishing at Parker Canyon Lake, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Take your backyard fun with you. Many people bring their kayaks, bicycles, and other fun toys. Or you can often rent boats and bikes at or near your campground. Hiking and fishing are top activities for RVers in the summer.

3. Enjoy a Community of People

Camping at Eagle Landing RV Park, Auburn, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You will make friends and enjoy some great quality time with fellow campers. RVers generally are interested in enjoying their time camping. They open their campfire circle to new friends and enjoy a beverage or picnic with neighbors.

Lakeside RV Park, Livingston, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This summer, many campgrounds are practicing contactless site management (meaning you won’t have to go into the campsite office to check in). Social distancing is being practiced. Know the rules in the destination you choose to visit and honor the campground requests. We all want to and can be safe as we enjoy RV camping.

4. RVing Makes for a Great Getaway

Frog City RV Park, Duson, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RVing is the ultimate road trip experience. You can go anywhere and stay as long as you like exploring and experiencing new places.  RVing affords a flexible itinerary and you will never be without a place to sleep.

Distant Drum RV Resort, Camp Verde, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RVs come in all shapes and sizes and how and where you plan to travel is the best determiner of which type of RV to use. The larger motorhomes can tow a car behind giving you the ultimate living experience as well as driving flexibility once you reach your destination. Smaller RVs are nimble and can get you into and out of interesting vistas. Think about your preferred road trip experience to make your RV selection.

5. Everyone Gets To Go On the RV Trip

Camping with the family pet at Hilltop RV Park, Fort Stockton, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One of the best features of RVing is that you can bring your pet. Most parks and campgrounds allow pets. There are restrictions on breeds in some cases, plus leash and pooper scooper rules and sometimes vaccination documentation is required. But RVs enable everyone in your household to vacation together.

6. Enjoying the Outdoors

Enjoying the outdoors along La Sal Mountains Scenic Loop near Moab, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

While RVs offer air conditioning, you will spend most of daylight hours outdoors. Be sure to stay hydrated and keep sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat (I recommend a Tilley) nearby. Bug repellent is a must. Bring quality outdoor footwear. Socks and shoes as well as long pants are your best protection in the woods from insect bites, poison ivy, scratches from bush and tree branches, and uneven surfaces.

7. Lots of Daylight and Starry Nights

Port Aransas, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The long days of summer offer bonus time for having fun outdoors. You will have ample access to a miraculous view of the night sky. If you are camping in the woods you may see hundreds of fireflies blinking and twinkling. It’s as if the fairies are just beyond your reach as you see their lights flash.

Sunset at Usery Mountain Regional Park, Mesa, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Nighttime also brings night sounds. Coyotes are commonly heard at night. If you are lucky, you’ll hear owls calling to each other. At twilight, you might hear elks bugling. Nighttime is a show all its own when you RV.

8. This Summer’s Bonus Reason

Gila Bend KOA, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Exceptionally low fuel prices make this the summer for an extended road trip. RVs obviously get less mileage than the family car and the bigger the RV, the lower the mileage. The big coaches use diesel fuel which is more costly but the lower prices help offset the increased expense.

The open road is calling you this summer. Answer the call in an RV.

Worth Pondering…

The attraction of recreational vehicle travel is to see the country, visit new places, meet interesting people, and experience the freedom of the open road.

Not All Snowbirds Have Wings

As refugees from the frozen north, snowbirds escape winter at home by migrating southward each year

For many, snowbirding isn’t just about having fun—it’s about avoiding the miseries of a northern winter. With the challenge of icy roads, shoveling snow, the cold, and being stormbound, is it any wonder so many of us like to escape winter?

Texas Lakeside RV Resort, Port Lavaca, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

More and more snowbirds are now choosing RVing to the Sunbelt over flying to a rented or owned vacation home. RV snowbirding gives you the freedom to travel to different destinations, to leave and return when you want, and to enjoy the comfort of having your own stuff with you all the time. It’s your vacation home on wheels—how great is that?

Las Vegas RV Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Preparing your home for an extended absence requires thorough thought and planning. Before heading south for the season, snowbirds must take steps to secure and winterize their homes. A key aspect of this preparation is making sure your home appears occupied.

Bella Terra of Gulf Shores, Gulf Shores, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Whether you’re new to the snowbird lifestyle or an experienced RVer, creating your own customized checklist is a great way to keep track of your seasonal preparations.

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO? (And how will you get there?)

Selecting a balmy snowbird roost is when all the fun begins. Choice is in rich supply.

Picacho Peak State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Many snowbirds are north-south creatures, meaning those from the Northwest tend to settle in Arizona, Nevada, and California; those from the Midwest flock to TexasMississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana; and those from the Northeast head for Florida.

Rio Bend Golf and RV Resort, El Centro, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Are you planning on heading directly south from your home location? Or will you cut across the country in a diagonal direction, exploring a whole new longitude?

Clermont Golf and RV Resort, Clermont, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Choice of route is subject to your own inclinations. Do you want to visit friends or sightsee along the way, or—as might be the case in mid-winter—do you prefer to go hell-bent-for- leather to the Sunbelt?

Lakeside RV Resort, Livingston, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Maybe your plan is to head to a single destination, park there, and treat your RV like a cottage; taking day trips and excursions from one home base. Or maybe your plan is to visit several destinations, spending a few weeks or even a month at each. This is ideal if you’re attending festivals and events, or checking off a bucket list, like your top 10 national parks or roadside attractions.

Tom Sawyer RV Park, West Memphis, Arkansas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Either way, experienced RVers know that your first step—after you’re comfortable driving the RV, of course—should be to plan your route and research your overnight stops.

Pro Tips:

Arizona Oasis RV Park, Ehrenberg, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be realistic about how many hours you can drive in a day.

Reserve your RV parks in advance, based on your route. This guarantees you’ll have a spot to stop each night.

New Green Acres RV Park, Waterboro, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Make sure the park can accommodate the size of your rig. Plan to get there while it’s still daylight so you can park and set up and have time to relax.

Take holidays and long weekends into account: this will affect availability of camping sites.

Is Rover Roving with You?

Blake Ranch RV Park, Kingman, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Furry friends have their own needs when traveling, too.

Make sure your dog is trained, fit, and healthy for the type of travel you plan. Take into account the type of transportation, activities, and living situation. Ensure your dog responds to recall and “leave it” commands for everyone’s safety.

Hill Top RV Park, Fort Stockton, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Make sure your dog is vaccinated.

Worth Pondering…

We have chosen to be reasonably warm year-round, so we are snowbirds. Every year when I hear the honks of the Canada geese overhead at our home in Alberta, something in my genes starts pulling my inner-compass to the South. And an inner voice whispers: “Surely you’re as smart as a goose.” Feeling that I am at least as smart as a silly goose, I line up the motorhome with that compass pointer and head for the Sun Belt.