TIPS AND TRICKS FOR THE INTERNATIONAL RVER IN THE STATES
The thought of packing up your entire life and traveling to a foreign country can be intimidating. Planning to purchase an RV and spend most of your time there for the next few months while touring a foreign country can seem even more daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! As RVers from Australia who did just that, we share some of our tips and tricks so you have everything you need for the road ahead.
1. Plan your trip in advance
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. It is much better to be prepared than to be stuck somewhere for lack of preparation. RVing in your country of origin is probably going to be completely different than RVing in the States. We did extensive homework online and found a lot of things were different about RVing here compared to in Australia. First of all, the roads are very different. The interstate road network in the States makes it easy to travel to a variety of locations including mountains, lakes, beaches, etc., no matter the size of your RV. In Australia, smaller travel trailers are much more popular, especially for remote Outback locations that are only accessible via 4×4. There are also lots of gravel roads that are not RV friendly, and the red dust that swarms up when you drive over them gets everywhere inside the RV! You will want to know if the roads and routes you’re taking are accessible for RVers. You’ll also need to plan where you are you going to stay and how much money you plan to spend there.
2. Find a way to purchase a vehicle
This is probably the hardest thing to do as an international RVer. We looked online for advice about buying a truck or trailer as a non-US citizen. Our research would usually lead to something like, “It’s too difficult; you should look at renting a vehicle.” This was not the advice we were looking for as we had already decided we wanted to purchase a fifth wheel trailer and truck. We finally found a solution and purchased our RV and updated it to make it feel more like our own home (which was important since we were gone from it for so long)!
3. Get a Visa
We applied for B1/B2. It costs about $150 USD per person and allows you to stay in the US for up to 6 months. It is valid for either 5 or 10 years, depending which country you are from. A Visa isn’t required if your home country is a part of the Visa waiver program, but you can only stay for 90 days. We think it’s definitely worth getting your Visa, especially if you decide to extend your trip because you haven’t finished exploring yet!
4. Travel Insurance
Don’t be silly – buy travel insurance! 99.99% of credit cards these days include travel insurance. However, for a trip like this, it’s worthwhile to buy your own. Credit card travel insurance is usually only valid for 30 days, and the policy is limited on many things. We paid $1,100 USD for our 6-month trip, which included 9 countries outside the US, and it covered many things including any delays with the trip and damaged/lost personal items. This plan actually came in handy for us when we broke phone and laptop screens.
5. Buy Travel Adapters
You can find them online for cheap – about $1 each if you get a 10 pack. This makes life much easier when you need to use international plugs in your RV or anywhere else. We suggest buying at least 10 so that you can use them anywhere and everywhere in the RV, and you don’t have to worry about losing one or having enough to share.
6. Get Memberships
With an Amazon Prime account, you can place an order and get anything delivered in two days. This was very helpful for us when we were briefly staying with friends. For maintenance, Good Sam’s has an RV roadside assistance membership that we highly recommend. Additionally, places including Boondockers Welcome, Harvest Hosts, Camping World and Passport America are all great memberships to have for discounts on campsites, unique places to stay and RV parts or accessories. Last but not least, paying to get the National Parks Pass is a great way to save money as it allows you to enter the National Parks for free. Without this, you have to pay an entrance fee every time. We got to see so many awesome places thanks to this pass.
Definitely get a National Parks Pass to enjoy views like this!
Do you have any tips for an international RVer? Let us know in the comments!