GO RVING ON ANY BUDGET

Before buying an RV, people want to know just how much their RV vacations will cost. Well, one of the best things about RV travel is that there are options for every single budget. You are in control of so many price points including the type of camper you purchase, how far you travel, and where you stay.

 

When we bought our first RV, we were teachers with lots of time to travel, but a pretty tight household budget. RV Industry Association estimates that RV vacations cost up to 59% less than other types of vacations. We have found that statistic goes hand in hand with our personal experience. Sure, we love to splurge on RV resorts, special activities, and dinners out when we travel. But if we need to stretch our pennies, RVing lets us control the budget in so many ways.

 

So, whether you are about to take the trip of a lifetime or you want to plan the most affordable vacation ever, here are five ways you can manage the budget when planning your RV travel.

 

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I RV SO I CAN COLLECT EPIC ADVENTURES BEFORE RETIREMENT

 

Did you know that the average person retires at the age of 62? Pair this up with the average life expectancy age of 78.7 years in the U.S, it doesn’t leave much time to enjoy life after retirement.

When Luis and I decided to be “crazy” and sell almost all of our belongings, buy an RV, and hit the road with our kids in July 2016, it was because we didn’t feel we had to wait until retirement to collect epic adventures.

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FATHER’S DAY CAMPING TRIP

Father’s Day Camping Trip – Our Newest Family Tradition

I’m convinced that if you fall in love with the RV lifestyle, your perspective on so many aspects of life changes. It’s not that you don’t enjoy new gadgets or other material things, but to me, you learn to adjust their place in your heart. For me, I’m a self-confessed gadget guy. I could spend hours wandering the aisles in stores like Best Buy. So, when my wife approached me and asked about a gift for Father’s Day, it would be easy to point her towards the last “must have” gadget but all that has changed…

 

On Father’s Day, dads get celebrated for all we do for our kids. New gadgets have supplanted gifts of cologne or ties. This year I was determined to make it a special day because my birthday, once again fell on Father’s Day. That double whammy gave me the opportunity to ask for a different type of present; I wanted to go camping with all five of my kids! While you might be saying, “What’s so hard about that?” Let me share that I have a blended family.

 

 

My older two kids are from my first marriage and they are both college age. I’m blessed that all my kids enjoy and love each other, yet, we have never really been camping together. Yes, my daughter has enjoyed some time with her little brothers at Disney’s Fort Wilderness, and who wouldn’t? But never have I had all my kids on a camping trip.

 

 

Do you want to know why this trip was so important to me? I truly love just about every minute I’ve spent RVing with my wife and 3 young boys. It has meant so much to our family and we have created and experienced some incredible, memorable things.  While my older daughter and son have only seen those experiences through our social media or pictures, I’ve always felt a little guilty that the older two weren’t getting the same experiences or sharing in the memories with us.

 

 

This Father’s Day, I was determined to give the same gift of family memories to all my children. That gift of all of us together doing something I love would be the perfect Father’s Day gift.

 

 

I had such lofty plans, a 150-mile trek to nearby Chattanooga, TN. We would visit a few of their best local sites, while still leaving plenty of time to enjoy and relax at the campground. Since, I assume, Father’s Day would be a busy weekend of camping I made reservations well in advance. I have to say, I was very proud of myself (patting myself on my back).

Then Murphy’s Law decided to turn my trip upside down. Thank goodness RVing has taught us to be flexible in travel plans. To save money, I decided that we would move the trip back in state and take advantage of our awesome local state park, Stone Mountain. Bonus, we are members of Stone Mountain, so we enjoy discounted campgrounds fees and full FREE access to everything the park has to offer.

 

 

 

So, with that change, I just shifted our plans and we were all set. I planned a weekend of the typical fun things we do while camping such as hiking, swimming in the pool, a fun excursion, etc.

 

Hiking to the Top

 

Knowing the temps would reach the mid 90’s, we decided to hike to the top of Stone Mountain for Saturday morning. We gathered at the base of the walk-up trail and took the “before picture”. It had been more than 5 years since I made the trek to the top.

 

 

This is a very known and well-traveled hike. I’ll admit, I was nervous. The entire mile would be a mile up and all hard rock. I wasn’t sure if my back and knees would survive.

My wife assured me that if I made it up I could take the sky ride down if I was hurting and I was….HURTING.

 

Ride the Ducks…

 

We have always enjoyed excursions like “Ride the Ducks” tours to learn more about the area we are exploring.

 

 

So, of course, I felt compelled to take my oldest two on the ducks ride. They had never heard of Ride the Ducks let alone taken a ride. My 20-year-old son, Storm, even got to drive the duck!

 

 

I was very proud of them both for really getting into the ride loudly quacking the horns along the way.

 

Campfire Cooking & S’mores Anyone?

 

What’s a camping trip without a campfire and some s’mores? Well sometimes Mother Nature just doesn’t work with you while you are camping. This weekend she wasn’t on our side. The first night the charcoal fire got completely washed away in a thunderstorm.

 

The next evening, I at least got the chicken kabobs basically cooked before the skies opened up.

 

 

Finally, we were able to enjoy some campfire s’mores time.

 

 

Pool Time….

 

With the temp in the 90’s each day, we certainly had plans to take a cool dip in the pool. That weekend the pool was the most popular place in the campground.

 

Wrap Up…

 

I’ve always enjoyed Father’s Day weekends.  I truly believe being a father is one of the greatest honors that God has given me. To spend that weekend doing what we love to do, camping, as an entire family was priceless. The memories of all five of my kids and me hiking, swimming, and camping together will stay with me forever. With my older kids reaching the age where they are living their own lives, it was so nice to take a weekend to slow down and just be a family together; sweating together, swimming together, eating together, and just plain being together.

 

 

Father’s Day camping trips will be a new tradition in our family. I hope this weekend has given my older kids the same appreciation and love for the RV lifestyle that their dad so enjoys…

 

We’ll see you and your family at the campground…

 

Keith Sims

Soulful RV Family Dad

 

Kick Off Camping This Summer With Go RVing

The following blog post is a sponsored post written by Diana Chen of MVMT blog. All opinions are 100% Diana’s, but she was compensated for her content.

One of my favorite things to do while traveling is get outdoors and experience all that nature has to offer. That’s why I was ecstatic when I was invited by Go RVing to attend the RVX conference in Salt Lake City earlier this month to explore the newest models of RVs for 2019 and learn more about how RVing can fit into my – and any – lifestyle. The exhibit hall and big reveal (which I’ll share more about below) got me excited and anxious to embark on my very first RV trip this summer to a secret destination that I’ll reveal at a later date. While I walked in with a preconceived notion of what RVs look like, feel like, and the audience for whom they serve, I walked out with a completely different perspective and understanding of just how versatile, fun, and comfortable RVing can be for anyone. Hopefully my recap of the event will get you just as excited as I am to kick off camping this summer with Go RVing.

Exploring Different Types of RVs

My first impression when I walked into the RVX exhibit hall was that there are so many different kinds of RVs I never knew existed. In my mind, I had pictured all RVs as mid-sized travel trailers that hooked on to the backs of trucks. While this describes one type of RV, it certainly doesn’t describe every type.

RVs come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are so large that they can practically hold an entire football team, while others are so small that they may comfortably hold only one person. Some can be towed by small sedans, some require a larger truck to tow them, and others can be driven without an additional vehicle. Some contain minimalist features, while others contain all the amenities like fireplaces and multiple bathrooms. Some are decorated with more traditional decor, while others have a much more modern aesthetic. Some cost as much as a high end car, while others cost as much as a large house. So, as you can see, there is no single prototype for an RV, but, rather, RVs can be found in all shapes, sizes, and budgets, and customized for every taste.

Here are a few of my favorite RVs, of all different shapes and sizes, that I found at the RVX conference:

A small Boondock Edge RV that looks like a mouseA small RV shaped like a house – ALINER

If I could pick only one RV, it would be this Gulf Stream Vintage Cruiser

This Cyclone toy hauler is a sheer monster of an RV


 

The Winnebago Forza, an accessible RV

 

RVs Are For Every Lifestyle

Just as RVs come in all shapes and sizes, they are built for all types of lifestyles. Whether you’re a city slicker or a rugged outdoorsman or something in between, you’ll be able to find an RV that fits your lifestyle.

Here are just a few examples of the different types of lifestyles that RVs cater to:

 

For the RVer who wants to off-road whenever and wherever she likes (this rear tire suspension system on the Black Series RVs allows you to go anywhere your heart desires)

 

For the minimalist RVer who likes to have only the bare necessities

 

For the luxury RVer who wants all the amenities (like a fireplace)

 

For the RVer that likes to grill outside

 

For the RVer who likes to tailgate with all his friends and family

 

For the RVer who likes to always feel like she’s by the sea 

The Big Reveal

The most anticipated event at RVX was The Reveal, where one RV from each of nine categories would be dubbed the “spotlight,” or winner, for 2019. My top three favorite categories were Van Life, Outdoor Adventurer, and City Escape, but I’ll include a description of each of the nine categories below.

1. Family Friendly

Family friendly RVs are spacious RVs that comfortably sleep 6-8 people. Top of the line family friendly RVs typically include plenty of convertible furniture, pass-through exterior storage, and separate areas for kids to sleep and play in while adults enjoy time to themselves.

Spotlight: Jayco Eagle HT 264 BHOK

Judge’s Choices: Forest River Vengeance 385 FK Touring Edition, Forest River Sabre Fifth Wheel, Forest River Rpod, Winnebago Outlook, Coachmen Catalina 39 RLTS

2. Outdoor Adventurer

The outdoor adventurer wants to bring all the adventure gear with them when they travel, so the perfect outdoor adventurer RV has to have the capacity to hold all that gear, without sacrificing comfort. Top of the line outdoor adventurer RVs will allow you to bring your bikes, kayaks, paddleboards, and any other gear you can’t live without on your trip and still have all the space to live and sleep comfortably.

Spotlight: SylvanSport VAST

Judge’s Choices: Airstream Basecamp, Forest River No Boundaries, Taxa Tiger Moth, Taxa Cricket, Lance 855 Rule Maker

3. Van Life

Having lived in a city with excellent public transportation options for the past eight years, I haven’t felt a need to own a car. Thus, when I think about roadtripping with an RV, the first image I get in my mind is of an RV campervan that operates as a standalone vehicle rather than an attachment on another vehicle. Van life RVs are most popular amongst minimalist millennials, but they can also attract anyone who prefers to keep it simple.

Spotlight: ModVans CV1 Camper Van

Judge’s Choices: Winnebago Revel, Winnebago Travato Pure 3, Leisure Vans 2019 Wonder Rear Twin Bed, Coachmen Galleria 24 A

4. City Escape

For those who live in the city, the perfect RV is one that can drive just as easily in the city as it can outside of the city. Top of the line city escape RVs are not only versatile, but they also come with the same comforts and amenities that the typical city slicker is accustomed to having back home.

Spotlight: Leisure Travel’s 2020 Unity Rear Lounge

Judge’s Choices: Airstream Interstate Nineteen, Forest River Flagstaff Hard Side SE Camping Trailer, Venture Sonic, Winnebago Boldt

5. Destination Camping

The destination camper wants to be able to drive their RV to a campground and park it there for days or weeks while exploring the area. Top of the line destination camper RVs are spacious and make the RVer feel at home while parked in a new destination.

Spotlight: Forest River – Riverstone Luxury 39 RBFL

Judge’s Choices: KZ-RV Durango, Winnebago Horizon, Forest River Cedar Creek Cottage, Forest River Wildwood Grand Lodge 42DL

6. Team Tailgate

The team tailgate RV is for the RVer who loves to get all their friends together for a sporting event or chauffeur their child’s sports team to away games and tournaments. Top of the line team tailgate RVs have features like multiple TVs, quality sound systems and speakers, an outdoor bar, an excellent lighting system, and for the overachievers like Heartland’s Cyclone Ultimate Tailgate RV: a kegerator.

Spotlight: Heartland’s Cyclone Ultimate Tailgate RV

Judge’s Choices: Coachmen Sportscoach 366BH, Venture RV’s Sport Trek Touring, KZ-RV Venom V Series, Lance 1975 Ultra Light Travel Trailer

7. Sustainability

Just because RVs are large in size doesn’t mean they have to have a large impact on the environment. The sustainability category focuses on RVs that strive to leave as small of a footprint as possible on the environment so that we can take care of our beautiful earth and continue to enjoy it for generations to come. Electric RVs take center stage this year and will hopefully become the industry standard one day in the near future.

Spotlight: Winnebago All Electric/Zero Emission

Judge’s Choices: Taxa 2019 Mantis, Forest River Rockwood Geo Pro, Attitude F35GSG by Eclipse, Forest River Work and Play

8. Luxury Living

One thing I love about RVs is that it makes camping and the outdoors feel more accessible to a larger demographic of people. Those who typically would shy away from anything that takes them away from their lush bathrobes and leather couches can now enjoy all the comforts of home while camping out in a luxury RV in the middle of the woods.

Spotlight: Newmar 2020 Superstar

Judge’s Choices: Stratus SR261 VRK by Venture, Entegra Coach Cornerstone, Crossroads Redwood RV, Forest River Cardinal

9. On the Horizon

The On the Horizon category focuses on new and developing technologies that have been incorporated into RV life. For example, the new Airstream Classic Smart RV contains a new technology that allows you to control your RV’s temperature and other features with a remote control, so that you can prepare your RV to be as comfortable as possible for your return.

Spotlight: Airstream Classic Smart RV

Judge’s Choices: Keystone Fuzion 427 FW w/Onboarding Weighting System, Keystone Raptor 356 w/Pneumatic Suspension, Winnebago All Electric Zero Emission, Winnebago Micro Mini Fifth Wheel 2405 RG

Not only was the RVX reveal an educational experience for someone like me who didn’t know much about RVs before attending, but it was also an inspiring experience that has already gotten me counting down the days until my RV trip this summer. Whether you’re a serious camper or have never experienced RV life before, why not partake in Go RVing’s Kickoff to Camping Season and see where your summer adventures take you?

ROAD TRIPS WITH KIDS: WHY THEY’RE BETTER IN AN RV

My family has taken many road trips and they’ve always been quite the adventure. This fall we embarked on our first road trip in an RV and I don’t know how we’ll ever go back to the way it was before.  Here are six reasons a road trip with kids is better in an RV.

 

Your Kids Will Feel at Home

Some kids really like routines and feel comfortable in safe spaces. On an RV road trip instead of constantly moving from one hotel to another you’ll sleep in the same space every night. This gives your kids a sense of home even on the road.

 

When we picked up our RV our girls immediately claimed their areas. Even though our RV only provided one enclosed bedroom there were four beds and they felt as if they had their own space just like at home. Just as we each have our own spots on the couch at home they stuck to the same spot on the couch in the RV and even sat at the same seat at the table too!

 

 

You Just Have to Unpack Once

As mentioned before, on a typical road trip you’re going from one hotel to another. This means you’re constantly packing and unpacking, which to many is the worst part of travel. On an RV road trip even though you’re able to see multiple places you only have to unpack one time.

 

This allows your family to really get settled and decreases the chance of you leaving things behind at the various hotels. I can’t be the only one that tends to forget things in hotel rooms, can I?

 

 

 

 

Your Kids will Make Friends at the RV Parks

When taking a road trip with kids you don’t often have the opportunity to meet other families. Most people stick to their hotel room when they’re not going out for the day. However, on an RV road trip you’ll be staying at various RV parks where there are tons of families with kids.

 

Each time we pulled into a campground kids were outside playing. As soon as we parked the girls were outside introducing themselves. We in turn would also meet the parents and we connected with one family so much we’ve even kept in touch since our trip.

 

Your Kids Will Have Space to Run Around

Space inside an RV to run around? Ok so while the space your kids have will depend on the size of the RV, your RV park will for sure have a lot of space. Our girls were outside at the end of every day running around. A lot of the RV parks even had pools and/or playgrounds for the kids to play.

 

 

On an RV Road Trip You Don’t Have to Worry about Bathroom Breaks

One of our least favorite parts of road trips with kids are the constant bathroom breaks. The worst thing is when you ask who has to use the bathroom before the last exit or rest stop for the next 26 miles and everyone says no but as soon as you pass it someone has to go.

 

On an RV road trip, you always have a nearby bathroom. Just pull over at the safest time and your kids can use the toilet. Not only will you always have that option but most importantly you know your bathroom is clean. When making random stops on road trips you never know if the gas station will have a working restroom or if it’s clean. We saved a lot of time not having to stand in long lines at rest stops and loved the convenience of having our own toilet.

 

 

RV Road Trips Save Time and Money When You’re Hungry

While on most road trips with kids you’ll have snacks and drinks with you, but depending on how long your trip is you might run out. We loved how much storage our RV had for us to stock up on everything with needed.

 

Not only did it provide storage, but we had a working fridge, freezer, stove and microwave. There are only so many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we can take so having the option to make a quick meal or warm up leftovers from the night before made a huge difference. We saved so much money by not stopping to buy something every time we got hungry.

 

 

 

Our RV road trip provided our family with such a unique experience. Driving and sleeping in the same space proved to be really fun. It will be very hard going back to regular road trips, so we definitely see another RV road trip in our future!