27 May

RVFTA #90: Road Trip Tips!

RVFTA's Road Trip Tips

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are going on a ROAD TRIP!!! It’s that time of year again. Schools are letting out, campers are being packed, and families are hitting the road. We are devoting this entire episode to helping you arrive happy and safe with your lively little campers!

First we have our top tips for making a long drive go as smoothly as possible with the tiny terrors in tow, including establishing a car ride routine and planning easy overnight stops. We discuss 7 tips altogether, so listen to hear what we have learned over the last six years of RVing with kids.

Then we will share our secrets to creating the best road trip soundtrack possible. We thought long and hard about the formula for a great RV vacation soundtrack. Listen to hear our three categories of songs you need to include in order to hit the perfect note with your playlist.

Finally, we realized that many of our listeners (and your’s truly) did not know the details of our RV insurance policies. Many of us just sign up for basic coverage when we first buy an RV and then never think about it again. So we invited the folks from Progressive onto the show to give us the inside scoop on what people really need to know about RV insurance.

Plus, we have a limited number of new t-shirts available for $20, including shipping.

RVFTA Shirts: The Campground is Calling and I Must Go 

Womens: Medium, Large, XLarge

Mens: Large, XLarge, XXLarge

RVFTA Spring tshirt


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You might think the drive is just something we have to survive. But we know that it is actually possible to enjoy the journey as well as the destination. You are listening to Episode #90: RVFTA Road Trip Tips!

Thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly podcast content for all you RV fools!

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19 May

RVFTA #89: Unplugging Teens and Tweens for RV Travel with Special Guest Kerri Cox


Unplugging Teens and Tweens for RV Travel

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are tackling the issue of teens, tweens, and their technology. Kerri Cox of Travels with Birdy recently wrote an article on the topic for the Jayco Journal. We thought it was insightful and 100% on point, so we asked her to come on the show and share her advice with our listeners.

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Plus, the great RV vacuum quest of 2016 has wrapped up, and Stephanie is ready to share the results. Are you trying to keep your RV as dirt free as possible? The struggle is real folks, but we are here to help. Stephanie has 3 RV vacuum recommendations at 3 different price points, so no matter what your budget–there is an option here for you.

Here are links to the three vacuums recommended in the show:

You can also check out this thread and this thread in our forum to see more listeners’ recommendations.

Other links mentioned in the show:

  • On Girl Camper this week, Janine Pettit talks to RV dealership owner, Lynn Butler about the ins and outs of running a successful dealership.
  • On Campground of the Week, Kate Dunbar takes us to the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park in Williams, Arizona and gives awesome advice for planning your trip to this popular NPS site.
  • On the Forum Thread of the Week, we discussed tire safety and the importance of checking tire pressure on every traveling day. Some of our listeners gave recommendations for tire jacks and emergency flares.
  • To check out our special offer from Good Sam click here. Good Sam is offering our listeners a $25 membership with a $25 camping coupon! You do the math…

You might think your teens eyeballs are surgically attached to the bright glow of the gadgets. But we know that there is always room for compromise in the world of family travel. This is Episode #89: Unplugging Teens and Tweens for RV Travel with special guest Kerri Cox.

Unplugging Teens and Tweens for RV Travel

Thanks to our sponsors Progressive Insurance, Good Sam Auto & RV Club, Campers Inn, and RV Trader. We appreciate your support of content for all the RV fools out there!

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12 May

RVFTA #88: Meet the New North American Camper!

Meet the New North American Camper!

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are studying the statistics and taking a good hard look at the 2016 North American Camping Report. This is the second annual edition of the survey, conducted by the Cairn Consulting Group and sponsored by Kampgrounds of America.

So we poured over the pages and pulled out what we thought were the most interesting tidbits. Who is camping and how much are they doing it? Are we logging onto wifi or turning off our devices? Are we pouring into the public campgrounds or embracing the resort amenities? Some findings lined up with our thinking…some findings surprised us quite a bit.

On the agenda:

  • Who is camping?
  • Where are they camping?
  • Are more people camping and what do we know about the newbies?
  • Where are we at with technology?
  • Is diversity still increasing at our campgrounds?

Last year, we discussed the 2015 North American Camping Report on Episode #28, and if you missed that one, go back and take a listen. We focused on a whole different set of topics in that one, and it’s worth checking out.

Here are some other links mentioned in the show:

You might think the camping industry stays the same year after year. But we know that that campers are shaking things up in this country. You are listening to Episode #88: Say Hello to the New North American Camper.

We are so thankful for our wonderful sponsors…

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08 May

Dear RV Moms, I Think You’re Killin’ It.

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Just days after launching our new RV Family Travel Atlas site a couple of years ago, we received this comment on the blog:

Having been camping and traveling with little tykes (our grandchildren), we’ve found that, later, they have little recall of most of the scenes and sights they’ve seen, although they seemed to have enjoyed the trips, mostly. Just a thought.

At the time, I shook my head, sighed, and wrote a brief response, basically telling the gentleman that he was missing the point altogether.

But now, on Mother’s Day, I want to elaborate.

You see there is an easy answer to this comment, and it goes something like this:

Dear Sir, Children are not just formed by the scenes and sights that they remember. All of the experiences they have, the very act of traveling and exploring itself, impacts their development and helps them grow into curious, adventurous, thoughtful human beings. Best, Stephanie

All of this is true, and I believe it deeply. So pat yourself on the back because, whether your kids remember all this RVing or not, you are giving them a super-fun, super-cool childhood.

But that’s not my real answer. Or maybe I should say it’s only about 30% of my answer.

Last week down in Charleston, we were lucky enough to be camping with some other families. After 5 days of spending time together around the picnic table and camp fire, I can say this: parenting young children is HARD. Traveling with young children is HARD. RVing with young children is HARD. Camping with young children is HARD. Being with young children, day in and day out around the clock, is HARD.

And yet all of us parents were having the time of our lives.

In this cultural moment, we are encouraged to give up all those pesky elements of our individual personalities when we become parents. I lost track of the number of times Jeremy and I heard people say, you can forget about that part of your life now that you have kids…

I’m so glad we didn’t listen to those people.

We didn’t start RVing because we had children. We started RVing because we love travel and adventure and exploration, and RVing is a great way to experience those things with kids in tow. Sure, I think RV travel is great for our kids. But that’s not always the point.

We are not just parents. We are parents that are living our own lives to the fullest. We are parents allowing our children to see us having fun, taking risks, discovering new things, and (yes) overcoming the obstacles of family travel.

For me, being a great mom doesn’t mean living my life in service to my children. It means modeling a life worth living. I don’t really care if they remember the forts from our trip to Charleston. What I care about is that they saw their parents navigating a new city, having conversations with locals, trying new foods, reading historical pamphlets, making compromises about day to day plans, and spending time around the campfire with friends.

They witnessed us having the time of our lives.

So this is my message to moms out there today: doing things that matter to you, enjoying life on your terms, embracing your passions, and dragging your kids along for the ride can be a really awesome way to parent.

To all our RV moms…Congratulations, I believe you are killin’ it.

Happy Mother’s Day,

Stephanie

05 May

RVFTA #87: Greetings from Charleston, South Carolina!

Greetings form Charleston South Carolina

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are taking you to the Low Country and sharing all the details of our amazing trip to Charleston, South Carolina. This region has a dreamy combination of outdoor activities and urban culture, all set against a fascinating historical backdrop.

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03 May

6 Standout Restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina

6 standout restaurants in Charleston SC

We enjoyed one mouth-watering, belly-filling meal after another during our recent trip to Charleston, South Carolina. And we are still in recovery.

I knew before our arrival in the Holy City that we had to taste all the stars of Low Country Cuisine…think shrimp and grits, she-crab soup, and Charleston red rice. What I didn’t know was that this region has experienced a food renaissance over the last 30 years, transforming itself into a world class food destination. Depending on which local you ask, you will get a completely different top 10 restaurant list. And they will probably all be equally delicious.

So here is a run down of 6 Standout Restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina. To hear more about our whirlwind culinary tour of low country cuisine, listen to the upcoming episode of RV Family Travel Atlas (#87), and look for our article in an upcoming issue of Trailer Life Magazine.

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28 Apr

RVFTA #86: Planning Thematic RV Vacations

Planning Thematic RV Vacations

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about adding thematic trips into your RV travel plans. We all know that Glacier National Park is a must see for any RV traveler. But what about the Lighthouses of Coastal Washington or Civil War Battlefields of the East? Themed trips are a fun way to explore our country’s history and culture, so we are going to help you start planning!

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21 Apr

RVFTA #85 Campground Etiquette 101

On this week’s episode, RV School is in session with Campground Etiquette 101. Campgrounds are pretty happy places, but if you don’t have good campground manners, you might get the cold shoulder around the evening campfire. We will give you tips for minding your social q’s and making friends wherever you park your rig.

Our conversation is broken down into three main categories:

  • Shared Campground Spaces
  • Campsite manners
  • Interacting with other happy campers

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14 Apr

RVFTA #84 Becoming a Weekend Warrior, Part Two with Fireside Provisions

Becoming A Weekend WarriorPart Two-2

On this week’s episode we are giving you even more tools to become a fierce RV Weekend Warrior. Our listeners are constantly telling us that they want to camp more. Last week on Episode #83, we gave you 7 ways you could fit in more camping with as little fuss as possible.

Well, this week we are talking about the food. It can be the most time consuming part of a quick weekend trip, but we have ways you can eat well without slaving over a camp stove. First, we will share our 5 tips for making food prep easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy on quick weekend trips.

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Then we have a fantastic interview with Kip Clifton, Founder and CEO of Fireside Provisions, a food delivery service for campers like you who want to make a fast getaway on a Friday afternoon and still eat well at the campground. We are in love with this company, and can’t wait to share an awesome resource for Weekend Warriors.

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12 Apr

Stephanie’s No-Mod RV Makeover

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On Episode #82: RV Makeover 101 with the Pop Up Princess, I shared 5 ways I had given our RV a little face lift this Spring. After that episode aired, I was surprised by a deluge of emails and social media comments asking when we were going to share pictures of the makeover.

Insert long, uncomfortable pause.

I’m certainly not an interior designer, and I’m basically the anti-crafty mom. So while I was happy to talk about my RV changes on the podcast episode, I was sort of nervous about sharing photos. I imagined the response would be: So what? Big deal. You barely made any changes at all!

And then I realized that was exactly the point. It wasn’t a big deal. Everyone can do what I did, and with pretty little effort. I didn’t put a single hole in the wall, paint anything,  or install shelving and cabinets. I just made our home-away-from-home a bit more pretty.

5 Tips for an Easy RV Makeover-3

So here they are. Pictures of my small, no-mod changes that made a big difference for our family. To hear us chat further about the makeover, check out the podcast episode. And a  very special thanks to the Pop Up Princess and the Making Something Happy Etsy shop for all your inspiration!

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10 Apr

Celebrating a Birthday at the Campground With Friends…and Bad Weather?

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We used to scoff at camping close to home and would never have celebrated a birthday or holiday at the campground.  But things have changed.  Last year we realized that we could camp close to home and still get the kids to their baseball games (read about it here).  This year we realized that we could camp close to home and have a slam dunk birthday party with family and friends. When the campground calls us, we must go! Even when other responsibilities are calling our names.

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07 Apr

RVFTA #83: Becoming a Weekend Warrior, Part One

RV Weekend Warriors

On Episode #83 we are giving you the tools to become a fierce RV Weekend Warrior. Our listeners are constantly telling us that they want to camp more. So this week we are sharing our best tips for spending weekends at the campground with as little fuss as possible.

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07 Apr

5 More Outdoor Gear Recommendations from the RVFTA Forum!

Outside Gear Bar Harbor Acadia

We are wrapping up our Spring Gear Guide bonanza with 5 more recommendations for the outside of your RV. On Episode #80: 2016 Spring Gear Guide Part 2, we shared all our recommendations for outdoor RV products including propane level checks, sewer hoses, outdoor rugs, and shoes.

Now it’s time to share some great stuff from our forum experts. There are over 250 posts in our Gear and Gadgets forum, and you can scroll through them all here.

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01 Apr

RVFTA #82: RV Makeover 101 with The Pop Up Princess!

RV Makeover 101

On this week’s episode we are kicking off the 2016 camping season in style, bringing you a fantastic interview with Larissa Richardson, better known as the Pop Up Princess. Larissa has achieved royal status in the world of RV makeovers, and she is going to give us five tips for making some big changes in your camper.

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Just four years ago, Larissa and her family decided to take a break from Disney vacations and check out some national parks. After setting up and breaking down the tent a bunch of times, they decided they liked camping but wanted to get off the ground. They found an affordable pop up camper that needed a whole lotta work, and the Pop Up Princess blog was born.

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24 Mar

RVFTA #81: Spring Camping Resolutions 2016

Spring Camping Resolutions 2016

Happy Spring, everybody! Here in the Northeast everyone is opening up the RVs and celebrating the beginning of camping season. And at RVFTA, that means it’s also time for our Spring Camping Resolutions.

We started this tradition last year on Episode #27, and it was fun (and a little nerve-wracking) for us to go back and listen to our resolutions from the beginning of camping season in 2015. We scored ourselves on our progress and accomplishments in the first segment of this show.

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17 Mar

RVFTA #80: 2016 Spring Gear Guide, Part 2

RVFTA 2016 Spring Gear Guide, Part 2

This spring we couldn’t fit all of our gear recommendations into a single episode, so we spread it out over two weeks. If you missed Part 1 with all of our indoor RV products, you can check them out here.

On Episode #80, the Spring Gear Guide, Part 2, we are focusing on the great outdoors. From setting up a comfortable base camp to keeping your trailer safe and secure, we have a whole host of quality products that will make your RV travels even more enjoyable.

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Plus, we are sharing a great interview with Elden Wood, Vice President of Marketing for Truma. This company makes the AquaGo hybrid instant water heater, which provides campers with endless hot water in their RVs.

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15 Mar

5 Awesome Gear Recommendations from the RVFTA Forums

RV interior hybrid

This week’s podcast episode was Part 1 of our 2016 Spring Gear Guide, focusing on great products for the inside of the camper. We thought we would stick with the same theme in our blog post of the week, sharing some of our forum members’ favorite gadgets. Head over to the RVFTA forum to find more recommendations from our resident experts in the Gear and Gadgets and the Camp Food threads!

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10 Mar

RVFTA #79: 2016 Spring Gear Guide, Part 1

RVFTA 2016 Spring Gear Guide, Part 1

It’s finally here! The 2016 Spring Gear Guide got so big that we split it into two episodes. This week we present Part One, sharing all of our favorite new goodies for the inside of the camper. Decorative pillows, appliances, and books…if it promises to make the RV experience a little easier, prettier, or more educational, we tracked it down over the long, cold winter.

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08 Mar

What are You Waiting For? The Scary Leap to RV Ownership

Myrtle Beach Ziplining

I’ve refrained from writing this post for a long time because, contrary to what my husband and kids might tell you, I really do not like telling people what to do. And I hate writing posts that inevitably lead to the each to his own reactions, comments, and feedback. I respect that everyone has their own set of circumstances and reasoning behind life decisions.

But still.

We receive so many emails and messages on social media from people who are saying a version of the following:

I wish we could own an RV. One day we will get an RV. We are on the five-year plan. We are on the seven-year plan. When we retire, we look forward to buying our first RV.  Etc, etc.

And then the story of Driving Miss Norma went ripping around the internet over the last couple of weeks. I had two thoughts:

  1. That is amazing that Norma is living her life to the fullest.
  2. I don’t want to wait until I am 90 to have the time of my life.

In almost every single case, people who tell us they are waiting to get an RV cite financial reasons. It is not in the budget right now. They don’t want a payment. They are saving up.  On the surface, these statements seem completely reasonable and even downright responsible. In fact, I presented them all to my husband over the course of buying our first pop up.

However.

The arguments don’t really fly. Why?

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04 Mar

RVFTA #78: Camping with Family and Friends

Camping with Family and Friends

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about Camping with Family and Friends. RVs make it much easier to share vacations with loved ones since communal campfire areas and private family spaces would seem to be the perfect combination.

However, things can turn sour if everyone is not on the same page with planning, food, and activities. Listen to hear our top 5 tips for Camping with Family and Friends.

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