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Planning a family winter caravan trip

posted by Brandon Esparza @ 10:23am, Wednesday 17 December 2014.

Christmas is a busy travel season, with everyone up and down the country rushing to visit friends and family. It’s a wonderful time to travel, but let Steve Martin’s horrific experience in Trains, Plane and Automobiles be a warning to anyone: it pays to be prepared!

RV owners have the benefit of being able to avoid cancelled flights, faulty trains and unwelcome travel companions, however there are still a number of things that could spoil your trip. Here are a few tips to ensure your winter caravan travel adventure goes off without a hitch, no matter where you are in the country.

Cold Weather Caravanning
On the surface of it, RVing in the snow may not seem ideal: it can be icy on the roads and you also have to deal with the threat of pipes freezing over. But on the flip side you get to witness beautiful, snow covered landscapes, frosted valleys and hills, plus you benefit from cheap and empty campsites away from all the Christmas hype.

Imagine waking up on Christmas morning in the countryside, perhaps in a glorious national park. Stockings are filled to the brim with presents; mince pies left outside for Santa have mysteriously disappeared; and all around Jack Frost has cocooned the caravan and the surrounding field in a magnificent white blanket. 

It’s a day of wonder, and what could be more majestic than opening presents in the middle of the great outdoors, with the morning sun glistening all around, through trees and over snow-capped mountains?

Here are a few extra tips for keeping your RV warm and functioning during the winter months:

    •    Bring along lots of extra warm layers and comforters (plus hand warmers and hot water bottles for those especially susceptible to the cold).
    •    Pack kindling and wood for a hot mug of cocoa over a crackling fire.
    •    Change your gas supply from butane to propane cylinders – although more expensive, propane operates at a higher pressure and can still be used when temperatures are as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to leave the gas on at times in order to prevent your pipes from freezing.
    •    Most RVs today are well insulated, but if your tourer is old it may be a wise move to add an extra layer of skirting.

The success of a winter road trip all depends on the preparation, so here’s a list of other essentials you’ll need to ensure you don’t get trapped in the snow:

    •    Show shovel
    •    Window scraper
    •    Ice chipper (i.e. an axe)
    •    A bag of rock salt to sprinkle on walkways and to put around your tires in the event you get stuck in snow
    •    RV antifreeze
    •    Spare battery
    •    Wooden boards for parking (to prevent tires from sinking)
    •    Tire chains for icy roads

Warm Weather Caravanning
For those who really couldn’t bear to put up with the freezing temperatures in northern parts of America and Canada, there’s always the option to travel down south where the climate is tropical all year round.

Florida stays warm and sunny throughout the year and presents some fantastic travel opportunities, from beaches to cities, like Miami and Orlando. Check out the best camping ground in Florida to find the best suit for your winter getaway.

On western shores, California also has some great spots for warm RVing in winter. San Diego has great beaches and its gentle surf makes it perfect for young children who want to swim, surf or fish. Visit Coronado Beach between January and March and you might even catch sight of some migrating whales!

Some Adventurous Winter Caravanners

Pete, Katie and their two kids, Sarah (9) and Jesse (13), took their RV out to a campground in Ontario last winter. They exchanged their usual hectic Christmas spent in Buffalo, NY, for a trip north, and had this to say: “At first the kids were against it, but we managed to persuade them by telling them we might see a Christmas moose! It was a little nippy in Canada, but I think overall a good trip. Christmas day was absolutely beautiful with the snow all around.”

Michelle Maddox (sales representative at Salop Leisure) and her husband Andrew, regularly take their dogs for some Christmas RVing. They are passionate about exploring the great outdoors, no matter the time of year.

"Our touring caravan is like home from home for us," she said. "We have central heating, double glazed windows, a shower, a toilet and a fixed bed. We love the freedom of being able to step outside into the countryside. What more could you want?”

Ever spent Christmas cozied up in an RV? Please leave your stories in the comment section below!

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5 Good Reasons Why You Should Buy an RV!

posted by Brandon Esparza @ 10:48am, Wednesday 3 December 2014.

Contrary to common perception, you do not have to wait until you retire just to get an RV. Lately, there has been an RV boom that has seen the median age of RV owners drop from 60 to 48, which is a good thing. It basically means that more and more families out there are making RVing part of their lives. The practice has been around for years, and it has grown into a heritage or culture from just a mere traveling means. It is not a secret that RVing can be quite costly, but below are 5 good reasons why owning an RV is worth every penny.

5 Reasons Why to Own an RV:

Privacy, Comfort and Convenience - There are several means of traveling, but only few can match the comfort provided by RVs. These motorhomes not only allow you to move around and stretch during long journeys, but also enhance privacy and you do not have to worry about a smelly person sitting next to you. In as far as convenience goes, RVs enable you to travel as per your own schedule, where you can choose when to wake up and leave unlike airports.

Breathtaking Views - Traveling by air may be fast, but boring. While in an airplane, all you get to see are clouds and maybe oceans or seas. However traveling in RV's, provide the perfect opportunity for families to catch a glimpse of the countryside. The numerous breathtaking views you are bound to come across during your trip include wildlife, rivers, hills and mountains, and sunsets among others all in the comfort of your motorhome. In short, RVing allows families to make stops and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer.

Quality bonding time - There is nothing that can be compared to the time spent with family. RVing provides the perfect opportunity for families to bond as they catch up after long, busy working or school schedules. The children can be comfortably seated, playing board games as they gobble on snacks, while the parents bond over breathtaking landscapes at the front. Basically, families get to experience and share long-lasting memories together rather than just flying past them.

Cost factor - besides the hefty costs that come with purchasing plane tickets for every family member, restaurant or motel charges can make a family trip quite costly. Purchasing an RV therefore makes sense in whichever aspect you choose to look at it from. They are called motorhomes for a reason; it is a home away from home. Owning RV's enables families to take naps at their pleasure, as well as unlimited access to food or amenities. According to various researches and studies, RVing remains the least expensive form of vacation.

Freedom and peace of mind -  It is common to find pissed customers at the airport, perturbed by the loss of luggage. You get peace of mind, knowing that your luggage is safely tucked away in neatly organized closets and shelves. However, when all is said, there is only one main reason why people choose to travel via RVs and that is because they get to go wherever they want, when they want.

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The Top Five Movies Featuring RVs

posted by Brandon Esparza @ 10:41am, Wednesday 3 December 2014.

The following is a brief summary of the top five movies that feature an RV

1.    RV (2006)
Starting this list is the 2006 movie starring Robin Williams. Bob Munro (Robin Williams) is feeling stressed and is facing the threat of losing both his job and family. In an attempt to salvage both, he hires an RV and promises his family that he is taking them for a road trip to the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Unbeknownst to his family, the road trip is not necessarily that but an attempt to keep his job. The journey is quite a hilarious one with many funny incidents. Eventually, the family regains back their forgotten family bonds.

2.    Meet the Fockers (2004)
This is another hilarious comedy starring Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller and many other A-list stars. The movie is a sequel to the Movie Meet the Parents. In this sequel, Gaylord Focker (Ben Stiller), his pregnant fiancé, his future mother-in-law, and his future father-in-law Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) are all traveling to Florida to meet Gaylord's parents. The journey will not be by air as everyone thought; rather Jack decides to drive them there in his brand new RV. Upon their arrival, Gaylord's eccentric father and his mother who is a sex therapist welcome them. The movie has many hilarious scenes involving the RV and the struggle for the family to become one.

3.    Borat (2006)
This is a hilarious movie starring Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat. Borat Sagdiyev who is a popular TV presenter in his native Kazakhstan decides to travel to America to help Kazakhs understand it better by making a documentary. In America, he discovers the beauty of American women and develops an obsession with an American woman on TV (Pamela Anderson). He later learns of the death of his Kazakh wife and believes its fate's way of encouraging him to pursue Pamela. Later they have a disagreement with his producer. He then hitchhikes with students in an RV who then put the Pamela Anderson sex tape and he is disgusted. Later they make up with his producer and go back to Kazakhstan with samples of American culture.

4.    From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Seth Gecko (George Clooney) who is a bank robber and Richard Gecko (Quentin Tarantino) who is a rapist and psychopath are continuing with their crime spree after a bank heist in Abilene. The pair stops briefly at a low-budget motel when planning on how to cross over the border to Mexico. Meanwhile, Jack Fuller (Harvey Keitel) who is a former minister is on vacation in an RV with his son and daughter. They too come to stop over at the same motel the Gecko brothers are staying for the night. Seth abducts Jack's family and promises to let them free as soon as they cross the border. What happens later is a fight for survival against vampires until the dawn.

5.    About Schmidt (2002)

Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) has always led a safe and predictable life working in Omaha in the Insurance industry but now faces retirement. In addition, takes a hard look at his life, his wife, and his relationship with his daughter. A series of hilarious events ensue as Schmidt embarks on an RV Journey to Denver to attend his daughter's wedding.

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The Best Camping Grounds For RVers in Florida

posted by Brandon Esparza @ 6:47pm, Wednesday 5 November 2014.

Florida is home to some of the best RV camping grounds within the U.S. The warm weather, hundreds of miles of sandy beaches and the amusement and theme parks in Florida attract more than 60 million visitors per year. The State parks of Florida offer more than 50-campgrounds throughout the state. Many of these campgrounds would offer all amenities to the deserving RVer. This article will highlight three of the best State parks in Florida where you could plan your RV camping trip this summer.

Photo Credit: trishhartmann via Compfight cc

1. Caverns State Park - Caverns park is an exotic state park in Florida. The view is breathtaking with dry air-filled caves and dazzling patterns of limestone soda straws, draperies, flowstones, stalagmites and stalactites. You are able to canoe, boat and fish near the Chipola River. There is also a freshwater spring available for these activities. This state park is extremely popular among RV campers, horseback riders and picnickers. Even though the park doesn't rent horses, there are stables available for equestrian campers. The Caverns State park also features a nine-hole golf course set on a exotic rolling terrain.

Guided tours of the caves are offered Thursday through Monday throughout the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas. The tour is a bit strenuous and takes about 40-minutes in total. Reservations for RV camping tours could be made by visiting the website of the Caverns State park. The RV camping fee is $20 plus taxes per night which includes electricity and water. Residents of Florida who are 65-years or older and holding a social security disability award certificate are eligible for a 50% discount.

2. Anastasia State Park - The Anastasia State Park features four miles or 1600 acres of pristine beaches, a maritime & upland hammock and a tidal salt marsh. Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, a famous archaeological site created by minding the coquina rock, is also located within the premises of the Anastasia State park. The park is ideal for RV camping, fishing, beach-combing, picnicking, swimming and windsurfing. The park is home to more than 139-campsites with all the amenities required for RVers. The site is open from 8.00 a.m. for 365-days a year. All campers should be setup before 11.00 p.m. The camping fee is stipulated as $28 plus taxes with water and electricity. Senior citizens who are over 65-years old or people with social security disability award certificates are eligible for 50% discount.

3. Myakka River State Park - This is one of Florida's most diverse and largest natural state parks. It is a wild and scenic river in Florida which flows through 57-square miles of wetlands, hammocks and pine land. The site is ideal for RV camping, hiking, canoeing and wildlife activities.    There are volunteers who help to keep the bathrooms in the park clean and spotless. The campground is quite isolated and quiet. A 35-feet RV could be easily accommodated on the campsite. The camping fee is $26 plus taxes per night. It covers all amenities such as electricity and water.

The aforementioned are three of the best State Parks in Florida that are ideal for RV camping during summer holidays.

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