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Tips For Storing Your RV

For RV owners who aren’t fortunate enough to travel full time the need to store your vehicle will eventually arise. If you don’t have a full sized RV garage built into your home, or extra space in your driveway, you’ll probably end up at a storage facility capable of storing your RV sooner or later. Although it may seem like you can just park your RV, lock it, and return many months later, there are a few steps you’ll want to take to ensure your RV is in top shape come next season.

Tips For Storing Your RV

The Storage Space

The first step to successful RV storage is to find a good space. Generally speaking you’ll have two options available; open or enclosed spaces. Open spaces are best for people who live in warm, arid regions. The combination of warm weather and a lack of humidity create the perfect environment for storing your RV. However, if you live in an area that has damp, cold, or the possibility for extreme weather your best bet is an enclosed space. After additional security, one perk to enclosed spaces is the opportunity to have it climate controlled. A climate controlled space will reduce the amount of work you need to do to winterize your vehicle, as well as reduce the wear and tear on your RV by eliminating extreme temperature and humidity changes.

Clean the RV

Before placing your RV in storage you’ll want to clean the entire inside and outside. Follow normal vehicle washing procedures and include a UV protective car wax or other RV safe coating. This will reduce the opportunity for rust or other unwanted visitors like dust, or sunlight from damaging your paint job. Vacuum the carpets, scrub the shower, toilet, and counters. Take extra care to clean appliances like ovens, microwaves, and refrigerators. Additionally remove all food items as this will prevent odor buildup and reduce the likelihood that rodents will try to make their home in your RV.

No H2O

You’ll want to remove all the water from your RV’s pipes, tanks, and drains to prevent them from freezing or growing mildew. Use compressed air to clear pipes and water lines. Take extra caution for plastic, rubber, old, or weak water lines as the compressed air may damage them. Empty the water from fresh water tanks, as well as the water heater and toilet. To prevent any remaining water from freezing and damaging the lines you can flush RV safe anti-freeze through the lines and tanks. This isn’t the same stuff you put in your car so you’ll need to verify that it is RV safe (non-toxic and suitable for use in potable water supplies). To err on the safe side you can place about 1 cup of RV safe anti-freeze in every drain.

Engine and Battery Prep

In order to prevent damage to your engine or fuel system while the RV is in storage you’ll need to top off all the fluids. If you’ve just finished up traveling and plan to lock up your RV for a few months consider having the oil changed and all the fluids checked. Be sure to tell the mechanic that you’re planning on storing your RV for the off season so they can offer you the best products. To protect your battery you’ll want to have it fully charged before storing. Turn off the RV circuit breaker and all electrical systems and appliances before storing. This will prevent battery drain and prolong the life of your batter. If you live in extremely harsh conditions and don’t plan to put your RV in a climate controlled unit it may be best to keep the battery inside your garage. Follow storage and handling instructions printed on the battery for best results and safety.

Protect the Tires

Sitting for long periods of time can cause damage to your RV’s tires. To prevent this use your RV’s jacks to lift some of the weight from the tires (be sure to consult your owner’s manual about long term jack use first). If jacks aren’t an option you can return to your RV once a month and move your RV a half rotation each time to prevent the fullness of the RV’s weight from resting on the same spot. If your RV will be parked in direct sunlight use tire covers to prevent the sun from damaging the rubber while in storage.

Invest in a Full-Sized RV Cover

Purchasing a full-sized RV cover is one of the best ways you can protect your investment. A cover will prevent rain and hail from contacting the RV’s paint as well as protecting the plastic and rubber portions from encountering the sun’s damaging UV rays. For best results, put the cover on after you’ve washed the entirety of the RV’s outer surface.

Additional Concerns

Place a few open boxes of baking soda inside appliances like refrigerators, freezers, and microwaves to keep odors at bay. Close all blinds and window shades to prevent the sun from damaging furniture and carpet.  Empty all trash containers and remove all food items including crumbs and canned food to prevent rodents from entering your RV. Disconnect and store all liquid gas canisters as per local and storage facility regulations. If stored properly your RV will remain in top shape and be ready for use upon your return.

The Top 3 Benefits Of RV Travel

Now that I’m adult, I’ve found myself more accustomed to the seasons with more moderate temperatures, meaning fall and spring.  But when I was a young child, there were no three months in the calendar year better than the summer months.  This was mostly because of the lack of school.  When you’re a twelve year old, it doesn’t matter what the weather’s like outside, any time off of school is glorious.   Like many American families, mine took advantage of this time off by taking a little time to travel.  Our trips usually would last a week or so, and I hold many memories of these days dearly.  Our preferred method of travel was by plane, but every now and again we drove to our destination, depending on the distance.  I don’t think my parents ever considered an RV.  No one in my family had one.  I never even set foot inside an RV until I was 23.  This was when one of my best friends in college wanted to go for a road trip across the west coast–one of the great vacations of my life.  Dining on the exquisite San Franciscan food, exploring the behemoth beaches of southern California, watching a multitude of dynamic bands in Seattle’s ever-present alternative music scene, it was an extraordinary time.  But what was also great about the trip was that I learned about traveling in an RV; I realized the fantastic benefits that come with traveling in an RV.

The Top 3 Benefits Of RV Travel

Camp Inside

I’ve always been something of an outdoorsman.  However, there are friends and family of mine that are anything but.  Indeed, I call these people “indoor cats.”  Traveling in an RV is perfect for those who love to hike, camp, fish etc.  You can drive up to the site you need to be for these activities, and you have the option to set up camp.  But for “indoor cats,” who don’t really enjoy sleeping in tents, RVs offer most of the conveniences of a modern home, including a comfortable bed.  One can even take a hot shower in the morning and use a bathroom that isn’t a nearby bush.  Traveling in an RV is ideal for a camping trip.  Those who enjoy sleeping in tents can stick to the outside, while older travelers can secure themselves inside.

The Top 3 Benefits Of RV Travel

Save Money

Traveling in an RV is also a great way to save money.  RVs themselves can be on the expensive side, sure.  But with the money you have the potential to save over several years of vacationing, an RV pays for itself and more.  Finding a campground for an RV is far cheaper than trying to book a hotel room, about $100 cheaper on average.  Since RVs come equipped with kitchens as well, there’s no need to spend an exorbitant amount of money on eating out every meal of every day;  one can buy groceries and prepare meals just like at home.  Traveling in an RV is definitely better than paying for airfare, which seems to go up year after year, even though the quality of the service seems to do the exact opposite.

The Top 3 Benefits Of RV Travel

Bond at the Campgrounds

The campground experience is unique to traveling in an RV.  Campgrounds, at least the better ones, offer many of the same amenities of a modern hotel, including pools, gift shops and playgrounds for the children.  They also provide some electrical services.  But where the campground experience differs from the hotel experience is the socialization.  In a hotel, visitors tend to lock themselves in their room and throw on the television.  At a campground, there are no walls to separate travelers.  It’s a far more communal experience that provides for the opportunity to meet interesting fellow travelers.  Indeed, many campgrounds encourage this kind of fraternization by sponsoring group activities and special events.

RVs are not for everyone.  I get that.  I didn’t think they were for me when I was younger.  But after experiencing the wonderful benefits that RV travel allows for opposed to other forms of travel, I’ve never gone back.

5 Great Tips For Seniors and RV Traveling – Let’s Hit The Road!

There’s something very appealing about the concept of conquering that open road and sailing off down an endless stretch of highway; of finding little pieces of America in each and every town that is along a designated route.   The best part of it all; freedom!  When you are traveling by RV, it allows the traveler to ultimately be the master of his or her own destiny.  You’re not confined to airport check-ins, flight delays, of being crammed together like a herd of cattle into an already overbooked airplane.  The roads the limit here, so why not take advantage of all that freedom.   Visit those grandkids that are scattered across the country like seeds in the wind.  Remember how much you loved reading Jack London when you were growing up? Now you can take in the Alaska experience while you cruise along the Yukon trail.  Where to start?  Take a look below:

  1. Get on the web: This is a great first step. Let’s say home for you is in Maryland, but a road trip to the Gulf Coast is calling your name.   Some websites can help you get that itinerary started, just plug in your starting and stopping points and watch the different routes pop up.  You can also put in certain criteria like swimming pools, hot tubs, horse riding, etc.

5 Great Tips For Seniors and RV Traveling – Let’s Hit The Road!

If you’re going to a state prone to severe weather (hurricanes, blizzards, extreme heat, etc.) make sure to get online and do some research. Look at local weather patterns, best practices for recreating in the area, and make a back-up plan in case your destination becomes inaccessible.

  1. What to bring: Now you’ll need to sit down and start that list of everything you need for a safe and pleasant journey. Food, water, and that all important map or GPS system. All weather clothing and dressing in layers is a good idea, especially while traveling through mountain climates.  What started out as sunny skies has now turned into a mid-summer snow storm.  Snow chains in July? You never can plan too carefully here.

Make sure everything is in its proper care and order; bring in your RV for a tune up and run through everything that is on board, too; tools, car jacks, tire irons, first aid kits.  There’s nothing worse than having a flat tire and the image of your tire jack propped up in the garage back home.  Better yet, make sure you’ve got towing and auto repair coverage.  AAA cards come in handy in case of emergencies.

5 Great Tips For Seniors and RV Traveling – Let’s Hit The Road!

  1. Health Insurance: After stepping out to snap that scenic view of the Grand Canyon, you twisted your ankle on a loose rock. Your husband and a fellow tourist helped you back into the RV, but your ankle’s throbbing and not getting better, even propped up with a bag of ice.  Lucky for you, you’ve brought along all your medical information (private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid policies) prescriptions and doctor contact numbers.  BEFORE you begin your travels, read through to make sure you understand about coverage policies.   Let’s say you’re not in Arizona, but are visiting Banff for the first time when you trip over a piece of driftwood and down an embankment.  If you are traveling out of the country purchasing Travel Insurance would be important to consider.  This will enable you to visit the doctor or hospital and receive medical care regardless of what country you are traveling in.
  1. Camera: No doubt while traveling through Yellowstone, you’ll want to bring back photos of bison, bears and Old Faithful. Nowadays, with wifi and local internet connections you can download all those pictures on your laptop and send them to your friends and family to help document your travels with you.  Where are grandma and grandpa today? There they are! Standing in front of the crumbling remains of The Alamo.
  1. Journaling: Bring a notebook. After you pull out that folding chair and sink your bare feet in the sandy dunes right above the Atlantic surf, you’ll want to savor these moments with you long after you return home.  Keep your thoughts handy, especially months later when you’re sitting in the middle of that dreadful Nor’easter, you can flip back in your journal to recall the soft sandy beach, those circling gulls and how that warm sun felt on your face.

Have a great time on your journey, remember this is the time of your life to relax and start enjoying your leisurely retirement that you spent a good bulk of your career working towards.  Think of the wonderful memories, the exciting destinations.  Life awaits—go out and grab life by the horns! You’ve earned it!