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:
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!