Touring The USA In An RV: 11 Tips For Retired Couples

September 24, 2020

 Now that you’ve retired, you want to treat yourself and your life partner to an unforgettable travel experience. Sure, it’s possible to go around the world and sample the delights, cultures, and cuisines in foreign lands.

But, the unfortunate downside to that idea is COVID-19. If you planned to travel the world, strict quarantine measures would make such an experience untenable. However, that doesn’t mean you can go out and explore different places!

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Many people travel the world, but they seldom take the time to experience different parts of their home countries. As someone that lives in the United States, you’ll have noticed that there’s quite a lot of land to explore in the country.

There is plenty to see and do, and many opportunities to make new friends and experiences in the USA. That's despite what’s going on in the world with COVID-19. If you’ve recently retired and are itching to do some traveling, this handy guide is for you!

This blog post isn’t about where you should visit in the country. It’s more to do with helping you prepare and plan for your travels. The result is you'll have a joyous, unforgettable, and delightful time as you traverse the country. Here's what you need to know:

1. Buy an RV that best suits your needs

Even if money is no object, having your own accommodation on wheels makes more sense than other options open to you. For example, hotels can be expensive, and you may not get a room due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

Putting up and taking down tents can be cumbersome, especially when the weather isn’t in your favor. And you may not wish to stay with friends and family across the country, as it might make you feel you can’t go exploring on your own terms.

That's why it makes sense to buy a recreational vehicle or "RV" for short. An RV will have all the creature comforts you require on your travels, such as a comfortable bed, cooking facilities, and a bathroom that you don't have to share with strangers on a campsite!

2. Have your RV checked for roadworthiness

It doesn’t matter whether the RV you buy is new or secondhand. In either case, it makes perfect sense to have a thorough roadworthiness check done on it. Doing so means you won’t have to worry about it breaking down, especially in a rural area.

Even with new RVs, there can sometimes be manufacturing defects that aren’t always detected by motorhome dealers. Be sure to have your RV checked by a trusted mechanic that provides you with a comprehensive inspection report.

3. Pack emergency items for your trip

Let’s face it: no-one can predict any problems you may encounter as you drive across the country. That’s why it pays to pack some items in your RV that you can use for emergencies. For example, a first-aid kit and spare water bottles and food are a good start.

You might also wish to consider carrying a fire extinguisher, a booster pack for flat batteries, and a solar charging system for electronics like mobile phones. Of course, it also makes sense to pack plenty of clothes for use in hot and cold weather conditions.

4. Get your health insurance in order

If you or your spouse/life partner become injured during your travels, you might need a trip to the hospital or a doctor. Keeping that in mind, it's a good idea to have an appropriate health insurance cover in place for you both.

You can learn about health insurance from TrueCoverage to find out what types of insurance cover are appropriate for your travels. Getting your health insurance in order before you travel will give you peace of mind knowing that you aren’t liable for huge healthcare costs.

5. Let loved ones know where you are

It makes sense to keep those closest to you informed of where you are in the country if you run into any problems. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to call your kids every day, of course!

There are many ways you can let those closest to you know of your movements. For instance, you could “check-in” to places using Facebook or an app like Swarm. You might even wish to document your tour on a blog (either a public or private one).

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6. Don’t rush

The aim of touring the United States in an RV is to immerse yourself in new experiences, settings, and even make new friends along the way. You can’t do that properly if you don’t spend some quality time at each new destination.

When you rush your visits to new locations, it can add much-unwanted stress and anxiety during your road trip. There's no reason why you can't spend several days at each point of interest in your itinerary.

7. Stock up on long-life foods and drinks

There will undoubtedly be times where you and your traveling companion will treat yourselves to meals at places where you visit. For the most part, however, you’ll be cooking your own meals in your RV.

As you can appreciate, foods and drinks with short shelf lives will spoil quicker than long-life ones. It’s for that reason you should consider stocking up on long-life items, such as canned goods.

You can always buy fresh produce at places you visit and cook them along with your long-life foods. But, if you end up in a remote location with no nearby grocery stores, for example, you’ll still have food you can consume in your RV.

8. Create a rough itinerary

The notion of pointing to a random place on a road map might seem great at the time. But, it can make your journeys stressful, especially if those "random" locations are unsuitable for visiting or inaccessible in an RV.

That’s why you’d be better off creating a rough itinerary of your trip before you both hit the road in your home on wheels. You might be wondering why a “rough” itinerary is better than a more precise one?

Well, the answer is simple: you won’t feel like you have to adhere to strict dates or times. That’s because you might wish to visit some places longer than others. But, you won’t know that until you arrive at those destinations.

Creating a rough itinerary before you both travel the United States also gives you an idea of the best times of year to visit. For example, some places might be inaccessible due to snow, or closed if you visit out of the tourist season.

Take a look at the RoadTrippers website to help you plan a rough itinerary.

9. Invest in paper maps

These days, most explorers use electronic devices like their smartphones to help them navigate to new locations. There’s no denying they are time-saving tools to use on any road trip. But, you should never depend on them for a few reasons.

Firstly, satellite navigation can sometimes lead you to places that are either inaccessible or don’t exist anymore. Secondly, GPS might not work properly in certain locations, and so you could find yourself stranded in an unfamiliar area.

If you keep some paper maps in your RV, you can refer to them in case technology lets you down. The great thing about old-fashioned paper maps is you can use them whenever you want, and you don’t need GPS or power to use them!

10. Become a AAA member

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a new or secondhand RV on the road. What’s important is knowing that you can get assistance if something happens to it while you’re traveling across the U.S.

The AAA isn’t just useful if your RV breaks down or you get a flat tire. Did you know that AAA members also get discounts on all kinds of things such as hotels and restaurants? It’s worth joining them if you aren’t already a member.

AAA membership can also provide you with discounts for various tourist attractions, so you could save even more money on your travels.

11. Invest in a decent camera

When you’re both traveling across the country and visiting all kinds of wonderful locations, you’ll want to take some photos of your travels. Sure, you could use your smartphone camera - but you have to remember they are mobile phones, not “proper” cameras.

If you want to capture the best moments of your road trip across America, it would be wise to invest in a decent camera. One that’s great at taking close-up shots as well as photos of far-away objects.

You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a digital SLR camera, for example. These days, there are plenty of mid-range to premium digital “point and shoot” style cameras on offer.

Final thoughts

Going on a road trip across America is an exciting thing to do for anyone. Now that you’re retired, you have the luxury of taking more time than most visiting the nation’s attractions and hidden gems.

Traveling the country in an RV makes perfect sense. But, it’s worth keeping in mind the above tips before you start your journey.

Good luck - and don’t forget to have fun!

*contributed post*

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