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Motorhome Traveling Tips

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

Planning when to go and how to get there adds to the anticipation of any motorhome road trip. Here are some thoughts to enhance the enjoyment of the journey.

Consider traveling during the “shoulder” months of May, June, September and October. These months   experience mild weather and fewer travelers throughout most of the country.

Plan your trip using detailed road maps that have time and mileage indicators. Automobile clubs are excellent sources of good maps. Keep in mind that traveling in a motorhome generally takes about 10 percent longer than the time indicated on maps. Your GPS device will provide detailed driving directions but, before beginning your travel day, we suggest you compare those directions with those on a paper map or computer-mapping program.

When selecting your travel route, try to avoid the heavy traffic of big cities by going around them. Every major population center has its rush hour. Time your travels to avoid getting caught in commuter traffic. Don’t overlook the possibility of heavy weekend traffic if you travel late Friday or Sunday afternoons.

Many new RVers have a tendency to drive 10 or more hours a day, just as they did in an automobile. These impatient folks zoom from destination to destination intent upon driving as many miles as possible. They don’t see much along the way and are too tired to enjoy much when they reach their destination. This can be particularly grueling when traveling long distances and this pace is repeated day after day.

Seasoned motorhome travelers have found that driving between four and six hours each day is a much more comfortable pace. It allows them to stop at interesting spots, enjoy a leisurely lunch and arrive at their destination in a relaxed frame of mind. While an occasional long driving day is OK, try to keep your actual driving time to less than six hours per day. It may take some attitude adjusting, but you and your family will enjoy your travels a lot more.

Aim to drive during the early hours of the day. Your mind is fresh and clear, you’ll avoid the heat of the day and wind will be less of a problem. Driving through hot deserts and up mountain grades during the cool early hours of the day is also easier on your motorhome’s engine and transmission.

Be sure to take a break every couple of hours. Walk around your coach. Look underneath for leaks, check the condition of your tires, and be sure the hitch receiver and connections are secure.

Make your lunch break a fun part of the travel day. Roadside rest areas are convenient but a city park or playground can be a treat for the kids. We like to combine lunch with a visit to a local tourist attraction or a factory that offers tours.

Most states provide a visitor welcome center near their borders. Look for them in rest areas as you cross from one state to the next. Welcome centers usually have racks of informative brochures that have been placed there by commercial interests, tourist attractions, RV parks and campgrounds. Go to the counter and ask for a state road map, state parks and campground directory and any other specialized information you can’t find in the open. The best stuff is often located behind the counter.

Check out a travel plaza when it’s time to refuel. Once known as truck stops, travel plazas are courting the business of motorhome travelers. Travel plazas offer gasoline and diesel fuel, convenience stores, restaurants and restrooms. Some have even installed dump stations and easy-access RV fuel islands.

Plan on stopping early for the night. RV parks and campgrounds will have more vacancies. You will have time to go for a walk, take a swim or treat yourself to a nap.

Take advantage of the information available in campground laundry rooms. RVers have a tendency to chat while waiting for their clothes to wash and dry. There’s an excellent chance the person sharing the laundry room with you has just come from the direction in which you’re heading. They can tell you their impressions of the campgrounds, attractions and road conditions they have encountered.

The most important consideration as you plan when to go and how to get there is to make sure everyone enjoys the journey.

Visit the Kievas’ website at www.rvknowhow.com

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