Rver’s Bag o’ Tricks

Posted July 18, 2022 – Narrated by Jim
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The content in this post will be updated as new resources and information comes our way. Check back often

Today we are celebrating our 6th “On-the-Road” Anniversary (2,191 days).

Tomorrow starts our 7th year.

Agua Caliente Campground – Borrego Desert, California

Journeying overland at our own pace, taking side-roads, detours, and changing plans as we go along, would be a disaster without our magic-kit of digital resources.

RVing for recreation and the Forever Camping lifestyle are experiencing a renaissance. National, State, County, and City Parks are updating their reservation tools and camping resources. Travel apps are being introduced at an astounding rate.

Ever since we set out in July 2016, Living in Beauty followers ask us:

“How do you pick your locations and what websites and Apps do you use?”

Lake Meredith Recreation Area – Fritch, Texas

Every camper knows that pulling a flawless road trip out of your hat requires technology. Luck and swagger will only take you so far before you need additional resources.

But which tools make the road smooth as a magic carpet ride? It’s a good question with no easy answer because every camper is unique and has specific needs and preferences.

‎⁨Homolovi State Park⁩ – Winslow⁩, ⁨Arizona⁩

There is wilderness camping, fee-free camping, family and group camping. Public and private resorts. Parks that offer cycling, mountain-biking, fishing, boating, climbing, and hiking. Places with scenery, pools, hot springs, farmer’s markets, music festivals, amusements and golf courses – and all can be found in every type of environment from deserts, mountains, beaches, riversides, prairies and estuaries… located in the countryside, cities and suburbs.

Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court Campground – Banff National Park, Canada

Electrical services range from nothing to 15, 30 and 50 amp. Sometimes there is no drinking water at all. Often there is potable water at the campsite, but it isn’t unusual for water and sewer to be miles away.

Campground on the Lake – South Lake Tahoe, California

Unless you are with an organized group caravan, you must be your own concierge – make your own magic. These days – for better or worse – resources to help you access what you need on the road when you need it, are more accessible than ever before.

Turkey Creek Water Park – Decatur, Mississippi

As our Thank You to our followers and friends, we are opening up our magic kit of digital trip-planning strategies. We believe in sharing. Everyone deserves to be Out There. So, voila

The Living in Beauty RVer’s Bag o’ Tricks

First and foremost, we are happy subscribers to RV Life Trip Wizard. This is our starting place.

For a small annual fee, we have access to this amazing planning tool.

We enter our rig specifics: height, length and weight, and confirm we are carrying propane.

We also specify that we use diesel / our fuel capacity / how soon we want to be notified when our fuel is at a certain level / and our average miles per gallon.

We indicate what road conditions we will accept.

We can adjust settings to use our average driving speed, or we can select the Routing Engine Estimate to determine our travel time. That feature is our preference because it ‘knows’ the speed limits.

We routinely set our time estimate at 4-hours of driving-time per day.

The map can show the Advanced Driving Radius which factors in the maximum speed limit and our preferred maximum speed to show how far we can drive per day, or we can use the Classic Driving Radius – a circle, encompassing miles as the crow flies. We use the Advanced Driving Radius.

We set the map to show campgrounds along with Points of Interest, and also to show low clearances.

Then, we enter in our current location and set the map to display the perimeters we may reach within 4 hours. The map considers the size of our rig, and alerts us about routes and obstacles we may want to avoid, such as dirt roads, ferries, tolls, etc.

The result is a birds-eye view of where we might choose to camp when we, for example, leave Seward, Alaska.

Here is a view showing where we could locate from Seward, Alaska (green flag) within 4 hours

We know the general direction, so we explore the green area for choices..

In this example, we can choose between Homer, Anchorage, Whittier, Glacier View, Talkeenta or any destination in between.

We can zoom into an area like Girdwood or Whittier to see places, campgrounds and features of interest.

If we know of a town or location, we will explore that area first. If we are unfamiliar with the place, we will implement additional resources (listed below) to determine if and how long we want to stay.

For simple overnight stays between destinations, we usually access the website, Harvest Hosts, because these overnight havens are fun and recreational.

Following protocol, we contact the host ahead to insure there is space for us. We often ask about sights or events in the area we may want to see or experience. This technique has rendered big payoffs for secret swimming holes, small local breweries, music festivals and countless other off-the-beaten-path, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

If there is no Harvest Host close enough to our route, then we research other options on the website: FreeCampSites.net.

Any stay longer than one night requires more research. That’s when we dig into our personal treasure trove of notes – mostly recommendations from Living in Beauty followers. Also, we search the internet using the words, “Things to do in …, and then add maybe kayaking, dog-friendly, gardens, farmer’s markets, hot springs, breweries …”

Here is an example looking up Whittier, Alaska

Once a destination is selected, we use the resources listed below for crowd-sourced reviews of campgrounds and resorts before finalizing our travel plan.

Sometimes we make a reservation and other times we arrive hoping for an open site. It all depends on what day we arrive and how long we want to stay. Weekends are usually booked-up months in advance, so reservations are almost always necessary for a two-week stay in a public or private campground. Sundays and Mondays are our preferred “move-in days” as weekend visitors wrap up their holiday.

Below, we have listed and categorized the resources, websites, and Apps we use. We have also included other resources we’ve heard about but have yet to try.

When you see the “Living in Beauty Seal of Approval” it means we use that resource and highly recommend it.

Okay, go ahead! Dive into the Living in Beauty RVer’s Bag o’ Tricks, or click here to skip to the conclusion.

 


Table of Contents

 


Route Mapping

RV Life Trip Wizard – As stated above, this is our primary resource. We plan and map our travels with this program. A paid subscription service allows us to see our route with all the campgrounds, gas stops, points-of-interest along the way and much more. Plus, RV Trip Planner maps our preferred driving distance so we can select destinations to overnight along the selected route, customizing RV safe routes to the height & weight of our rig. Over 20,000 Campgrounds are listed with reviews by Real RVers. RV Life Trip Wizard makes our Forever Camping lifestyle possible. Well okay, we could manage without it, but RV Trip Wizard does the heavy lifting – giving us more time to do the fun stuff. They also have a GPS App and a website to track our RV Maintenance schedule.


The Dyrt – Plan 5-star camping road trips with PRO Trip Planner. Find free camping on public lands with PRO Map Layers. Roam freely with PRO Offline Access and PRO Map Downloads. Save on camping reservations and outdoor gear with PRO Discounts. A paid subscription service.


Road Trippers – Plan your next road-trip route with Road Trippers online and with their phone Apps. Simply enter your Start and Finish and discover the coolest “off the beaten path” places along the way. Their database includes millions of the world’s most fascinating places, making unexpected, exotic and obscure places easy to find. There is a free version, but if you decide to purchase the “Plus” subscription, you will get a $5 discount if you use this promo code: BTR5QTP


Ultra Nomadic – Streamline your planning process with this simple, one-of-a-kind, free RV Travel planner. Works on a laptop, tablet and phone. The free site-finder is good, but they offer a $36 a year Pro Version filled with great features like road directions to avoid low clearances if necessary and hazardous roadways.


Safe Travel USA – This free website accumulates Department of Transportation information in a single-source site. Regardless of which state you are traveling, this website will give you access to highway conditions along your chosen route.


Truck Map – Designed for Truckers, this free site offers truck-safe turn-by-turn routing and navigation in real-time traffic with alerts for low clearance and weight restrictions.


CoPilot Mobile Navigation – This paid App offers route planning and GPS specifically for RVs. They offer RV-Specific Routing, dependable Offline Navigation, Distraction-free Guidance, Smart Trip Planning, and Safety Features with Motorway Guidance & Alerts.


The Milepost: Alaska Travel Planner – This resource has been published and updated annually every April for more than 75 years and is THE guide to travel to and in Alaska. We used it extensively for planning our 2022 Alaska trip, and referred to it daily while on the road. It is the only non-digitized book we have in the trailer. 😊


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Campground reviews

All Stays – A paid resource for campgrounds, free parking for places like Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Rest Areas, Truck stops, Pull-outs – and where to find Propane, RV Dumps, RV washes, as well as Road hazard avoidance.  We use this all the time!


Campendium – A great free resource for crowd-sourced reviews of campgrounds, including boon-docking sites. One of our best resources.


RV Life Campgrounds – Another great free resource for honest, crowd-sourced reviews. There is an upgraded subscription that includes all the features of the RV Life suite.


iOverlander – Overlanding is self-reliant travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. iOverlander is a free tool – designed by and for overlanders – which enables its users to submit, amend and search for information and opinions, primarily about places that are essential for active, dedicated overlanders.  


USCAmpgrounds.info – This free service is promoted as the most comprehensive guide to Federal, State, Provincial and Local campgrounds.


Hipcamp – Hipcamp is a growing community of good-natured people and a comprehensive resource for unique outdoor stays. They work with landowners to offer tent camping, RV parks, cabins, treehouses, and glamping—everywhere from national parks to blueberry farms. Free service.


Sēkr – Plan your next trip the right way. Explore 50,000+ campgrounds and overnight options in one easy-to-use map. Lean on their travel community to find reviews, campsite photos and WiFi wherever you may be. A paid service.


Moble RVing – This free site is a growing movement of RV travel enthusiasts that continually try to improve the outdoor experience for all of us interstate gypsies. Their platform is intended to keep in touch with the “road family” by sharing and generating content that is useful to those that enjoy the nomadic lifestyle. 


ParkAdvisor.com – This website was developed to help people find great RV Parks in North America (USA, Canada, Mexico). Completely FREE with NO ADS. Commercial RV parks are sorted by rating and can be viewed in list mode. If you zoom in tight, you will see gas station, rest areas, stores, etc.


RV Buddy – This free service gives visitors the opportunity to post their campground and RV park experiences, good or bad, for other campers. With hundreds of quality reviews covering campground and RV parks throughout the United States, you’re sure to find what you need to know before you go.


RV Parking – This free service lists extensive information about every RV park they can find. Over the past four years, they’ve compiled detailed information on over 20,000 RV parks. In addition to listing all of the standard information about park locations, number of sites, etc., the listings include extensive insights from the actual users.


RV Parky – A free RV Park directory built by a full time RV’er with the help of the RV community to assist fellow RV’ers. Here you can find information, images, and reviews for the most complete collection of RV Parks and campgrounds in the United States and Canada.


Living In Beauty Campground Reviews – Here is a list of campgrounds we have enjoyed with comprehensive reviews and links to nearby attractions in detail.


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‎⁨Gros Ventre Campground – Grand Teton National Park⁩, ⁨Wyoming⁩

 


Booking Assistance

Wandering Labs – This free program, designed by Tim Watson at Watsons Wander, checks popular campgrounds for availability within a particular window of time. Since many campers cancel reservations at the last minute, this program opens the opportunity for RVers to find campsites in popular, hard-to-reserve parks. It has pinged us several times when a site has opened up. The premium membership costs $30 for additional features.


CampNab – Unable to reserve a campsite? Be notified when a sold-out campground suddenly has an available space. You set the dates and specifics for when, where, and how long you want to camp. It will notify you (via SMS) when a suitable spot opens so you can nab that sold-out campsite reservation! This is a paid subscription or pay-per-scan.


Arvie – Find it Fast. Book it Faster. With nearly 5,000 Campgrounds, Arvie finds and books campsites for you quicker than you can reserve on your own – even in places you thought were completely sold out.  This is a paid subscription.


Campspot – Campspot is the leading online marketplace for premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins, glamping options, and more. No matter how you choose to stay, Campspot makes it easy for you to create lifelong camping memories by helping you book instantly from over 130,000 campsites. This is a free service available online or via their phone App.


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Wilde Prairie Winery – Brandon, South Dakota

 


Free camping

Harvest Hosts – We love Harvest Hosts. A paid resource for complimentary overnight places like wineries, breweries, museums, farms, and golf courses. Some of our favorite places to stay have been through Harvest Hosts. We have stayed at more than 115 Harvest Hosts locations so far. You will get a 15% discount on subscription by using our link.


Overnight RV Parking – This paid subscription service lists free and “under $20/night” places for a one-night stay in your RV. It also advises you of places where Overnight RV Parking is currently not allowed. Even with more than 14,000 listings, this tool is constantly updated. Get 3 extra months free when you subscribe using our link.


Boondockers Welcome – Have you heard about this awesome community of RVers that can also save you money? Boondockers Welcome is not just a service that allows you to camp on private property for free but it’s also a great way to connect with other RVers and/or learn more about the RV lifestyle. A paid subscription service.


Casino Camper – A free site listing of casinos which encourage RVs to spend one night or more at no cost.


FreeCampSites.net – This service is one of the best free resources for free camping. It is one of the first places we go to when looking for a free location.


Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – The BLM administers public lands that encompass roughly 1/8 of the total land mass of the United States. Most of these lands are in the western states. Free dispersed camping is allowed on most BLM land for up to 14 days. Even if land is leased or has mining claims, you may camp there unless posted otherwise by BLM management.


US Forestry Service (USFS) – THE USFS administers the 175 national forests and grasslands in the United States. The forestry service provides many developed campgrounds and a large number of ‘official’ dispersed free camping sites. Regulations vary based on the ranger district, but most dispersed camping is permitted for up to 14 days.


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Water Canyon Recreation Area – Winnemucca, Nevada

 


Government Campgrounds

NPS.gov – A listing and resource for the National Park Service.


NPS App – One app puts every National Park on your device. The NPS App is the new official app for the National Park Service with tools to explore more than 400 national parks nationwide. Find interactive maps, tours of park places, on-the-ground accessibility information, and much more to plan your national park adventures before and during your trip.  It’s FREE!


Recreation.gov – Reservations on Federal land from 12 Federal partners


Reserveamerica.com – Reservations at about half of the State Parks


Here is a listing of each State Park

Here is a listing of Canadian Provincial Parks


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Vignoble Domaine Bressee Vineyard – Sutton, Quebec, Canada

 


Campground Site Photos/Videos

Campsite Photos – This free site allows you to search photos of individual campsites in over 1,600 State Parks, National Parks, U.S. Forest Service, BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and other campgrounds throughout the USA. This has come in handy many times, although is doesn’t have data on all campgrounds.


Campground Views – This paid subscription (there is a free version) is the original and only tool available to campers and RVers which allows a visual perusal of more than 850 campgrounds and RV parks across the United States. With over 3,000 first person videos, 35,000 photographs, and thousands of reviews this is a great source to discover your next get-away.


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Ft. Wilderness Campground – Disney World, Florida

 


Memberships and Clubs

Passport America – Join the “Original” & World’s Largest 50% Discount Camping Club! Only $44 a year. Save 50% at Over 1,450 Quality Campgrounds. We keep this membership since only a single visit, annually, at 50% off pays for the service.


Thousand Trails – Since 1969, they have welcomed generations of families to campgrounds across the US and Canada. They are one of the largest networks of RV resorts and campgrounds in North America, with over 80 locations in 23 states and British Columbia. Thousand Trails offers a variety of membership options depending on your camping needs.


Kampgrounds of America (KOA) – This rewards program saves members 10% off any stay at one of their 500 campgrounds.


Good Sam – Members receive 10% savings at over 5,000 GoodSam campgrounds and discounts on purchases at Camping World retail stores. We joined Good Sam and, for us, it pays for itself in discounts throughout the year.


Escapees – The Escapees RV Club is dedicated to supporting the RV lifestyle with everything you need to make RV travel more affordable, safe, and carefree. Members enjoy a comprehensive suite of discounts and support services, as well as numerous education options.


Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) – They educate, equip, and empower RV owners to carve out the outdoor lifestyle they dream of and deserve.


Happy Camper Club – Happy Camper is a discount club for RVers and campers from weekenders to full-ltimers. As a member, you can stay at hundreds of quality RV parks in full hook-up sites for discounts which can save you up to half the price. Unlike other memberships, Happy Campers requires no contracts, no home parks, and no point systems. 


Coast to Coast – This membership operates the highest-quality network of RV resorts where Coast to Coast is accepted in North America. These resorts specialize in outstanding hospitality, quality and value. Many of these sites are located near some of North America’s most spectacular scenery and treasured national parks.



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Jester Park, Granger, Iowa

 


Audio Tours

Gypsy Guide – It’s like having your own tour guide along for the ride. Audio tours play automatically, as you drive, based on your location. The App is for iPhone or Android phones. Each tour location is priced individually and displayed on the individual tour pages and as in-app purchases.


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Presnell’s RV Park – Port St. Joe, Florida

 


Offline Maps

Google Maps Offline – Did you know you can download areas & navigate offline? You can save an area from Google Maps to your phone or tablet and use it when you’re offline.


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Montavon’s Berries – Parkdale, Oregon

 


Finding Fuel and Highway Exit Services

Gas Buddy – We use this free App to find the closest and best fuel prices. It can be set to find Diesel or gasoline.


Upside – Save on gas. Earn cash back on every fuel fill-up. When you join Upside, you’ll save every time you fill up. Get cash back at over 45,000 locations nationwide.


Truck Master Fuel Finder – This free tool lists the cheapest diesel fuel prices at truck stops between any two points in the United States, or every truck stop in a 100 mile radius around a specified city.


The Next Exit – They claim to be the most complete and accurate composition of U.S. Interstate Highway exit services available. You’ll find a thorough exit-by-exit listing of every road trip service: gas, food, lodging, camping, shopping, and much more. This is a paid subscription.


USA Rest Stops Locator – Easily find all rest stops throughout the entire United States on your iOS or Android device.


iExit – Find the best gas, food, lodging, and more along the Interstate


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‎⁨Dreher Island State Park⁩ – Prosperity⁩, ⁨South Carolina⁩

 


Finding Dump stations

Sanidumps – This free service includes recreational vehicle dump stations – everything from private to public, RV park to non-park such as municipal, truck stop, rest stop, commercial. Everything from fee-based, to donation, and free. This has saved our bacon many times.


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‎⁨Red Cliff Campground – Custer Gallatin National Forest⁩⁩, ⁨Montana⁩

 


Social Media Groups


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Camp Branch County Park – Smithville, Missouri

 


Travel Blogs

Here is a listing of travel bloggers we follow.


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Sea and Sand RV Park – Depoe Bay, Oregon

 


Weather

AccuWeather – This, along with RV Weather (below) serves as our two “go-to” forecast. Since 1962, AccuWeather makes us safer by combining weather data, technology, and human insight.


RV Weather – This fantastic FREE website offers an overview of forecast weather conditions in the U.S. relevant for traveling and camping in our RV! We signed up to receive a daily update to help us plan our travels. We love this resource!


Wind Alert – This handy website plus Apple App or Android App tells you the wind predictions for any area. Weather Forecasts Where You Are. Multiple Forecasts for all locations worldwide! Also shows projected temperature and sky conditions. Don’t lose your awning. Use Wind Alert.


Weather Channel – Since 1982, they have been forecasting and offering weather-related news and analysis, along with documentaries and entertainment programming related to weather.


Weather Underground – Since 1993 Weather Underground has challenged the conventions around how weather information is shared with the public.


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Mackinaw Campground – Fishlake National Forest, Utah

 


RV Travel Tips

RV Travel Tips – Over the years we have addressed some of the challenges facing us and freely share them here.


We recorded the short video above talking about what we’ve learned from traveling full-time since 2016.


Our Gear – We list reviews of each item of gear we use including items for the kitchen, plumbing, electronics, maintenance, road-preparedness, outdoor, personal care, dog stuff, recreation, tools, sleep and books. We don’t sell anything, but we provide links to online retailers like Amazon. We try to keep this updated, entertaining and informative.


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Tularosa Vineyard – Tularosa, New Mexico

 


RV Technology Resources

Camp Addict – Camp Addict is where you get your RVing product answers in one place. More importantly, they aim to be the RVing source you trust on the internet.


Mobile Internet Resource Center – Their goal is to provide a central resource center about mobile internet options for US based travelers – RVers, boaters, truckers and nomads. They have made this their focus so you can save time & money and focus on exploring.


Geeks On Tour – Jim and Chris travel the country by RV and specialize in teaching technology for travelers. Google Maps is their #1 smartphone app, and they teach you how to make your own travelog website with Blogger. Nationally known, popular seminar presenters, Jim and Chris have been professional computer trainers since 1983.


TechnoRV – TechnoRV has been in business since 2009. They supply leading RV technology products to enhance the RV lifestyle. Their warehouse is located in Theodore, Alabama.


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River Riders Family Adventure Resort – Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia

 


Roadside Assistance

AAA – We are satisfied American Automobile Association members for 40 years.


Better World Club – Their claim is to be America’s only Auto Club with 24/7 green roadside assistance.


Coachnet – Since 1987, Coach-Net has provided roadside assistance paying careful attention to the specialized needs of the RVer.


Good Sam – Good Sam Roadside Assistance keeps you and your family protected. Join today to see why Good Sam is ranked the #1 Roadside Assistance program by TopConsumerReviews.com.


Paragon Motor Club – Paragon Motor Club offers progressive levels of emergency roadside service and expense protection, designed to fit your budget and help you when you really need it. Roadside Assistance dispatchers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, throughout the US and Canada.


RV Advisor – Provided by the RV Advisor Motor Club. They offer services such as Roadside Assistance, Extended Warranties, Tire and Wheel Protection, RV and Auto Insurance, Legal Advice, and you can even hire the Founder of the RV Advisor to guide you through a purchase, sale, repair, or warranty issues with your RV.


Roadside Debacle Busters – We wrote a blog post on how to prepare yourself for a roadside emergency. Tips, tools and suggestions.


RV Service Reviews – Here is your chance to thank those RV repair facilities that have done a great job for you and at the same time warn others about places that have not delivered as promised. This free site contains actual reviews of RV service facilities made by the RV owner’s themselves. You can research where to take your RV for service and what establishments you may want to avoid.


InReach Satellite Communicator – After our close encounter with a timber rattler snake while hiking several hours from any ranger station and in a ‘no-cell-service’ area, we purchased this satellite communicator that does not need WiFi or Cell service to reach our loved ones or send an SOS for help. We recently used the device on the Top of The World Highway in Alaska to rescue a driver and his disabled vehicle after being run off the road by a herd of caribou.


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Fidler’s Cove RV Park – Coronado California

 


Snail Mail Services

iPostal1 – This is the mail service we have used since July 2016. It allows us to choose between 2000+ addresses in the US, so we can choose our own State of residence.


Escapees – Considered by many to be the best choice, but your address will be in Texas, South Dakota or Florida.


Traveling MailBox – They have more than 50 addresses from many states to choose from.


USA2Me – A family owned and operated company founded in late 2004 in a small warehouse in Houston Texas with the mission of becoming a quality leader in the then emerging mail and package forwarding industry.


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Gulf Waters RV Resort – Port Aransas, Texas

 


RV Average Monthly Costs

Travel Maps and Facts – Ever wonder what people spend on average monthly expenses? Everyone is different, but to help others who are considering the Forever Camping lifestyle we have accumulated most of our costs since 2016 and present them here in terms that are easy to understand.


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Cape Ann Camp Site – Gloucester, Massachusetts

 


State Road Laws

State Road Laws – Here is an up-to-date listing of State laws that pertain to Motorhomes, Trailers and Fifth Wheels. Updates provided by RV Life Trip Wizard.


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Serenova Tract Campground – Land O’Lakes, Florida

 


Campground Hosting Websites


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Ocracoke Island Campground – North Carolina

 


Working On The Road? Here are some Websites:

  • Workamper – They list jobs Monday through Friday every week. Everything from driving a tour bus to running an RV park can be found on this site. Workamper requires a yearly membership in order to receive job information.
  • Workers On Wheels – Free newsletter offering weekly updates on employers seeking mobile workers. This newsletter also features helpful strategies for hacking the RV lifestyle.
  • CoolWorks.com – Employers listed on this site offer RVers the opportunity to work and stay.
  • Working Couples –  If you and your significant other are looking for work, this website is for you! Every job listed is for couples. A small monthly membership fee applies.

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Canyon RV Resort – Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada

 


RV Parks for Sale

RV Park Store – If you are thinking about buying an established campground or RV Park, this is an excellent resource. It also includes RV lots and memberships for sale.


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Fisher’s Landing – Martinez Lake, Arizona

 


To Sum Up

In the end, planning is illusion.

One of my favorite quotes is:

The plan is nothing … planning is everything.”
Quote attributed to General Dwight D. Eisenhower 

What can be better than everything going according to plan? How about scrapping all of your plans at the last minute and doing something even better!

Planning is an ongoing process to schematically organize and process the details. If “Plan A” fails to materialize we move on, undaunted, to other options.

The world is not static. Everything is in flux.

Expect surprises when you are navigating through chaos.

With good planning unexpected developments open a doorway to adventure and become your favorite travel stories. Dynamic planning makes the most of our limited time in each location.

As you rummage through this Bag o’ Tricks we hope you find just the thing to give your trip-planning that special magic touch.

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If you know of a camping resource that is not listed here, please tell us about it in a comment box below

Here is or latest animated travel map as of today July 18, 2022.

*photos in this post (unless otherwise noted) were taken and copyrighted by Living In Beauty.


Here are all our “On-the-Road” Anniversary blogs posts.


50 thoughts on “Rver’s Bag o’ Tricks

  1. Wow! Just Wow!! It is going to take me quite awhile to take in all that is here. I’ve never used that Trip Wizard and never heard of most of the resources here. Thanks for compiling all these. Give me some time to process it all. Marcus

    1. Marcus, thank you for your kind words. We have been working on this post for almost a year, researching and exploring various resources. Hope these help you! Jim

    1. Susan, thank you! It is hard to believe we have been traveling full-time for 6 years! Stay safe out there and happy travels! Jim

    1. Dean, glad you found the resource listing helpful. Thanks for following Living in Beauty for all these years!!! Jim

  2. These are OUTSTANDING resources!!! And trip planning with RV TRIP WIZARD is the best! And of course, you can plan all you want – but you must always be prepared to change the plan.

    1. Mary, you are soooo correct about always to be prepared to change the plan. In our 6 months getting to Alaska, we have changed our plan many times because of weather, floods, fires, road closures, event cancellations, and when we got somewhere, it just wasn’t what we thought it would be so we did something else. Traveling full-time has it rewards and challenges. Jim

  3. Wow, wow, wow! I feel like i have hit the mother lode of RV planning! Thank you so very much for sharing these resources! As a follower of your blog I have long wondered which tools you use, and while I know of some of those you cite from my own experience, several are brand new. This newbie FT RVer really appreciates your sharing. Thank you! Can’t wait to read about your Alaskan experience.

    1. Linda, glad you found the blog post useful. Congratulations on being a newbie to full-time travel. It is a wonderful lifestyle. Stay safe out there and happy travels! Jim

      1. Jim, one more question if you will indulge me. We know you have your generator in the back of Beast. How do you exhaust it safely without leaving your top open? We have two of the smallish Honda generators but would love to get one big one.

        1. Linda, our Honda 3000 is mounted to our bed slide so it would take someone about 15 minutes or longer to un-bolt it and steal it. When we use it, we drop the tailgate and pull the bedslide out so the generator exhaust simply shoots out into the air. Unfortunately, we cannot use the generator without the tailgate down and the bedslide pulled out, so during rain, we are stuck without its use. Hope this answers your question. Jim

  4. I can’t thank you enough for ALL the excellent resources that you’ve shared with us. How generous of you and with that said, Happy and Safe Travels! Your blog is a treasure to fellow travelers. Take care.

  5. Been following you for some time. Now that we are retired, probably leaving from St. Sauveur Quebec Canada next spring to Alaska with our Bambi 22 Sport. Really appreciate your advise and reference tools.

    1. Michel, congratulations on your retirement. We love the Bambi 22 Sport Airstreams. Glad you found this blog post helpful in your planning to travel to Alaska next spring. Stay safe out there and happy travels! Jim

    1. Robyne, thank you and we are so happy to hear you find value it the resources listed. Jim

  6. Congrats on 6 years impressive. I love following your adventures and suggestions for us Airstreamer’s. Picked up so many great tips. Cheers and see you down the road

    1. Jeff, thank you! Glad you enjoy following our crazy lifestyle. It just would not be the same in anything else other than an Airstream. We love our 21 year old trailer. She has taken quite a beating on this Alaska trip so far, but we already have an appointment with Vinnie Lamica for repairs. Stay safe out there and happy travels! Jim

  7. Wow, Jim and Carmen! This is an amazing collection of resources. Thank you so much. It could be called the Bible for RVers. An incredible amount of work to compile it all as well. I will certainly bookmark this.

    Some names and services are familiar, others aren’t. I’m very impressed – and surprised – that you never used iOverlander before. We use this app pretty much exclusively in North America for our camping needs.

    Another app you might want to check out for fuel is Upside. We use a combination of that and GasBuddy and always check both when we need gas. Upside is a bit more complicated, as you have to “claim” the discount and “check in” when you arrive at the gas station, but we’ve been able to save a bunch of money with it over time.

    If you’re curious about checking it out, with our “referral code” FE3MM7 you (and others) will get 15 cents off per gallon for your first fill.

    1. Liesbet, thank you for the tip about Upside. I have added it to this page and downloaded it on my iPhone using your referral code. Thanks! I will take a closer look at iOverlander based on your suggestion. Sounds like you use it a lot. Safe travels! Jim

      1. Thanks, Jim. An added benefit to iOverlander is that you can use it offline. You can’t see the photos reviewers have left, but you can still read up about campsites and plot them on Google if you have offline maps downloaded. Or copy the GPS coordinates and find the places that way.

  8. What a great and informative post! So much information all in one place. Nicely done. I enjoyed seeing the picture from Tennessee Cumberland Plateau Airstream Park. We stayed there last year, in fact, I think we were in the same spot! 2nd one on the right after you make the turn? They only have a few for “guests”. They had a tornado alert while we were there and we had to go to the rec center and hang out with everyone until it was safe. We’ve also been to ‎⁨Homolovi State Park that you have a picture of. Hope you saw the ruins there and since you were in the Winslow area hope you visited the Jack Rabbit Trading Post, an old Rt. 66 icon that is still there and operating. I can remember traveling Rt. 66 as a kid and seeing the mileage signs telling you how close you were getting. Sue and I are finally hitting the road in a couple of days for this year’s trip. We’re doing our first Airstream Caravan. This one is tracing the route of the Oregon trail. I’m going to attempt to work while we are traveling. I’ve turned on the WiFi in our truck so I can work while we’re towing and we bought Starlink for when we’re in a campsite, so we should be able to have decent internet wherever we go. Got to have good internet to work virtually. Safe travels on your Alaska trip. Don’t stick around up north too late. I don’t want to see a blog post of you guys stuck in the snow somewhere!

    1. Steve, so great to hear from you! Glad you found this post informative. We did indeed love Tennessee Cumberland Plateau Airstream Park. One of our favorite stops. Sorry to hear about the tornado alert, but is sounds like to all turned out fine. We did walk out to the ruins at ‎⁨Homolovi State Park. We also stopped at the Jack Rabbit Trading Post for a photo op. Glad to hear you and Sue are hitting the road in a couple of days. We have heard of the caravan traveling the Oregon Trail. Sounds like a lot of fun and educational at the same time. We have been looking at the Starlink, but have not yet bought one. Probably will get it in the next few months. Let us know your experience once you have used it awhile. We do plan to stay in Alaska until late September unless the snow sends us south early. Sure hope not since we have so much yet to see. Stay safe out there and happy travels. Jim

      1. We are using Starlink now at our first stop. Even with clouds it is working well. It is raining now (Arizona monsoons) and only getting about 5 mbs down. Good enough for email and browsing. When it is nice weather, I was getting over 100 mbs down at the campsite we’re at now. That beats the snot out of anything else available to an RV’er. The challenge is where do you mount things and install things and how do you get the wire into the coach? The router requires 120V AC, which is stupid for a system that is supposed to be for RV’ers. Not a problem for us, but could be a problem for others.

        1. You are right, if Starlink requires 120V then it is not for folks like us who boondock a lot.

  9. WOW! What a plethora of information! Thank you for compiling this. I know it was a lot of work. A friend of mine just bought a coach and I am sending her this website now. 🙂 And happy anniversary! Your animated travel map is incredible.

    1. Brenda, glad you found this post useful. It was a lot of work (and fun) putting it all together and categorizing them correctly. Thanks for sharing it with your friend who just bought a coach. The animated map is something I enjoy creating. Stay safe out there! Jim

  10. Hi Jim, congratulations to you and Carmen and thank you for this fantastic series, and compilation of resources. I am a tent camper, but appreciate your level of detail that would round out any type of travel to these wonderful spots.

    One question as I face some Medicare decisions, and feel free to reply with “none of your business”, but I noted the Silver Sneakers benefit you enjoy. That seems like a perfect fit, and I would think that given your traveling lifestyle a Medicare with MediGap is more advantageous than Medicare Advantage.

    Given your previous life, perhaps you have additional thoughts. 😉 my husband and I won’t be full time on the road (Oregon in particular is daunting in a tent…I’m sure you get it based on your experience) but think we might want an open network of providers.

    My apologies if you have covered this issue before—feel free to direct me to that blog post.

    Continued happy travels and all the best to you🍺

    1. Sara, thank you for reaching out. Glad you found value in this post. I am 67 and Carmen is 65, so we are both on Medicare. Since we travel full-time we selected traditional Medicare with Part D (our medicines) and Part G+ (our Medi-gap). We love it! Medicare Advantage just will not work for us while we travel. We have used Silver Sneakers a few times, but not as much as we thought we would. We hope to utilize it more in the future. Thank you for following Living in Beauty. Jim

  11. Happy 6th Anniversary on the road. You are putting the rest of us to shame with your travels and beautiful shots.

    1. James, thank you for your 6th anniversary wishes. It is not our intention to put anyone to shame, but we can tell you that this lifestyle is an amazing journey! Glad you enjoy the photography. North America is a beautiful place to capture with a camera. Stay safe our there! Jim

  12. WOW! This is an awesome resource for on the road RV adventures! We are on the hunt for an Airstream and will be hitting the road later this year – hopefully – and we will be using all your listed resources! Thank you very much! Have a lovely time in Alaska (was there 20 years ago for work – best Salmon chowder I’ve ever had..) and Congratulations on your 6 year anniversary!! 😃 Safe Travels!

    1. Karen and Anthony, Congratulations on your choice of an Airstream. We love our 2001 30′ Excella. Glad you found the resources listed here of value. We are still searching for that perfect bowl of Salmon chowder! 😊 Thank you for your 6th Anniversary wishes. Good luck on your Airstream search. Jim

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