Feeling At Home On The Road

When Hotels Aren’t An Option

A woman stand on the porch of a toy hauler RV with her dog.

In many ways, 2020 has been an exceptional year––and there’s never been a better time to embrace the RV lifestyle. With limited flights and hotels, and more people working from home, it makes sense why people are more eager to hit the road. And who says you can’t bring all of the comforts of home—pets included—when you do?

Traveling with two Mastiffs has never been simple; a lot of hotels and rentals don’t allow dogs, and the ones that do often have size limits. So my husband and I had been looking at RVs for about a year before we made our big purchase, knowing that an RV would simplify our travels greatly. We decided on a brand new 2020 Keystone Impact Fuzion. We both had had some previous experience with RVing—he lived in one full-time before we got married, and I grew up doing summer RV trips with my grandparents, but neither of us had experienced RVing as a couple. (Or with our dogs.) And anyone who has ever taken a trip with a significant other knows that traveling together is very different from living together. We needed to evaluate what aspects of an RV, and the overall travel experience, were most important to us. We each had a few key non-negotiables, but we also learned some new things along the way. And while some things were more obvious (never forget to pack coffee), others took months to figure out (why not just buy an extra French Press and leave it in the RV?).

Getting an RV is definitely a learning experience—both in simply how you operate your new unit and also how you travel. But if you have a clear understanding of what you want and what you hope to get out of the RV, then I promise you’ll have a much easier time.

I’m going to share five tips that will help ensure you get the most out of your RV—especially if you have big plans to travel this year. From shopping to purchasing to getting out on the road and adventuring, hopefully these tips will make you feel like you’re comfortably traveling in your second home.

1. Size Matters

First and foremost, ask yourself how much room you will need and what you will be using your RV for. With our two large mastiffs, they require a bit more room than most dog breeds. So one of the first things we prioritized was the space. After walking through 30 or 40 different rigs at a few different dealerships, we decided we wanted a fifth-wheel toy hauler. And while we don’t currently have any toys, we decided that the toy hauler was the most convenient way to have a space specifically dedicated for the dogs. The floors are waterproof, the beds move up or down and the back opens and turns into a patio. Much like a home you can section off, our toy hauler offers us a separate 10-foot area where we can put the dogs while we do our human things.

 

Even if you don’t have dogs, figuring out which layout will work for you is critical. Some layouts have extra large kitchens, some have more seating and less storage, and others have beds up above. Because our dogs are always with us, we decided to select a layout that was more segregated than the rest—our bedroom is upstairs, kitchen and living in the middle and toybox in the rear. This helps us keep our stuff much cleaner and more organized, and our dogs are glad to have a space all to themselves.

2. Stay Connected.

While it may feel counterintuitive if you’re looking to “unplug,” having WiFi on the road does have its benefits. If you truly want to feel at home in your RV, a WiFi hotspot is a must. Being able to connect our laptops to the internet is incredibly important given our remote work lifestyle. Plus, we frequently camp in remote locations and can't always rely on campground WiFi. And while being in the wilderness and curling up with a good book is always nice, there is also something very relaxing and familiar about streaming Netflix by your campfire. Getting a remote internet connection is relatively easy, too. I recommend checking with your current mobile provider to see if you can tether your cell phone's data connection right to your laptop or tablet. No extra equipment necessary!

3. An Easy Way to Personalize.

My third tip is small but makes a huge difference, especially if you like home decor and design. An extremely easy way to customize your RV without breaking the bank (and with very little handywork) is to update all of the linens. One of the first things we did when we bought our new home on wheels was put up our own curtain rods and curtains, even in the shower. We also added a down comforter, duvet, mattress topper and extra pillows to the bedroom. For me, comfortable pillows are one of the most important aspects since sleep is so vital for a great adventure. Changing the bedding and curtains also allows you to integrate some of your favorite color schemes as well, giving the whole RV a much more personal feel.

4. Let’s Talk Food.

One of my favorite activities to do in the RV is cook! It can be challenging when you’re using a smaller kitchen and have limited resources, but we’ve found that meal prepping helps greatly. An easy way to do this is to utilize a meal-kit company, like HelloFresh. I try to order some boxes before we leave, and then all I have to do is take the pre-bagged meals and drop them in our RV fridge. If you don’t want to hassle with a meal-kit company, you can still copy the concept by creating your own recipes and prepping them in advance. Chopping vegetables and pre-measuring spices before you leave will help reduce the number of dishes and takes the guessing out of what to cook. Some of my go-to prep meals are breakfast burritos and sandwiches—easy to store, easy to heat and easy to clean up.

5. Double Up.

Last but not least, having a second set of all your favorite products, tools and accessories inside the RV helps ensure you’ll never forget another essential. I like to call these our “RV dupes,” and they include things such as a knife set, a French press, dog leashes, a tool box, toothbrushes, toiletries and phone chargers. Think of the RV dupes as anything you would use on a daily basis at home.

Whether you want to start RVing to get a taste of freedom, avoid hotel rooms or just take your furry friends with you everywhere, there are so many things to consider before you purchase a camper––but I can’t stress enough how important it is to choose the right space and layout. Much like a home, you really have to imagine yourself inside the RV—picture yourself camping, driving, working, hosting, relaxing and cooking. Sometimes we’re drawn to how something looks rather than how something functions. Just remember that you can always change the way something looks, but it’s much more difficult to change how something functions.

Stepfanie RVs in a 2020 Keystone Impact 359 Fuzion.