RV Travel Tips
South Dakota Travel Essential
The weather in South Dakota can be extreme, cold in the winter and hot in the summer. It is best to know the potential weather and be prepared for anything. In addition, weather conditions can change quickly, so make sure to bring rain gear even if the weather looks nice. Remember to layer, so that it is easier to maintain a comfortable temperature. During winter the weather can be cold, so when camping be prepared for snowy conditions.
RV Camping Available on the Fairgrounds for the 54th Monterey Jazz Festival!
For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Monterey Jazz Festival is offering RV Parking on the Fairgrounds for its annual 3-day weekend of jazz, September 16-18! A limited number of RV parking spots are available near the Arena. Come and be in the center of all the music, food, activities, and fun, making it a music-lover's paradise!
Three and four-night stays are available at $100 per RV/per night - a significant savings from staying at a hotel! A Full Weekend Arena Package or Full Weekend Grounds Stage Package ticket is required for each RV occupant. All spaces have electricity, water, and sewer available. RVs over 38' must be self-contained.
Some of the 54th Monterey Jazz Festival's headliners - performing 30 hours of music during the weekend on 8 stages -- include Huey Lewis and The News, Herbie Hancock, India.Arie, Sonny Rollins and more than 500 top jazz artists will appear throughout the weekend.
The Monterey Jazz Festival is the longest running jazz festival in the world. It is held annually on the 20-acre, oak-studded Monterey Fairgrounds, located at 2000 Fairground Road in Monterey, California, the site of the Festival since its inception in 1958. The Monterey Fairgrounds are also close to the Central Coast's most spectacular landscape, scenic drives and natural attractions, including Big Sur, Carmel, Pebble Beach, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and more!
Sunday, September 18th is Family Day at the Monterey Jazz Festival! Families and children of all ages can participate in special activities, hear the country's top student jazz musicians, and join in the
fun with the return of the popular Percussion Playshop, where kids can play Brazilian and Latin percussion instruments. Kids can also play in the innovative Instrument Petting Zoo with high-tech, professional electronic drums and keyboards provided by Yamaha.
Plan a Romantic RV Escape
There is no time like the summer to enjoy a romantic camping trip with your significant other. The crackling campfire, the stars twinkling overhead, and your best friend cuddled up at your side -- there's no question that camping and romance go hand-in-hand.
Tips for Saving Money While RVing
Let’s face it, everyone likes a deal…to save some cash or get a little something extra. Fortunately for today’s RVers there’s a nice variety of campground discount programs to choose from and easy ways to find campgrounds that take those discounts. Typically “membership” clubs require an annual fee to join, these programs offer anywhere from 10 to 50% off at specified campgrounds and RV parks across the country and in Canada. Once you join keep your membership card handy so you’ll reap the benefits.
Family Motor Coach Association is a club for motor coach owners offering a campground discount program as part of their membership benefits. To join you must own a Motorhome or Class C – not a towable – and the first year’s fee is $45/year dropping to $35/year thereafter. Discounts of 10% are available at FMCA commercial members and 15% at Outdoor Resorts of America.
The Escapees Club is the RV club for full-time RVers. Escapees make their own deals with parks providing a 15% discount to card carrying Escapee members. They also have their own park system that offers very reasonable rates to SKPs (say it and you’ll understand what SKP means…see). The park discounts Escapees provide are a side bar to their main full-timer benefits so, discount speaking, the fee is steep at around $60/year.
The Automobile Club of America is a club that many campers belong to for their everyday auto travels but they can also receive camping discounts. Typically 10%, AAA members of every state simply show their membership card when checking in to parks offering this benefit.
AARP offers membership – at $12.50/year – to those over 50 years old. Like many of the other clubs, camping discounts are but one of the many benefits of membership. Show your AARP card at check-in and receive a 10% discount at participating campgrounds.
Find Campgrounds and RV Parks that Accept Discounts
The easiest way to find RV parks and campgrounds that honor these discounts is by using an online campground directory like the one found on camping.com. Where you can search for campgrounds by affiliate discount program and other amenities, since a discount might not be the most important part of choosing the RV Park.
Save More Money Make Reservations Online
With easy access to high-speed internet and a world of campgrounds just a few clicks away reserving a campsite online has never been easier and it can save you time and money on phone calls or minutes on your cell phone bill.
Watch Your Pennies…
Membership clubs and online reservations are a wonderful way to save a little money. Look for more money saving tips in upcoming issues of RV News.
Tips for Saving and Sharing RV Travel Memories
If you’re like me you can hardly remember what you had for dinner last night much less the details of your last RV or camping trip. But no worries, there are a number of ways that you can remember your RV trips and they can be as general or detailed as you desire. Let me point out a four ways that campers I know record their RV travel memories – perhaps one of these will work for you or perhaps their ideas will be a springboard for your own unique manner of RV trip tracking.
• The Calendar Method: I’ve been full timing since 2000 and can tell you where I was on any given day during my RV travels. The way I maintain my RV memories is in a general manner with a 12 month calendar. When I’m in traveling mode I make sure to record the name of the campground, the town and state that I stayed at the night before using the ever-handy sitemap I received at check-in. (You might even consider rating the park for future reference.) If I’m in a location more than one night I wait until I leave to record my stay just in case I remain longer or leave early. I also note any visitors I have – whether for dinner or overnight, any cool places I’ve visited including National Parks, museums or city spots, events I’ve attended, rig and road anniversaries and more.
• The Photo Log: Some new friends, Kevin and Cheryl, use their digital camera and computer to keep track of and serve up plentiful memories of their RV travels. They bring their camera along most everywhere they go and upon returning home they download the pictures. Their photo program automatically records the date in the file information and they give the photos descriptive names. When they leave a location they create a folder named after the place visited and store all of the pictures taken while there. They then arrange them in month folders (April 07) which are eventually moved to annual folders (2007). Very organized and a wonderful trip down memory lane at the click of a mouse.
• The Cost Tracking Planner: Bill and Susan are smart, love to travel and are methodical in all they do. When they take an RV trip they record many details in a small monthly planner. They are known to return to several favorite locations so the data they track is not only a memory jogger but a way to budget their trip. Some of the items they record are each days starting and ending mileage, mpg, campground, town and state, cost of camping, meals out and fill ups. Their handy-dandy planner stays in the glove box for ease of use.
• Blogging: You might consider a blog (short for web log) an electronic diary – except it’s often shared with friends and family. Connie and Larry have a super blog – Happy Wanderers – that details where they’ve camped and observations along the way. They even recently enjoyed a cruise that they blog about. Folks that are interested in hearing their stories from the road can sign up for alerts whenever a new blog entry is posted. They include photos, stories and “articles” about their RV and any modifications they’ve made, and even have a live webcam that’s turned on whenever they are parked. This type of RV travel journaling really lives the “world wide” part of the web.
Whether you choose to keep track of your RV travel memories using one of the above methods, good old fashioned handwritten journals or modern day podcasting, do make sure to keep some type of journal. Next week, next year or a decade from now you’ll be delighted you did!
Nothing can make of break your RV trip like choosing a park not suited to your needs. Love kids and looking for a family park or retired and looking to make new friends. These things matter when selecting an RV park to visit. Check out tips and research ideas that will help you choose the RV park that's perfect for you.
Just like fashion and food, campers have their own distinct tastes and desires. This especially relates to finding the perfect campsite for your camping style. In order to find a perfect campground fit you must know what you’re looking for. Are you a camping family with little ones along? An active couple looking for outdoor adventures? Retirees that enjoy on-site activities and the opportunity to make new friends?
There are numerous ways to find and research campgrounds. A good place to begin is online at right here at camping.com. Here, searching your target location, you’ll find a treasure trove of information including a description of the park and their rates, an overview of the amenities and even information on local and park activities. In most cases you’ll also be able to see photos of the park, check availability and make a reservation if so desired (Is a reservation really necessary? Keep reading for more reservation thoughts.).
Local bookstores, Amazon.com or even your local library will have a large selection of RV camping books for almost any area and camping style you might imagine if that’s your preferred method of research. Some are in story format, some in guidebook format – my favorite.
Once I have a good idea of the parks I’m interested in I mosey over to one of my favorite websites – www.camprate.com. This fabulous site offers real-life camper opinions. Log on, click on the state you’re interested in then go to the city/town. Not every campground is reviewed but the ones that are offer a bevy of insight.
To reserve or not to reserve? Again, depends on your camping style. If this is a weekend, a long drive away or a place that you have your heart set on then the answer is a resounding YES. Toll free numbers are usually available. If you have any special requests (near the pool, away from the playground, overlooking the river) now’s the time to bring them up – don’t wait until you arrive or you’ll likely be disappointed. Speaking to the park also allows you to confirm any amenities or activities that you are interested in (is the hot tub working?), local area events or activities (does the rodeo operate this time of year?), and any discount programs they participate in (AAA, Passport America, etc.).
The moral of this story is the more research you do, the more prepared you are, the happier you’ll be on your RVing adventure. It’s absolutely worth the extra effort.