Aug
26

A Guide for Planning an Extended Camping Trip: the Details

On some of these cold, rainy or snowy mornings, planning for a camping vacation can seem a bit far-fetched. However, spring is really not that far around the corner-honest. I offer a more detailed list of pre-trip preparations and suggestions. That long awaited camping vacation will go more smoothly, and with fewer worries, with some advanced planning.

Ready Your Vehicle

A month or so before hitting the road, get your tow vehicle or motorhome's routine maintenance taken care of. If it is time for an oil change, tire rotation, alignment, brake check, wiper blades, transmission service and such, have them completed before your vacation begins. If you have been putting off some repair work, get those taken care of also. Just prior to departure, check your tire pressures fluid levels and lights. It's a good idea to carry with you an extra quart of oil, a gallon of coolant, jumper cables, windshield washing solution, a first-aid kit and-if you have the room-a gallon of gasoline. Nothing can put a damper on a camping trip like auto troubles. It is also a wise idea to have some sort of emergency road service coverage. We have AAA and have had to use it! A wireless phone can also come in very handy for emergencies.

Pre-Trip RV Care

As with the tow vehicle, your trailer or RV should be inspected, and routine maintenance completed on it. My RV mechanic recommends checking the brakes and wheel bearings about every 5,000 miles. Many RV dealers have pre-trip maintenance packages that include servicing the refrigerator, furnace, air conditioner, stove and batteries. If your fresh water system has not been used over the winter, running a weak solution of vinegar through the pipes will serve as a disinfectant. (Be sure to flush thoroughly with fresh water before using.) If you have a generator, you may want to get that serviced. Finally, a good wash and wax job will get your "castle" looking sharp for the road.

Home Preparations

No one wants to leave on a long anticipated trip and then worry about their home all the while they are gone. There are a number of things you can do to give some peace of mind. My wife Pam and I have a neighbor who keeps an eye on our place. Our house sitter brings in our mail and newspapers and waters our plants. While away, we hire a lawn service to cut the grass. Tom, are wonderful sitter, checks to make sure they do their job. Also, when we had a cat, he would care for her. A house sitter is invaluable when you are on an extended camping trip!

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