Jennifer's Newbie RV Advice: Just For Women
This is Jennifer writing. And guys… this isn't for you.
I'm writing to RVing women. This advice is for all women RVers but probably geared mostly towards women who are RVing with a husband or significant other who is maybe just a bit more enthusiastic than they are.
We receive a lot of email. I've met and talked to a lot of women. You come up to me and ask me questions, things that you're just not quite sure about that you may not want to share with your husband or significant other.
The gear we use
Before we get started let me note that I am not going to give a review of all the different RV products and supplies we use in this article. I may link to a couple of things that apply to the specific advice I am offering up, but if you want to see a very complete list of the products we use and recommend ourselves, we maintain an updated web page that lists EVERYTHING. You can find that at https://rvlifestyle.com/gear
So, let's get to it: I'm going to try to answer and try to make you more comfortable, relaxed and happy with my RV Lifestyle advice for women
Packing for a trip
I was going to start this out with a long description of how to pack. But I think showing is better than telling.
So here's a look at how we pack for short trips.
Newbie RV Advice: Food preparation and cleaning up
Let's talk about cooking and cleaning
You don't have to cook every meal in the RV if you don't want to. I give you permission to eat out as often as you want, maybe every couple of days. I do think you will come to really enjoy cooking in the RV. But as you are starting the RV Lifestyle, get out and explore local eateries whenever you can.
It's fun to eat at new places and for those of us who weren't born to work in the kitchen, we don't enjoy the work and all that's involved in the kitchen and it's just fun to get out and it's your vacation, too.
But when you do eat out, don't pick a chain restaurant. Look for a mom and pop restaurant somewhere in the area and eavesdrop on the local conversations. Try to meet some of the local people. Ask for recommendations, maybe other restaurants that you try while you're in the area or other things that you should nearby.
Don't just go to the places where you're comfortable with. Try those new places. That's part of life on the road, experiencing the communities that you're in. Nothing is more social than eating and eating with the locals.
But you can't eat out all the time. So make it fun.
Prepare food ahead of time, grill out
Prepare as much as you can ahead of time before you leave home. Think ahead, take the food that you want with you. You don't want to have to be desperately scrambling for a spice or some ingredient that you didn't bring.
What I like to do is plan on grilling out as much as possible. You can get your husband or significant other involved in helping to cook and to keep those cooking odors outside. That way, food doesn't smell up the interior of your RV. And it's always fun to cook out. So do so as much as you can.
Again, prepare ahead at home as much as you can. And remember your limited space… what dishes you're going to need, what pots and pans, measuring spoons. Got to have all that stuff.
We have an old Coleman grill that we use. We cook lots of our meals on it and it's very easy to clean up if you put some aluminum foil under the grate to catch the droppings.
We have had this grill for years and while you can find fancier ones out there, it's worked great for us. Here's our Amazon affiliate link to it https://amzn.to/3dyMNZf
When its cleanup time
Divide the work, the cooking, the cleanup.. Maybe your husband likes to cook more than you do or whoever you're traveling with likes to cook more than you do but divide the workload. I'm sure you've all figured that out at home, but make sure that one person isn't doing it all. And yes, it's okay to use paper plates.
Feel free to use those products that you throw away. I know we don't like to make that landfill mess. Naturally, recycle as much as possible, but give yourself the freedom to make it as easy as you can make it. And as much as possible, eat outside. Get a nice tablecloth cover. You can even get covers for the benches. Sometimes they're even padded. So hook the tablecloth on, hook the pad on the benches and just wipe it down when you're done. Eat outside as much as you can. It keeps all the mess outside and not in your RV.
Newbie RV Advice: Sleeping arrangements
Just as I gave you permission to eat out, feel free to get a hotel room every two or three nights. If you travel with a pet, there are different hotel chains like La Quinta that allow pets. We like the smartphone app Go Pet Friendly. It lists all the hotels or restaurants that welcome pets. You just open it up, plug in your location and it shows you what's nearby. This is a great tool.
But the reason we have an RV is so that we can sleep in it. So let's talk about that.
Now we're in a Class C, specifically a 2019 Leisure Travel Bans Unity FX. Ours has a king-size Murphy bed, We previously drove Class B campervans (we had several models made by Roadtrek) that had sofas that made into a bed. You could configure them either as twins or as a king. Usually in the winter we'd make it into twin beds because that helps the heat come up from the floor and stay a little bit warmer.
But in the summer and fall, we most often made it into a king. I like the sleeping space of the king.
One thing to consider is getting a mattress pad or foam pad. We found that in both the Class B with a sofa bed and our Class C Murphy bed, the mattress pads added lots of comfort.
Our favorite bedding
For sleeping, we use something called the RV Super Bag.
To see it in action, watch this video from our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube:
In fact, we the RV Super Bag so much that we bought twin bags and a king bag, We love this product and have been using it for almost eight years now.
One side is for winter. The other side, is for summer, not quite so warm. It has sheets that Velcro in, you take the sheets out, wash them, put them back in. We love these things. This product is expensive, but it's well worth it.
Left as a bed or put away?
That leads to another newbie RV advice question we get about sleeping. Do you leave the bed made up as a bed or do you fold it up like a sofa?
Personally, back when we had the Class B RV, I make it into a sofa because I wanted the space to walk back and forth. Another reason is that we have a 65-pound dog and I don't want Bo jumping and laying all over our bedding. He would just get it too dirty.
On our Class B with a Murphy bed, we leave all the bedding on it when we fold up the bed and lock it in place. We just have to arrange the bedding a bit by folding it neatly so it doesn't show when we put lock it up in place against the wall.
Newbie RV Advice: Clothing for the RV
Usually, we just take too much. We're so worried that we're not going to have what we need that we just bring way too much. We use our wardrobe and we hang a lot of things on hangers. But when we must have clothing accessories we use eBags.
We bought a set of three eBags, different colors for Mike (blue) and for me (rose). We can get so much in those eBags, I can't believe it. Look at that video above. For more info on eBags go to https://amzn.to/2yM5LN7
Dealing with dirty clothes
You can find laundromats along the way or in campgrounds. I usually wash my sheets twice a week. That's what I like. Other people, maybe once a week, but I'm a twice a week girl.
Other women always ask me: Where do you put the dirty clothes?
We use a laundry bag that we found somewhere on the road. I usually put a couple of fabric softener sheets in there to keep the smell down. And naturally you don't put things in that bag wet. We also have a retractable clothesline that we put in the bathroom. We use that to air our items that are wet.
I like a laundromat about every three, four days. Sometimes I'll go five. It depends on where we are.
I don't know who does the laundry in your house. Mike doesn't do laundry. I don't think he's ever done laundry, come to think of it.
But whoever does the laundry in your house, let me tell you it's nice to go to a local laundromat and just spread out. Use the washer and dryer and you can get everything done in just a short period of time, fold it back up, put the sheets back in and you are ready to go. We generally look for KOAs. They all have laundromats. KOAs are clean, they're reliable and you can depend on a KOA.
You know what you're going to get, they're close to the highway, they have those laundries and clean bathrooms.
Newbie RV Advice: Showering
At KOAs, we found that the showers and bathrooms are normally clean. That's the norm.
Take flip-flops for the shower. I'm sure you do that anyway, but I even have one friend who wears shoes when she's in the shower in a hotel room. She doesn't trust the cleanliness of the place.
So make sure that showers are clean and you might even want to check on the bathrooms before you rent your spot if you're concerned about it.
If the showers were nasty, I would leave.
I wouldn't stay if the bathrooms were dirty.
It'd be a tough call to make me stay there.
We love the dry standup shower we have in our Leisure Travel Vans Class C, especially when we are in the middle of nowhere. And we love our instant hot water heater. It saves so much water.
But when you are in a smaller RV that is not a dry shower and does not have that instant hot water heater, you need to use as little water as possible. Get yourself wet, soap sparingly, rinse off and then you're done with it. Dry everything off and move on.
Do you have an outside shower? Most RVs do. If you're in your bathing suit and you want to rinse off a little bit, you can do that outside.
I've even seen people who take a little tent and they shower in the tent. They have a few buckets of water and they shower, rinse off in their little tent and besides their RV when they're in the middle of nowhere.
Newbie RV Advice: Driving the RV
Another newbie RV advice question I get a lot from women is about driving the RV. Frankly, many are just uncomfortable with the idea.
My advice is just do it. Start by driving someplace where you're comfortable. Find a back road somewhere and get comfortable driving that RV.
I get bored just sitting there. I have a little trouble reading for a long period of time while we're driving. I just get restless. I like the feeling of control you get behind that wheel and you will, too, once you start racking up those miles. Now, I even get a little crazy about not wanting anybody to pass me and then have to pass me again.
So I do enjoy driving and I have driven through big cities.
Experience is all it took.
Once I drove almost the whole 900 miles home from Georgia to Michigan. Mike had a really bad cold and I drove almost every mile and enjoyed it.
I have experienced a flat tire while I was driving.
I've experienced a truck passing another truck, which left me no place to go but the side of the road and I survived that.
So, just things can happen when you're driving, don't worry about it. It'll all be okay.
Famous last words, right? But don't be afraid to drive. Drive. Get used to it. You want to drive.
Newbie RV Advice: the 330 Rule
While we're talking about driving, let's talk about an area that's sensitive in our family.
Somebody told us about this a long time ago. It fact it just may be the best newbie RV advice we can share. The 330 rule.
Quit at 3:30 in the afternoon, so that you can get a good campsite, enjoy that campsite, settle in before it's dark. It's so hard to find everything you need to hook up to or do everything in the dark. Make sure the ground's level, all that sort of thing. It's just easier to park in daylight. So stop at 3:30 or drive no more than 330 miles.
That's really long enough to be sitting there behind the wheel or in the passenger seat. It's not good for us to sit there forever and ever. So don't let whoever you're with get real competitive with an I-got-to-get-there attitude.
Relax, enjoy it, and don't wear yourself out. Don't get leg cramps. Take care of your body. Stop. Enjoy.
I've talked a lot about our RV, here's a video tour of it:
And if you want to see how I have customized it, click this video:
Newbie RV Advice: Getting along in an RV
The last area I want to talk about is sharing space in your RV
We all need space. We all need time without bumping into somebody. We just need to be by ourselves for a little bit.
So make sure that you go for a walk, or the other person goes for a walk. Make sure that you carve out some do-not-disturb time that's just for you. Me time.
It's inevitable that two people living in the extremely close quarters of an RV can start to get on each other's nerves.
Make sure that you separate for a while each day and then when you come back together, it's just great to see each other again. So make time to be by yourself and do whatever you need to do.
One of the first videos we did, way back in 2012 when we were first starting out with the RV Lifestyle, had to do getting along in an RV. It's still true today!
In our class RV, we have our own “offices,” as I like to call them.
In our Class C, Mike sets his gear up in the rear lounge area. I hang out on the front sofa.
You'll figure this out in whatever RV you have. You'll work out all these little details,
Still not sure about the RV Lifestyle?
Before we end this article, let me talk to the wife or female who maybe is not yet sure they want to embrace this RV Lifestyle by going back to something that I said earlier about renting a hotel room.
When we first bought our RV almost nine years ago, it was such a major investment and we loved it. It was new and shiny and it was so fun to just be in it. But every now as we were traveling on those first few trios, I found myself really wanting more space.
One day, another woman RVer, told me that every third night they rented a hotel room. It was like giving me permission.
Before, I just thought, well, we have to stay in this RV. I like it. But every once in awhile I need a little bit of elbow room. It was so freeing for me to get that advice.
So if that helps you, use it as an opportunity to say to your husband or significant other that you're feeling cramped and boxed in and you want to rent a room.
For me, that was a big part of our first year of RVing.
Today, I can honestly say I don't like most hotel rooms. I prefer to stay our RV. I know my RV is clean. It's my bed. My bathroom. My Happy Place.
Your newbie women RVers, it will be for you, too, even if it is not yet. I promise, you will get comfortable and you will bond with your RV
That's it for now. I just hope that this article has been helpful to you and I look forward to seeing you again.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at any time.
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