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RV Travel with a Purpose: Habitat for Humanity’s Care-A-Vanners

| Updated Feb 7, 2023

If you are looking for RV Travel with a Purpose, the Care-A-Vanners program for RVers from Habitat for Humanity offers one of the most personally satisfying aspects of the RV Lifestyle that you will find anywhere.

In Episode 433 of the RV Podcast, we learn all about this volunteer program that invites anyone who travels by RV to make helping others part of their journey or even their destination.

Also in this episode, news of an awesome new giveaway for dog lovers, the RV News of the Week, a great app for those who need to store their RV, and RV Lifestyle questions from our audience.

To watch a video version of the podcast on our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel, click the player below.

If you prefer an audio-only version, you can listen on your favorite podcast app or by clicking the audio box below.

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Win a Satellite GPS Geofencing System for your dog

We have a great new giveaway to announce today for all of you who love to travel with your dog and want them to be able to explore leash-free. It's the SpotOn GPS Fence that lets your dog run free, without running into trouble.

We bought one for Bo last fall and have been so pleased with it. You use an app to set up wireless geofences. We have one that covers about 3 acres on our Tennessee property and another that covers 5 acres in Michigan.

Here's a video of how we use this system with Bo:

You can set up multiple fences in multiple locations and when the dog strays near the boundary, they receive a tone alert. If they keep going, they get a correction vibration. It keeps them safely inside the boundary lines you set and lets your dog live life unleashed.

Among its key features:

  • No wires. Make and edit fences plus track your dog right from your phone.
  • Easy to take with you wherever you go. No cell service is needed.
  • Train your dog in three easy steps.
  • Instant fences work great for camping, travel, and on the go.
  • Works under tree canopies in wooded areas.

We are giving one away in two weeks. Enter as many times as you want at https://rvlifestyle.com/sweepstakes 

RV Travel with a Purpose with Habitat for Humanity

Our Interview of the week guests are Danielle and Don, two of the RVing volunteers for Habitat for Humanity.

Danielle is a volunteer who does RV Travel with a Purpose for Habitat for Humanity
Danielle is a volunteer who does RV Travel with a Pur[ose for Habitat for Humanity

We met them at the Florida RV Supershow in Tampa, where they were staffing a booth promoting the Care-A-Vanners Program.

As they explained in the interviews, volunteer RVers participate in building projects all across the nation, helping needy families have a decent place to live. Each assignment typically lasts two weeks and the RVers usually stay on the project grounds or nearby.

RV Travel with a Purpose volunteer
Don is a retired Air Traffic Controller who volunteers for the Care-A-Vanners program of Habitat for Humanity

Many of the RVers come back year after year. And you don't have to have strong building skills. The project can use everyone.

You can find available work projects open to RVers at https://www.habitat.org/cd/rv/schedule.aspx

How to find affordable RV Storage Near You

In the New Travel Tech segment, brought to you by NewTravelTech.com, our sister blog that covers how technology is enhancing the travel experience, we talk about a terrific service Jennifer and I just used in Florida where we needed a spot to store our 42-foot fifth wheel while we were staying at a condo on the beach.

The RV was too big for the parking lot but a service called Neighbor.com provided the solution, giving us a great spot to drop off the fifth wheel while we were chillin on the beach. We kept it there for about 10 days.

Neighbor.com is a sort of AirBND for storage needs. They have all sorts of storage available- traditional self-storage for household items you don't need, business inventory, fleet storage, boat storage, and… RV storage.

That's what we just tapped into in Florida.

Individuals and businesses rent out storage space, and by searching a particular area you'll find plenty to choose from — right in your neighborhood.

Rentals are month to month, there are no long-term contracts involved and you can buy low-cost insurance to cover your rig while it's being stored.

Best of all, we found prices to be about 50% cheaper than storage units.

If you want a deeper dive into storage options – here you go.

19 RV Storage Tips & Questions to Ask the Facility

RV News of the Week

Congress introduces bill to criminalize catalytic converter theft and make converters easier to track

Finally, it looks like some members of Congress are moving to do something about catalytic converter thefts in the country.

A bipartisan group in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate introduced a bill to stop thieves who target catalytic converters in RVs and other vehicles. The bill would require each catalytic converter to be stamped with a VIN number so police and scrap dealers would know whether they are dealing with stolen property. (Right now, catalytic converters are untraceable.)

The bill would also make it a federal crime to steal, sell, or traffic in stolen converters. And it would provide grants for dealers and repair shops to stamp VIN numbers on catalytic converters when existing RVs or other vehicles are in for work.

Since the legislation was just introduced last week, it has a number of steps to pass before becoming law. Still, it is encouraging to see the issue getting some attention from Congress.

Thieves steal catalytic converters because they contain valuable precious metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium that they then sell. Replacing the converters is very expensive, typically costing thousands.

To protect your RV's catalytic converter, read our story here.

RV Travel with a Purpose: Habitat for Humanity's Care-A-Vanners 1

Many California campgrounds, state and national lands remain closed from last month's storms

Clean up is continuing at California's state parks after last month's storms caused massive flooding, mudslides, downed trees and more.

As of last weekend, 19 state parks remained completely closed and 36 were partly closed as officials worked to repair roads, cut away downed trees, and more.

The Lost Padres National Forest was especially hard hit, with some districts closed until March 14. (See notice here.) 

If California is in your immediate camping plans, be sure to check ahead. And no matter where you are, it is always good to review what to do in extreme weather. To see our story with pointers, click here.

Last year was the most booked camping season ever, with campsites five times harder to find in 2022 than pre-pandemic, report shows

The Dryt just released its 2023 Camping Report that shows something many of us experience all the time: Finding a campsite is much harder than it was pre-pandemic, and the increase in camping's popularity is showing no signs of slowing down.

Finding a campsite was five times harder in 2022 compared to pre-pandemic times, the report found, and more than 15 million Americans went camping for the first time in the last two years.

The report also showed more than a third of all camping managers added campsites, and there are an estimated 80 million campers in the U.S.

The Dryt is an app for camping information and booking that gets about 30 million visits annually. Its report was compiled from surveying its users. To learn more, click here

RV Travel with a Purpose: Habitat for Humanity's Care-A-Vanners 2
Grizzly Bears

Federal government considering removing grizzly bears from protection under the Endangered Species Act

The Biden administration is reviewing federal protections for grizzly bears in a process that is expected to last a year.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing information provided by the governors of Montana and Wyoming concerning grizzly bear populations in locations just outside Yellowstone and Glacier national parks.

When the review is finished, if the agency decides grizzly bear protection is no longer needed, another process will begin to remove the protections which could lead to states making grizzly bear hunting legal.

Grizzly bears were put on the list under the Endangered Species Act in 1975 when their population numbered 700 to 800. In the 1800s it is estimated 50,000 grizzlies roamed North America. 

Tennessee state parks, and other campgrounds, offer romantic meals, evenings for couples

Do you have your Valentine's Day plans? Depending upon where you're camping, the perfect romantic evening might be closer than you think!

Seven Tennessee state parks are offering romantic, four-course candlelight dinners for two this Feb. 14. (See here for more details).

Kentucky state parks are also offering romantic Valentine's Day activities that vary per park. Some are offering meals, others live shows, and one a nature walk that details a “family friendly” explanation of animal mating rituals. To learn more click here

To see our story on 10 romantic road trips for RV couples, click here.

RV QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

QUESTION: I'm new to your podcast and thoroughly enjoying it. Thank you. I have a question. My wife and I have been camping for almost 30 years and will be retiring in a few years. Though we will not be going full-time, we are planning some long RV trips of 2-3 months at a time. Costs aside, what is the most practical set-up for this? Class A, C, Super C, 5th wheel? We currently own a 36ft travel trailer which is more than adequate for our needs regarding space and storage, but are not sure if this will be practical. – Chris

ANSWER: Not knowing how many people you will be traveling with, I can only give you some general guidelines. If you will be moving frequently, traveling from place to place, you may want a Class C. If you will be staying for longer periods of times in various locations, a Class A or Super C may be more to your liking.

You will want to tow a vehicle behind a Class A or a Super C so you can run errands. Class C's are generally small enough that you can get by without a toad.

But since you already have a 32-foot trailer that you say is more than adequate,” why not stay with it for a couple of trips and see if you really think you need something else?

QUESTION: What is the best way to sell my RV not using a dealership? Would appreciate your insight.- James

ANSWER: We recommend advertising in RV Trader. We do not recommend online groups or forums. They are used way too much by scammers.

RV Travel with a Purpose: Habitat for Humanity's Care-A-Vanners 3

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-02-08

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

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