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Thanksgiving in an RV

| Updated Nov 21, 2023

Lots of RVers are spending Thanksgiving in an RV. It takes planning to pull it off successfully, but provides lots of great memories for families and friends.

It's Thanksgiving week and we RVers and campers have so much to be thankful for this season. In this week's episode 473, we'll share lots of Thanksgiving notes and hear from a couple that has hosted Thanksgiving in an RV for the past 10 years.

This year, they'll be joined at the campground by 23 family members.

You can watch the video version from our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel by clicking the player below.

If you prefer an audio-only podcast, you can hear us through your favorite podcast app or listen now through the player below.

With Thanksgiving, it's time for some great Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargains on RV, Camping and Outdoor accessories and gadgets.

Last night, we did a one-hour livestream on Amazon Live that featured many of the best Black Friday shopping deals available. I urge you to go to our Amazon Live page and watch that video… it’s at https://www.amazon.com/live/rvlifestyle, and while there please hit the follow button because we will be doing these regularly.

But, since then, we have heard of a few more extraordinary savings on things of interest to RVers and campers.

  • First, Jackery solar generators that offer back up power for all your electronic devices, has all their power systems on sale at really low prices. If you are thinking of getting one, you’ll never find better pricing at https://amzn.to/3G61a7s 
  • Battleborn Batteries has an amazing 40% off Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale. Go to https://rvlifestyle.com/lithium for details.
  • RV Mattress has 30% off if you use the coupon code rvlifestyle. That’s a fantastic price. See them at https://rvmattress.com/rvlifestyle
  • Beddys, which has amazing bed coverings that zip up and make it so easy to make your beds in the RV has an excellent sale for Black Friday. Go to  https://rvlifestyle.com/beddys
  • RVLock, which is a combination replacement lock for RVs that allows keyless entry and is available for trailers, fifth wheels and motorhomes, has the best sale I’ve ever seen them offer: 36% off. Check it out at https://amzn.to/3SIoP5E 
  • Finally, Waggle pet monitors – perfect to keep track of the temperature in your RV if you leave pets there while you go out – is having a 50% sale on its products, including the newest one. Details at https://amzn.to/3ukEmOR 

And again, for a full look at a whole slew of other RV and Camping accessories with great Black Friday discounts, check out our most recent Amazon Live stream, at https://www.amazon.com/live/rvlifestyle

SOCIAL MEDIA BUZZ – Wendy Bowyer

Thanksgiving in an RV 1

Wendy Bowyer reports on the hot issues most talked about this past week on our RV Lifestyle Facebook Group:

William wrote: Still learning the ropes, what are the top three handy/new/nifty things I need to buy before RVing around the country?

I love these types of questions because you really get a sense of what people feel is most important and sometimes you get a new idea, too.

And by the number of comments this post received, many in our RV Lifestyle Facebook Group feel the same way.

Some highlights?

A good paper atlas, a foldable shovel, a backup camera, collapsible bowls (which are great for storage and they're lightweight), and one that caught my eye was a refrigerator thermometer that has a digital readout – one person said this was a game changer.

More than 500 comments on this one and it was a great conversation.

Next Anessa asked: If you're not going to stay at an RV park and just need a place to pull off the road to sleep, where are the best locations you've found? 

She's in a 38-foot Class A.

Many use Walmart, Cabela's, Bass Pro, and Home Depot. A few said rest areas but cautioned you need to know state laws.

Quite a few spoke highly of Love's, which is reaching out more to RV travelers. And of course Cracker Barrel- that was many people's favorite, saying they get dinner and breakfast whenever they stay.

But there were also some ideas here that we don't hear as much about like hotel parking lots (many will let you use their parking lot for a small fee), Elks Clubs (if you are a member), and casinos, which is an option people don't always think of, but many do allow it when you just need somewhere to crash last minute and sleep.

Then, finally, one post that got people talking was from Stephanie. Stephanie was at the dump station when she took a picture of a bumper storage setup that she saw the guy next to her had made for himself. She called it pure genius! The picture showed the rectangular bumper of an RV that was hollow inside and had a sliding tray with compartments for storage. The picture showed a pair of blue plastic gloves in one compartment and I'm guessing the dump hose and wand could be stored there, too, though I didn't see them in the picture.

Well, this post had nearly 1,000 shares, and around 400 comments and it really got people talking.

Now some said, oh, that is nothing new. Those types of setups have been around for years.

And few people had done something similar with their back bumpers and took pictures to show what they did.

But most said this was a new idea for them and they loved it. 

One person, Ron, said: “Awesome idea. I'm going home to make me one.”

RV INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

Thanksgiving in an RV

This Thanksgiving, Jennifer and I have finally settled into our 10-acre Michigan homestead after a full year of work. We've put in two RV spots with hookups, made a nature trail on the property, and restored and remodeled a house that is almost done.

Travelwise, we hosted two great gatherings with our supporters (one in northern Michigan in June, and one in Nashville in October. We attended two awesome RV rallies, spent time at our Tennessee RV property, and met lots of new friends from across the country.

We are so thankful to our RV Lifestyle team… Phyllis, Jerrica, Wendy, Chris, and our wonderful Facebook Moderators Dan, Traci, Susie, Melissa, Chris, John, and Teena. 

We asked our RV Lifestyle Facebook Group members for the things they are most thankful for this year. Family, faith, friends and good health, topped the list, as could be expected. But here are a few of the other responses:

Most thankful for our part-time RV life that allows us to be the best low maintenance guests ever as we travel the country and park at or near friends and family, enabling us to stay connected. And they don't have to offer us their beds, bathrooms and kitchens because we've got it on board! Win-Win. Love it. – Victoria

I am thankful to live in this beautiful country and see it state by state in our RV. We have made some wonderful friends along the way and it warms your heart to experience the good of people after hearing all the bad on television and social media. Sometimes the world would be a better place if we could disconnect and focus on “in the moment” memory making. – Patti

I'm thankful for a state (Michigan) that has such incredible State Parks that since we bought our rig in 2018 we have yet to feel the need to leave the state for our adventures.- Rob

Thankful I had the company of my dog for a dozen years before she crossed the rainbow bridge this year – thankful for the ability to travel – this year to the Mighty 5 National Parks in Utah – Melissa

Now, for a couple who really know how to celebrate Thanksgiving in an RV. You have to listen to the interview in one of the players above.

Each Thanksgiving for most of the past 10 years you can find Dwight and Diane Brennfoerder celebrating the holiday with their family at a campground. This year their grown children, grandkids, and great-grandkids will join them as 23 people gather over three double sites at Missouri's Table Rock State Park, making Thanksgiving memories that will last a lifetime.

We caught up with Dwight and Diane recently to find out more about their family tradition. Be sure to listen or watch their interview above.

RV NEWS OF THE WEEK

Thanksgiving in an RV 2

More than 55 million Americans traveling, most by road, this Thanksgiving

More than 55 million Americans are expected to be traveling between last Friday (Nov. 17) and Nov. 26 for Thanksgiving.

AAA is predicting a 2.3 percent increase from last year, and the worst day to be on the road is Wednesday.

About 49.1 million Americans are expected to be driving – up 1.7 percent from last year.

Air travelers won't have it much better. Record numbers are expected there, too.

If you have to drive on Wednesday, AAA recommends heading out either early in the morning or after 6 pm. And wherever you find yourself, we hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

States throughout country waive admission fees in nature-focused Black Friday alternative

While many head out for some Black Friday deals this week, many state parks throughout the country are hoping to lure folks into nature by offering free admission.

Called Opt Outside, the annual event wants to encourage people to go for a walk outside and enjoy nature as an alternative to the Black Friday sale shopping madness. 

States that are participating will wave all entrance and vehicle fees. Be sure to check out if state parks near you are participating.

Research does show time outside in nature is actually physically good for us. To learn more click here

New Mexico study shows serious safety issues with a stretch of I-40 between Albuquerque and Arizona

A 150-mile stretch of I-40 between Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the Arizona border was in the news last week for having miles upon miles of crumbling roads and other safety issues contributing to a large number of fatal and serious crashes.

This stretch of road is often talked about in the RVLifestyle Facebook Group as being a stretch to avoid so this report out of New Mexico caught our eye. It turns out 38 miles need to be reconstructed.

Conditions are so bad, there are about 18 fatalities each year, and 17 serious injury crashes annually. Plus there are problems with merge lanes, curves on the road, ramps and bridges. To see more click here

To see our story on 5 emergency roadside kids and products you may need in a break down or other emergency, click here.

Wisconsin state senator wants to introduce a law for state residents to get first bids on campground reservations

A Wisconsin senator plans to introduce a bill that would give Wisconsin residents a two-week window to reserve a campsite at a state campground before opening reservations up to others.

Currently, campgrounds can be reserved in Wisconsin campgrounds 11 months ahead of time on a first come, first served basis, which leaves many state residents unable to reserve a spot.

While the Wisconsin idea still has a ways to go before becoming law, it does fit into a trend we are seeing of states giving residents preference on reserving a camping spot or paying less for a spot than those out of state.

If you are struggling to figure out the reservation system for your next trip, checkout our Beginner's Guide to Camping Reservations story here.

RV App of the Week – Birda

bird in winter

Birda is an app and a social media platform that helps you identify the species of birds you’re seeing in the outdoors, no matter where you happen to be.

You can learn about the habits of the birds, find the best places to observe them, and even connect with other outdoor enthusiasts.

The app has a logging function to keep track of the birds you’ve seen. The app curates all the different sightings and shares them with scientists around the world who use it to understand more about the world’s bird species and their habitats. 

It's free for iOS and Android at Birda.org

RV QUESTION OF THE WEEK – Extended warranties

QUESTION: We are close to pulling the trigger on a B+ purchase but are still trying to make sure we are informed buyers.  My question has to do with extended warranties.   Most manufacturers have very limited coverage and I am wondering how you have approached this challenge.  – Jerry

ANSWER: Just on general principle, I have a real aversion to having to purchase extended warranties. It’s a part of everything I guess, appliances, homes, cars and RVs. It just doesn't seem right to me that you have to pay more money to a company for things that may break in the future. Why don't they make them good enough that they don’t break?

RVs, though, are in a different class. Every time you take it on the road, you subject it to a 4.0 earthquake or a Category 3 hurricane. Think of it. There is a lot of stress.

So while I wish RV manufacturers had better warranties without all the fine print, it is inevitable that things will break and your RV will need regular repairs and maintenance. I mean if a house and a car do, your RV needs it even more so.

That said, extended warranties can be quite costly. You need to weigh how much you will use the RV, how many miles it will be driven and how long you plan to keep it.

If this is your forever RV and you have an ambitious travel schedule planned. An extended warranty makes sense. 

But don’t just take the one offered by your dealer. They really push these because they usually get a nice kickback from the insurance company.

Instead, shop around for the best deal. And to do that, we recommend Wholesale Warranties.  They will give you lots of options. They serve a wide array of RVers, from brand new rigs to used RVs, private party sales, and more

You can get a free quote on your used or new RV at wholesalewarranties.com/rvlifestyle

It's worth checking out. Weigh the cost of an extended warranty based on the cost to repair your rig. If you are buying a new RV, you don’t have to buy an extended warranty when you take possession of the RV.

The manufacturer’s warranty will give you some breathing room as you get to know your rig. Then with no pressure, make the determination on whether it makes sense for you.

Now if you are buying a used RV, that’s a different matter. If it's a costly purchase, I recommend an extended warranty. And get it when you make the purchase. If it's a relatively inexpensive and older RV you may find the cost of an extended warranty not worth it and it may be better to take your chances.

At any rate, take your time. Know your options, know just what the manufacturer’s warranty covers and for how long and then shop around.

Got a question for us to answer on the Podcast? Click Here to send it to our inbox.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-11-22

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.

2 Responses to “Thanksgiving in an RV”

November 23, 2023at2:23 am, Henry Bowman said:

25 years ago, during our very first year with our very first RV, we drove down the east coast with our youngest to have a family Thanksgiving with his older brother, who was serving at a naval base. DW, using our trailer’s oven for the very first time(!), cooked an outstanding Thanksgiving meal complete with full-size turkey. We had Thanksgiving at our trailer’s dinette. It is one of my fondest memories.

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November 24, 2023at2:41 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

That sounds like a wonderful memory – thanks for sharing! Team RV Lifestyle

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