5 Tips to Start Your Own RV Adventure

If you’re looking for a way to get away without the hassle of planes, hotels and an exorbitant travel budget, a recreation vehicle may be just the answer.

Whether you’re traveling with family, your significant other or several generations of family and friends, these tips from world-renowned auto travel expert Alan Taylor can get you on your way to an unforgettable RV vacation adventure.

  1. Put style first. The first step to planning an RV getaway is deciding what works best for you: a motorhome or trailer. Motorhomes are built on a motorized chassis and are designed as temporary living quarters for camping, travel or seasonal use. Towable RVs or trailer RVs are towed by another vehicle to be moved from place to place. Many are designed to be lightweight, so even family vehicles like minivans or SUVs can tow them.
  1. Take time to plan ahead. Beyond the type of RV you need, think about how you’ll use it to understand what features you’ll want. What types of trips will you take? Who will be traveling with you? What’s your budget? There are hundreds of models, so how you answer these questions will guide your purchase.
  1. Try it before you buy it. There’s no better way to try before you buy than by renting an RV. Many people rent RVs simply for a change of pace by taking a trip to a special event or destination. You can rent near home and journey to your final destination or fly and pick up your RV at the other end. More than 460 national chain outlets and local RV dealerships rent RVs, including state-of-the-art, late-model-year units. A growing number of campgrounds offer on-site RV rentals, as well.

Most RV rental companies offer housekeeping packages (dishes, pots, pans, bed linens, etc.) for a fee, or you can bring your own. Even if you’re driving or towing an RV for the first time, features like automatic transmissions, power steering, large external mirrors and rearview cameras make it easy for inexperienced drivers to adjust to the difference in size, height and weight.

  1. Do your research. You’ll find plenty of information online, but another source of knowledge is any person who owns an RV or regularly rents one. One way to get the scoop and gather tips from experienced owners is to stay at a local campground and talk to your neighbors about their RVs. Ask questions about the space, key features, expenses, tricks they’ve learned and so on. Also be sure to ask about any problems they’ve encountered or any decisions they’d make differently if they could.
  1. Get practical. Unless you’re planning to make RVing a way of life, when the vacation is over and the real world beckons, you’ll have to do something with the RV. Before you buy, be sure you have plans for storage, be it a campground, in your garage or at a storage facility. Learn what’s involved in safely storing your investment while it’s not in use and take those needs into account when considering what type of RV you’d like to own.

As you work your way through the preparations, visit to learn more about the different types of RVs, get ideas about what to do and find a wealth of information, including dealers near you, as well as campgrounds, manufacturers and rental companies.

Recreational Vehicle Industry Association

(Family Features)

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Appetite for Adventure

From your own hometown to the far reaches of the globe, there are thousands of destinations just waiting to be discovered by adventurous souls. Satisfying your itch to get out and explore may take you across town or across the ocean, but adhering to some common principles can make your travels extra rewarding.

  • Step outside your comfort zone and try new things, be it zip lining or sampling an unfamiliar food.
  • Follow your instincts, though, and keep safety first and foremost. Be wary of places that generally make you question your well-being, and never travel alone.
  • Capture the memories, whether in a journal or in pictures, so you can reflect and reminisce when you return back home.

Gearing up properly is essential no matter where your travels take you. Make sure you’re well-prepared for your next epic journey with these must-haves for adventurous travelers and find more travel-friendly advice at

Let it roll

Taking to the trails may mean you’re traveling by foot, but bicycling is another exciting way to explore. However, an average street bike isn’t appropriate for most trails. A mountain bike outfitted with rugged tires designed for optimal traction and superior suspension is a much safer option. If you’ll be primarily on trails or doing downhill treks, a bike specifically geared for those conditions is best. Fat bikes are a good alternative for riders who want more year-round versatility.

Lay your head

If you’ll be sleeping outdoors, a tent is a must to protect yourself from inclement weather and the less hospitable of Mother Nature’s creatures. The sizes, styles and options are plentiful, but features like rainproof material and ample ventilation are top picks for most adventurers. Other important considerations: seasonality, sleeping capacity and ease of assembly. Also keep transport in mind, and be sure your tent is no larger (or heavier) than what you can comfortably carry to your destination.

Explore new lands

The excitement doesn’t need to stop even if you need a break from the action. Escape into the thrilling world of bestselling author James Rollins’ “The Seventh Plague.” An archaeologist, missing for years, stumbles out of the Egyptian desert. He dies before he can explain, but his autopsy reveals his body began mummifying while he still lived. In an adventure stretching from a lost desert tomb to an Arctic engineering complex Sigma Force must confront an ancient biological threat made real by modern science. Find more at

Protect your feet

Proper footwear is vital for an active traveler, and hiking boots are among the leading choices for an adventurer. Proper fit and size are critical, as this affects whether your boot is providing adequate support without friction that can result in painful blisters. A good rule of thumb is to shop near the end of the day when your feet are most likely to be swollen and wear socks comparable to what you’ll wear on the trail.

Pack it up

Wherever your adventures take you, having someplace to store your essentials is a must. Backpacks are a practical solution because once slung over your shoulders, your hands are free to aid your exploration. The distribution of weight also makes for a more comfortable journey. Particularly if you’ll be loading up your pack, you’ll want to shop for quality over cost and find a bag with strong, reinforced seams, sturdy straps and durable zippers or clasps.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images
(Family Features

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Bringing Nostalgia Back to Road Trips

A family road trip can bring on a strong sense of nostalgia. Although much has likely changed since you embarked on your first journey as a child, there are still plenty of ways to appreciate road tripping with the family and bring the best of “then” to “now.”

Seating selection. A generation ago, road trips meant putting down the seats in the station wagon and creating a giant play space in the rear of the car. Keep the same spirit in your road trips now by attaching a travel kit in an accessible bag or organizer to the front seat backs to hold plenty of diversions. If you plan your trip well, you can build in frequent stretching breaks to coincide with points of interest along the way.

Electronic-free entertainment. Handheld devices and headphones may be the norm for this generation, but there’s no time like a family road trip to put down the electronics. Old-school games like I Spy and The Alphabet Game add some free, fun entertainment that encourages a look out the window at the passing surroundings. Other games that never get old: Make the Trucker Honk and competing to see who can find the most cows, windmills or whatever fits your region.

Vehicle maintenance. Remember the old 3-months or 3,000-mile oil change rule? Forget about it. Most of today’s vehicle manufacturers recommend changing your oil every 5,000-7,500 miles. However, to prepare for your family road trip and avoid mechanical failures along the way, most mechanics will offer the same tip: change the oil. If you haven’t already, consider making the switch to a synthetic motor oil such as Kendall GT-1 Max to help your engine achieve maximum performance and extend the time between oil changes to give you more time on the open road. An AAA engine oil research study confirmed synthetic motor oil performs better than conventional motor oil by nearly 50 percent. Also remember to check your vehicle’s fluids, battery, wipers, tire tread and air pressure to ensure road-trip readiness. Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the recommended maintenance information according to the manufacturer.

Gas prices. When the Griswold family hit the road on their infamous trek to Walley World 34 years ago, gas rang up at $1.16 a gallon. Today the national average for a gallon of gas is $2.49. While yesterday’s gas prices will likely never return, a road trip is still an economical choice for families. Consider a one-tank destination over a cross-county trek to help deliver a memorable experience with your family.

No matter where your trip down memory lane takes you, be sure to remember what the magic of the open road is all about: freedom, adventure and good, old-fashioned family fun. Plan your road trip with more tips and ideas at

Photo courtesy of Getty Images
(Family Features)

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The Caribbean is Open for Cruise Vacations

Contrary to what some may think, the hurricanes in September had little to no impact on the vast majority of the Caribbean – a far-reaching region covering more than 1 million square miles.

In fact, of the nearly 100 ports in the Caribbean, almost 90 percent are open and fully operational – and welcoming thousands of cruise ship passengers every day.

To help make sure consumers are aware that the Caribbean is open for business, the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) has launched a campaign and website,, to provide the latest updates.

The Caribbean is one of the world’s most popular regions for cruise travelers. The islands are not only conveniently accessible, but offer spectacular beaches, legendary crystal-clear waters, vibrant towns and popular shore excursions.

The locals welcome vacationers to their islands as tourism, and the cruise industry in particular, is critical for the economy.

According to the FCCA, cruising generated $2.4 billion in direct economic impact for the Caribbean and created nearly 55,000 jobs and $842 million in wages throughout the region during the 2014-15 cruise season. This is in addition to the indirect jobs created in supporting industries, such as providing supplies for shore excursions, ports and restaurants.

“Seasoned cruisers to the Caribbean understand that most of the islands have been unaffected,” said Carolyn Spencer Brown, chief content strategist for the website Cruise Critic. “They also understand tourism is a top driver for the islands’ economic well-being and that cruises are a large part of that equation. Because of that, it’s important for both cruise lines and travelers to continue to support so many of the Caribbean islands that are ready for business and eager to provide travelers with the incredible vacations they’ve come to expect from the region.”

Now is an ideal time to plan a Caribbean cruise vacation. Contact a local travel agent or check out cruise line websites to find plenty of options for cruise vacations.

Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association

(Family Features)

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Passing the Torch for Holiday Hosting

(Family Features) For most families, the holidays are filled with time-honored traditions, many that have been passed down from one generation to the next. However, when the time comes for the next generation to begin carrying the torch for those treasured traditions, the transition can be a bit bumpy.

For some, spending the holidays as a guest and not a host can be a bit unsettling after years of orchestrating the festivities. For inspiration, check out resources such as where AARP members can find savings on travel and gifting needs to help switch to the guest mindset. With the right approach, handing down traditions and helping your children host their first holiday can bring its own set of rewards.

Hand down the heirlooms. Although they may be deeply beloved items, as you pass on hosting duties, go ahead and pass on the family pieces that make the holidays complete. Watching your children and grandchildren enjoy a bountiful holiday meal using the same china your own grandmother set out for the holidays is sure to elicit warm memories and still enable you to enjoy them as you create new ones. Similarly, if there are ornaments or decorations that have held a place of honor in your home through the years, gift them to your children so those same memories can be created anew. Shipping these treasured items ahead of time can ensure gifts arrive safely and securely before your arrival.

Share the history. As your offspring begin taking on their hosting duties, be sure to explain the significance of any traditions they may not know. They may be aware that you always served a certain dish, but not realize it all began with a story involving a cherished loved one. This might also be the perfect time for the family to sit down together and research your history online. When you explore your heritage and learn about family members, everyone can feel more connected.

Offer suggestions, not directives. When you’ve established a pattern for hosting activities, it can be difficult to watch someone else take a different approach, especially if you see mistakes being made that you learned the hard way. Just remember that you, too, had to learn the ropes and sometimes slight mishaps create funny stories to share at future family occasions. You might offer tips and ideas from time to time, but once you’ve handed over the reins, allow the new driver to do the navigating. You may find yourself the recipient of a few panicked calls – or you may not. Either way, remain helpful in your new role while letting someone else establish theirs.

Be a good guest. As you may remember, hosting a holiday celebration can be stressful. Do your part to ease the nerves by being a gracious guest. Offering to bring a small item such as the centerpiece flowers can go a long way. Also practice traditional etiquette, such as cleaning up after yourself and honoring household practices like removing shoes at the door. If you’ll be traveling out of town, look for deals on hotels and car rentals available to AARP members at

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Disney Cruise Line Luggage Tags

These Mickey, Minnie Mouse and Star Wars luggage tags, are officially licensed merchandise. Made of PVC they are durable and lightweight. The straps should fit around most luggage, suitcases and travel bags. The straps should fit around most luggage, suitcases and travel bags. The backs have spaces to write your name and address. Perfect for Disney Cruises with the kids.

2 Pack Disney Luggage Suitcase Tags Mickey & Minnie Mouse Faces PVC

2 Pack Disney Luggage Suitcase Tags Mickey & Minnie Mouse Body/Pants PVC

4 Pack Star Wars Luggage Suitcase Tags R2D2 Yoda Darth Vader & Stormtrooper Set

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Cruise Luggage Tags

Extra Strong Braided Stainless Steel Loops To Prevent Your Tag Detaching. With the extra strength soft clear PVC plastic and stainless steel loop, you’ll never have to worry if you’ve lost your tag or if it’s damaged. This package is perfect to share with your friends and family. We have the best cruise tag on the market for the most reasonable price. Save money for rest and relaxation! Don’t over-spend on tags! These PREMIUM Cruise Baggage Tag Holders are Great for PRINCESS, CARNIVAL, COSTA, HOLLAND AMERICA, P&O, and NORWEGIAN ~ New 2016 Design. Tags Are Made From Extra Strong Braided Stainless Steel Loops To Prevent Your Tag Detaching – Zip Top Seal – Protect your e-tags from rain or falling out – Never lose your Luggage tags!

Cruise Tags Luggage Etag Holders Zip Seal & Steel Loops Thick PVC

Cruise Luggage Tag Holder Zip Seal & Steel – Royal Caribbean & Celebrity Cruise

Cruise Luggage Tag Holders (Set of 8) (Metal Grommet) for Princess, Royal Caribbean


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