Full-Time RVing and Family

Our Wonderful Grandchildren

Today’s blog post is not about traveling with kids, but traveling as a full-time RVer and leaving family behind. How do you deal with the separation? How does the family you left behind deal with it? What methods can you use to keep in touch? How to plan a return visit and what is all involved?

Everyone deals with separation differently but we are here to tell you our experiences. We’ve been dealing with this issue since 2009 when we started this journey. Maybe we can give you a small morsel of advice on how you can deal with it. I will say it does get easier BUT then it doesn’t. Yes that doesn’t make sense but I hope as you read farther in the blog you’ll better understand. When we started our Full-Time journey I cried so hard that I couldn’t catch my breath. Just thinking about being out of their lives for 6+ months was heart wrenching. BUT, reality is that no your not ‘out of their lives’ for that length of time. Yes you may not be able to physically touch them but with video chat, texting and phone calls you can definitely be included in their lives. Don’t fear. You will not miss out if you make the effort to keep in touch. Heck it’s fun to share your new experiences with them!

When we started Full-Time RVing in 2009 we used a Video Chat program on our computer so we could see our kids and their spouses. So even years ago before todays technology, we found a way to stay connected. Now fast forward to 2021. There are several FREE Video Chat programs you can use while you are on the road. Zoom, Apple FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and the app we originally started with Skype, are just to name a few. But, all else fails, ask your kids or grandkids. They are a huge resource. Find out what they are using to make it an easier transition for you.

Planning is key. When you were in the Sticks n’ Bricks home, did you get together with family on a regular basis? Maybe Sunday after Church? If so, plan your Video Chat or Phone Call day for that time. You can remotely be with your family and share great conversation. Yes it takes more effort but totally worth it. So the take away is; YES it’s hard to leave your family behind as you explore in your RV but it is very doable using technology to stay in touch and not feeling excluded. Also, are there special events you share with your family? IE: Christmas, weddings or school events? If so, either plan on logging in remotely to be included OR plan your travel plans around it. Heck if your family is already spread out in several states, travel to them. Plan a RV vacation with them. Maybe the grandkids want to come with you on a special trip. Heck you have an RV. Make it a memorable road trip for you and your family. How exciting would that be?

Another thing you need to plan is your return trip or your RV trip to your family living in different states. When would it be best to travel to family in the northern states if your bringing your RV? We’ve spent a few Christmas’ in COLD Iowa with family in our RV. Let me tell you. It’s not for the faint of heart. You either need to plan a way to keep your pipes from freezing OR winterize your RV and just use it for sleeping space while visiting your family. Oh another thing to remember. Can you mooch dock on your families property? Will their HOA allow it? Are the RV parks in the area open? Planning travel days are super important during this time of the year as well. We DO NOT like to pull our 5th wheel in snow and ice. Way too risky for us. So planning once again is key.

Since we briefly touched on how you deal with separation, how does your family deal with it? Will they understand your RV life goals? Will they feel like you are abandoning them? Boy these are touchy points to consider because as said before, everyone has their own way of dealing with these issues. From our experience, our kids dealt with it very well. Some days they were like; “oh Mother” when I would cry because I missed them so much. Kids are resilient. They deal with change probably better than we do. But being upfront and clear of your RV goals it will set them up for a great transition to your new lifestyle. Keeping your Sunday gathering time the same even if you are remotely logging in will be extremely helpful. Allowing them to understand you are there for them regardless of your physical location. And heck you may just see them more since your home now has wheels. Maybe they will start asking when you plan to leave when visiting with them? LOL

So get out there and enjoy your RV lifestyle. Experience the great places you’ve always wanted to visit and take your family along with you either through remote video, sharing videos OR take them on the ride with you.

Thanks!

Dora & Ed

Our latest video!

As we continue our RV Fall Colors Tour, we make it to Munising MI to explore Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Originally we searched the area for boondocking sites that we could camp at. I will say we did find a couple different locations but, the remote location which included very bumpy road and low hanging branches we decided we did not want to risk it with our 5th wheel. So we decided to find a centrally located RV Park to stay at. Tourist Park Campground, located in the heart of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on the shore of Lake Superior was the RV park we found. Since we are ‘0ff-season’ occupancy was not an issue. Initially we planned on staying 1 night but it is such a beautiful area that even the 2 nights we stayed was not near enough time. But, we had to continue down the road because of our upcoming job. We WILL return in the future and continue exploring.

Watch todays video so we can show you a location you NEED to add to your bucket list.

Thanks! Dora & Ed

Potable versus Non-potable Water

Understanding the difference between potable water and nonpotable water could literally save your life.

Potable water
Potable water, also known as drinking water, comes from surface and ground sources, and is treated for microorganisms, bacteria, toxic chemicals, viruses, and fecal matter, so that it is safe for consumption. Potable water normally flows out of your tap, including your kitchen and bathroom sinks. This water is clean and safe because it has been treated at your local municipal water treatment plant; or if you live in a rural area, it is water from your well that is treated before it reaches your tap. Portable water is suitable for drinking, cooking, hand washing, and personal bathing.

An easy way to remember the difference between potable and non-potable is to break the word “potable“ into two parts — “pot” and “able”. What is safe to put into a pot to make your coffee or cook your dinner is able to be used for drinking and consumption.

Non-potable water
Non-potable water refers to any water that is not safe to drink, cook with or bathe in. It should never be used for drinking, cooking, washing foods, preparing drinks, cleaning surfaces, bathing, washing, or rinsing food containers. Dishes made of plastic, wood, and other porous materials, like clay, should not be washed with non-potable water because bacteria can remain in these surfaces if they do not dry properly.

Non-potable water sources include ground water, stagnant bodies of water, lakes, rivers, streams, natural springs, and rainwater collected and stored in a barrel or cistern. Non-potable water is also water that has been used.This includes greywater we have used in our homes or campers when washing dishes or taking showers. Once water is used, it is no longer safe for human consumption.

When you digest non-potable water or eat off contaminated surfaces, you swallow organisms harmful to your body and expose yourself to a number of water-borne diseases. Common waterborne diseases include cholera, typhoid, flukes, dysentery, cryptosporidium, and giardia.

Deaths due to water-related diseases exceed a shocking 5 million annually throughout the world. Those who get medical help and survive often have to go through a prolonged recovery period. The long-term effect of a waterborne infection can be a weakened immune system, which leaves the individual vulnerable to other diseases and illnesses.

Used water should be poured or allowed to flow down your drain line so that it can be treated at the water treatment plant; or if in your RV or camper’s grey water tank, the water should be dumped in a dump station. While you might think it would be safe to dump the grey water from your trailer onto the ground or in a ditch, it isn’t. Doing so can be harmful because untreated water releases chemicals, bacteria, and microorganisms into the groundwater, which will eventually seep into wells and other water sources, contaminating it and making it unsafe for others.

Non-potable water can be used for other purposes at home and in industrial applications, such as flushing toilets, watering non-edible houseplants, car washing, cooling water for power plants, fire suppression, hot water heating, and carpet dying. If recycled and filtered, non-potable water can also be used for irrigating landscaped areas and watering gardens.

Summary
It’s very important that you make the distinction between potable and non-potable water. Whenever you come across water that is not from a tap, bottle, or filtration system, you must treat it as non-potable.

If you will be hiking or traveling to a remote location where you won’t have access to potable water, it is recommended that you prepare by bringing a portable filtration device. These can include special filtration bottles, straws or water sacks.

Brrrr…..Tips for Surviving the Winter in Your RV

“Are you crazy? You plan to live in your RV during the winter?” We’ve heard that question many times. My response is always the same, “You bet, we’re full-time RVers. Where life takes us may be uncertain, but the changing seasons are predictable.”

You may be wondering, however, how we live in our RV in the winter, while experiencing freezing cold temperatures. I’ll be the first to admit there can be challenges because RVs are not made or insulated like a sticks-n-bricks home. Even “four-season” or RVs that have the arctic package are not immune to the effects of extreme cold weather.

While we prefer to spend our winters in parts of the country with more mild winter weather, we’ve experienced extreme cold, snow, and paralyzing ice in these areas as well. We’ve also wintered in the Midwest and spent weeks in sub-zero temperatures and managed to survive to tell the tale.

Throughout the years, we’ve made our fair share of mistakes, experimented with different winterizing techniques, and learned some valuable lessons that you might find beneficial for living comfortably in the winter. It just takes preparation.

Top Winter RVing Tips

Manuals. First, read and familiarize yourself with your RV manufacturer’s and RV component manufacturer’s manuals so that you understand how your RV’s systems work. Then you can take steps to overcome or cope with your RV’s deficiencies and limits.
Batteries. Cold temperatures are hard on RV batteries. Make sure your batteries still have a useful life and are charging properly.
Windows. Insulate your windows at night or during extreme weather events. RV windows lose a ton of heat, regardless of how insulated they claim to be. There are several ways to insulate windows: foam insulation boards,Reflectix aluminum foil insulation, solar blankets, or heavy-weight thermal curtains. You also want to check the weather stripping around the windows to make sure nothing needs to be replaced or caulked. Don’t forget to check your door window.
Skirting. Put your RV in a skirt when parked. We prefer using rigid pink foam board insulation sheathing. This product typically has an R value of 3.6 to 4.0 per inch of thickness. Use the thickest material you can find as it not only provides the best thermal performance, it is stronger and less likely to break or blow away. The material is virtually impervious to moisture penetration, lightweight, durable and easy to handle and install. Keep your vehicle and generator exhaust pipes clear of the skirting and snow accumulation. You want your RV exhaust to blow outside, not underneath.
Pipes. While skirting can help prevent freezing, you will need to wrap your pipes with heat tape and use a heated RV water hose if connected to a water source. If you don’t have a heated water hose, limit use to your RV’s onboard fresh water tank. A standard water hose will freeze and crack.
Roof. Inspect your RV’s roof and all seals before the cooler temperatures arrive. Look for cracks or broken seals and make repairs or caulk. During the winter, keep the roof clear of snow, ice and debris. Icing and melting can cause cracks in seals and then leaks.
Hatch vents. Lots of warm air can escape through the roof vents in your RV. A vent cover made of a piece of foam can add an extra layer of insulation. Be sure to close your AC vents.
Ceiling fans. Use your ceiling fans by switching to reverse. This will push the warm air down to your level.
Furnace. Service and inspect your furnace regularly. Make sure it ignites and functions properly.
Heat pump. Some RVs come equipped with a heat pump as well as a furnace. A heat pump should not be used when it’s less than 40 degrees.
Doors. Check the weather stripping on every exterior door, including the entry door, basement areas, and access panels. Replace if necessary.
Indoor plumbing. For added protection for your indoor plumbing, you may want to open your cabinet doors in your kitchen and bathroom to expose the pipes to the interior heat. You may also want to turn your faucets on to drip, especially at night.
Tanks. The bay that holds your tanks must always be kept above freezing. If your RV doesn’t have tank heaters, buy some. Mini space heaters in the bay can also help prevent freezing.
Propane. When living in your RV full-time in the winter, you need to ensure you have plenty of propane. If you’re away from your RV during the day, be sure to leave the thermostat set high enough to keep the RV warm and to prevent the pipes from freezing or any pets from getting too cold. A propane tank gas level indicator that can be read by your smartphone could be very valuable.
Utility space. Placing a drop light in the utility space can keep the space’s temperature above freezing.
Portable heaters. Use portable heaters with extreme care and caution. Never leave a space heater unattended or when you’re sleeping. Keep them out of reach of children and pets. Make certain the area around your heater is kept clear of rugs, blankets, and combustible materials. Never use a portable heater with an extension cord. Portable heaters safe for RV use include: a ceramic tower, electric, or oil-filled radiator. Exercise extreme caution to prevent carbon monoxide build-up and always use a carbon monoxide detector inside your RV.
Fresh water tank. Many RVers drain their freshwater tanks completely during the winter. Of course this is the safest approach because it prevents the tank from freezing; however, it also means you will need to switch to supplying your own potable water for drinking, brushing your teeth, doing dishes, and cooking. And, plan on using public restrooms. In our experience, having indoor plumbing in the winter is a must, so draining and winterizing is a last resort.
Holding tanks. Never allow your holding tanks to freeze. Keep your tanks closed until they are full and need to be dumped.
Extreme sub-zero temperatures. Ideally, if you’re planning to live in your RV in the winter you don’t want to fully winterize it or it becomes impossible to utilize your water and plumbing systems. However, if you are going to stay in your RV in a region with sub-zero temperatures for an extended period, you will need to fully winterize your RV. The fresh-water tank and hot water heater must be drained. The grey/black tanks should have RV antifreeze added. You can do this by flushing antifreeze down the toilets and pouring it into your drains.
Location. In the summer, RVers hunt for the shadiest spot to stay cool. But in the winter, you’ll want all the sun you can get. Look for possible areas of direct sunlight. Avoid tree branches that might break under the weight of heavy snow. We also recommend a site with a concrete pad. With fluctuating temperatures and freezing and thawing, your RV can settle or sink into the ground without a pad.
Generator. Having a generator saved our lives during a major ice storm that took out the park’s electricity and made it impossible to travel to another safe location. Be sure to perform all preventative maintenance on your generator before winter arrives. Make sure the generator runs properly and you have plenty of fuel for it. Test your generator at least an hour each month.

5 Camping Apps You Should Download

What are you looking for? A campsite booking tool, an app to plan your next camping trip, or a resource for all of the best places for RVers with honest reviews.

We’ve scoured the appsphere for the best free apps for first-timers to last-minute planners to seasoned full-time RVers. After giving them a test drive, we selected these as our top pocket finds.

Boondocking. An iOS only app that specializes in providing users with information about free camping sites, most are without hook-ups for tent and RV campers. The app includes an amazing 500+ listings, coupled with details from campers offering their experiences with the sites.With boondocking, there are no reservations. It’s a popular way to explore wilderness areas and save money while on your trip.

NPS.gov This app features National Park campground sites. Within the app you click directly to the park’s website to book camping or cabins, and apply for any permits. If you are a seat-of-the-pants traveler or last-minute planner, this is a perfect tool for booking sites.

FreeRoam. This app specializes in trip planning. It will help you find a camping spot that meets your specifications, assist you navigate to the camping location, and show you where gas, rest rest areas and other travel services are along your way. Just click on the camp spots for photos and details, then enter your travel dates, and the app builds your trip. The app can plan your entire trip based on user preferences, adding in gas stops, grocery stops, points of interest, and routes appropriate for the height of your vehicle. Then simply set your route and follow it using its built-in navigational map tool.

Recreation.gov. Reserve a public lands camp spot at more than 3,600 facilities and 103,000 individual sites across the United States. Book your site within the app, which features photos, driving directions, and a call center operator who can help you with your trip planning. The site also assists travelers locate historic and cultural sites along the way, rent gear or an RV, and buy the America the Beautiful National Park pass.

Campendium. This app was created by campers for campers and employs a team of full-time travelers who add sites and information all the time. More than 350,000 app users then review those sites. Find a site by searching for the name of a location and then picking one from the hits that appear on the map. Campendium lists a lot of information about the campsites, including cell signal strength, hookups, pet friendliness, amenities, campsite costs, and campground website links and phone numbers.

As great as these apps are by themself, the real power comes from using them all. If you’re coming up empty on one app, try the others.

So, you want to install a Residential Refrigerator in your RV? Now what?

If you’re reading this your either interested in replacing your RV refrigerator because it has quit working, thinking about the project OR you want more space than your old refrigerator. Either way, this is the blog post for you.

We had discussed a few years ago if our current RV refrigerator quit working, we would replace it with a residential one. However, we did like the option of using the propane to cool our refrigerator when not hooked to shore power. So, when our refrigerator ‘bit the dust’ just before leaving our summer job, we began looking at refrigerators that would work for us without spending over $2,000. Thankfully a friend of ours had recently completed a van conversion and had used a residential refrigerator so had knowledge about them. As I began throwing the food away that had spoiled, our friend began searching online for a refrigerator that would work within our budget. Amazingly she found one that she thought would fit in our space left by our RV refrigerator. We loaded up the truck and headed to Lowe’s a home improvement store. When we found the refrigerator that we had saw on the internet we quickly found that it was too small. Smaller than what we had before. So, feeling a bit defeated we began searching in the store. Then….. Ed found a much larger one, measured the overall size and wha-la that was IT!

We’ve listed a few steps below that may help you in your process. Please remember we are NOT professionals just people sharing our experience.

  1. Measure and Choose the new unit. This step basically comes down to measuring the space we have available and choosing a residential refrigerator that fits it. Measure height, width and depth. And do this a couple times so when you get home with the new unit it fits right in,
  2. Removing the old unit. First, we have to disconnect the existing refrigerator from all the propane and/or electric lines. Make sure to properly cap any propane line and/or electrical service that will not be needed to run your new refrigerator. If you’re not familiar with the process, seek a professional.
  3. Clean and preparing the space. Since we have access now, it’s a good idea to vacuum and wipe the space dedicated to the residential refrigerator. We also installed insulation board on the back wall to help keep our new refrigerator cool. Also, the vent cover on the side of the RV used for ventilation of the RV refrigerator, with the new refrigerator it was not needed so we blocked part of the holes with the silver duct tape. But, please learn from our mistake. Don’t forget to find the drain hole and place a hose on it so we can drain outside the RV. We forgot to do this step and found water on our floor inside the RV after our first travel day. Thankfully it was an easy clean up and no damage was done.
  4. Placing and securing the new unit. If all our measurements are correct, we should have no trouble fitting the residential refrigerator into the old one’s place. After our refrigerator was in the space, Ed began to secure it by accessing it through the ventilation panel on the side of the RV. We were very lucky that all Ed had to do was screw it down at the rear of the unit to the floor so it doesn’t move while we are traveling down the road.
  5. Finishing touches. The final phase of installation is your chance to get creative. Are you using trim to give the new install a finished look or what are your plans? We purchased a small amount of trim to match our cupboards and painted them. Now it looks like it was always there. But better.
  6. How are you going to power the new unit? Since we no longer had a propane refrigerator, we had to think about how we are going to cool it when not on shore power. Now we were not able to cool it traveling down the road by using the propane side or when boondocking. At the time we left our summer job, we assumed that it would hold temperature as long as we did not open the door until we could power the unit. Well, that’s true it did hold the temperature but we knew we would have to power it at some point. It wasn’t going to hold the temperature throughout our travel days. It really isn’t a big deal as long as we ran the generator for a length of time to cool things off again. But we didn’t want to run the generator hours on end. I’ll be honest with you. Ed and I only have basic knowledge about electric so we needed to once again research our options. We found that purchasing an inverter with more batteries was our best option. Now when we are on shore power, hooked to our running truck or our generator these options would charge our batteries. Wha-la our refrigerator would receive be powered at all times. Now if you want to go one more step, you can purchase solar. This may be an option for us in the future but right now we are super happy with our set up. Would you add solar?
  7. What was our total estimated cost? The refrigerator $400, 2 batteries at $100 each, inverter $200, hose $free, batteries cables to run the batteries in parallel and hook to inverter $30. So, we came up with $730 in total costs. Not bad considering an RV refrigerator can cost minimum of $2000 just for the unit itself.

We hope you find this helpful if you are thinking about exchanging your RV refrigerator for a residential refrigerator. Let us know what your plans are and please share your knowledge with us.

Looking for RV Tips?

Your probably looking forward to your RV trip. All the freedom, convenience, and comfort in traveling in an RV are truly worth anticipating. But before all the excitement sets in, there are plenty of things you need to consider so you can have the best RV experience possible. 

Traveling in an RV can be a bit much for first-timers, and you could miss out on many important details. While it’s understandable for beginners to make mistakes, and to be honest even people that have been RVing for years make mistakes. Don’t let mistakes ruin your entire RV trip. Try to learn from them and move forward. The good news is you can learn from the mistakes and experiences of others. We are the first ones to admit we’ve made our share of mistakes since we starting Full-Time RVing in 2009.

Tip 1: Find the right RV for you. What fits in your budget and how you want to use the RV. You’d be amazed on all the different features from motorhomes to travel trailers and camper vans. But while it’s easy to get caught up on the RV’s interior and amenities, your choice may impact your RV experience. Besides the luxurious features, many get carried away with the idea of traveling in an RV. As a result, they rush into it and get the first one they come across without realizing their needs. Choosing the wrong RV for your travel can cause frustration and setback along the way. You must have realistic expectations of what you want to achieve in your trip. However, it is hard to know what you want/need until you travel in it.

Tip 2: Plan your route. Traveling in an RV takes a more planning than if you were traveling in a regular vehicle. Having the freedom to go whenever and wherever you want is one of the perks when traveling in an RV. But that doesn’t mean to hit the road without a planned route. It may sound exciting to just go as you please, you may find it not enjoyable in the end. You may run into road closures, construction zones OR on a route that you should not have your RV on. (Example: We ended up on a dead-end road in a housing division. Ed had to back all the way out.) Just do a little planning before you head out and I guarantee your trip will go much smoother.

Tip 3: Packing Less. As you start out on our new journey its typical to pack more than what you really need. Compared to regular cars, RVs are much bigger, and you might be tempted to bring as much stuff as possible to make the road feel like home. But overpacking is the enemy of most RVers. Besides making your space cramped and cluttered, it can add more weight to your RV and may cause issues down the road.

However, packing lighter may make your RV feel better, but it may make your RV experience a bit short. Make sure that you pack your essentials but also a few items that will make you comfortable. Maybe it’s a blanket you love to snuggle with OR that favorite shirt. It’s vital to pack the right amount of things when traveling in an RV. When traveling in an RV, try to be minimalist as much as possible but be mindful of the essentials.

Tip 4: Make Reservations. Spontaneity can be part of the thrill while traveling in an RV. But it might not be the best way to start our traveling when you pull into a campground and they are fully booked. Many RV parks fill up early, especially during peak season. If you don’t want to get stressed out figuring out where are overnight stops are plan ahead. Book those RV sites days, weeks or months ahead. OR if you are not picky, you can always find a spot in a parking lot, rest stop or truck stop to spend the night.

Tip 5: Maintain your RV. Whether you’re using a used or new RV, it is a MUST Do to check if it’s safe to travel. The size and weight of your RV can create problems on the road without proper preparation and maintenance. One of the most critical parts of an RV that should be at the top of your mind is the tires. Remember that bad tread or aged tires can cause blowouts, which is dangerous for your RV and surrounding vehicles. Before you get behind the wheel to hit the road to a through walk around.

Tip 5: There is NO Perfect Trip. There is no perfect way to travel. Anyone can and will make mistakes along the road, no matter how experience you are, things happen. It is all how you handle the situation and move forward. But keep in mind, planning for your RV trip can minimize the hassle and risks on the road. AND Don’t forget to enjoy the ride!

Wireless Remote Pet Temperature Monitor

Waggle is a Wireless Remote Pet Temperature Monitor that will keep your Pets safe 24/7. The monitor will give you the peace of mind that your pets will remain safe while your away from your home OR RV. It runs off its own 4G Verizon Cellular. No need to have a separate WIFI. It will alert you by email and/or text based on your temperature settings, when power is lost, restored and when the battery is running low.

When we are away from the RV our biggest fear was something would go wrong with our AC Unit or the RV Park would lose power. As many of know, RVs heat up quickly to unsafe temperatures for our pets. Worrying about our fur babies has always caused us anxiety. Then….. we brought Waggle into our home.

Once the device arrived, we downloaded the app on our smartphones, set up our account and set up the alerts based on our preferences. Unboxed the device, plugged it in and wha la! (Super easy!) It did take us a bit to figure out where was the right placement of the monitor in our RV, as you will see in an upcoming video. You don’t want it in direct air of the AC Unit, heat vent or near a window. But once we got that figured out is has been fabulous. The monitor it has removed the anxiety we were having when we left them home alone.

Product Details: Wireless Remote Pet Temperature Keeping an eye on your pets safety is now easy. Just peel and stick the monitor anywhere inside your Car/RV/Home and get Temperature, Humidity updates on your smartphone. | Subscription Required: Affordable plans that cover built-in Verizon 4G cellular Service to monitor your Pets Environment Temperature. (Subscription purchased separately using Mobile App). | A built-in rechargeable battery gives you peace of mind even when your RV power is lost. Low-battery & RV Power-Loss Alerts available as well.

When you purchase your device, make sure do use code Dora50 for 50% off your order!

Travel with your pets…

One of the benefits of RV travel is that your pets can enjoy the great outdoors and travel experience with you. According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, pets serve as companions on the road for 61% of RV owners.

One of the many benefits to RV travel is the ability to bring along our dogs. For many people, their dog is more than a pet but a member of the family. This is the case with us and our Shih Tzu Mason & Mini Schnauzer Missy. They are like a furry little children to us. Over years now we have lived and traveled in our fifth wheel and they have gone everywhere with us.

Over the years, we’ve learned a few things to make sharing the rig with our pups a little easier and enjoyable for us both. I hope you find the following tips and advice helpful if you are also planning on RVing with a dog.

Avoid Fabrics in the RV Décor
Unfortunately, many of our best friends tend to smell, drool and shed large amounts of hair. They also have been known to get sick and have the bathroom-related accidents. They are just facts of life when you are a dog. For these reasons if I was buying the rig all over again I would have paid more attention to the amount of fabric present in its décor.

We ended up with two fabric swivel chairs, a sofa with fabric cushions and several areas of short cream colored shag style carpeting. All turned out to be magnets for the dirty spills and doggie odors. We actually have been renovating the interior and top of the list of upgrades with all leather furniture and plan on installing vinyl flooring for easy clean up. This should dramatically reduce our rig cleaning chores and smells.

Removing Pet Smells
Dogs are going to smell up the rig, no doubt about it, some breeds worse than others. Our dogs are not super smelly as breeds go but as other dogs do, they get into some unwanted smells outdoors.

In my attempts to remove smells, we’ve tried many different cleaning products, some claiming to be pet specific and super-duper extra strength, blah blah blah. But in our experiences, a few simple tried and true cleaners do the best job. For fabrics like the furniture and carpeting, I use a little Bissell portable cleaning machine and fill it with a solution of half water then half and half of cleaning vinegar and detergent. For walls and hard flooring, we use good old Pine-Sol.

Ventilation for the Pups
We have found ourselves out dry camping in our RV without the luxury of air conditioning. This is where having a means to properly ventilate the RV becomes very important to our furry companion. We’ve recently installed a powerful vent fan and it has made a huge difference, especially on those days with little or no wind.

If we have to leave our pups in the rig without AC, we open a window and turn on the vent fan creating a nice breeze. Our fan has a built-in thermostat so it automatically comes on as the heat rises.

We also place a wireless thermometer in the RV to keep them safe with the RV would warm up to unsafe temperatures. We had to learn when its safe or not to leave them depending on the weather and how the RV is placed in relation to the sun.

Doggie First Aid Kit
Our final tip for you today is put together a first aid kit specifically for your dog. Your vet should be able to guide you as to what to stock for their personal needs. Examples of things I have in mine are pain medication specially formulated for the dog, allergy medication, doses of flea/tick/heart-worm prevention, vet wrap for bandaging wounds, eye and ear cleaner, etc. Also have the medications ready to go in the proper doses so you don’t have to think about it when the time comes.