Welcome to “Ask an RV Expert,” the advice column where RVillage experts answer your questions about common RV maintenance problems.
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Dear RVillage Expert: What should I know before booking an RV trip during the holidays? —Susan H.
Are you thinking about traveling in your ho-ho-home on wheels for the holidays? RVing during the holiday season can be a great way to visit family and friends, skip the crowds at popular tourist attractions, and welcome the winter months with open arms. However, there are a few things you should know before sleighing the season in your rig.
If a holiday RV excursion is on your wish list this year, here’s how you can plan a successful trip that’s merry and bright.
Book early. If you haven’t already, book your campground reservations as soon as possible. While some campgrounds are less crowded this time of year, others can be hot spots for snowbirds, especially the further south you go. There’s nothing worse than scrambling for a campsite during the holidays, so book early to ensure you have a spot waiting for you. Plus, some campgrounds offer discounted holiday packages and rates during this time of year, so you’ll want to take advantage of those deals before they’re gone.
Stay longer. While some RVers prefer to make quick camping stops of no more than 2 or 3 days, the holiday season is a good time to book longer stays. Not only does this give you more time to relax and enjoy your time camping, but it also means you can avoid holiday traffic and the hassle of booking additional sites.
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Take your time. Whether you’re in a car, bus, or RV, holiday traffic is inevitable. Remember to slow down, plan for added travel time, and be patient. Towing an RV or driving a big rig can be stressful enough; don’t let added traffic put a damper on your trip. If possible, travel during the weekdays to avoid the droves of weekend holiday traffic.
Prepare for weather. Even if you’re heading for warmer weather, you’re not completely immune to winter storms. Always be prepared for snowy, slick conditions when traveling this time of year. Pack cold weather essentials and always keep your eyes on the forecast. Have a backup plan in case road conditions deteriorate and you’re unable to make it to or from your destination. You should also ensure your rig is ready to encounter freezing temperatures before hitting the road.
Moochdock. RVing is great for visiting family and friends who don’t live nearby. Whether you’re planning a short stay in between destinations or using your RV for extra sleeping space at a family member’s house, “moochdocking” is the perfect way to see loved ones near and far. This form of camping simply means you’re parking in the driveway or street outside of a residential home (if permitted by the area’s HOA and local regulations). While you likely won’t have hookups, you can dry camp and run your generator for power when needed.
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Decorate. Add a little holiday spirit to your rig by decorating it with lights, trees, garlands, and other seasonal decor, especially if you’re staying at a campground. It’s not uncommon for RVers to decorate their rigs with holiday flair, so don’t be afraid to join in on the fun and make your rig feel more like home.
Embrace the season. With a little planning and preparation, you can ensure that your holiday trip causes minimal stress and is full of cheer. Don’t sweat the small stuff, take deep breaths during traffic, and take advantage of all of the unique attractions, activities, and weather this season has to offer.
Happy camping and safe travels to you and yours during this holiday season.