Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too: How to Take an RV Work-Cation

Want to travel but can't take time off of work? Here's how you can see new places without using your PTO. #travel #rvlife #roadtripideas
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If you’re pretty much any working adult in the US, loving to travel and longing for a more adventurous life can leave you feeling torn. You want to get out and see the world, but you have work (and possibly family) responsibilities keeping you at home. And in the time of coronavirus, travel might feel like a distant dream.

But if you travel by RV, you can do it all: you can take “home” with you and hit the road for a while. Social distancing is easy when you have your own private space that lets you stay as isolated as you want. And if you are in the fortunate position of being able to work remotely, your work can be done from anywhere, so you might as well take advantage of that fact, right? You can continue doing your job while simultaneously experiencing the thrill of visiting new places. It’s the best of both worlds.

My partner and I are on a kick of taking these types of work-cations in our truck camper, and we’re starting to get our system down. We’ve got a list of everything we need to do to prepare and pack before we leave. We create our route plan and book a lot of our campsites ahead of time. Plus, my techie boyfriend ensures that our camper is rigged with the latest and greatest devices to help us get decent phone and Internet service even when we’re far away from all civilization. It’s pretty great.

And now that we’ve done a couple of trips like this together, I can tell you from experience that this kind of travel works and is totally doable. Today I’d like to share some pointers on how you, too, can have your own work-cation experience if you so desire.

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Make a plan for your trip.

If you are planning to work while on the road, I highly suggest you plan your route ahead of time. Decide, at a minimum, what cities you’ll visit and how long you’ll stay in each place. Unless you’re up for boondocking (aka dry camping), it’s a good idea to reserve most or all of your campsites ahead of time if you can (some places tend to book up well in advance).

You’ll also want to think about the roads you’ll be traveling on. GPS can help you navigate around accidents, construction and closures, but plan in advance for local road and weather conditions in the places you’ll be visiting. Make sure your vehicle can handle conditions like snow and ice if there’s any chance you’ll be driving through them. You might even like to get an old-school paper map and draw out your route in case, for whatever reason, you lose access to your phone or GPS.

The key is to take as much of the guesswork out of traveling as possible. Of course, it can be really fun to fly by the seat of your pants and spontaneously go from place to place — but if you’re intending to keep working while you’re away, it’s best to keep surprises and potential mishaps to a minimum.

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Make sure to get your RV serviced and in good working condition before you leave.

Seriously, it’s worth it. If you’re going away on a long trip, it’s smart to have someone take a look at your RV before you leave and make sure everything’s working as it should, especially if you haven’t driven it in a while. At a bare minimum, according to Camperland, you should check that these essential items are in good shape:

  • Oil levels
  • Battery
  • Engine belts and hoses
  • Oil, air and fuel filters

Even if your RV isn’t having any problems that you know of, there’s a lot to be said for doing preventative care and making sure things are running as they should. Mechanics can spot potential issues before they become a problem so that you can have a smooth and safe trip.

Optimize your RV for productivity.

If you’re going to be away from major cities and you’re at all concerned about having reliable phone and Internet service, there are ways you can enhance your signal quality. Equipment like WiFi hotspots and cellular boosters can help you stay connected even in places that are pretty remote. You’ll want to get these set up and test them to make sure they work properly before you head out on your adventure.

Also, think about where and how you’ll do your work on the road. What equipment will you need? Is there a space within your camper where you’ll be comfortable setting up a mobile “office”? In our camper, we didn’t have a space like this — so my boyfriend built us a simple wooden table with swiveling boat chairs to sit in. It works great and it’s big enough for both of us to share during our workdays.

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Indulge in some sightseeing.

Once you’re on the road, there’ll be so much for you to do and see. No doubt you’ll have all kinds of great stops planned for your trip — so make sure you allow time in each place to take in your surroundings and experience the things that drew you to visit. You may still be working, but don’t forget you’re still allowed to travel and have fun while you’re doing it.

Plus, when you’re on a road trip, half of the fun is the journey of getting from place to place. Whether you’re driving through majestic mountain ranges, wide-open desert plains or wild grasslands, you’ll find all kinds of scenery and hidden gems along your way that will inspire you and lift your spirits.

Be ready to change your plan on a moment’s notice if needed.

The final piece of advice I have is this: remain flexible, and go with the flow. There are always things we can’t predict or control when we travel, and that’s part of what makes it exciting — but it also means that sometimes, things just won’t go the way you plan. You have to be ready to think on your feet and come up with solutions to any problems you might run into.

Case in point: we just planned a 5-week trip around the Northwestern US. We did everything right — we got our truck checked by a mechanic before we left, we updated our phone and Internet gadgetry, and we packed all the stuff we could possibly need. We got all the way from Denver up to Bozeman only for our truck to start showing signs of engine problems. The truck’s still drivable, luckily, and should be for a little while longer, but sadly, it does mean that we have to cut our trip short. We’ll most likely be heading home within the next couple of days.

Disappointing? Sure, absolutely. But this is life when you’re traveling. You can spend weeks planning and preparing for your trip, but once you’re out on the road, anything can happen. It’s still been an adventure, we’ve still gotten to see a new place, and it’s still an experience I’ll look back on fondly. In the end, we can’t ask for more than that from a trip.

How about you? Are you ready to try your own RV work-cation? Or have you done it before? Tell me all about it in the comments below!


6 Reasons Why RVs are the Perfect Mode of Pandemic Travel

Itching to get out and see the world while still being safe? Here are reasons to travel by RV in the time of coronavirus. #travel #roadtrip #wanderlust
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The current pandemic has radically changed everyday life in ways we could never have foreseen. Amid closures of schools and businesses around the globe, concerts and festivals have been cancelled, pro sports franchises have put games on hold, and travel plans of all kinds have been scuttled. We have never seen times like these before, and unfortunately, COVID-19 shows no signs of disappearing anytime soon — at least, not here in the US.

Understandably, though, people are starting to feel restless from staying at home, and they’re looking for ways to get out of the house while still keeping themselves and their families safe. Traveling by bus, train or plane might still feel like a risky proposition, even to those of us who would love nothing more than to get out and see the world. What’s a would-be wanderluster to do during times like these?

Fortunately, there is another way to travel. Enter the RV — a compact home on wheels that can be driven or hauled just about anywhere where there are roads. The Boston Globe and other news sources say that RV rentals and sales have gone through the roof since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s easy to see why: an RV offers a private living space that travels with you wherever you go. And best of all, you can set up camp wherever your adventures may take you — whether it’s a national park, a quaint little town you’re passing through or a vast expanse of open land — and have the great outdoors as your backyard.

So whether you’re a seasoned RV veteran or you’re thinking of renting one for the first time, here are six reasons why RVs are a great way to travel in the time of coronavirus.

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  1. You can go out and explore new places while still “staying at home”.

Many RVs are designed with comfort in mind, and with amenities like a bathroom, shower, kitchenette and bed, you’ll have everything you need to “stay at home” a lot of the time if that’s what you’re most comfortable doing. But the whole setup is on wheels, so whenever you’re ready for a change of scenery, you can always pack up and go somewhere else.

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2. You get to have your own private space.

An RV is your space — that means you make the rules. You get the final say on who (if anyone) gets to come inside, and you decide on the level of cleanliness you feel comfortable with. You can wipe and sanitize items inside your RV just as you would at home (just make sure to keep your camper stocked with cleaning products), and you don’t have to worry about sharing a bathroom with strangers. Sure, cleaning is a little bit of extra work (versus staying in a hotel with maid service), but for me at least, the peace of mind that comes with having my own space is so worth it.

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3. There are a ton of places you can go.

If getting away from big cities and crowds is sounding a little extra appealing right now, you can escape to somewhere a lot less populated. We are from the Denver area, and we are currently doing a 10-day loop through Southwestern Colorado. Just yesterday we came from the desert outskirts of Cortez, near the Four Corners. Tomorrow, we’ll head north to the peach orchards and vineyards of Palisade, near Grand Junction, and we’ll stay there for a couple of nights before we return home. This is a fairly short trip by most people’s standards, but it does offer a taste of what time on the road is like. We’ve already got two or three ideas for longer trips that we want to do in different parts of the country.

Of course, wherever you go, it’s important to be mindful of any regulations they have in place regarding travelers from the outside — many states and countries aren’t allowing visitors in at the moment, so you’ll want to plan your trip accordingly. But there are still so many possible destinations that the real question will be where to go first!

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4. Social distancing is a piece of cake.

When you’re RVing, most of the time, you’ll either be in your camper or outside somewhere. Either way, it’s easy to keep plenty of distance between yourself and others, especially when you’re out enjoying nature. Campgrounds and RV parks can get a bit crowded, but individual sites are typically a safe distance apart from one another.

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5. You’ll spend more time outdoors.

Although they are fairly comfortable to live in, unless you splurge on a luxury motorhome, RVs are typically not huge — and especially if you’re traveling with other people, it can get a little cozy in there. Most likely, you will want to get outside more often than you normally do, if only to get some space (although you’ll probably also want to get out and enjoy the fabulous places you’ll be visiting!). Whether you’re out doing something active or just enjoying a bit of fresh air, simply being outside has many proven health benefits, and you’re also much less likely to catch a variety of bacterial and viral infections than when you’re inside.

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6. You can even take your work with you.

While it can be wonderful to “unplug” while you are out traveling, if you prefer not to take time off — and if working remotely is an option for you — it’s easier than you might think to bring your work on the road so you can have the best of both worlds. Call it a work-cation, if you like.

My partner and I do this. I’m actually writing this article from inside our truck camper, an Eagle Cap model that sits in the back of his Ford F250. We are sitting across from each other at our dinette table, each of us working away on our laptops, listening to the sound of hummingbirds through our screen door and breathing the fresh mountain air in Ouray, Colorado. When you work from your RV, you end up working in some of the most beautiful and unusual settings, which can be really inspiring.

But, best of all, with the right setup, you can actually be quite productive. There are fewer distractions in a camper than there are at home, and if you bring the right gear (such as a WiFi hotspot), you can get decent phone and internet service in most places.

For these and so many other reasons, heading out on the road in an RV can be an incredible travel experience — it balances adventure and the thrill of seeing new places with the comfort and safety of having a personal “home space” to go back to at the end of the day. RV living can take some getting used to at first, but traveling this way has turned out to be surprisingly enjoyable, and more importantly, it feels safe even amid the ongoing public health crisis.

Have you taken an RV trip recently? Or have big plans to go on one soon? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!