We are often asked numerous questions about what we use or how we have addressed a situation in fulltime RV living. To provide answers to anyone interested in being a fulltime RVer we are sharing those resources here. As noted, some links do generate us a rebate while at the same time they give you a discount!
Finding Camping Sites
We use frequently
- Campendium is our favorite RV/campsite directory, no cost, but we do pay to support them through their campaigns because this our most important resource
- OvernightRVParking.com [$] we have found this to be invaluable when traveling across the country and are just looking for a good place to stay overnight (index Walmarts, Cracker Barrells, etc. and experiences using them.) You can extend your membership by contributing your stay information to their database which keeps it accurate and fresh. [Referral Code: Barb & Jason Winget]
- Thousand Trails [$] – stay at any of their membership owned parks for 14 days at a time. You just need to stay outside the system for 7 days in between bookings. You choose to buy a zone, we have the Southeast Zone. We also have the Trails Collection which gives us over 100 more “Encore” system parks in our membership tier. This is a love-hate topic for RVers, it is a good buy if it works for you. In one year we used it enough to have about $8/night average for our sites. We have also used rental car discounts available through the membership. [Referral Code: jmFrZ]
- Harvest Hosts [$] – stay at over a thousand different locations, including farms, vineyards, distilleries, museums, and if you choose to add on golf courses. We try to use this when traveling and we have extra time to stay over to experience the opportunity. There are also discounts on other memberships and services through the member portal. [Referral Code: jasonbarbwinget]
AllStays [free web, $ app]No longer use, not very helpful
Boondockers Welcome [$]never used them, paid for a year – had a problem with our size of rig making it work, would probably be good for a class-B user
- Wandrly State Park Camping Guide
- State Park Guide by Trip Savvy, index of entrance fees to US state parks. The cost to stay at a state park campground fluctuates radically based on the “day use” costs associated with parks. Staying at a campground overnight for $30 may mean also buying a $30 park sticker for the vehicle. Suddenly that side now is costing $60 for the one night.
Cell Coverage Maps
- OpenSignal Networks (must access from their smartphone app, no longer available on their website
- Campendium has added cell coverage to their maps, but more importantly they have been asking reviewers for years to contribute their experience with each carrier. If you read the reviews you will also see numerous comments from “Netflix” users and also “teleworkers” about their ability use a particular carrier at that spot. Also look at the photos and you may see screenshots of speed tests that were uploaded.
Time & Date
- US Timezone Map
- TimeAnddate.com Date Calculator to calculate the opening of a reservation window
WeatherSpark.com – Typical Weather Anywhere, very helpful to determine if we are too far North in the fall or spring at what time degrees North or South.
Weather.com Normal Temperature Maps
Bloggers and Vloggers
- Ditched the Kids – met Ann and Mike at an RVLove.com book signing in Winter Garden 2018, they post about some important lessons learned in their time fulltime RVing
- RVLove – their earlier content when they were just getting on the road inspired us to, recently their style has changed and they are focused more on their books and other materials. We still thank them for the inspiration in those early years with the bunkhouse modification for an office, giving us hope that you can indeed fulltime telework in an RV!
- Less Junk / More Journey – In the first few months of them Vlogging on Youtube that was inspiring to us to get out of the house and make the switch to fulltime RVing, now we continue to follow them because they are nice people and enjoy their content.
- Changing Lanes RV – similarly to our situation Chad works fulltime as a network engineer and Tara is battling with a chronic health condition. They went on the road about the same time as we did and even though they are based in a 5th wheel, it is a big one and their life situation is similar, we can relate given our history.
- Today is your Someday a/k/a You, Me & the RV – Phil and Stacy are retired Navy and they provide a positive outlook on life while also traveling in a class A diesel pusher.
Services & Other Hints
Mail / Postal Services
The number one question we get is how do we get our mail?
As members of Xscapers [$], who focus on the Generation X demographic, we have access to their mail services. As part of the transition to fulltime living you need to decide where you domicile will be located. Are you going to change it to Florida, Texas, or South Dakota? Often the decision making is based on the income tax consequences, we chose Florida for the Disney Florida residents perks. After choosing your new “domicile” state you then may want to consider an Xscapers membership with the Mail Services add-on. [Referral Code: Jason Winget]
We are Florida residents with the help of the Escapees Mail Scanning and Forwarding Service. [$] We can either get mail at our “domicile” address in Bushnell, Florida or our mail processing address in Livingston, Texas. They scan the envelope and upload it to a website, where we can click either scan, destroy or send with the next mailing. If we click scan then they open it and scan the contents, uploading those scans to the website as a PDF. Often we then deal with the contents and click destroy. Second class mail etc. just gets stored and we choose to have them send us our mail to where we know we will be for a few days via FedEx Ground 2-Day Flat Rate service.
Fulltiming in your RV requires a policy to match, most RV insurances will cover “occasional” weekend use and not fulltime use. A fulltime policy is more like a homeowner or rental insurance policy than it is a vehicle policy. We use American Adventures Insurance (referred through Xscapers) to obtain our policy with Progressive. They represent a number of insurance providers and bid out our policy. Progressive has been our best cost each year. They do not handle vehicle insurance, so then we have added the Jeep as a multi-vehicle option after the fact directly through Progressive.
Diesel Fuel Discounts
TSD Logistics RV Fuel Program is something new to us in 2019, the ability to “pay at the pump” in the diesel truck fuel lanes at the big truck stops. No more back and forth to the fuel desk and no more PAYING FULL PRICE for fuel! We get the negotiated discounts that TSD’s fleet of trucks get. Sometimes this can be 50 cents on the gallon less than what is advertised.
[Referral Code: Jason Winget]
Amazon Prime (Now & Video)
Amazon Prime is really an essential shopping resource because of their delivery services are predictable and tracked to the hilt. We avoid ordering anything from any other website because of the logistics of receiving a package “the old fashion way.” We also use Prime Video extensively. When we are in the Orlando area we use Amazon Prime Now for grocery delivery. See also note below about video streaming with Amazon Prime Video.
In addition to the Amazon Prime Video we also use Plex Media Server and Live DVR – we have a “lifetime” membership to Plex Services. Prior to our going on the road we converted all of our DVDs to streaming format and have them on our Plex Media Server. This is a desktop size PC with several hard drives attached to it. We can record from off-air TV to Plex DVR using our HDHomeRun Connect (HDHR4-2US) box in the basement. This is connected to where a TV might be added for outdoor use and is then wired up through the slide to the media cabinet. This allows us to stay connected to the evening news and be able to watch on any device on our network.
We did start with a 30-day trial of Disney+ and used it while in the Orlando area. We may decide to add it back for a month and stop it.
Netflix got desperate enough to offer us a free month again, we used it and canceled it before paying. We are rather happy with Amazon Prime Video since we get it without paying. When possible we also take the media credits in lieu of speedy delivery, which we use for some newer mainstream video rentals once and a while.
Cellular & WiFi
Our largest budget item is for Internet services because we are on the road and cannot get a more economical cable modem, etc. Jason needs stable wireless and the cell carriers are spotty across the country. To address this we have two services, AT&T and Verizon. The AT&T plan is a plan we obtained in 2017 before selling the house, it has an “unlimited” monthly service with “network management” starting at 22GB each month. We only notice the throttling on the weekends.
We also have Verizon through UnlimittedVille, which costs us significantly through the nose. However, it is truly unlimited and is not throttled like most Verizon plans would be at 15MB per month. Verizon’s normal throttling is like dial-up, hard set, and not optional like the AT&T plan.
Update January 2022: we no longer are using Unlimittedville for our Verizon service. We found that AT&T has increased in coverage to the point that Verizon is no longer a backup we rely on often. We found that if AT&T doesn’t have coverage then Verizon probably does not either. So in January 2022 we returned our modem, and surprisingly we received our $199 membership fee back from them.
UnlimittedVille is how we currently get our unlimited Verizon plan, think of them like a COOP for data. They negotiate with the carrier for terms and pricing, you get to benefit by paying UnlimittedVille to use a line of service on their bigger account. Occasionally there are issues, including they have sent us 2 new SIMs over time and a new modem. Unfortunately, during those times then we did not have the service and had to rely on our AT&T service. [Referral Code: EQDWL9X]
We are evaluating a switch from UnlimittedVille to MobileMustHave for our services. While we are not able to recommend them yet, Changing Lanes RV did recommend them and Chad has similar requirements for work as does Jason. We are monitoring this and may make a change in the future.
- WeBoost Drive 4G-X RV cellular booster kit to pull in distant and weak cell signals, but they will still likely be too weak for Jason to use for video conferencing.
- Often better than the Weboost is using a Netgear 6000450 MIMO Antenna with 2 TS-9 Connectors which performs often better than the rooftop booster antenna.
- TP-Link CPE210 External Access Point/Router/Bridge for pulling in the campground WiFi, we have used this a couple of time to pull in the wifi from the campground. Campground WiFi is usually really bad and this doesn’t even help the situation.
- Of Modems and Men build your own WiFi ranger or Winegard internet like system with inexpensive parts. Jason has built our own network infrastructure given his background. The Of Modems and Men project has built a good platform for connecting cellular modems to via USB and for providing good WiFi inside the coach. It can also bridge onto the campground network (or use the TP-Link CPE210 above on the WAN port) as an option. We have a HomeNet and a WorkNet version with 2 separate boxes.
Over time we have had issues with special food for the cats, we had to make the decision of using non-prescription food that seems equivalent to the prescription food. Using prescription food is very difficult to deal with it across the country due to differences in regulations state by state. We did find one vet that was willing to ship us food anywhere, based on the Rx from our home vet. After that, we made that decision to change to Amazon’s available food.
Northeastern Products Cedarific Natural Cedar Chips Cat Litter has been a great change for the cats and for the humans having to live with a litter box in the living room. The cedar shavings come in several different sizes, but the large 50-liter bag lasts us about 4 months, fits in the 2’x2′ storage-tuff in the living area and it is available via Amazon. The cats took it very quickly and it is much easier to clean up, as well as has a pleasant liter smell.
[$] = Many services have a free version, but this particular one also has a paid service.
[Refrral] = Referral, you get a discount off of the service or membership and we get a rebate back if you sign up for this service using our link or code.