Friday, October 17, 2014

One Woman's Year as an RV Fulltimer

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Britt Reints inspires others with her infectious smile and sunny outlook.

A Year as Full-timers
copyright janet groene 

    Britt Reints makes a career out of a sunny outlook and encouraging others. Her personal beliefs were tested by a year on the road when the family decided to get an RV and go “walkabout” for a year.

      “We didn’t realize we were going to have to take a bath on the house,” Britt remembers. What they’d thought was a good deal went south when the real estate bubble burst. “It probably made the most sense financially to cut our losses on the house sooner rather than later, whether we took the trip or not,” she says.

    Why an RV for Britt, her husband and two middle schoolers? “The idea was to travel
long-term and have more control over our day-to-day activities,” she reveals. “We went with the RV because it was going to be the least expensive choice long-term and it also let us hang on to some of our personal belongings (compared to suitcase travel). 

    “We weren’t trying to get back to nature or avoid mainstream America,” she reports. “We weren’t retired nor trying to protect our kids from anything. The RV was a means to an end.”

    On the plus side, the Reints family saw a lot of the country together. They hiked the
Grand Canyon, built a lifetime of memories, solidified their family relationship. “We improved our communications skills with each other,” Britt says, “Something I’m super grateful for now that we’re back in the real world. We also got a unique opportunity to step back and rethink exactly how we wanted to live in the real world.”

    Now RV-less and settled down in Pittsburgh, where Britt is a writer and counselor at, she says, “The biggest difference is that our family is at the center of our lives now . We put each other first.

Would a year on the road help you get your priorities straight? Janet Groene’s book Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, covers RV life from making the decision and choosing a rig to settling down again when it’s all over. Kids on board?  Need an income? The book also covers home schooling and how to make a living on the go.

See Janet Groene’s RV-ready recipes at Camp and RV Cook.

Snacks for the road, the trail, backpack, lunchbox. When you make you own trail mixes you save a bundle. Package them in small batches for portion control. You can also adjust ingredients to eliminated allergens or other dietary no-no’s. See Create A Gorp.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Rent an RV, a Magic Carpet on Wheels

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Janet Groene's
10 Reasons to Rent an RV
    Why rent an RV if you already own one? Why rent if you never tried the lifestyle?  Why rent one now,  even though you know you'll never take an RV trip again? Here’s why. Click on the El Monte icon above right to check locales, prices, RV sizes. Then lock in your dates.

1. With a rental RV you’ll have a temporary guest suite in your driveway or back yard (where allowed by the homeowner association). If your own RV isn’t large enough for a girlfriend getaway or the extended family, rent one to do the trip.  

2.  No garage? Stage a yard sale out of the RV at a flea market or other likely spot, then use the profits to have a whale of a camping trip.

3. Take the trip of a lifetime. Leave your own RV at home and fly to Alaska or Los Angeles or New York and rent there. Miami rentals jump start your vacation in the Florida Keys. A Las Vegas rental puts you next door to Death Valley National Park. An Anchorage or Seattle rental opens the door to the wonders of Alaska or British Columbia.  

4. Stage a family reunion at a campground that has a variety of campsites to accommodate your rig, other family members’ rigs and cottages for family members who have no RV.

5. Have magnetic signs made for the sides of the RV to advertise your business, website or
twitter handle.

6. The best tailgate parties begin with an RV with its own kitchen and bathroom.

7. Introduce the children to camping in a hard-sided camper that keeps them warm, dry and bear proof. 

8.  Have an extensive test drive in the kind of RV you’re thinking of buying. By the end of the rental you may realize you may want something smaller, larger or with a different layout. 

9. Have housing with you while you follow NASCAR, your NFL team, political candidate or your child’s swim meets or gymnastic competitions. 

10. Remodeling the house? Move into an RV rental to get away from the sawdust, noise and  mess. 

See Janet Groene's weekly blog featuring easy recipes for camping and RV travel.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Yes, You CAN Afford that New RV, Motorhome, Camper

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High Finance
copyright janet groene

Is this the year you’ll break free, buy an RV and become a full-time highway traveler? Write that novel, start that online business, research the family tree, visit your sorority sisters around the county, create an art portfolio. 

Possibilities are endless when you have an empty road ahead and a complete, compact household behind. Start by knowing your personal financial status. Then prowl as many showrooms and RV shows as possible to become a smart buyer using a smart loan. Here’s how.

* As long as it has complete living facilities (bed, bath and kitchen) an RV qualifies for a mortgage deduction just as a house does. It must be your primary domicile or second home.
* Know your credit score, then get pre-approved for credit. It gives you a head start when you start serious negotiations with the seller.
* Know the different types of loans available such as fixed rate, fixed term, adjustable rate and so on.
* If you already have an RV that is not paid for, you may get pre-approval on a loan for a new one but the bank may not accept application for a new loan until the existing loan is cleared.
* Shop around for credit. Dealer financing is usually the easiest but they may make up for a low interest rate with higher fees, closing cost, detailing, a warranty, dealer prep and accessories.
* If you’re counting on a home equity loan to help with the financing, do your homework. You may find that your house has less equity than you thought and may even be upside down.
* All loans affect your credit score,  so don’t get in over your head. Monthly RV payments are just the beginning.  You may also want to finance a campsite, lot or a campground membership.
* Don't think you have to buy new. Financing is also available for a used RV.
* After getting your financial ducks in a row you’re now ready to start shopping for the rig,  layout and color scheme of your dreams. 

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See Janet Groene’s RV-ready recipes at

Stock your camper's pantry or grub box with foods for a rainy day. See this week’s recipe made entirely from supermarket shelf foods at

Friday, September 26, 2014

RV Women Talk Travel, Triuimphs. Success, Secrets

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If you missed last week's post about how to be invisible online or how to disappear completely, scroll down.

From My Mailbox

    Problems, solutions. RV women get together and make this wonderful lifestyle work for us. Let’s trade ideas for being healthier, handsomer,  with travel plans galore and lotsa, lotsa love.
    From two full-timers ages 56 and 60 who work to supplement their $28,000 retirement income. “We usually volunteer in exchange for free campsites, spending  three months at a time. That allows time to explore the area thoroughly before moving on.  We get free electricity in these sites; when we dry camp we rely on the generator and propane. We meet few, honest-to-goodness full-timers like ourselves. Most others have a place to store their stuff.”

    From a disgruntled 68-year-old full-timer who has a 31-foot,  2001 RV: “I  wish RV park
owners had more bare-bones sites for overnighting at bargain rates. I would go there instead of to (free sites).”

    From full-timers ages 65 and 70 who have been on the road 1999 in a 41-foot RV that
was new that year. Their income of $32,000 allows the occasional splurge. They move often, usually experiencing 70 or more different campsites each year
. “We are true full-timers with no home or other retreat to escape to. Do we have an exit  strategy? Well, “kinda”,  they report. 

     "We’ll buy a house somewhere, keep our small car, and downsize. We aren’t through yet, however. We plan to  replace our present RV eventually, when needed. Our suggestions to other women who are RV-ers? Drivers of all rigs with a combined
length of 40 feet should be required to attend special driving school; drivers of motorhomes 26,000 pounds or more should be required to have a CDL endorsement. Many RVers are poor drivers and mechanical dummies.”
    They continue, “We recommend South Dakota as a home base. It has no income or
personal property tax. Insurance costs and annual tag fees  are low, there are no vehicle
inspections, and sales tax on a new RV is only 3%.” (Janet comments: check ahead. Tax and license fees are rising everywhere.)

    From a 75-year-old single full-timer whose 31-foot RV is 20 years old and who has been full-timing  since she was in her early 50's. “I recommend every full-timer buy a solar system. Mine runs the microwave and satellite TV.  My biggest problems are laundry and finding dump sites. I expect to replace my present RV soon but, when the time comes to quit, I have a small house in Arizona.”

    From a disabled full-timer in her late 50s, when asked now many slides her next RV
will have:
“None!!! (Slides are) one more thing to maintain $$$ or fix $$$!!!”  The language and punctuation are hers.

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