Okay -- summer is just a few short weeks away and already the gas prices are hovering at the $3/gallon mark. While you had great family vacation plans for the RV, you're wondering whether you should cancel them and just camp out in the back yard.
Well forget that! You didn't buy an RV to leave it sitting in the driveway. No! What you need to do is put the whole family on the RV Diet -- guaranteed to lighten your load and save you money at the gas pump.
Slow Down -- Way Down
Take it easy on the gas pedal. This is a recreational vechicle, not a race car, and cutting your speed limit down will significantly effect your gas consumption. In fact, if you stay under 35 mph you'll be amazed at how much gas you can save -- and people will really take the time to roll down their windows and talk to you. We live in such a busy world it's a nice way to interact with the world again.
RVs burn a lot of gas in stop-n-go traffic. A good solution for this is to just put it in neutral and have the family get out and push the RV until traffic picks up again. Besides, junior will build a lot more muscle and endurance this way than he will in football camp. And you can tell the wife to skip her aerobics!
Make this a family goal: Everyone must lose 20 pounds before the trip ever begins. For a family of four, that's a savings of 80 pounds.
But how? Well, there are many crash (pardon the pun) diets out there, so pick one the entire family will enjoy, like the Cabbage Soup diet. Sound good? Here's what you do. Make a giant pot of soup for the week -- and eat nothing else. You'll save on the grocery bill. And also on the plus side, everyone's stomach will shrink before the trip begins, which, by the way, will cut down on eating expenses on the road.
The down side is that the house may get a little smelly for the week (quick, pull my finger), but better now than in the RV. Too bad you can't bottle methane gas for fuel consumption.
Another plus is that your wife is probably a pro at the crash diet thing and, trust me, she's always wanted the entire family to participate in a crash diet with her. You know, support and understanding. So, why not ask her which crash diet she'd like the family to do. You'll stand to make big points here!
Okay. So much for personal weight. Let''s get down to the weight of the RV - make it a little lighter. First, let's get rid of the bikes, boats, fishing rods and sports equipment hanging all over your RV. What do you need all that junk for anyway? Walking is better for you, and you hate cleaning fish -- right? Not to mention the smell on your fingers for weeks. And after pushing that RV in stop and go traffic, it's doubtful the family will feel like bike riding or canoeing anyway.
Next, remove the refrigerator/freezer from the buggy and replace it with a good old-fashioned igloo. The fridge is the heaviest piece of equipment on your RV, and most RV units are too small and don't really work half the time. How many times has your beer been too warm to drink after leaving it in the RV fridge? Has that ever happened after icing beer down in the old ice chest? Never -- nuff said.
Now, go over your RV with a fine-tooth comb and re-evaluate what you have on board. Chances are you have more than you need. For example, how much cooking are you really going to do on your vacation? And hey, after a week of Cabbage Soup, who needs to be near a kitchen at all. Anyway, you know you can find all the meals you need at your local Circle K. Just ask any college student who makes the corner stop his/her one-stop dining hall during the whole of springbreak at the beach. It's all there, right next to the beer and ice.
Well now, with Circle K as your new dining hall, you can take out all the pots, pans, silverware and glasses. Who needs them when paper plates, plastic forks and trashbags will do?
And here's another load-lightening tip: Who needs a TV or stereo. Computers belong at home, not on vacation. Why not take along an old fashioned battery operated AM radio and catch up on the really weird stuff you never hear about in your daily life -- like Elvis is really alive and runs an RV campground in Canada. It's amazing the things you can learn listening to AM talk radio in the wilderness or on the open road . It's sure to spark some interesting conversations with the family.
And speaking of electronic gadgets, tell the kids they don't need those ipods, CD and DVD players, Playstations or Nintendos, Blackberries and cell phones. After all, vacationing is about families spending quality time together. And those electronic gadgets and gizmos drain your electrical supply, and who can afford to buy batteries for toys when you're trying to save money for gas. If all Hell breaks loose over the issue (kids will be kids), you can always suggest they pay for electronic/battery consumption. Nuff said.
It doesn't end with the kids though. Don't take any tools along for the ride. You don't know how to use them very well and they weigh a lot. Just make sure you're RVing near enough to a relative or friend you can call for help, and make sure your relationship is good enough that they will agree to assist.
And there's just no skimping on this one! Make sure your tires are in good condition -- meaning there is no metal showing, that the tires are balanced, the vehicle does not look lopsided, and are properly inflated. And don't settle for a quick look. Not even Einstein could tell how much air was in a tire by just looking. Who do you think you are? Your eyesight probably isn't that good anymore. So splurge for a tire guage. You can find a reliable (and overpriced) one at the Circle K - where you stop to eat your meals anyway.
We're almost finished.
This is a good one! Don't use the water storage tank or water facilities in the RV. Nope. This will save you a bundle on weight and will ultimately help with fuel consumption for your trip. Sure, the family may moan, but have them help with a deep cleaning of the sewage system and it's the last time that complaint will come up.
Anyway, most RV parks and state parks have bathroom facilities you can use. And if you're staying in parks without facilities, you can always take an old fashioned spit bath at the Circle K.
You've seen others do it - bath, shave, wash, style and dry their hair over the wash room sink. Anyway, don't you have an obligation to teach the kids good survival skills?
So, with all these helpful tips, you'll lighten your load, save a bundle at the gas pump and have a great RV family vacation that they'll never forget. See how easy it is?