“Let’s sell everything and hit the road!” I say it to my husband several times a year, it’s usually when I’m stressed out and looking for a simpler way of life. The open road stretched out in front of us- we’d travel to wherever the weather is fine. Seeing the country one road at a time… It all sounds great, so why don’t we actually go and do it? Well for us, its logistics mostly.
1.3 million Americans are full-time RVers, let me repeat that, 1.3 million, so that means that a lot of people have gone before us to figure it out how this all works. Like any other life change (because let’s face it for most of us it is a big life change) it requires some planning and organization. Not only are you downsizing, but you are also going to be on the move, so things that normally work, like mail, don’t work anymore in the traditional sense. For mail, there are a couple of options, you can have a friend forward it to you or you can choose a mail service. Mail services receive your mail for you and forward it to where you happen to be a couple of times a month. To go with that, bills won’t regularly come to you and your bank won’t be just down the road all the time, so try to pay most of your bills online or over the phone. When it comes to banking, choose a bank that refunds ATM fees and has online banking that is user friendly, and have any income directly deposited into your account. If you like to have cash in hand make sure to get cash back on debit card purchases at the register.
Just like living anywhere else make sure to have a budget. RV living can cost more or less than living in a traditional home, it just depends on your lifestyle. If you want to save money while on the road try cooking more often and eating out less, look for inexpensive or free campsites, and stay at campsite for less than a month to avoid paying for electricity. As with any budget there are always surprises, so be flexible in your plans so that you can stay on the road.
Samantha Derryberry, Guest Blogger
Today, kids are less likely to pass the time playing “20 questions” than they are to watch their favorite movie on an iPad, and GPS systems or mobile phones have long since replaced your paper maps.
Every day you will find new RV and mobile technologies improving the way families travel. “New safety features, tools to help with directions, finding amenities, and increased entertainment options are available for passengers and improve the way families travel.” Wouldn’t it be nice if all of these helpful tools were integrated into one easy-to-use system within the family RV? Well, it looks like that is about to happen!
Comprehensive in-vehicle systems designed to provide drivers with useful information may soon be the norm. Technology experts at Intel are currently working with RV and automakers on in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems that have the potential to make the family road trip safer and more entertaining for everyone involved. According to information on Intel’s website, Kia, Nissan & Toyota are rolling this out on select 2013 models. View video on In-Vehicle Infotainment Systems!
“It is estimated that RVs and automobiles will be among the top three fastest growing Internet connected devices for Internet-based content by 2014, according to technology research form Gartner.” “This should come as no surprise given consumer demand for access to their digital lives anytime, anywhere, since the average American driver spends 18 hours a week behind the wheel. That's over two months every year spent in their RV or car.” And, if you haven’t already, check out the latest GPS models made especially for RVs! Here are just a few: Magellan, Rand McNally, Garmin
So how exactly could this type of technology help traveling families? Here are a few examples of the types of travel-friendly features that experts at Intel are exploring with leaders in the RV and automotive industry:
- Cars could have a driver's side display that would be able to offer alerts about upcoming traffic signs and relay images about blind spots from cameras placed in a car. Alerts about upcoming stop signs or exits would be especially beneficial when driving in unfamiliar territory.
- What could be worse than a flat tire while on vacation? Emergency sensors connected to the car's infotainment system could alert you immediately when a tire loses pressure, giving you time to safely pull over or make it to the next exit for help. The intelligent infotainment system could also provide directions to the nearest repair shop.
- Like to travel with other families? New connected cars will offer you the ability to connect with other cars in your caravan through GPS tracking. No need to describe your location over the phone or two-way radio.
- Have you made a habit of streaming your children's favorite shows through a subscription service like Netflix? Soon, these types of entertainment options could be standard in the car's in-vehicle infotainment system, and music and video files could be kept in one place. You could even stream different movies on each of the backseat screens to accommodate everyone in the family.
Of course, once you get to your campsite, it is nice to "unplug," and just enjoy nature and each other's company
I hope this has been helpful, if not eye-opening! Have a story you’d like to share? Please comment below or send me an email: email@example.com
Thank you for reading!
Excerpts from RV News, “The Future of the Family Road Trip”
For more information on IVI Systems, please visit Intel’s website: http://www.intel.com/automotive