Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together

With the arrival of summer Americans and Canadians are fleeing the cities by the thousands in search of open space and a chance to get away from others.

Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together.  Pictured above the Bavarian town of Helen, Georgia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together. Pictured above the Bavarian town of Helen, Georgia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

That means virtually every campground and outdoor recreation venue within four hours of every major cities will be at capacity every weekend— full of people getting away from others while doing it together.

Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together.  Pictured above the Snake River at Twin Falls, Idaho. © Rex Vogel, all rights
Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together. Pictured above the Snake River at Twin Falls, Idaho. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Camping courtesy (the unwritten rules of campground etiquette) is an easy way to ensure that a group of people living in close proximity together where sounds travel and light can be a disturbance continue to camp together in harmony.

Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together.  Pictured above an Acadian farmstead at Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site, Louisiana. © Rex
Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together. Pictured above an Acadian farmstead at Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site, Louisiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights

Spending time in a campground requires a certain level of community patience and a willingness to live and let live, there are some basic rules of campground etiquette that will help create a friendly atmosphere and make the camping experience more enjoyable for everyone.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to achieve and maintain friendly camper status.

Be a Friendly Camper

Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together.  Pictured above Plimoth Planation near Plymouth, Massachusetts. © Rex Vogel
Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together. Pictured above Plimoth Planation near Plymouth, Massachusetts. © Rex Vogel

Be friendly and greet other campers. This is part of being within the camping community and even though you may not know the other people, you all have a common goal of enjoying the camping experience.

Being a friendly camper is more than saying hi to your neighbors. It’s being the kind of camper who makes the experience better for their friends and family as well as other the folks sharing the campground. It’s really the little things that can truly make a camping trip amazing for everyone around you.

Obey Campground Rules

Follow the campground rules and regulations. These rules usually include speed limits, fire regulations, quiet times, and so on. Adhering to these rules is one of the basics of campground etiquette. Be sure to review and enforce the rules with your children, as well.

Respect Your Neighbors

Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together.  Pictured above Mount Mitchell State Park, North Caroina. © Rex Vogel
Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together. Pictured above Mount Mitchell State Park, North Caroina. © Rex Vogel

Campgrounds are for relaxing and having fun—consider your neighbors as you kick back and relax. Keep your music and other noise to a reasonable level so everyone can enjoy the serenity of the great outdoors.

Keep in mind that others may be in the campground to get away from it all and wish to hear the wind blowing through the aspens, the babbling of a brook, the chatter of squirrels, or perhaps the call of a jay. While I recognize your right to enjoy a little music, I don’t necessarily share your musical taste unless, of course, it’s Willie’s “On the road again…”. That is why they make headphones.

Power down at night; shut off your generator and dim the lights. Remember not all generators are created equal. Some are designed to run very quietly, and others are not. Quiet hours are there for a reason.

Don’t Feed the Wildlife

Classic camping treats like a perfectly roasted hot dog or some gooey s’mores are amazing, no doubt. They’re just not amazing for the wildlife that make their home in and around the campground. This is one instance where it’s ok to be greedy with your grub.

Pick Up After Your Pets

Be a responsible pet owner. Keep dogs on leashes whenever they are outside so they are not bothering your neighbors and discourage them from barking. Never leave a dog that barks or howls unattended.

It’s great to have a furry friend as a camping companion, but make sure your pet isn’t leaving any surprises behind. When taking your dog for a walk, always pick up all pet waste. Many campgrounds provide pet waste collection bags to make clean up easy and convenient.

Leave No Trace

Clean up after yourself. When you prepare to exit the campsite, be sure to remove all garbage regardless of its origin and if the campground has a recycling program, take advantage of it.

Always leave the campsite as clean, or cleaner, than it was when you arrived. The camp host and the next camper will appreciate it.

The bottom line is that camping requires us to respect the land and one another. When it comes down to it, continued success of this ongoing social experiment requires it.

Have an enjoyable and safe camping summer.

Worth Pondering…

When Robert Frost declared his intention to take the road less traveled in his 1916 poem “The Road Not Taken,” who could have guessed that so many people would take the same trip?

Read More

Training Pets For Camping & RV Travel

Many RVers travel with their extended family, their little four-legged babies.

Tips For Camping With Pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Training Pets For Camping & RV Travel © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With more and more campgrounds accepting pets and offering on-site pet amenities, more pets than ever are being included on camping trips.

Owners and pets can enjoy their vacation together, an experience that’s usually not available on other types of vacations.

While being able to bring pets along can eliminate the need for a dog sitter or kennel, it does require some advanced planning and preparation on the owners’ part to make sure they are prepared for all situations. Only friendly, non-aggressive dogs should be brought to campgrounds.

When training your pets for RV travel you’re also training yourself. You must change your time schedule to accommodate your pets and be available to take them out for a potty break even when you have to be up earlier than normal in the morning.

You need to be aware of the habits of your pet. Cats are pretty easy, they normally stay on your coach, have a litter tray, and are happy to be fed and pampered when needed. Dogs, on the other hand, are a bit different. They are barkers, will rip the screen off your door if you leave them and will literally tear your RV up trying to get out. This is normally known as anxiety separation. Every animal is different and requires different training.

Puppy training is a whole different ball game, housebreaking is the same in an RV or at home.

To get them used to your RV, start by camping locally. When camping with a pet for the first time, plan a shorter trip so the animal can get used to being away from home. That way, the trip can be ended early if needed.

Training Pets For Camping & RV Travel © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Training Pets For Camping & RV Travel © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When packing for pets, it’s important to remember food and water dishes, an extra collar and leash, licenses, medical records, medicines or supplements, brushes, tie outs, shampoo, and something familiar from home like a toy or blanket. If a dog is comfortable sleeping in a crate at home, that should be brought along too. Consider giving your pets bottled water for continued consistency.

When sitting around at your camp site, tie your pets to a leash. When you’re gone from the RV leave the shades and blinds down. They should quickly learn to accept this as most dogs are quick learners.

Start training your pets by leaving them for a short period of time. If you return and find all is well, begin extending your time away. You’ll likely find that six hours is okay, but don’t push it beyond that.

In cool weather on a sunny day, they should be fine temperature wise. Keep in mind that like a can, an RV will heat up quickly in warmer weather when the sun is beating down. You must keep your pets comfortable and safe.

In the summer, leave the air-conditioning on and plan shorter times out. In order to keep the temperature controlled, turn the air-conditioning on a lower setting, even when it is not that hot outside.

Training Pets For Camping & RV Travel © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Training Pets For Camping & RV Travel © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When registering at a campground or RV park check the location of the nearest veterinary doctor or clinic and how to get there.

After settling into a camp or RV site with pets, it is important to be a responsible camper and pet owner. This includes cleaning up after pets, keeping them leashed, and making sure they stay out of prohibited areas.

The most important thing to remember is they are your pets and you must make some changes to your RVing lifestyle to ensure their comfort.

They may have an accident in the RV and you need to accept that. They may require medical attention that could extend a stay when you are traveling. You need be flexible in your plans to accommodate for pets when you make the decision to bring them along on your travels and camping trips.

If you plan ahead and are prepared, camping can be a rewarding, memorable experience for both owners and pets.

Training Pets For Camping & RV Travel © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Training Pets For Camping & RV Travel © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.
―Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

Read More

Tips For Camping With Pets

For those who enjoy the great outdoors, camping during the springtime can be a perfect weekend getaway.

Tips For Camping With Pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Tips For Camping With Pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

However, if you don’t want to leave your four-legged friends behind while setting out on your adventure, try bringing them along.

“Many campgrounds allow pets, with certain rules and regulations,” said Dr. Mark Stickney, clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, in a public service announcement.

Often, the rules regarding pets can be seen posted on their website, and if not, questions can be easily answered over the phone. However, it is not advised that you show up with your pet without prior research and consent. Always call the campground ahead to verify they allow your dog type or breed.

“Most rules will include things such as having your pet on a leash, making sure they are supervised at all times, and requiring proof of vaccinations,” Stickney said.

“Even if they don’t require health records or vaccination certificates, it’s a good idea to bring them along just in case.”

Just as you need to pack food and other essentials for yourself, don’t forget to pack necessities for your pets as well.

Some items you’ll need to bring are plenty of food, a pet first-aid kit, a harness, and a leash. Even if the campsite has natural water resources, such as streams or lakes, you must still bring plenty of water for your pet to drink throughout your stay.

Tips For Camping With Pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Tips For Camping With Pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Your pets will want to drink out of any pond and lake in sight, but there are many different diseases they can catch by doing that,” Stickney said.

“So you don’t want that to be their primary source of water.”

Coming into contact with wild animals is a definite risk when you are out in a national forest or grassland. Although most of the wildlife you run into wants to keep away from you as well, you should have a way of containing your pet just in case.

“If your pet does get into a tussle with a wild animal, you do not want to get into the middle of it,” Stickney said.

“There is a very good chance you will be bitten or harmed.”

Your best method of action is calling off your pet or to try scaring away the wild animal.

In order to prevent such situations in the first place, it is a good idea to keep your pets close to you throughout your camping expedition and to have a leash or harness available at all times.

Before setting off on your camping adventure, make sure your pets are up-to-date on all of their vaccinations, especially rabies.

Depending on the campsite’s location, you may consult with your veterinarian about any other vaccinations that your pet may need, as well as discuss appropriate flea and tick control.

To make camping with your pet an exciting experience for the both of you, be sure to research the campsite ahead of time, take note of any restrictions or regulations, and bring the essentials along with you.

Expect the unexpected is a motto that campers and pet owners both understand well. Taking the time to pack extra leashes and collars, for instance, means that you don’t have to take time away from your camping adventure to purchase new ones.

Put an updated picture of your dog with your vet/rabies shot records. What would you do if your dog went missing?

Tips For Camping With Pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Tips For Camping With Pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Since you’ve chosen to take your dog camping, you’ll want to plan your outdoors activities to include them. At home you might be able to leave your dog in the backyard or in the house, but that’s not as easy when you’re camping.

Search for dog friendly adventures around your campground, so you can take Fido with you.

Following these guidelines and suggestions will guarantee a good time for everyone.

Worth Pondering…

A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.
―Robert Benchley

Read More

5 RV Tips & Tricks

You’re making plans to set off on a relaxing vacation or exciting adventure in your recreational vehicle but are you prepared for any misadventures or unforeseen difficulties you might encounter on the road?

Dante's View, a 5,450-foot overlook near the edge of the Black Mountains on the eastern border of Death Valley
Tips and tricks to arrive safely at your destination. Pictured above is Dante’s View, a 5,450-foot overlook near the edge of the Black Mountains on the eastern border of Death Valley, affords the best overall views of the southern half of the national park including Badwater. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Preventative measures and maintenance will reduce the risk of problems. Preparatory activities should occupy your to-do list prior to any RV trip. It’s important to make sure that all of “the little things” are in place and working properly. While it does take time, it’s far better to be prepared than face an unanticipated malfunction that sabotages your road trip.

Have a bag of tricks ready for those unexpected and unanticipated glitches that tend to occur at the most inconvenient time on your travels.

Following is a list to get you started thinking about handy items you wouldn’t dare travel without:

1. First Aid Kit & Manual

A first aid kit readily available in an emergency isn’t just a good idea—it’s a necessity for every RV adventure. A well-stocked first-aid kit can help you respond effectively to common injuries and emergencies. You can purchase first-aid kits and refills at the Red Cross store, most drugstores, or assemble your own.

A first aid kit readily available in an emergency isn’t just a good idea—it’s a necessity for every RV adventure.
A first aid kit readily available in an emergency isn’t just a good idea—it’s a necessity for every RV adventure.

Contents of a first-aid kit should include adhesive tape, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic solution or towelettes, bandages, calamine lotion, cotton balls and cotton-tipped swabs, gauze pads and roller gauze in assorted sizes, first aid manual, petroleum jelly or other lubricant, safety pins in assorted sizes, scissors and tweezers, and sterile eyewash.

Familiarize yourself with the items in the first aid kit and know how to properly use them. Check your first-aid kits regularly, at least every three months, to replace supplies that have expired.

The Mayo Clinic is an excellent source for first aid information to help you during a medical emergency.

If you travel with pets, Pet First Aid manuals are even available.

2. Gorilla Tape

Gorilla Tape is a brand of adhesive tape sold by the makers of Gorilla Glue, and available in several sizes and colors, including camouflage, white, and clear. The tape is a reinforced form of duct tape and is marketed as being for the “toughest jobs on planet earth”, and was featured in Popular Science’s “Best of What’s New 2006″.

Gorilla Tape can solve many problems while on the road—and you can do most anything with this stuff. RVers have used it to temporarily repair a sewer hose, keep a driver’s side window from continually falling, and even affix the coffee maker to the counter so that it doesn’t move during travel. It’s better and stronger than packing tape. Everyone should have Gorilla Tape and Glue in their toolbox — you do have a toolbox in your RV, right?

3. Storage Bags

Zip lock storage bags work great for storing all kinds of food stuffs
Zip lock storage bags work great for storing all kinds of food stuffs

Zip lock storage bags work great for storing all kinds of food stuffs including noodles, macaroni, rice, and cereal, as it makes it bug proof, no added weight in RV, disposable, and easy to see how much is remaining.

You’ll need these when you least expect it—gallon sized zip bags are helpful to store snacks and other food, while snack bags help with little items you don’t want to lose or shift around during travel. Grocery bags are great to use as trash bags in your RV.

4. Space Savers

If there’s one thing most people want in their RV, it’s a little more elbow room here and there. Next time you’re browsing the aisles of your favorite variety store, check out the following space savers: over the door hook and hanger holder, over the door shoe organizers or bins to store footwear under the bed, shelf expander, and canned goods holder.

5. RV Travel Checklists

When possible, leave non-perishable items in your RV year round. Make a list of items you remove from your RV—that way when you get ready to venture out next time, packing will be a piece of cake.

Keep an evolving list in your RV—things to pack for each trip, things you don’t use anymore, things you wish you had, etc. These are the type of things you’ll think of while you’re on trips — just jot them down as they come to mind and you’ll have them for next time.

Worth Pondering…

Enjoy life NOW. It has an expiry date!

Read More

Planning Your RV Road Trip

Is a road trip on your agenda this summer?

A recently washed RV just begs for a thunderstorm storm to blow through. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A recently washed RV just begs for a thunderstorm storm to blow through. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Prior to departure planning is required to ensure that your vacation vision becomes your rolling reality. By spending time planning in advance of your RV vacation you’ll get more out of your holiday as well as avoid some of the common pitfalls.

The following checklist will help ensure a smoother take-off and ride along the highways and byways of America.

Get Insured

A recreational vehicle is a huge investment—and it can be a risky one if not adequately protected. RV insurance combines aspects of home and auto insurance to provide unique coverage. It is important to remember is that “specialty” RV insurance offers you protection that is not available with a typical auto insurance policy. Consider using an agent who specializes in RV insurance.

Plan Ahead

Start planning your RV vacation well in advance of your anticipated departure. Pore over some maps, browse online, and dream out loud with your family about the places you’ve always wanted to visit. When you are limited by time and want to see the best of what an area has to offer it is advisable to plan a route before leaving home. Flexibility is a perk of RV travel, but a tentative itinerary will help ensure a pleasant and enjoyable RVing experience.

RV Parks and Campgrounds

The American RV Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, not only receives high Good Sam rating for its facilities but has something to offer every member of the family from its heated swimming pool for the kids, a spa for the adults, and a dog park for the family pet on board. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The American RV Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, not only receives high Good Sam rating for its facilities but has something to offer every member of the family from its heated swimming pool for the kids, a spa for the adults, and a dog park for the family pet on board. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

From rustic to Wi-Fi enabled, camping options run the gamut. To avoid disappointment make campground reservations well in advance. Remember, this is peak travel season. If you travel with a pet always ask about their pet policy. Some parks have restrictions on the breed of dog they will allow. Always remember to pick up after your pet.

RV Preventive Maintenance

Although it may seem that nothing could go wrong when you’re all packed and eager to leave for your trip, forgetting to check on all the important areas of your RV will, sooner or later, come back to haunt you. Maintaining your RV is essential to ensure that you have a trouble-free trip.

Inspect all the belts and hoses for cracking. Check your headlights, turn signals, and tires. Take a look at all your hitch and towing equipment. Check fire extinguisherssmoke alarm, and carbon monoxide detector. Taking a few precautionary measure before you hit the road could help to avoid a mechanical breakdown.

Every time before you head off, make sure you check:

Pack RV Essentials

Keep your RV stocked with basic supplies, nonperishable food items, linens and clothes, and you’ll be ready to go anytime, anywhere. RVs give you the freedom to be spontaneous.

Is your RV ready to roll this summer? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Is your RV ready to roll this summer? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Maintaining an on-going RV checklist will help ensure you’ve packed all the essentials for your road trip. Include everything you will need for your trip including dishes and cooking utensils, pots and pans, cups and mugs. kitchen tools and supplies, bottle openers, coffee maker, paper products, dish and laundry soap, trash bags, healthy snacks, clothes, pillows and sheets, blankets, cleaning supplies, toiletries, picnic supplies, maps and GPS, first aid kit, tool box, adapters for 30- and 50-amp outlets, potable water hose and pressure regulator, flashlights, spare batteries, jackets and raincoat, outdoor activity gear, collapsible shovel, gloves, duct tape and WD-40, tire pressure gauge, leveling blocks, camping chairs, puzzles and games, , pens and paper, digital camera and memory cards, insect repellent and sunscreen, fishing gear or other recreational equipment, comfortable walking/hiking shore, food for your pet, propane, and plenty of water.

Remember, you don’t want to exceed the GVWR, GAWR, or GCWR but it is also important not to exceed the tire ratings. It is a good practice to weigh each axle end separately to determine if the tire ratings are exceeded, and check loaded weight distribution.

Always check the pressure and condition of your tires before taking your RV on the road.
Always check the pressure and condition of your tires before taking your RV on the road.

Too much weight on the tires is the second leading cause of tire failure. Overloading the tires can lead to excessive wear and reduced tire life due to structural damage—which can lead to sudden failures, like a blowout. And remember, the less weight you carry, the better your fuel mileage.

Time to Roll

Checklist completed? Then it’s time to take off on your RV road trip.

Enjoy! Have a blast! And don’t forget the hot dogs and marshmellows.

Worth Pondering…

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot

BURMA SHAVE

Read More

Camping Etiquette: Getting Away From Each Other & Doing It Together

With the arrival of summer, one thing is certain. Americans and Canadians will flee the cities by the thousands in search of open space and a chance to get away from the rest of us.

Camping Etiquette: Getting Away From Each Other & Doing It Together
Camping Etiquette: Getting Away From Each Other & Doing It Together. Pictured above Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park, Alberta. © Rex Vogel, all rights reservedTogether

The situation is akin to the hippie movement of the ’60s when everyone was being different but doing it all together.

That means that virtually every campground and outdoor recreation venue within four hours of every major cities will be full each and every weekend— full of people getting away from it all and doing it together.

Plan ahead and take care of last-minute errands sooner rather than later since a brief stop on the way out of town Friday afternoon could cost you that last available camping spot.

Campground courtesy (the unwritten rules of etiquette) is an easy way to ensure that a group of people living in close proximity together where sounds travel and light can be a disturbance continue to camp together in harmony.

Spending time in a campground requires a certain level of community patience and a willingness to live and let live, there are some basic rules of camping etiquette that will help create a friendly atmosphere and make the camping experience more enjoyable for everyone.

Be friendly and greet other campers. Again, this is part of being within the camping community and even though you may not know the other people, you all have a common goal of enjoying the camping experience.

Camping Etiquette: Getting Away From Each Other & Doing It Together
Camping Etiquette: Getting Away From Each Other & Doing It Together. Pictured above Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keep in mind that I may be in the campground to get away from it all and wish to hear the wind blowing through the aspens, the chatter of squirrels, or perhaps the call of a jay. While I recognize your right to enjoy a little music, I don’t necessarily share your musical taste unless, of course, it’s Willie’s “On the road again…”. That is why they make headphones.

In that same vein, remember not all generators are created equal. Some are designed to run very quietly, and others are not. Quiet hours are there for a reason.

Follow the campground rules and regulations. These rules usually include speed limits, fire regulations, quiet times, and so on. Adhering to these rules is one of the basics of campground etiquette. Be sure to review and enforce the rules with your children, as well.

Be considerate when arriving late or leaving early. If you arrive at the campsite after dark or leave before dawn, remember that others may be sleeping. Be as unobtrusive as possible. If setting up, do the least amount you need to get through the night and keep voices quiet and lights dim. If you are leaving early, pack up the bulk of your items the day before so you can make a quick get away with the least amount of disturbance possible.

Contain yourself and your camping gear and supplies within your campsite area. When you set up your RV, don’t allow slideouts or awnings to extend beyond your site and into the neighboring  area. Keep all belongings, chairs, mats, toys, etc. within your campsite. If you need to place your satellite dish in another campsite in order to receive a signal, ask for permission from the people occupying the site.

Camping Etiquette: Getting Away From Each Other & Doing It Together
Camping Etiquette: Getting Away From Each Other & Doing It Together. Pictured above Holmes County, Ohio, Amish Country. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Another common misstep is that of walking through another person’s camp without being invited. Treat other campsites as private property. A campsite is a person’s home away from home. When someone is set up in a campsite, that site becomes their property for the duration of their stay. It is their personal space, and it should be treated that way. Never cut across another occupied site without permission. If the washrooms or beach access are on the other side of a site, walk around.

Be a responsible pet owner. If you are traveling with pets, make sure they are well taken care of. Keep dogs on leashes whenever they are outside so they are not bothering your neighbors and discourage them from barking. Never leave a dog that barks or howls unattended. Clean up after your pet—always.

Clean up after yourself. When you prepare to exit the campsite, be sure to remove all trash regardless of its origin. Always leave the campsite as clean, or cleaner, than it was when you arrived. The camp host and the next camper will appreciate it.

The bottom line is that camping requires us to respect the land and one another. When it comes down to it, continued success of this ongoing social experiment requires it.

Have an enjoyable and safe camping summer.

Worth Pondering…

When Robert Frost declared his intention to take the road less traveled in his 1916 poem “The Road Not Taken,” who could have guessed that so many people would take the same trip?

Read More

RV Travel Tips for Pet Owners

Attention pet lovers: recreational vehicles and pets are a perfect match.

Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Traveling in an RV gives you the ability to bring your family pet along for the fun. With the company of your animal companion and without the anxiety of boarding your pet or asking a neighbor or friend to pet-sit, you can enjoy your camping trip with the entire family.

More and more RVers are traveling with their pets and finding it makes RVing even more enjoyable. Recreational vehicles and pets are, in most cases, a good mix. If your pets enjoy riding with you in the car, they’ll also enjoy traveling in the RV.

According the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), more than 50 percent of RV travelers bring pets on their travels. Among these pet owners, 78 percent bring dogs, 15 percent travel with cats, and the remaining pet owners travel with birds or other small pets.

The RV industry’s suppliers and manufacturers have made an effort to accommodate mobile pets, from collapsible pet window cages to special tie-downs for dogs built into RVs.
More and more campgrounds and RV parks now welcome pets and an increasing number are becoming pet friendly.

Plan your trip with pet-friendly destinations in mind. Contact the campground ahead of time to determine their policies on pets and then plan accordingly. If your lifestyle or your pet’s lifestyle cannot adapt, find a different campground or change your destination. Only as a last resort, reconsider taking your pet.

Bring copies of vaccination records with you, as you never know when you might need them.

The American RV Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, not only receives high Good Sam rating for its facilities but has something to offer every member of the family from its heated swimming pool for the kids, a spa for the adults, and a dog park for the family pet on board. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The American RV Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, not only receives high Good Sam rating for its facilities but has something to offer every member of the family from its heated swimming pool for the kids, a spa for the adults, and a dog park for the family pet on board. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ensure your pet is properly identified. Also, obtain identification with the address of your destination.

Carry a photo of your pet. You’ll be glad you did if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of making, photocopying, and posting “lost pet” notices.

Bring along your pet’s bed and favorite toys so it will feel comfortable and at home on the road. If traveling with a feline friend, think through the cat-box arrangement. Having extra litter, a covered litter box, plastic bags for disposal, scoop, and baking soda to cover the bottom of the box will keep mess and odor to a minimum.

Your dog feels as cramped as you do after hours of traveling. It’s important that you walk your canine pet when you take rest stops. If your pet is a cat, walks aren’t an issue, but plenty of stretching room is.

Upon registration request a site away from other campers, shady if it’s hot, sunny if it’s cool. Check about leash rules, dog-walk areas, “poop-scooping” policies, and local dog parks.

Once you make camp, abide by the camp’s pet policies. No-spill food and water bowls make the experience even easier. Keep water within reach and keep any possible entanglements out of the way.

Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Never let your pet wander. Portable enclosed pens will enable your pets to enjoy the outside with you. Always clean up after your pet. Be a quiet and considerate neighbor—nothing ruins a camping experience for others like a constantly barking dog.

In selecting its list of Top Pet-Friendly RV Parks for 2014, Good Sam chose RV parks and campgrounds that feature amenities, special services, and events tailored to owners of pets.  These parks offer facilities ranging from dog runs to pet washing areas, and some hand out free treats and toys to canines upon check-in.

A number RV parks feature fenced-in dog runs on their property—a boon to travelers seeking a place to give their furry passengers a place to run after idle travel time. Also offered in some parks are trails for pet walking.

Among the most luxurious pet amenities are fenced-in dog wash stations, with stainless-steel sinks, soap, and warm water available to wash pets.

The American RV Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, not only receives high Good Sam rating for its facilities but has something to offer every member of the family from its heated swimming pool for the kids, a spa for the adults, and a dog park for the family pet on board.

Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A favorite with Winter Texans, Bentsen Palm Village has 5.5 miles of onsite hiking and biking trails as well as numerous organized activities and workshops, from couples dancing to gourd painting, and Swedish blanket making to water color painting.

Pet friendly amenities include dog agility course and pet parade. The dog park became so popular that the owners recently added a second park so that guests could have separate running and play areas for big dogs and small dogs.

Happy camping to you and your four-footed friends. Most of all, have fun with your pet! After all, it’s a ruff life being a dog!

Worth Pondering…

We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It’s the best deal man has ever made.

—M. Facklam

Read More

Good Sam Announces Top Pet Friendly RV Parks for 2014

The Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory announced its list of Top Pet-Friendly RV Parks for 2014.

Good Sam 2014-Top Pet-FriendlyShieldGood Sam editors and consultants chose the list of Pet Friendly Parks from the annual publication’s database of 8,000 private parks.

These select RV parks stand out for amenities and special services tailored to owners of pets.

These parks offer facilities ranging from dog runs to pet washing areas, and some hand out free treats to canines upon check-in.

Highlights of this list include:

  • A number RV parks feature fenced-in dog runs on their property—a boon to travelers seeking a place to give their furry passengers a place to run after idle travel time. Also offered in some parks are trails for pet walking.
  • As a gesture of welcome to pet owners, some RV parks offer free treats and toys to pets traveling in RVs.
  • Among the most luxurious pet amenities are fenced-in dog wash stations, with stainless-steel sinks, soap, and warm water available to wash pets.

Facts about RV pet owners

Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

According the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, more than 50 percent of RV travelers bring pets on their travels.

The RV industry’s suppliers and manufacturers have made an effort to accommodate mobile pets, from collapsible pet window cages to special tie-downs for dogs built into RVs.

Among pet owners who take their animals on the road, 78 percent bring dogs, 15 percent travel with cats and the remaining pet owners travel with birds or other small pets.

Top Pet-Friendly RV Parks

Arizona
Good Life RV Resort, Mesa
Sun Life RV Resort, Mesa
Sunflower RV Resort, Surprise

California
Chula Vista RV Resort And Marina Chula Vista
Escondido RV Resort – Sunland Escondido

Florida
Sunseeker’s RV Park, Fort Myers

New Mexico
American RV Park, Albuquerque

Texas
Northlake Village RV Park, Roanoke
Travelers World RV Resort, San Antonio

Washington
Horn Rapids RV Resort, Richland

Good Sam RV Travel Guide

The American RV Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, not only receives high Good Sam rating for its facilities but has something to offer every member of the family from its heated swimming pool for the kids, a spa for the adults, and a dog park for the family pet on board. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The American RV Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, not only receives high Good Sam rating for its facilities but has something to offer every member of the family from its heated swimming pool for the kids, a spa for the adults, and a dog park for the family pet on board. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A different category of Top Parks will be featured each month in articles released by the Good Sam RV Travel Guide.

In addition to comprehensive listings of RV parks and campgrounds across North America, the 2014 Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory features travel itineraries, helpful maps, and informative tips that RVers need for a journey anywhere in North America.

Additional camping and RV Travel information is available on the Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory Camping Blog.

Worth Pondering…

Pets are humanizing. They remind us we have an obligation and responsibility to preserve and nurture and care all life.

—James Cromwell

Read More

It’s a Dog’s Life at Grand Canyon Railway RV Park

Set in the mountain community of Williams, Arizona—Gateway to the Grand Canyon—the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park an ideal place to unwind and relax.

The Observation Dome is an unforgettable experience, thanks to a glass-enclosed streamliner that offers panoramic views of the surrounding scenery. (Source: thetrain.com)
The Observation Dome is an unforgettable experience, thanks to a glass-enclosed streamliner that offers panoramic views of the surrounding scenery. (Source: thetrain.com)

Adjacent to the historic train depot, the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park is just two blocks from Route 66 and downtown Williams.

Canyon Railway RV Park offers three types of RV spaces: pull-through sites, buddy spaces, and back-ins. All 124 sites have full service utilities with 50-amp electric service, cable TV, wireless Internet, access to the indoor swimming pool and hot tub at the adjacent Grand Canyon Railway Hotel.

The property has coin-operated laundry machines and a common picnic area with gas grills and a fire pit. Daily rates are $39.

Grand Canyon Railway Pet Resort

While pet parents enjoy a trip to the Canyon, their furry friends have something to wag about at the Grand Canyon Railway’s Pet Resort.

The Pet Resort boasts an entire residential wing for pets: 28 spacious rooms for dogs and 16 comfortable custom-made condos for felines. The Pet Resort is a modern retreat for pet parents who want to experience the iconic Route 66 in the town of Williams, an entertaining historic train ride, and take in the splendor of the Grand Canyon without leaving their four-legged family members at home or in a kennel far away.

Embark on a new era of luxury rail travel with the Luxury Dome Class, combining the breathtaking views of the Observation Dome with the opulence of the Parlor cars. (Source: thetrain.com)
Embark on a new era of luxury rail travel with the Luxury Dome Class, combining the breathtaking views of the Observation Dome with the opulence of the Parlor cars. (Source: thetrain.com)

It offers a safe, comfortable, secure, and modern environment while the staff ensures your furry friend will have a great vacation.

When checking in your pets to the Pet Resort, allow extra time the morning of your train departure. The Pet Resort recommends checking them in by 8:00 a.m. to ensure enough time for you to board the train.

The Pet Resort is available to guests of both the RV Park and Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, as well as Grand Canyon Railway passengers and the general public.

Dogs and cats are kept cool and comfortable with separate central air conditioning and evaporative air-cooling systems during the summer months, and heat in the cooler Northern Arizona winter months. That’s right—separate state-of-the-art air systems—because we all know how dogs and cats think of the others’ scent!

This may be the cleanest air in Northern Arizona, which is already known to have some of the cleanest air in the nation.

Our canine friends enjoy their own private indoor/outdoor space, with standard size runs 4 feet x 4 feet on the inside and 4 feet x 10 feet on the outside. For bigger dogs, there are four extra-large runs that measure 6 feet x 4 feet on the inside and 6 feet x 10 feet on the outside. All outdoor runs are covered for your dog’s contentment.

Canine guests also enjoy individual playtime in the exercise yard during their stay at the Pet Resort.

The Pet Resort has soft background music playing for your pet’s enjoyment.

To make their stay even more comfortable, you are encouraged to bring your pet’s favorites: food, snacks, beds, bowls, bones, chewing items, and toys.

All animals must have paperwork to provide proof of current shots.
Each cat condo is custom-made and has a sitting ledge. The cattery looks out to the basketball and volleyball courts: built-in entertainment! And there are plenty of windows to let in natural sunlight, making it the perfect setting for—you guessed it—a catnap.

The pet resort is conveniently located adjacent to the Grand Canyon Railway, Hotel, and RV Park.

The  Luxury Parlor Car is the most exclusive seat on the train. (Source: thetrain.com)
The Luxury Parlor Car is the most exclusive seat on the train. (Source: thetrain.com)

Daily rates begin at $16 for cats and $23 for dogs, with the option of adding a second cat or dog to the same kennel for just $12 and $16 respectively. Extended stays of seven nights or more are available for a weekly rate of $98 for cats and $140 for dogs.

Details

Grand Canyon Railway

Xanterra Parks & Resorts owns and operates the Grand Canyon Railway as well as restaurants and lodges in several national parks.

The Grand Canyon Railway operates year-round and departs Williams at 9:30 a.m. and returns at 5:30 p.m. daily.

Train rates start at $59/adult; $29/child. Numerous package options are available.
Address: 601 W. Franklin Avenue, Williams, AZ 86046

Phone: (800) THE-TRAIN (843-8724)

Website: thetrain.com

Worth Pondering…

Trains are wonderful… To travel by train is to see nature and human beings, towns and churches and rivers, in fact, to see life.
—Agatha Christie

Read More

Top Pet Friendly RV Parks

An estimated 60 percent of RVers travel with their pets, according to recent studies.

Good-Sam-Club-logo-300x259When it comes to selecting a campground, these travelers seek out RV parks that offer a wide range of pet-friendly amenities, from dog runs to trails for dog walking to flexible rules that allow their particular breed of dog.

To assist pet owners find campgrounds and RV parks that open their arms to canines and other travel companions, Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory has compiled a list of the Top Pet Friendly Parks of 2013. Featuring RV parks from across North America, the list is tailored for RV travelers seeking facilities that welcome pet owners.

Fortunately, many RV parks throughout North America welcome travelers’ four-legged companions with perks ranging from dog runs to pet-friendly policies.

The operators of these parks realize that dogs need more than collars and leashes when they go camping. They require wide-open spaces to run and pet rules that allow owners to take their animal friends for walks around the campground property.

Travel blog Gradling.com reports that pet owners in the U.S. spend $47.4 billion annually on their pets. Among the pet owners who take their animals on the road, 78 percent bring their dogs, 15 percent travel with cats and the rest brings birds, reptiles, or fish.

Traveling With Fido

petsMany RV parks set aside large areas where dogs can frolic after being cooped up in an RV for extended periods of time.

A fenced-in dog run enables canines to run around leash free at Deer Creek Valley RV Park in Topeka, Kansas.

“Dog owners appreciate when you provide facilities for their animals,” says Todd Denius, owner of Royal View at Royal Gorge Campground in Colorado half-acre is set aside for pooches.

“For many people, pets are like their children.”

The park also boasts three miles of trails suitable for dog walking, although a leash is required for dog walking on the trails.

“It lets dogs burn off some energy after a long day of traveling,” added Denius, who owns three dogs.

Denius requires pet owners to review the campground’s policy regarding pets when checking in. They include requirements to clean up after the animal and avoid leaving barking dogs inside vehicles for prolonged periods of time.

Garden Of The Gods Campground, Colorado Springs, Colorado, allows up to three dogs per site but bans pit bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans.

Pet experts say that although traveling with pets can be fun and rewarding, RVers should consider a number of factors. Travelers should make sure their rig is large enough to accommodate an animal, and the pets should have up-to-date tags with contact information. Owners should always make sure their pet has the necessary immunization shots.

The Good Sam RV Travel Guide’s Top Pet Friendly Parks of 2013 are:

Good Life RV Resort, Mesa, Arizona
Sun Life RV Resort, Mesa, Arizona
Sunflower RV Resort, Surprise, Arizona
Circle RV Resort – Sunland, El Cajon, California
Rio Bend RV & Golf Resort, El Centro, California
Garden Of The Gods Campground, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Royal View at Royal Gorge Campground, Canon City, Colorado
Ocala Sun RV Resort, Ocala, Florida
Deer Creek Valley RV Park Llc, Topeka, Kansas
Evergreen Park R.V. Resort, Mount Eaton, Ohio
Horn Rapids RV Resort, Richland, Washington

Details

Good Sam RV Travel Guide

02-Feb-Pet-87801544In the listings found in the 2013 Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory, pet restrictions are indicated by breed (B), quantity (Q), or size (S). If pets are prohibited, “No Pets” will appear.

The 2013 Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory combines two of the RV industry’s most popular and respected brands—the Trailer Life Directory and Woodall’s Campground Directory—into one comprehensive volume. The guide contains detailed information on more than 14,000 RV parks across North America; each campground is personally inspected and rated by the Good Sam’s consultant teams.

The guide also includes lifestyle features, regional trip guides, and essential travel facts. Readers can get vital tech tips, learn about must-see points of interest in all of North America’s states and provinces, follow a meal and fitness planner, and get Road Ready with a special products section. Also included are guides to RV-related state laws and information needed for trouble-free trips into Canada and Mexico.

For more information about the 2013 Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory, click on goodsamcamping.com.

Worth Pondering…

Animals are such agreeable friends—they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.
—George Eliot

Read More