RV Today | April 2015 1
GREAT DEALS ON WHEELS!
April 2015 |
for RV Trips with Pets
Your pet’s safety is the first priority. Start by making sure your four-legged friends are secured when traveling down the highway. “Whether you decide to use a crate or carrier that has been fastened in place, or a safety harness that connects to the seat belts in your sofa or dinette, buckling your pet up in your RV is just as important as clicking your own seatbelt,” advised Burkert.
Amy and Rod Burkert, with Ty, 9-year-old Shar-pei, and Buster, 6-year-old German Shepherd.
Courtesy of GoPetFriendly.com
Perfect RV companions By JULIANNE G. CRANE
nlike vacation air travelers, Recreation Vehicle owners are not limited to two pieces of luggage. They can conveniently take along just about anything they want on their trips — including their pets. According to recreation vehicle industry numbers, more than half of RV owners — about 4.8 million — travel with at least one pet companion and, in fact, many take to the highway with two or more pet partners. Fulltime RVers Amy and Rob Burkert are doing just that. For almost four years the Burkerts have crisscrossed North America, covering more than 50,000 miles in their 24-foot Winnebago View Class C motorhome. The two 40-somethng CPAs sold their Philadelphia house in 2009 to travel the country with Ty, their 9-year-old Shar-pei, and Buster, a 6-year-old German Shepherd. Technology has allowed them to explore America’s backroads while continuing their consulting business and running the award-winning pet travel website Go Pet Friendly (GoPetFriendly.com). The site is an
encyclopedia of travel advice and pet-friendly destination guides. “It makes planning a trip with furry loved ones easy,” said Amy Burkert, “and vacationing with your entire `pack’ exciting and fun.” This season is no exception. “This is a fantastic time of the year,” said Burkert, “and with a bit of planning, taking your pets along for the family gatherings makes the experience even more enjoyable.”
Dog Duvet is a ﬁne item for the traveling pet lover. Slip the lightweight washable Kurgo dog duvet cover over any old dog bed to make it look new again.
Courtesy of Kurgostore.com
The hustle and bustle of travel can be exhausting for everyone. “Be sure your pets have a peaceful place where they can go to relax and get away from it all,” said Burkert.
Feed and exercise your pets on their normal schedule. This alone can help reduce their anxiety. “Set an alarm to remind you of the moment your pets are expecting you to feed them,” said Burkert. “Use their daily walks as an opportunity to get a little oneon-one time.”
Vacation travels revolve around eating, drinking and merry making. “Spoiling our pets with food is a big temptation. A lot of the traditional fare, however, such as chocolate, raisins, macadamia nuts, onions, grapes and alcohol, can be toxic for your dog. Simply eating foods he is not used to can lead to gastrointestinal distress,” said Burkert.
Because you may be with people who are not used to having a pet around, it’s important to take a few precautions. “Dogs and cats can slip out an open door in a flash, so be sure that your pets’ ID tags are up-to-date with a phone number where you can be reached while you’re traveling,” said Burkert. “Also, in the event of an illness or injury, it’s helpful to have your pets’ medical records with you. Rather than lugging around a large file, take a paper copy of their current vaccination records and scan the rest of the information to Sanchez, career-change dog from an easy-to-pack Guide Dogs for the Blind, relaxes listening to Calm Dog, the USB drive.” portable musical clinically-tested
solution for canine anxiety. Courtesy of iCalmDog.com
RV Today | April 2015 3
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April 2015 |
American dream trip: RVing By JULIANNE G. CRANE AutoWriters Associates
scaping in a recreation vehicle for a few days to the magnificent outdoors remains an American dream. In a recent survey by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (rvia.org), RV users said enjoying outdoor activities, spending quality time with family, and taking more mini-vacations, top the list for using their RVs. Many families are opting for frequent getaways closer to home for two primary reasons: higher fuel costs and busy schedules. While the shorter trips are popular, especially with families who have children at home, for many empty nesters, the longer fantasy destinations sit near the top of their bucket list. People are seeking smaller, lightweight recreation vehicles that get more miles to the gallon. The RV industry has responded to consumer demands with new designs
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and is currently into its sixth year of recovery from its low point during 2008 recession. Leading the pack are travel trailers that can be towed by light-duty trucks and SUVs and more fuel-efficient motorhome. As for prices, new conventional travel trailers typically run $8,000 to $95,000. Class C motorhomes, the smaller ones with over-cab sleeping, usually run $43,000 to $200,000 new. Larger, bus-like Class A motorhomes start at around $60,000 and go up from there. “As technology has improved and become more available,” said Kevin Broom, RVIA director of media relations, “RV makers have been offering innovative new products that are lighter weight, more aerodynamic, and more fuel efficient — while still offering a mix of amenities that appeal to the many different types of RV buyers.” “Consumer confidence is growing, credit is available, and RVs are visible, popular and even cool,” said RVIA President Richard Coon.
Considered the “mega-malls” of the RV world, RV shows are where you can find bumper-tobumper displays of gas and diesel motorhomes, travel trailers, toy haulers, fifth wheel trailers, folding campers and truck campers. “Multiple dealers gather to bring hundreds of the latest models and offer deals,” according to Go RVing (gorving.com). “This provides a great opportunity for prospective buyers to wander between different models, check out various floor plans, ask questions, meet other RVers, and find the RV that best suits their needs.” To maximize your time, do a little homework before walking through the front doors of an RV show. Think about how you plan to use your RV. Do you want to drive or tow a rig? Where will it be stored? What is your budget? How do you plan to finance it? And, if you are a serious potential buyer, consider arranging financing ahead of time.
Cool Happenings for Hot Summer Fun!
RV Today | April 2015 5
April 2015 |
Foretravel’s motor coach adaptations include a chair accessible shower, chair lift into the bedroom area, and lift rail system in the ceiling.
Courtesy of Foretravel
Full-time RVers Mike and Lori Sanders travel with Chewie, their labradoodle, and a Segway.
Photo by Julianne G. Crane
RVing with special physical needs By JULIANNE G. CRANE
ravel and outdoor enthusiasts with special physical needs are recapturing their mobility and enjoying time on the road in Recreation Vehicles,” reports the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. “RVs are the ideal way for everyone to experience the open road in convenience, comfort and style.” It’s smart business for RV manufacturers to build in factory modifications before delivery. Two companies that offer such adaptations are Winnebago Industries (winnebagoind.com) and Foretravel Motorcoach (foretravel.com). “Making motorhomes more accessible and comfortable for an individual or a family to use and enjoy is a big part of why we offer this service,” said Sonya Kobriger, sales representative with Winnebago Industries. “We try to involve the customer in many of the desired modification decisions whenever possible so that the finished product really is `their’ motorhome.” “Foretravel has a special ability to adapt our motor coaches because
we build our own chassis in-house, which allows for various modifications,” said Eddie Hill of Foretravel’s marketing department. In addition to the wheelchair lift, another available adaptation is “a ceiling rail system that will allow the occupant to be hoisted and travel safely throughout the coach.” Other modifications include widening entrances and interior pathways, lowering kitchen counters and cabinets, and designing roll-in showers. Lori and Mike Sanders are retirees who have been full-time RVing for five years. Mike Sanders was born with Spina Bifada and has a shortened, right leg. “He got around pretty well for 60 years before developing severe osteoarthritis, which put him on crutches,” said Lori Sanders. They purchased a Polaris RZR off-road ATV and acquired a 2005 33-foot Desert Fox 28KS toy hauler in order to take their four-wheeler with them. A toy-haul trailer features a rear end that drops down, forming a ramp for access into a garage area where motorized toys can be safely stored. The full-time RVers are currently having a 37-foot gooseneck fifth-wheel toy-hauler custom-made.
“The living quarters are about the same on each rig,” said Lori Sanders, “but the new one has better handicap features.” Best of all, “we will be able to take all our toys with us including a canoe, the RZR, and two Segways,” said Lori Sanders. The Segway (segway.com) with its off-road wheels and tires, and an aftermarket seat, “makes it possible for Mike to go just about anywhere, many more places than a wheelchair could go.” The vast majority of the campgrounds are not handicap-friendly. Mark Douglass of Pagosa Springs, Colo., started the nonprofit RVing Accessibility Group (rvingaccessibility.org) because of the limited number of accessible campgrounds. Douglass was born with severe mobility impairments and after numerous surgeries, is currently able to walk. “I want to educate the RV and campground industries on the most current standards for ADA compliance regarding accommodations for people with disabilities, regardless of age, injury or illness. I am passionate about helping others find places they can visit without sacrificing one’s dignity or independence.”
Various wheelchair systems and lifts are available with Winnebago’s accessible motor coaches.
Courtesy of Winnebago Industries
Foretravel’s luxury accessible motor coach designs feature ﬂat, obstruction-free ﬂoor slides.
Courtesy of Foretravel
RV Today | April 2015 7
TIPS: Saving on your family’s RV vacation
ou are already saving money by vacationing via your RV. A family of four might need two hotel rooms, not to mention airline tickets, car rentals, restaurant costs and other charges incurred with long-distance travel. Here are some tips to help you save even more on your RV vacation: n Camp closer to home: You can enjoy your RV vacation whether traveling 5 miles away from home or 500 miles.
n Travel less frequently and stay longer: Fuel is the fourth-largest expense for RVers. It follows lodging, food, RV payment and maintenance. It makes sense to not drive so much, find a destination and relax. The children in your family will appreciate getting there and starting the fun! n Travel lighter: Top off fresh-water tanks at the campground. The campground is also the place to stock up on
firewood and other materials that can be purchased after parking your RV. Before heading out, dump the holding tanks.
n Skip the tourist traps: Attraction admissions can be costly. It’s better to take advantage of what campgrounds now offer on site. Pools, water slides, mini golf and go-karts, live entertainment and other scheduled events make for cheap family outings.
n RVing cheaper than other travel: Airfares and hotel rates rise when fuel costs increase and fuel surcharges are added. You can avoid those costs in an RV. Fuel prices would need to more than triple from their current level to make RVing more expensive for a family of four than other forms of travel.
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n Skip restaurants: This is one of the best ways to save money when RVing. You can shop for groceries and cook all your favorite foods for a fraction of the cost. For even more savings, cook hotdogs rather than steaks.
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n Fresh air: Turn off the AC and open the windows. n Maintain your RV: Be sure to tune up your RV, inflate tires and keep up with maintenance to maximize fuel efficiency.
Spending time with your family in the RV is priceless and will create traditions and memories to last a lifetime. They will have many tall tales to tell around the campfire and lots of remember-when discussions. Your children will most assuredly pass on the pleasures of RVing to their own families.
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Published on May 1, 2015