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Filed under: Traveling Tips

Full-Time Surprises

October 23, 2010 by · 5 Comments 

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Motor Home

(Photo Caption: Motor Home)

We’ve been full-timing a few years now and have begun to feel pretty comfortable in the lifestyle and cannot imagine not being full-timers.  We spent several years planning for the change in lifestyle—doing tons of research.  Even with all that, we still ran into some surprises.

Here is a list of our biggest surprises:

  • You have to have a schedule
  • All ads for campgrounds are not completely accurate
  • All campers have different criteria for campgrounds
  • Not all campground employees have actually stayed in an RV
  • Doctors, dentists, and vets want long-term patients, not “transients”
  • RV repair centers act like doctors, dentists, and vets

Schedule:  When we checked into our first campground they asked, “when will you be leaving?”  I had not decided when to leave yet because we had not thought that far ahead.  They refused to let us check in without giving them a check out date.  We have learned to be comfortable with changing our dates to meet our needs and most campgrounds have been excellent about working with us when we make changes.

Camper

Camper

Campground Ads:  The first “resort” we stayed at was exceptional, so we thought that resorts were the way to go.  The next resort we stayed at was not-so-good; that is when we learned that the labels campground, park, resort, village, etc. actually have no definite meanings.  We rely on descriptions from multiple sources rather than only the ads.  Word of mouth is best.

Campers are Different:  What we look for in a campground is quite different than what others want.  For some “lots of activities” means horseshoes and dominoes.  For others it means hiking and biking; or close proximity to shopping; or maybe an area with community arts programs (like plays, museums, or concerts).  So, it is important to find out what people enjoy doing to determine if the campground they recommend is a match.

 
Walk the Route

Walk the Route

Campground Employees:  We discovered that the person giving you directions to your site or the campground may have never actually driven a diesel-pusher with a tow vehicle.  For this reason we get a view of the campground before attempting to drive to our site; sometimes (in larger or heavily wooded campgrounds) this means walking the route.

Doctors, Dentists, and Vets:  We have run into difficulties with these services because they do not want new  transient patients.  For example, it was difficult to find a dentist willing to clean our teeth or a vet willing to perform basic tests for our dog.  They wanted full exams to even see us.  Even getting flu shots was difficult because of trying to find out who accepted our insurance.  We’ve found that persistence is the only solution—just keep trying until you find the one willing to provide the service.

RV Repair Centers:  RV repair centers seem to be similar to doctors, dentists, and vets.  They want the lifetime customer instead of the person just passing through and needing some work or maintenance.  They want to build a relationship so that we use them every time.  We have not found a solution for this one yet; it continues to be an issue and is a catch-22 in that the repair centers with the least business are the most willing, but there might be a reason they have less business.

We continue to learn new things and meet new people as we travel.  I’m sure there will be more surprises for us; however, even with all the surprises, we are happy with the full-time lifestyle.

Comments

5 Responses to “Full-Time Surprises”
  1. GK says:

    I was pondering the issue of doctors and dentists, one possible solution is to have a location that is “home” that you visit at the same 2 times a year (maybe once in the spring and once again the fall). That would allow you to use the same doctor and dentist for annual physicals and twice-a-year checkups and cleanings (and your furry companions could do the same). It does force you to visit the same place twice a year, and at the same times of the year, but it would simplify the medical thing. I would also make sure you have your own copy of your medical and dental records with you. For those times when you need to get medical attention when on the road, then you at least have them available for whoever you see. The same with having your pet’s records.

    The repair center one is a funny one, given that RV’s are mobile by nature. You would think that the RV shops would be used to having “transients” as customers.

  2. Hoby says:

    GK, Thanks for the suggestions. We definitely carry copies of our medical records and our dog’s records with us. We’ve tried to do the “home” doctor, but it has not worked out because of schedules. We even showed up to a doctor in NY that we used to go to, and that worked out well.

    For the pet, when we went through “home” we visited a vet who has seen our dog for years now and she consolidated all of our dog’s records (we had shots from many different locations) into one set with her name on it–it has made things a lot easier (our dog is 15 now, so we take her in regularly).

  3. Kimberly says:

    The whole health care thing is a bit daunting for full time rv’ers; but with Emergimeds, Urgent Care Centers and now clinics at CVS and Walgreens – things are bit easier. The best advice IMHO is to stay as healthy as possible.

  4. Hoby says:

    Kimberly,

    Thanks for the tips. I agree that staying as healthy as possible is best. As for the clinics in places like CVS and Walgreens, we’ve run into insurance issues at some of those places, resulting in paying out of pocket. For example, our insurance company would only pay for our flu shot if we got it from our doctor (no clinics). Not all insurance has the same rules, though. We find we spend a lot of time calling our insurance ahead of time trying to determine what they will and will not allow.

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