We began our full-time RV living April 15, 2017. We are currently traveling in a 38′ Class A motorhome with a gas engine, 3 slides, and a 50 amp power hook-up. We also are towing a car and a Vespa.
If you want to see a detailed list (with their websites) of each campground we visited during our travels, see our trip schedule pages:
How we select our campgrounds
The size (length) of our rig and its gas engine (diesel engine rigs have more torque and usually have air brakes) are constant parameters we need to consider when selecting our routes. Steep grades or small windy roads are terrifying and we try to avoid them. Also, because of our size, we are limited to where we can actually camp.
So as much as we’d like to camp inside more state and national parks, they simply can’t accommodate our size and don’t often have 50 amp electric hookups (or if they do, it’s only a few sites and they are already booked). This often means that we need to select campgrounds that are a little bit of a distance from our destination. For example, we camped 45 mins away from Sedona and just accepted that to visit that area, we’d need to drive in every time. The same thing was true for us in Zion and Bryce.
We knew these things would create some barriers for us when we decided to get our current motorhome. We figured as first-time RVers, we’d experience living in something a little larger first (while still a tiny home) before really downsizing into something less than 30′. We know we will eventually transition into something that will give us more camping options, especially boondocking. But for now, we’re very happy with our current RV and have learned to just be flexible.
Of course, we’re living on a budget, so the camp rates are definitely a consideration. Campgrounds usually give a price break for staying a week, and sometimes they give as much as 50% off if you stay a month. So if we’re visiting an area we know we really want to explore, we will just stay for a month and take advantage of the big cost savings. Minimally we stay a week or two at each location.
The one caveat is that when you stay a month, you usually have to pay electricity. And so when we were staying in the southwest during the hottest times of the year, (what on Earth were we thinking?) that bill can be pretty high. AC’s running full-time all day and night. (No really, they were.)
Staying connected while on the road
Another huge factor for us in selecting a campground is cell service. Val and I both work remotely (and we do love our streaming shows). We literally have (and pay for) 3 providers:
- AT&T (hotspot)
- T-Mobile (cell phone)
- Verizon (hotspot and cell phone)
Of the three, we have had the best coverage hands down from AT&T. To our surprise, the biggest disappointment has been Verizon. We would cut off this account if we could. It’s been that useless for us. T-Mobile is a good stand-by when we’re near cities.
A lot of people ask why we just don’t use the campground wi-fi. Yes, most campgrounds (especially the private ones) have wi-fi. But honestly, even the ones who have spent the money to create multiple antennas, may have service but it’s very slow and often sketchy. We even invested in a wi-fi antenna “booster” which is attached to our roof. That does help us get a signal but if the park’s internet service is slow, it’s slow. And we can’t do anything about that. So we rarely connect to the complimentary wi-fi.