Cooking Tips in Your RV

Ideally, you want to use your RV’s kitchen when you’re out on the road traveling in it. After all, the ability to cook your own food like you would at home was probably one of the major draws of owning your motorhome or travel trailer in the first place.

But when it comes down to actually cooking, you may feel put-off by the idea. It’s admittedly more straightforward and simpler to just head to a restaurant every night and managing your RV’s fridge and pantry stock takes extra work. Not to worry: with just a few simple tips, you can be well on your way to maximizing your RV kitchen’s potential.

Plan Things Out

Planning what you’ll eat and when you’ll eat it helps you to actually follow through on prepping the ingredients you bought. When you plan your meals and buy the groceries, make a promise to yourself to get those meals made even if you’re tired after a long day.

Have Alternatives Handy

In the event that you’re absolutely done with everything and you’re bone-weary (hey, it’s going to happen sometimes if you just spent a lot of time outside), don’t resort to eating out. Have some cheap and easy non-perishable alternatives available at all times. We’re talking cans of soup, boxed macaroni, or some canned tuna. They’re not exciting meals, but they’ll still fill you up without forcing you to put forth lots of effort.

Keep Meals Simple

Regardless of whether or not you’re tired, it’s best to keep all meals simple, not just your alternatives. The simpler they are, the more likely you’ll feel up to making them. Simpler means fewer ingredients and steps, not less taste. Find meals that are heavy on flavor but light on prep. Don’t be afraid to use a slow cooker or to prep ingredients ahead of time (including freezing pre-cooked meats).

Cook Outside

Lastly, don’t forget that you’re in some of the prettiest places in the country. You’re RVing and that means that you’re probably at a campground in a National or State Park right this second. What better incentive to cook than to grill outside your rig in the fresh air and natural splendor of your surroundings? Mix some grill recipes into your meal plan and enjoy the evening outside.

Visit RV Connections

Stop by RV Connections this winter to tour a new or pre-owned motorhome or travel trailer. Learn more about your favorite models and ask your sales associate if there are any sales or specials going on. Get out there and explore the highways in an RV from RV Connections!

Hosting Christmas Dinner in Your RV

Taking a trip in your RV over the holidays doesn’t mean you need to skip Christmas dinner or eat it at a dingy roadside restaurant. Although the space may be a little tighter than at home, you’ve got all of the tools you need to cook a lavish meal right there in your motor home. It doesn’t have to be stressful either; get the whole family involved and let the great outdoors provide a backdrop for your best Christmas yet.

The Centerpiece

Although a turkey or ham may seem way too large to cook in your RV’s oven, there are a few alternative routes you can take to ensure the Christmas turkey or ham makes it to the table. You can always deep fry or grill your turkey or ham, but this means you’re forced to bring a grill and fryer with you. The best alternative to carrying around extra cargo is to buy turkey breasts or ham steaks instead of a full turkey or ham. Bake them in your RV’s oven for that traditional baked Christmas taste.

Grocery Shopping

It may seem obvious to stock your RV’s fridge with all of the supplies for Christmas dinner before you hit the road, but if you’ve got a few days in the vehicle before the holiday, early shopping isn’t such a great idea. If you’re headed to an area that will have grocery stores nearby, stop at one near your destination. Frozen pies can thaw and fresh breads can go stale after days of travel.

Use All of Your Options

It seems like most Christmas dinner fixings are cooked in the oven, but this is where you need to get creative. Choose side dishes that can be successfully cooked on the stove, in the microwave or even in a crockpot if you travel with one. If you have an outdoor kitchen, use it in addition to your interior RV kitchen, and don’t be afraid to buy a couple of fresh dishes from the supermarket’s deli if you’re short on cooking space.

Visit RV Connections

Stop by RV Connections this winter to shop for a new or used motorhome or travel trailer. If you’re not looking to upgrade your rig, you can still make sure that your RV is ready to travel with our service department at RV Connections in Panama City.

Tips for RV Camping in the Florida Keys

With fall setting in and winter hot (cold?) on its trail, if you’re not packing away your RV, you’re probably at least setting your sights on some warmer destinations.

While there’s always SoCal or the Southwestern deserts, we prefer the sunny beaches of the Florida Keys. If year round blue skies, breezy warm weather, and refreshing water sounds like your idea of a great fall or winter, point your rig towards the Keys and enjoy some time there. Even as late in the year as December, you can catch some temperatures in the low to mid 70s.

Remember to Book a Site Well in Advance

One downside of the Keys is that you’re not the only RVer who will think to go there in the fall/winter. Know when you want to go and make sure that you reserve a site for your RV lest you find yourself roving the area in search of a spot to drop anchor. Even if you find that it’s too late this year, it’s still worth it to begin planning for next fall/winter. The sooner you try, the better chance you’ll have.

Don’t Go Without Your Trusty Tow Vehicle

If you’re in a motorhome, bring along an additional vehicle to get around with. It’s handy to have one almost anywhere, but it’s basically mandatory in the Keys. Major sites are spread out, so it’s not walkable. Additionally, there are some areas in the Keys where a big RV won’t fit. It’s best to drop your RV off at your camping site and then leave it there until you’re ready to move out.

Don’t Forget to Sightsee

This probably goes without saying, but there are multiple Keys in the region and each is worth the time it takes to visit and explore it. Don’t hone in Key West, for example.

Also, while the Keys are rightly known for watersports and seafood, don’t neglect to search for other activities and cuisines during your stay. You’ll be surprised at what you find when you look. Ask other RVers who’ve been in the area for a few weeks if they’ve got any recommendations.

Visit RV Connections in Panama City

Stop by RV Connections before you hit the road on your next trip or before you put your RV in storage. In either case, the techs at RV Connections in Panama City can help you get your RV ready for the road or for storage. If you don’t feel comfortable prepping your rig for storage, let a technician take care of it all for you.

Tips for Florida RV Summer Storage

If you’re not going to be using your RV this summer or early fall, you’ll need to get it prepped for storage. Whether you are storing a motorized or non-motorized RV, the process is the same except for the extra steps you need to do for the engine in a motorized RV.

Plumbing

Empty the fresh water holding tank and the hot water heater. Turn the water pump and all of the faucets on to ensure that there is no water in the plumbing lines. Flush the toilet, ensuring that all of the water runs out. Empty the black and gray tanks. Leaving the black tank hooked up to the dump station, pour three or four buckets of water down the toilet to rinse the tank. If you have a tank rinse, you can skip that step and just run the tank rinse. Once you know all of the water is out of the system and all of the tanks are empty, turn the faucets off.

Cabinets

Remove all food, even canned food, from the cabinets. If you have a climate controlled storage area, you can leave the canned goods in as they won’t freeze and burst. Anything that is in containers that can be chewed through and anything that has an expiration date that is during the time your RV is in storage should be removed.

Materials

While your RV is in an enclosed storage, there is less chance that mice will get inside, but if the RV is in a carport-type storage or outside, store all pillows, blankets and other materials in plastic. Leave mattresses on the beds.

Generator

Add gas stabilizer to the generator’s gas tank. Run the generator for about 10 minutes to run the treated gas through the system. If the tank is easy to drain, remove the gas that is left in the tank; or run the generator until it runs out of gas if there is just a bit in the tank. Turn the fuel off.

Visit RV Connections

Stop by RV Connections before you hit the road on your next trip or before you put your RV in storage. In either case, the techs at RV Connections in Panama City can help you get your RV ready for the road or for storage. If you don’t feel comfortable prepping your rig for storage, let a technician take care of it all for you.

Tips for Hiking with a Toddler

Hiking is a low skill activity that’s great for introducing toddler’s to the great outdoors as you travel in your RV. But toddlers obviously aren’t at the same physical level as even an out of shape adult. Here are some tips to keep your toddler happy and safe on the trail this summer.

Start Out Small

Your toddler is small, so start out small. Do less challenging hikes and shorter distances to acclimate your toddler to the concept of hiking. Once they get the hang of the distances involved, they’ll be able to graduate to more demanding walks.

Remember to Plan Some Breaks

Don’t demand too much of your toddler: plan to rest along the way and offer them plenty of food and even more water. Pack several snacks so that there’s something they’ll be in the mood to eat. In addition to water, bring along some juice packs. It’s important to keep them well hydrated.

Equip Them for Hiking

Don’t just throw on some random clothes and expect that your toddler will be able to keep up. Make some effort to deck them out: just like you, they’ll need hiking boots, sunglasses, a hat, and even a small backpack (they can carry their snacks this way). If properly equipped, they’ll be able to handle more and go farther.

Know When They’re Done

Don’t overexert a toddler. Watch for signs that they’re tiring out and be prepared to pick them up and turn around. With some practice, you’ll recognize that they’re tiring fast enough that you’ll be able to head back before they get too tired to walk on their own.

Visit RV Connections

Stop by RV Connections this summer to shop for a new or used motorhome or travel trailer. If you’re not looking to upgrade your rig, you can still make sure that your RV is ready to travel with our service department at RV Connections in Panama City.

Tips for Organizing Your RV

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The RV lifestyle demands organization. Reducing an entire household of belongings into the compact size of your motorhome or travel trailer is both difficult and rewarding. But don’t let the stress of downsizing your belongings or travel supplies keep you from hitting the road. These three simple and cost-effective items will help you organize your RV, so you enjoy all of your favorite comforts and conveniences on the road.

Use Shoe Organizers Wherever You Can

Hanging shoe organizers can be used in various areas of your RV. Hang one on the back of your bathroom door to hold bathroom supplies. Hang one in the pantry to organize your cleaning supplies, and of course, hang one in your bedroom to organize your shoes, socks and other small items. Many travelers even cut the shoe organizers into sections, so they can use them in more compact spaces.

Use Clear Shoe Boxes to Keep Clothing in Place

Shoe boxes are undeniably handy (and cheap) ways to keep your RV organized. Spend a little extra to purchase clear plastic shoe box size containers with lids, and you won’t have to drag them down from your shelves to look inside every time you need something. Use these clear boxes for small clothing pieces, spices, snacks, toiletries and other compact items.

Use Lazy Susans in the Cabinets and the Fridge

Lazy Susan turntables can be extremely handy when you’re living on the road. A variety of Lazy Susan turntables are available with gripping surfaces and lips, so your items won’t move when you’re cruising down the highway or even on less desirable terrain. Keep the turntables in your larger cabinets and even in the refrigerator to make accessing items in tight spaces much easier.

Find Your RV Supplies at RV Connections Super Center

The RV Connections Super Center online parts store is loaded with RV parts and accessories to help you enjoy your life on the road. Stop by RV Connections today and see our selection of new and used RVs.

How to Conquer Any Solo Hike

Hiking man or trail runner looking at mountains

Hiking is generally best done in groups or with at least a buddy. This is, besides the company, done purely for the fact that having a buddy is a safeguard against mishap. If one of you has an accident, your hiking partner can offer immediate assistance or flag down aid.

If, however, you’re traveling alone, you shouldn’t let that stop you from enjoying the numerous hiking opportunities you’re bound to encounter. Simply follow these tips to conquer any hiking trail by yourself.

Know Your Limits

Extra important when you’re alone, knowing your limits and abiding by them will keep you fresh and alert. Knowing what you can and can’t handle will keep you safe. If you think scrambling up a hill will save you time and you know you can do it, go ahead. If you’re not confident in doing it, no pressure. Find another route.

Be Extra Aware of Your Surroundings

Two pairs of eyes are better than one, but you won’t have that benefit. Make sure that you’re aware of your surroundings and that you note any potential hazards. This includes uneven terrain that might trip you up (like hidden potholes or exposed roots) and local wildlife. Wildlife, specifically, is something you should familiarize yourself with. Know the local species and know which ones pose danger to a single person.

Have a Well-Stocked Kit

Be prepared for anything by having a well-stocked pack. Make sure that you have a poncho for rain, an extra pair of clothes in case something happens and you need to change, more water than you think you’ll need, non-perishable high protein snacks, a flashlight, and an extra layer of clothing in case the weather turns cold or you have to spend a night outdoors.

Let Someone Know Where You’re Going

Let someone know where you’re going, how you plan to get there, and how long you expect you’ll be out. Just because you don’t have a buddy along with you on the hike itself doesn’t mean you can’t have someone watching your back. This person can be a neighbor at your campsite, a park ranger, or even a family member or friend back home. Tell them you’ll check in with them by a certain time and that, if you fail to do so, to take steps to find you.

Visit RV Connections Super Center

Before you hit the road in search of hiking trails to conquer, be sure to stop by RV Connections to schedule service and have a technician check your rig for any problems that may cause you problems on your trip. RV Connections can also help you find your next RV if it’s time to upgrade or if you’re just getting into the RV lifestyle.

Holiday Tips to Make Your Season Bright

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Starting to feel a little dragged down by the holidays? You’re not alone. Buying gifts for everyone, untangling the Christmas lights and cooking extravagant meals can certainly get the best of anyone. So why not simplify the holidays this year?

It may sound crazy to spend the holidays in your RV at first. How will you fit a Christmas tree in there? But by following a few simple tips, you can cut a lot of the stress out of the holidays and enjoy a very merry season on the road.

Decorate Locally

Because your RV is probably so much smaller than your “brick and mortar” home, you’ll love how easy it is to decorate. And don’t worry about packing all of your old decorations for the trip; pick up new ones along the way at craft shops and farmer’s markets. You’ll love that each decoration has its own unique story, and if you buy all-natural decorations, you won’t have to lug them around with you after the holidays.

Spend Less, Experience More

A small Christmas tree in your RV means less space underneath it, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The holidays are known as a time for shopping, but you don’t have space for more stuff in your home on wheels. Try buying experiences and memories instead. For instance, if you’re traveling near RV Connections in Panama City, Fla., buy tickets to the Shipwreck Island Water Park or the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium.

Make New Traditions

Many of the stresses of the holidays come from traditions. You’ve got to cook all of the same dishes that your great-grandma did, or the entire family will be upset. You’ve got to hang 1,000 lights, or the neighbors will be disappointed. This year, make new memories at the campground you’re visiting. Have a potluck with other campers or roast s’mores by the fire instead of baking pie.

Come See Us

Don’t forget to swing by RV Connections to check out all of our new and used RVs that are ready to hit the road for the holidays. And before you leave, be sure to tell us why you enjoy spending the holidays in your RV.

DIY RV Hacks You Need to Know

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Living the RV lifestyle isn’t always easy. You’re forced to give up some of the luxuries you enjoy at home for a compact home on wheels. Although, you don’t have to have a massive Class A motorhome to enjoy your life on the road. These simple RV hacks will help ensure you and your fellow travelers are all happy campers.

1. Use a Towel Rod to Hold Bathroom Products in Place

Putting all of your bathroom products away before you hit the road can be difficult to remember, and those products can also crowd your small storage spaces. Screw a towel rod to the wall and place your products between the bar and the wall. They’ll stay organized and in place when you’re cruising down the road.

2. Use a Shoe Organizer for More Storage

Shoe organizers can hang from doors, walls, and they can even be cut to hang in compact places. They’re a perfect way to ensure your clothing, cleaning products and other supplies stay organized on the road without taking up your precious storage spaces.

3. Use Glow-in-the-Dark Tape on Your Entry Steps

Entry steps can be dangerous in the dark, but entry lights can be difficult and expensive to install. Place glow-in-the-dark tape on your steps, so you and your guests can easily avoid injury.

4. Save Free Condiments

When you’re living in a brick-and-mortar-home, you probably throw free condiments away. When you’re on the road in your RV, those extra ketchup, mustard and soy sauce packets can come in handy. They take up much less space than full-size bottles and are especially handy if your RV refrigerator is small.

5. Shop for RV Supplies at RV Connections

Our RV Connections online parts store is the perfect place to pick up all of the RV supplies you need to enjoy your RV lifestyle. Drop by RV Connections today for RV sales, service, parts, and accessories.

Buying an RV

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In just a couple short months, it will be time to start thinking about going RVing for those who don’t like winter camping. This year, you may want to buy a brand new RV or trade in your used RV. Before you buy an RV or trade yours in, decide what type of RV you want. You can visit RV Connections Super Center to get some ideas, but there are several things to take into consideration.

Length/Towing Capacity

Before you buy a travel trailer or fifth wheel, you have to determine the towing capacity of your truck. You are limited by this, unless you buy a bigger truck. Check the towing capacity in the owner’s manual. Don’t forget, you need to figure the gross weight of the RV plus extra weight for the stuff inside and full holding tanks.

Number of People

Next, determine the most use for the RV. If you are taking only your family, then you need an RV that will sleep the number of people in your family. If you plan on going hunting or fishing with friends, take into consideration the number of people that will travel with you.

Use

If you have “toys” you like to bring with you, such as snowmobiles, motorcycles and ATVs, you may want to consider getting a toy hauler. These are great if you want to bring a slew of friends with you, as the garage part usually has extra bunks.

Length of Trips

If you plan on taking longer trips, especially trips where you may not be hooking up to utilities, you may want to consider an RV with larger holding tanks. Typically, these sleep more people and require a heavy-duty truck.

Retiring?

If you plan on retiring in the RV and traveling the country, you definitely need something that you can live in for an extended time. You may want something that sleeps six for two people so you won’t feel so cramped after being in the RV for a couple of months.

Visit RV Connections

If you are not sure what would be best for your situation, stop by RV Connections in Panama City and discuss your needs with us. We can help determine whether you need a bigger truck for what you want or need, or help you choose an RV that not only fits your needs, but something your truck can tow.