Having a longer rig with a gas truck means I can't always drive in and out of gas stations with ease. Gas stations with RV Islands quickly became favorites because of their stress free nature. This site is meant to be a collection of stress free stops that can accommodate longish rigs with gas engines.

Map

Know of any good stops? Next time you're on a trip take a picture and email the details so I can add it to the site. rvislands@gmail.com or leave me a comment in the box to the right hand side.


Please, tell everyone you know with a RV about this site.The more users we have adding locations the better the site will be for everyone.

How to get started decluttering to downsize to a RV

When we first decided to go to a RV we had to downsize. If you're thinking about doing so as well here are a few tips and a handy list to help you in the process.

Tip #1 -- Do sentimental things last, after everything else. And if you claim it’s sentimental ask yourself “Is it really?” Not everything from the past is sentimental. Choosing an amount of space, like a certain size tote(s) that all sentimental must fit into will be helpful in making choices between what stays and what goes.

Tip #2 -- Start with the low hanging fruit, that is with the easy stuff. Get your container of choice, start some upbeat music, and go around right now, collect any of the following.

You don’t have to trash it, but collect it all to at least go out your door in some way shape or form TODAY. If it doesn’t at least make it to your car or the curb it will linger…

trash
plastic wear/condiments etc that you've collected from free sources that you won't really use soon
broken things that are basically trash
half started projects that aren’t worth donating, and ones that are
expired things in your pantry
expired things in your frig
stuff so old in your freezer you would never eat it
food in your pantry, frig and freezer that aren’t on your current diet

broken kitchen appliances
kitchen appliances you know you'll never actually use again
big kitchen items like soup pots, cake stands, mixing bowls that you know you won't use again
your collection of plastic bags from the grocery store (pair it down to a reasonable level)
same as above with the reusable ones
old phones that you aren’t going to fix
broken old pcs and other electronics you are never going to fix
torn or stained clothes that realistically you know you are not going to salvage
any clothes you hate wearing
any clothes that don't reasonably fit you (or within a size or two) -- if you lose weight you'll want
   new clothes
if you'll be left with a reasonable amount all the torn, stained, uncomfortable or non-matching socks, and underwear
any socks with no matches
torn or stained sheets that you’d never want to use again
torn or stained towels that you wouldn’t use again, considering how many others you have
expired prescription medications and over the counter medications
toiletries that are so old you won't risk using them
toiletries you just didn't like and won't use again

VHS tapes if you no longer have the player
cassette tapes if you no longer have a player
CDs if you don’t have a player
books you know you’ll never read again
dried out pens, markers, highlighters
paper records that are older than 7 years old that you can’t foresee legally needing
baby items (if you’re no longer having anymore kids)
kids clothes that they’ve grown out of, if you’re not planning more kids
extra hangers, especially the kind you don’t like
anything that you absolutely hate and can afford to replace or do without

Tip #3 -- After this 1st purge. Wait a few days and see how it feels. Now you can go through and do another sweep, now just focusing on things you are ready to let go of. Rinse and repeat a few times.

By going in rounds you’ll find it a gentler way of getting down to right amount of things and you should know when you get there.


What are some "must have" items to get that make RV living so much better?




Things that come to mind are:

Extra propane tank(s) - this way if you run out in the middle of the night and/or it’s just not convenient to run to the store to have it refilled you have a backup or two to use until you can get to the store (pro-tip Tractor Supply often has the cheapest propane prices)

Furnace mesh protectors and all the other mesh protectors you can find - I wrote a blog post on this one and how not having one on our furnace nearly cost us a new furnace…at $5000! 

Command hooks - Having a place for everything (including your towel) that’s not on the floor is a wonderful thing

Stick on motion detector lights - coming home to a RV door in the complete dark (because you forgot to turn on the porch light) is not fun.

Autoformer, surge protector - A surge protector will protect your unit from too high electric but an autoformer from too low. With too low it’s miserable as your AC etc will keep cutting off. An autoformer is expensive (over $500) but well worth it when you consider the damage that can be done by the constant disruption that too low can cause. Here's the company's website that had a lot of information about how they work (but Amazon is sometimes cheaper...) The Original Low-Voltage Boosting Solution

Chalk board or white board to put your current address on every time you move. Having your address in the same place every time is comforting in itself, but knowing in an emergency where to look for it could save minutes, which could save a life. Bonus - you can then take a picture of it and text to your family, so someone always knows where you are.

LoJack - On your vehicle or on the RV itself. Give your relatives the information on it. If suddenly you stop returning phone calls it’s nice to know, they will know how to find you. If you come home and your rig is missing it’s comforting to know how quickly things with LoJack are found. (The quicker things are found the less damage they typically have done to them). Here's a DIY version I found on Amazon.

A lock - don’t make it easy for someone to back up and tow away your RV. They sell locks for 5th wheel as well as trailers and yes, every once and a while we get a message to be on the look out for this or that rig because someone stole it.

Washer/Dryer - going to the laundry mat does get old after a while. Just be sure to not only measure the space where you'll put it, but also all the door ways to get to that space...We ended up having to take the trim off our bedroom door to get the thing in there... (not a nice surprise to have on the day we went to install it.)

RV GPS - These allow you to enter your height and weight so (hopefully) they never take you on a road that can’t handle your weight or under a bridge that’s too low for your height (Google “the can opener bridge”)

Warm shoes/socks - even with good heaters the floors always seem cold in the winter. Keeping your 
feet warm makes all the difference in feeling comfortable

Black out curtains (or the fabric for them) - There are often a lot of windows and the amount of light and heat they let in can be unwanted at times. Being able to close black out curtains for complete privacy and heat/light protection is game changing.

Facebook - There are a few groups you can join for RV newbies where you can ask questions and get several answers within seconds. It’s been a back up support to us whenever we couldn’t quite figure things out on our own and an invaluable tool. Facebook even has RV brand specific groups too.

Those flexible thin plastic cutting boards. I lined my freezer walls with them. Now when it’s time to defrost I just pull them down, clean up the ice they pulled out with them and done in 5 minutes or so. I also put a few at the bottom of the freezer to catch the ice.

I mention it in my about section (but of course) some of these links are affiliate links and I will get a percentage of the sale if you purchase via my link (thank you!) but I wrote this article before I became an affiliate and do really have all these items myself.

“How do you get your mail?”



Of all the things that people ask me about full-time RVing the one that tickles me the most is, “How do you get your mail?” 

The reason it tickles me is that most of the time they’ve asked several other questions and I know eventually they will ask this particular question.

If you’re new to traveling you may be wondering the exact same thing. So, here’s the answer.

I use a mail forwarding service.

They receive my mail for me. I had to fill out paperwork giving them legal permission.

They scan the envelopes and email me the scan.

I then decide to have it forwarded to where I am currently, ask them to open, scan the contents and email it to me, or shred it. If I chose for them to scan the contents, I can then choose to have it forwarded to me or shredded.

If I have it forwarded to me the RV park offices will receive it for me. I often use Amazon Prime to order things and have never had a problem getting the items. Either the office ends up with them or sometimes UPS comes right to my RV and knocks on the front door.

It costs anywhere from $10–30 a month depending on the bells and whistle you add to your account.
It’s been the best thing to reduce paper clutter and because they scan things in I have virtual copies of everything I need.

The specific one I use is www.mailboxforwarding.com 

If you use my referral code you will get your first month of service free and I get my next month of service free. Thanks in advance:)

           Just enter your box number, "30162", in the promo code box during checkout.

Sometime people I explain this to say, they don’t trust others with their mail and shredding. I can understand this and started off slowly myself. I’ve been using them for years now and the fact they had me sign certain documents actually put me at ease that they are trying to do everything on the up and up.

The other thing I remember that soothe these kinds of fears is that a lot of businesses already have my information. So, it’s now free to freeze your credit and I do as a precaution, knowing the whole time that when I fill out forms at my doctors office, my bank etc that they often use third party services to shred those documents later as well.

Knowing this during our downsizing to fit into the RV to begin with I took advantage of the office supply stores paid shredding. (Think Office Depot, Office Max, and Staples) This saved me hours of work, during a stressful time, and cost about $1 a pound. The office supply store I went with then outsourced the shredding to Iron Mountain, the same place that shreds for many doctors and hospitals. That office supply store even offer to have to watch them shred it in store, for a little extra per pound. 

I would say that was some of the best spent $13 of my life and made downsizing that much more bearable, (cough) I mean pleasant.