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.

What are major things to learn before buying a RV?



Recently, I was asked this question and here are my top things to know before you buy a RV.



Things to check before you sign on the dotted line:

Google the RV dealer you plan to buy from before you do to find out their reputation before you buy. Some are well know in the RV circles for being places people (once they were treated a certain way post sale) would never buy at again.

Make sure you can both tow your rig’s weight (there are charts) but also that you can stop it with your brakes. Sometimes a RV’s brakes can fail and you want to have the power needed to be able to stop should that happen. Don’t trust the RV dealership to know or tell you the truth in such matters. The sales people are often just that and not necessarily experts and have an incentive (their commission) to tell you it will be alright.

Your insurance most likely will not pay if you are in accident with an under powered tow vehicle (probably an exclusion for that) So, knowing can both save your liability, but most importantly possibly save a life. Here's a video link to explain how to figure it out

There are RV inspectors you can hire to inspect them and see if there are any glaring problems that you can avoid by knowing before you buy.

Go up and check the roof. If they won't let you, don't buy it. Roofs are a major source of leaks and you should know that it in general looks okay before you buy. A leak in a RV can ruin the walls and lead to mold making the RV all but unsaleable later.
 
Check your tires (brand etc) and battery before you accept delivery. Know if you have good ones while you can still bicker with the dealership. They’ve been known to put dangerous tires on (meaning the brand) or not great batteries in as a way to save money.

Check the frig for recalls. There’s been a rash of frig fires and frig recalls lately. Do a quick search of the RV you want to buy and it’s frig make model serial number before you buy that RV. A fire in a RV spreads quickly (So quickly by the time firefighters comes its often too late to save it) and often means a loss of the whole RV. So, this is a big deal to check on.


Things to know before you take it on the road:

Know how tall your rig is. Pay attention to bridge signs. Many a truck and camper has had their ACs or roof ripped off on low bridges. There are RV GPS that you can put your height, length and weight into so as never to end up somewhere you can’t safely be. See my Bad Bridges page for videos of what can happen and a few of the locations I know about. 

If you are towing something like a trailer with chains, know that the chains MUST be crossed, you must have two chains and the safety pin must be in. If they are not crossed the whole thing can come off if you hit a bump. There are laws about it and you can get a ticket but more importantly you can loose your trailer down the road and/or kill someone if you don’t. Watch this video if you need convincing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCDt4tjxp-E





Good to know these exist:

I wrote a long blog post on all the must haves for a new RV, check it out here to see the list and my reasoning behind each item.

There is no regular gas at truck stops back where the truckers go. This is exactly why I started documenting the gas stations we went to that were easy to get in and out of. We don't leave on a trip without first plotting out which gas stations we plan on stopping a.

You can save on gas by using the app GetUpside It offers up to .25 cents back per gallon. My code Olivia8775 will get you an extra .15 cents back. For us were averaging about $5 back per fill up.



Knowing you are not alone:

There are FaceBook groups for newbie RVers that can booth answer your questions on the fly and offer assistance if you get into trouble. Being on them and reading what others are posting can be an education in itself.

We are a friendly bunch in general. If you have a question most people at any RV park will be happy to chat with you about how they do this or that. Many people do things differently but finding out the ins and outs of why they do this or that can arm you for a better journey.
  


Happy Trails and Safe Journey


How to make the most of those online purchases


Traveling around Amazon's Prime 2 day shipping sure does come in handy and I think we've used it much more than we would have in our old sticks and bricks (AKA house.)

So, finding out how to get the best bang for my buck at online retailers like Amazon got my attention. Thus far this is my strategy. If you know of any others, please do drop me a line at RVIslands@gmail.com.

1. Install an add on to my browser called Keepa. This is FREE! It tracks the price of things in my Amazon wish list and when they go on sale it tells me. It also provides a graph of their price over time so I can see what the price has done lately. By having this I tend to put things in my wish list (which prevents an impulse buy) but also by the time it goes on sale sometimes I don't even want it anymore, which prevents me buying some of what I don't need.

2. I installed an extension called Honey. This one automatically tells you if there are any promo codes for the item(s) and helps you apply them. (Works even when you're just ordering pizza online and it's Free!)

3. I use Ebates (now called Rakuten) extension to get cash back on my purchases. If you use my link  you get $10 in your account and I get something too :). This is FREE too!

4. I linked my Amazon and email account to Paribus.co (notice it’s .co not .com) it tracks your purchases and if the price goes down automatically asks for a price adjustment for you! And it's FREE!

5. Amazon’s Smile program which give a percentage of my sale to the charity of my choice. This is FREE and donated .05% percentage of my purchase on Amazon to my favorite charity.

6. Use a credit card with cash back for online purchases like 5% from Amazon’s Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card. I wish this was an affiliate link, but not sure how to do that with this (Please, drop me a line if you do!) 

Or alternatively to the credit card, if you have a charity you'd like to support, ask if they are participating in Shop with Scrip's e-gift card program.

In writing this post I thought to see if there were any more I might want to try out and came across these. Just install them yesterday, so I'm not sure about them yet but thought to include them in case you want to look into them too.

7. I'm just now looking into the extension Amazon Assistant that compares prices from different sellers on the Amazon site itself. 

8. GumDrop by Goodshop gives you more promo codes.

9. The Camelizer a price tracking extension.


Well, that's all but if you know of any others, please do drop me a line at RVIslands@gmail.com.

How to Save Money on Gasoline


If you’re asking how can you save gas money while driving, then there are two ways to go about it. 

1. Look at reducing consumption via various techniques. 
                             OR....
2. Look at how to get a better deal on the gas you do buy. Everyone knows they can shop around for the best price but there are a couple other things you can try.
  1. Get Upside app (which is free on the Google Play Store) gives you cash back on the gas you buy up to .25 cents per gallon. You get a certain number of cents per gallon back into an account that you can then cash out. You get more the more people you refer and they get more for using your referral code. Here’s mine Olivia8775
  2. There are mystery shop programs that will pay part of your bill (if you shop gas stations.)
  3. There are cash back credit cards that will pay you a percentage back on gas purchases.