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5 Big Snags You Might Hit on Your First RV Outing

Something is bound to go wrong on your first RV outing. When you are on vacation and ready to relax, it may be stressful to discover a blown tire or broken appliance; however, most RVers will tell you this is an expected part of RV travel. The good news is there are steps you can take to prepare for your first (or next) RV outing—and any problems that may arise.

Here are five problems you might encounter while RVing and tips for preventing or handling them:


1) Fridge Foods Aren’t Cool Enough

Problem: You get to your campsite, turn on the fridge, and head out to buy groceries. You expect to find a cool fridge when you return, but instead, it seems as hot as it was when you left.

Preparation: On our first trip, I couldn’t tell if the fridge was working at all since I couldn’t hear any sounds. I later learned that RV refrigerators operate differently from home ones, and it’s normal not to hear similar noises.

Man dealing with tire blowout in the rain.
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RV & Camping News – May 30th

This week in the Good Sam camping news spotlight, we’re taking a look at growing trends within the RV and outdoor community as more and more people opt to save money by renting and vacationing in a motorhome.

Outdoor activities are on the rise (for the third year in a row)

For the third year in a row, research would suggest that more and more people are camping and hiking.

A recent study from Winnebago found that 97% of Americans are planning on getting outside to enjoy nature in some capacity, with listed activities including road trips, RVing, hiking, and camping, just to name a few. 

This number is up 2% from the previous year and seems to be closely linked with economic uncertainty as well as an increased value in mental health. 52% of surveyed participants shared that increased outdoor activity was a reaction to stress, while 26% are looking to cut down on expenses.

This is undoubtedly good news for the RV industry, considering more than 70% of the participants are considering an RV for travel as opposed to flights, rental cars, or hotels. This trend was also validated by a recent KOA report finding that 47% of RVers surveyed suggested that recent frustrations with air travel have also been a catalyst for pivoting to a vacation on the road.

A three-generation family near a motorhome.
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How Much Wind is Too Much for Your RV?

Owners of motorhomes and large trailers have likely experienced the challenge of driving in high, gusty winds. Add passing semi-trucks and cars, and your trip can soon turn into what could only be described as a white-knuckle drive. Driving an RV in high winds is a formidable challenge and one you shouldn’t take lightly.

When should you not drive an RV in wind?

While unlikely, driving an RV in high winds puts your trailer or motorhome at risk of tipping. And failure to stop driving when winds get too intense can compromise your safety and those in your RV.

Not all wind or turbulence requires you to pull over. So, how much wind is too much? This depends on the rig design and specific configurations of your RV. Factors such as vehicle weight, departure angle (distance from the rear axle center to the rear bumper), weight distribution, body height, presence of steering aids, correct alignment specifications, and even tire pressure can all affect vehicle handling in high winds. Driver skill and experience also come into play when assessing a safe speed.

Generally, if you feel uncomfortable while operating in strong winds, slow down to the minimum legal speed, providing you don’t impede traffic. When wind speeds rise into the 40-50 MPH range, it’s likely a good idea to pull over, regardless of how fast you drive. If feel uncomfortable with the wind effect at the lower speed, consider stopping at the next suitable place and sit it out. Your RV is for relaxing enjoyment, not stress. Being an RV owner that is late to the next destination is far better than being the “Late RV Owner.”

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Best Summer Road-trip Films

Few things feel like summer, quite like taking a vacation or going to the movies. There’s something about the open road that just feels healing, and there’s something about a silver screen and popcorn that just feels right. 

Now, every so often, something magical happens, and we’re treated to a perfect combination of summer pastimes, culminating in a genre that stands alone: road-trip films. 

Stories about cooped-up families, reluctant companions, or cavalcades of muppets seem to resonate with all of us, validating the joys and stresses of our own cross-country adventures – almost as if we’re watching a movie about ourselves.

So, to celebrate the start of the summer season and to help spark some inspiration of what to do (or not do) on your next trip, we’ve put together our list of the all-time best road-trip movies. 

Best summer road-trip films

‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’

Alright, so technically, this isn’t a summer road-trip movie, considering it’s one of the few films set during Thanksgiving, but it’s still the all-time best buddy adventure film. Steve Martin and John Candy were a match made in Heaven, and the jokes still land over 30 years later.

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What’s the expected life of an RV tire?

Before you venture out on your next cross-country road trip it’s important to take stock of your RV’s tires. Unlike your typical car tire, motorhome tires are carrying tens of thousands of pounds, and will therefore require a slightly different approach.

How long will RV tires last? When should you replace an RV’s tire? How do you extend the life of your tires? 

To help keep you safe and on the road longer, here’s a quick overview of how long RV tires last and how to get the most out of them.

How long do RV tires last?

Let’s get down the brass tacks. Depending on the size and mileage accrued, a well-maintained RV tire should last you around four or five years. With that, you should be able to squeeze out between 10,000 and 15,000 miles for smaller RV tires, and potentially upwards of 30,000 for larger vehicles. 

Understanding your RV’s tires

Now, there are still a lot of variables when it comes to the overall health of your tire, and just because it’s within the recommended mileage doesn’t mean it’s safe to drive on. So, let’s get a little more granular and look at the different types of RV tires and compare their lifespans.

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Comparing the Depreciation of RVs and Cars

Unlike a house or savvy investment, when it comes to buying a car or RV, depreciation is inevitable. Every year newer models with sleek updates decrease the value of those from the previous year – making any sort of a return on investment well near impossible.

But how much will your vehicle depreciate in value? What factors directly correlate with the loss of your car or RV’s value? And most importantly, how can you get the most value out of your car or RV?

To help you navigate purchasing your next vehicle, here’s a breakdown of depreciation and how to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to your car or RV.

How fast do RVs and cars depreciate?

It’s no secret that vehicles lose their value quickly. In fact, almost immediately.

A brand-new car or RV will lose about 10% of its value as soon as you drive it off the lot. From there, it will ultimately depreciate somewhere around 20% within the first year and will continue to lose about 15% annually for the next four or five years.

Snow covered RV
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Your 2023 Summer Outdoor Reading List

This summer at the campsite, find time between hikes, sightseeing, and kayak voyages to sit down with a book or two sure to inspire the adventure. 
Whether you’re planning the next trip, living out a vicarious adventure, or immersing yourself in nature writing, we’ve compiled a short reading list for anyone who hasn’t already bought and bookmarked their summer reads.

For kids

Kids’ books are perfect additions to your travel checklist. Whether for rainy-day backup plans or bedtime stories, check out these outdoor-themed books just for the little ones. 

The Hike, by Allison Farrell 

Hardie Grant Publishing

Perfect for kindergartners and preschoolers, The Hike is a colorful, fun, exploratory read that opens a world of possibilities for young readers. It features interesting vocab words that detail and specify unique outdoor plants, animals, and features, with my favorites being the fairy ring mushroom mention and barred owl feature.

Consider purchasing a sketchbook in addition to The Hike, as the main character Wren shares her drawings and notes from their journey in the book itself, which may inspire your little ones to sketch themselves. 

Becoming A Good Creature by Sy Montgomery, Illustrations by Rebecca Green

Image courtesy of Sy Montgomery

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RV Overhead Clearance Issues

Negotiating tight turns in busy urban environments with large RVs can challenge the best of drivers. Navigating narrow roads lined with parked cars and turning wide enough to avoid striking the curb or other hazards — it requires your full attention, every time. The driving stress level fades as we leave the populated areas for the open highways of the country. Here, the RV is less confined, and the length has little restriction apart from finding a place to pull over. However, motorhomes and fifth wheel trailers have another important caution: overall height and vehicle weight.

RV weight and height

Weight — given you are on a well-traveled road — is usually not a significant issue for RVers, as most bridges will be adequate in carrying capacity for most RVs. Height, however, is a different matter. Low overhead bridges, power lines, tree branches, service location canopies, or like-structures must be observed and correctly assessed to be compatible with your RV’s height. Failure to do so leads to costly and dangerous accidents, a leading claim for many insurance providers.

Unlike objects on the roadway that are quickly steered around, overhead clearances are often not even noticed. Most GPS navigation systems direct you in the most direct route, regardless of overhead clearances or weight restrictions. In fact, many clearance accident incidents have been while following a GPS guidance system, even in buses and semi’s. More RV-specific GPS systems and GPS apps take into account certain restricted roads and highways due to low overpasses. However, these generally don’t account for low tree branches, electrical wires, service canopies, or other similar structures.

Unknown clearances

Regardless of listed heights shown on bridges etc., you will be held at fault in the event of a collision, and it won’t always be a straightforward situation. Raised resurfaced roads and natural bridge sagging may change the actual listed clearance, and you need to account for that margin of error. Overhead canopies found at many fuel stations or similar services can vary in height, and you should expect anywhere from as high as 14’ down to 8’ or less. Striking any overhead structure can result in personal injury or even a fatal event. So know the exact height of your RV to best prepare for these clearances.

How to prevent clearance incidents

The Good Sam Insurance Agency cites height clearance as one of the most common damage claims from their customers, and they note the importance of measuring the height of your RV and still allotting an additional six inches to play it safe.

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10 Good Sam Campgrounds Under $45 A Night

Just because you’re camping on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality. There are, in fact, hundreds of highly-rated Good Sam parks offering overnight stays for less than $45 a night – meaning you can have incredible vacations without breaking the bank. Here’s a quick list to help you plan an economical getaway.

Campgrounds under $45 a night

Wanderlust RV Park

Eureka Springs, AR

Wanderlust has been voted a top 5 Arkansas park by a number of organizations, including Trip Savvy and the Northwestern Arkansas Travel Guide. Once you see it for yourself, you’ll understand why. Set in the Ozark Mountains, they offer sites with beautiful views, a pool, a pavilion (with a large Bar-B-Q pit), and a convenient trolley stop that heads downtown.


Blake Ranch RV Park

Kingman, AZ

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Fireworks and Festivals in America’s Mid-Atlantic Region

Watch fireworks burst over places where America’s formative history unfolded.

From Annapolis Harbor in Maryland to Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, America’s Mid-Atlantic region is dotted with historic destinations that played pivotal roles in the early days of the U.S.

The locals here know how to throw big Independence Day parties on July 4, complete with star-spangled parades and cutting-edge pyrotechnics.

Beyond the Fourth, you’ll find plenty of ways to have a good time, and we’ve listed a slew of local Good Sam Parks that welcome RV travelers. So buckle up and make the Mid-Atlantic your July vacation destination.


Delaware Legislative Hall in Dover on July 4.

Fireworks illuminate Colonial-era building.
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15 Outstanding RV Parks to Celebrate Fourth of July

Summer is made for camping, and the Fourth of July is especially perfect for some good old-fashioned camping fun. Independence Day is a time when America’s hard-working men and women take time to bask in the summer sun and celebrate the nation’s freedoms. We scoured the country for some of the most spectacular Independence Day celebrations.

Alaska — Celebrate the Fourth in the Last Frontier

Eagle’s Rest RV Park & Cabins, Valdez, AK – Take in the pristine Prince William Sound and misty towering waterfalls atop the majestic peaks. Every July, the friendly folks at Eagle’s Rest RV Park & Cabins host a massive celebration that includes a fish fry.

While you’re there, explore Valdez! With mountains rising to over 5,000 feet and abundant waterfalls, the scenic vistas can be overwhelming. Here are just a few things to enjoy in this outdoor paradise.

Drive Richardson Highway & visit the breathtaking Worthington Glacier. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Hiking trails: With some of the tallest coastal mountain peaks in the world, you will likely spot some wildlife and on a nice day, kite surfers catching the wind and ocean waves. And where else can you strap on a pair of crampons and stroll upon the blue ice of Worthington Glacier? Guided hikes are offered daily from June 10 until September 10th through Pangaea Adventures.White water rafting: The Lowe River through Keystone Canyon offers exciting rapids, massive waterfalls and magnificent canyon views.

Valdez’s only land-route to the Alaskan interior, the Lowe River through Keystone Canyon offers an exciting whitewater rafting trip. Photo Courtesy of Keystone Canyon Rafting

California – Watch Fireworks Burst Over the Beach

2. Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina, Newport Beach, CA –  Along with their annual Independence Day on the Back Bay, Newport also hosts their Tunes at the Dunes summer concert series – eclipsing 4th of July weekend.

Raft full of people white water rafting down Alaskan river with trees in background
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Your Southern Utah RV Itinerary

Load up the RV and venture to a land of serene and breathtaking beauty. Bryce Canyon Country in southern Utah is a paradise filled with two national parks, three state parks, one national monument, and one national forest. Encounter the towering Ponderosa pines, be impressed by the majestic red-rock hoodoos, or experience the magnificent colors of a sunset resting across the sky.

As you plan your next road trip, make time to venture through Bryce Canyon Country. This destination is perfect for adventurers, foodies, and anyone searching for a relaxing getaway.

Thors Hammer in Bryce Canyon National Park at sunrise. Getty Images

Here’s how to make your time in Bryce Canyon Country unforgettable:

For the Adventurers

With hundreds of beautiful sights scattered throughout Bryce Canyon Country, you’ll never run out of things to do. Hike through the spectacular hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park or discover the less well-known trails of Red Canyon. Explore the excavated Ancestral Puebloan village at Anasazi State Park or sit under the night sky of Kodachrome Basin State Park. Visit Escalante Petrified Forest State Park and see the red, yellow, white, and black petrified wood. Venture out to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and hike to incredible rock formations like Grosvenor Arch or stunning waterfalls like Calf Creek Falls.

A highway winds through a rocky landscape.
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How to Choose an RV Rental

With the popularity of camping and RVing continuing to grow, there’s never been a better time to get behind the wheel of your dream motorhome. That being said, purchasing a brand new rig is, understandably, a big investment – making the option to rent all the more attractive. 

So if you’re looking to test out a motorhome for the first time, here’s a quick overview of the different RV types to help you find a rental that’s right for you.



RV types 

There are certainly a lot of great options when it comes to renting an RV. Whether you’re looking for something that’s spacious with all of the bells and whistles, a motorhome that’s a little more compact and fuel-efficient, or something in between, the challenge is just finding the rental that’s right for you. Here’s a brief overview of the different RV types to get you started on the right track.

Motorhome driving through forest of tall redwoods.
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Water Recreation Rules at Grey’s Point Camp in Virginia

Water fun is kind of a big deal at Grey’s Point Camp in Topping, Virginia. Located on the banks of the Rappahannock River near the Chesapeake Bay, this Good Sam Park treats guests to lots of ways to float, slide, and make a splash. 

From the campground (with a Good Sam Rating of 9/10*/10), guests can launch a kayak or canoe right on the river and spot the wildlife that thrives on the verdant banks. Campers with small kids might prefer to stay on the Grey’s Point property for watery good times. Pools and a splash zone give campers lots of ways to shoot water or get doused with lots of colorful play equipment. 

Thrill-seekers can get an adrenaline kick by launching themselves down the pair of twisting waterslides. 

Grey’s Point Camp

Set Sail

Brought your boat? You’ve come to the right place. The Grey’s Point Camp Marina provides docks for your watercraft, and a boat ramp enables campers to launch their vessel. From the marina, boaters have seemingly endless choices, from fishing in the Chesapeake to exploring the myriad channels and inlets that make up the estimated 465 miles of shoreline in the River Realm. 

Sun sets over wide river with lone fishing dock.
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Crossing an International Border in Your RV

At the border

As my well-worn passport can attest, I’ve crossed numerous international borders over the years, thankfully with nary an issue. But until recently, I never attempted a border crossing in my camper van.

Normally this wouldn’t make me nervous, but both my RV and I needed a makeover at that moment; my Roadtrek is in desperate need of new paint, while my long, unkempt hair and beard made me look like a chop-shop owner who gets killed in the first five minutes of a John Wick movie. I felt like a neon sign reading SKETCHY in all caps was flashing above my camper van as I pulled up to the booth just outside Port Huron, Michigan.

I handed my passport to the border agent who glanced down at the booklet and back up to me.

“Is there anyone else in the vehicle with you?” the agent asked. I quickly respond with the truth, that no one ever wants to travel with me. The agent chuckles slightly and I find myself relaxing a little bit.

“What brings you to Canada?” I’m cutting through Canada on my way to the Catskills to go fly-fishing.

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2023 Summer Vacation Gear List



Break out the grills and swim trunks because summer is upon us. And if you’re looking to make the most of your vacation, you might want to consider upgrading some of your gear. However, with so many targeted ads and viral fads, sorting through the noise and finding the proper accouterments can be a challenge. So in order to help you upgrade your inventory (without wasting cash), we’ve put together a list of highly-rated gear to kick off your summer plans.

Gear List

Packing cubes

Never underestimate the value of consolidation – especially if you’re traveling for more than a week at a time and need to pack a lot into one bag. Packing cubes maximize space, are easily washable, help contain odors while reducing mold, and will fit in any suitcase. 

A family on a hiking trail pointing at pointed rocks.
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How to Rent the Perfect RV (with Good Sam RV Rentals)

Renting an RV allows you to experience many of the perks of RV life without buying or maintaining an RV, which can be a daunting first step. Renting also provides an easy entry point for those considering an RV purchase who want to learn the ropes before investing. Whether this is your first time RVing or you want to use the opportunity to scope out a new type of rig, Good Sam RV Rentals connects renters with helpful owners.

But just because the barriers to entry are fewer when renting an RV versus buying one, planning a good trip requires some forethought to know what to expect and to find an RV that best fits you and your family and friends. Choose the right RV — and the right destination — and renting an RV can be the easiest, most affordable way to experience the RV lifestyle on your own.

We’ve broken down the process into three primary steps.

Choosing an RVChoosing a destinationTaking the trip

Choose an RV and a destination based on what you need, not what comes up first in the search. Doing so requires general knowledge about RVs to know which will be best for you and where to take it.

But before you choose an RV, how does the process work?

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What do RV lenders look for in a borrower?


What are RV lenders looking for?

When it comes to seeing the country and taking in the beauty of the outdoors, there’s no better experience than an RV. But in reality, purchasing an RV can be an expensive proposition for many. Fortunately, there are plenty of quality lenders who can help you purchase a motorhome through an affordable plan, assuming you qualify. If you’re in the market to finance a new or used RV, here’s what a lender will be evaluating.

Credit (or FICO) score 

Since the 1950s, the FICO (Fair Isaac and Company) score has been an industry standard when it comes to determining someone’s credit. The three-digit score represents a combination of factors, including the purchaser’s payment history, debt, borrowing history, and any open lines of credit.

Here’s a general range of FICO scores:

Exceptional: 800 to 850Very Good: 760 to 799Good: 700 to 759Poor: 600 to 699Very Poor: 300 to 579

For an RV lender, they’ll usually be able to work with anything above 700 (and, in some cases, can go as low as 600). That being said, the lower your FICO score, the higher your interest will be – meaning steeper payments. If you’re below 700, it might be worth taking some time to rebuild your credit before trying to take on an RV loan.

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‘RV There Yet?’ 4 Reasons to RV in Cody Yellowstone

Spectacularly located in Northwestern Wyoming, just 52 miles from the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park, Cody Yellowstone is a place every RVer should visit. Not only is it home to the world’s first national park, but it was just named “The Best Western Small Town in America” — making it the perfect place to have authentic Wild West adventures and sleep under the stars when you’re on the road.

Life is good in the woods

With nearly 7,000 square miles, a population of just 30,000 people, and wide-open spaces as far as your binoculars can see, Cody Yellowstone is like a breath of fresh air for RVers. If you love to be out in the wild, the United States Forest Service operates a variety of campgrounds and campsites throughout the region — not to mention close to 300 backcountry sites in Yellowstone operated by the National Park Service if you really want to go off-road.

Photo: Cody Yellowstone

You can lead a horse and an RV to water

If you prefer water over woods, Cody Yellowstone has a terrific parking spot for you, too! Buffalo Bill Reservoir features its own boat ramp and plenty of room for boaters. The two campgrounds in Buffalo Bill State Park feature 125 RV/tent sites and 11 tent-only sites. Sites are spacious, all feature tables and grills, and are conveniently located near water and restrooms.

There are Wild West adventures around every corner. Literally

In Cody Yellowstone, you can take an old-time trolley tour of Cody Yellowstone, showcasing local history, area attractions, and jaw-dropping scenery interwoven with the compelling story of William “Buffalo Bill” Cody.

A woman holding an American flag rides in front of bleachers filled with spectators.
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7 Pacific Northwest Road Trips for 2023

Summer in the Pacific Northwest is unlike anywhere else in the county. It’s sunny and 75, the wildflowers are blooming, rivers are rushing with snow melt, and the mountains are clear, allowing you to hike from sun up to sundown. Pacific Northwest road trips allow you to immerse yourself in lush forests or on lake shores, see the sights without worrying about rushing home, and truly feel alive.


Here, we’ve outlined seven different road trips with places to stay along the way, but also make use of the RV Parks and Campground finder to key in on the locations you plan to visit.

Plan Your Adventure: The Ultimate PNW Road Trip Guide

Photo courtesy of Camping World

Avoiding crowds during a Pacific Northwest road trip

While avoiding summer crowds entirely is impossible in the PNW, you can still mitigate them. First, visiting popular areas on the weekdays allows you to explore with fewer people. Secondly, arriving early or staying late for sunset gives you more peace and quiet to soak in the views. 

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