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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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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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Travel Assistance vs Travel Insurance — Which Do You Need?

Heading into another travel season, now is the time to evaluate your travel setup, including the protections that prevent you from additional expenses due to an unexpected incident, like travel assistance and travel insurance.

RVers and travelers today can invest in any number of auxiliary support plans like roadside assistance, RV-specific insurance, and other asset protection plans. It can be confusing to determine where to invest and how to be best prepared. 

Knowing the difference between what’s offered — and identifying potential overlaps — can help you get the most for your money. Here we’re looking at travel assistance vs travel insurance. Both are important services that save travelers money every year. You can determine whether you require one, both, or neither as we walk through what each offers. 

What is travel assistance?

Photo Courtesy of Camping World

As travelers, we make negotiations all the time between cost and comfort, risk and adventure. At the end of the day, you make decisions on what you value. And that’s how you should approach travel assistance. 

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Your RV Emergency Weather Plan

There’s nothing like exploring the back roads independently in your RV. Because of this you oftentimes find yourself at a new destination every day.  The risk is that weather changes too, sometimes in an instant, and not all RVers pay attention to weather conditions when traveling or spending the night. RV’s are great, but they are not safe in severe weather, like lightning and thunderstorms with high winds, tornadoes and hurricanes.

This Spring season, awareness is key. Consider a few of these tips to help keep your rig safe as you’re traveling through various and changing weather conditions.


When you travel hundreds of miles a day in your RV, weather conditions can change several times. When you stop for the night — boondocking, staying in a parking lot or campground — all you want to do is get set up quickly and get some rest. The weather is the last thing on your mind. The problem with this is severe weather can occur without much warning, and if you are caught in it, it can be disastrous.

So what’s the plan? Plan is the key word here. RVers need to have an emergency weather plan in case of a severe storm. To start with, the more you know about the weather around you the more you can react.

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Everything You Need to Know About Financing an RV


Buying an RV is an important if not daunting financial decision. It’s a significant purchase in price alone. And then you have to consider the lifestyle costs, including everything from fuel to RV-specific insurance to maintenance to off-season storage. The key to a financially successful RV lifestyle is an in-depth knowledge of what things cost, what you can afford, and what steps you can take to budget. And that’s especially true when it comes to financing the purchase of an RV — the most significant cost of the lifestyle.

The experience of buying an RV falls somewhere between buying an automobile and buying a house (appropriately). It’s a significant investment because of the sheer dollar amount and because of its long-term value. What you pay now will be relevant in ten or twenty years when you are either still paying off a loan, selling the RV, or trading it in. But pay the wrong price or get the wrong financing term and it could affect you later. 

You can secure good financing terms now that will be of considerable benefit further down the road. There are things you can control to impact your terms. Here, we’ll cover factors like down payment amount, credit score, loan type, and financing options — all of which play an important role in determining what you will pay overall for the RV portion of the RV lifestyle. 

Daunting? Nah. Empowering. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be at the dealership to find the RV that makes the most sense with your budget and to secure terms you understand and are capable of maintaining. 

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Summer Vacation RV Trip Planning for Families

Are you ready to pack up the kids and the RV for summer vacation? There are a lot of great destinations to explore across North America — the only problem is picking just one and planning YOUR ideal vacation.

My sons always enjoyed the Phineas and Ferb cartoon, and as summer approaches, I always think of the theme song: “There are a hundred and four days of summer vacation ’til school comes along just to end it, so the annual problem for our generation is finding a good way to spend it.” Since my husband and I are both teachers, we’ve always tried to make the most of those 104 days each year. Our RV took those adventures to a grander level.

The Tunnel at the Niagara Parks Power Station. Getty Images

Start planning today, because reservations fill up quickly. Here are a few of my best tips and some destination inspiration for your summer RV vacation:

5 Tips for Picking a Summer RV Vacation Destination

1. Consider the age of your children. Some destinations are more child-friendly than others. For example, Yellowstone National Park is truly amazing, but it’s better for older kids due to the open boardwalks perched over boiling springs. On the same token, teenagers may or may not be feeling the theme park vacation.

Side view of a young woman is sitting on a caravan step and holding a cup on a holiday adventure trip stop. Copy space area available
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Mount Up at Quiet Woods Green River Stables Horse Camp RV Park in Kentucky

Saddle up for a stay at Quiet Woods Green River Stables Horse Camp & RV Park in Campbellsville, Kentucky. Located south of Lexington and Louisville, the equestrian-friendly campground welcomes both horses and their human counterparts, with 50 stables and 93 sites for RVers.

The park sits near the shore of Green River Lake and serves as the perfect spot for horse lovers visiting the Bluegrass State, which is known for the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Horse Park, and a slew of equestrian-related attractions.

When visitors aren’t riding or hiking the many trails that wind through the nearby forest, they can launch a boat on Green River Lake, with fishing and waterskiing. 

Quiet Woods Green River Stables Horse Camp

Western-style Fun

The park serves folks who travel with their horses; it’s ideal for those who travel in hybrid horse trailers with living quarters for people. The park has several big rig sites and many sites with full hookups. Wi-Fi is available at several sites and supports streaming. Seasonal sites are available for long-term guests and fire rings help keep campers warm.

An Old West-style lounge
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Comparing Costs: Camping vs. Traditional Vacations

With so much uncertainty in the market, it’s no secret that people are thinking a little more critically when it comes to spending their hard-earned dollars. Yet vacations are still an essential way to relieve stress, re-energize, and find new inspiration — even on a budget. 


So what’s the most economical way to travel? What’s the least expensive way to take in the sights and explore new cities? And how do you make the most of your time off without breaking the bank? 


To shed a little light, we put together a list of considerations when comparing costs between traditional vacations and camping.    

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March 2023 News & Events

Hello everyone, and welcome to the second installment of the RV and camping news and events for March 2023. Here we’re following up with Starlink after pricing changes earlier this month and now that they’ve introduced new pricing and service for RVers and campers. Then we head to Austin, Texas where 2023 South by Southwest has been the launching pad for two new innovative RVs, including the premier of the first all-electric RV. Plus, we take a look at Yosemite National Park as a bellwether after recent storms in California have caused massive flooding and record snowfall.

Starlink Roam

Starlink RV has now been rebranded as Starlink Roam, and it will offer two different pricing and service plans. Subscribers can pay $150 each month for regional roaming services, or they can choose global roaming and pay $200 monthly to be able to receive internet service traveling to other continents. Both will require the base Starlink Kit, which runs $599, or the high-performance antenna at $2500. This change comes less than a month after a price change to the Starlink RV plan.

All-Electric RV Premiers at SXSW

Courtesy of Lightship

Lightship L1 made its debut at this month’s 2023 South by Southwest festival as the only all-electric RV of its kind, featuring a classic pop-up design and flattening to only six feet 9 inches when being towed for superior aerodynamics. The RV also comes equipped with an electrically powered powertrain, which assists the tow vehicle to optimize either gas mileage or EV range.

Once parked, the RV’s battery system is designed to offer about a week’s worth of off-grid power, which won’t go unnoticed by frequent boondockers. The L1 starts at $125,000 but can be available for $118.400 after a tax credit is applied.

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RV Lot Ownership: What You Need to Know

We’ve all seen the real estate signs along the highway that proclaim, “If you lived here, you’d be home by now.” Many parks make good on the promise of the ideally located home. When parks offer RV lots for sale, travelers can find the comfort and security of ownership in some of the most beautiful parts of North America.

It hasn’t always been this way. A few decades ago, only a handful of parks offered RV lots for sale. RV travelers who purchased this property in those early stages were thought by some to be crazy. Well, it turned out that these early purchasers were quite level-headed. The concept took off and the values climbed, rewarding many of the early buyers with nice profits when they sold their lots.

Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort, El Mirage, Arizona

Today, throughout North America, you can find RV lots for sale in several RV resorts. Similar to the housing market, RV lot real estate has a wide range in selling prices. You can find some sites in the $40,000 range and others that push the one-million-dollar mark. This price variation is driven by factors similar to the home sale market, with a special focus on location, location, location.

Lots come in all shapes and sizes. Some include amenities like carriage houses, multilevel decking, outdoor kitchens and even private swimming pools, all dramatically influencing price. Quite frankly, there are some jaw-dropping parks in North America that house some of the most palatial RV sites that one could imagine.

Boats moored on a placid harbor.
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How To: A Luxury Vacation in an RV

Carmen and her family were able to spend some time having a luxury vacation in beautiful Hilton Head, South Carolina, their experience proved to them that they can get everything they want in a luxury trip while renting an RV. Watch the family’s adventure below.


What defines a luxury vacation?

Let’s face it, free time is a luxury. That’s exactly why we should indulge when we can. A luxury vacation is an investment of time in ourselves and our loved ones, and it shows we value experiences spent together. More than physical things, those experiences extend beyond the trip, which is why you should strive to experience more on all your vacations.

Few people know this more than Carmen Sognonvi of Top Flight Family. These days, she and her jet-setting family frequently travel the globe in luxury style. Their Top Flight lifestyle began with that first fateful trip.

“We had some credit card points saved up and booked a vacation to Cabo,” Carmen said. After three straight years of growing their business without a day off, this was their first-ever trip as a family of four.

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Fitness on the Road

If you’re anything like me, you have a tricky relationship with fitness. 


I tend to either set my goals way too high (like signing up for a half marathon in a month even though I’ve never ran more than a few miles) and then become discouraged when I can’t maintain them, or I don’t set any at all and therefore have no plan — becoming aimless.


However, in this past year I took tremendous strides in my health. And it was certaily no thanks to my travel schedule, considering I was away from home almost as much as I was there. But even with interrupted schedules, changing rhythms, or limited equipment at campgrounds and hotels, I feel healthier than ever.

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The Ultimate Guide to a Good Sam Membership

Since 1966 travelers have trusted Good Sam more than anyone else, making it the largest RV organization in the world. And for good reason. With discounts on retail, fuel, campgrounds, and more — as well as tools to make planning your next trip a breeze — it’s no wonder why over two million members trust Good Sam every year.


But is a Good Sam membership right for you? How much will it cost? How much will you save? What are the benefits?


To start you off on the right foot, here’s the ultimate guide to a Good Sam membership.

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Tame the 3 Biggest Costs of RV Road Trips

Everyone is feeling the inflation pinch right now. Thankfully, we RV owners don’t need to put the brakes on our adventures. You can save money on RV trips if you learn how to lower the three biggest RV costs; lodging, fuel, and maintenance. No, that doesn’t mean you need to dry camp at a big box store or park in a relative’s driveway. There are far better ways to minimize RV expenses so you can embark on this fun lifestyle with more confidence and less financial worry.

Tame the 3 Biggest RV Expenses for Happier Travels

Knowing how to lower the biggest RV expenses is why my husband and I are still full-time RVing after 15 years. This knowledge didn’t come naturally to us, and in my experience, most RVers don’t get it at first either. Like many new full-time RVers, our first year on the road was expensive. We cringed when we filled up our Dodge fuel tank. Checking into RV parks for a few nights was painful. Each time I looked at our bank account I wondered “Where’s all that cheap RV living people talk about?”

Getty Images

I wasn’t alone in believing that saving money RVing is as easy as free camping on public lands, or staying overnight in Walmart parking lots. Over time I learned that free camping as a way to save money is possible, but in the long run, it’s a very short-sighted approach to paying for the RV lifestyle. The three biggest costs of RVing often knock the wind out of unprepared RV owners.

When an RVer encounters one of these expenses, sometimes they get stuck in locations they don’t want to be in because they can’t afford to cover expensive repairs to their rig. In other cases, RVers stop traveling because RV vacations and maintenance cost way more than they anticipated. That’s too bad because these costs of RV ownership are quite predictable. When you budget for them, they’re also manageable for most people. Let’s dive into each RV expense category so you can learn how to save money RVing and keep your wheels turning no matter what the universe throws your way.

Class C motorhome at gas station.
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RV News for March 2023

Welcome to the Good Sam camping news spotlight, where we cover some of the month’s notable trends, events, news stories, and information helpful to campers and RVers. This month we’re taking a look at the pricing changes for Starlink customers, an ambitious new trail connecting two national parks, BLM updates to the beloved Alabam Hills, and more.


Starlink adjusts their prices 

In a recent email to Starlink customers, SpaceX revealed that they will be adjusting their prices for residential users based on capacity. 

The message noted that residential users finding themselves in a “limited capacity” area can expect to pay $120 a month ($10 higher than the previous cost), while those in excess areas will actually be paying $20 less at a total of $90 a month. With that, RV customers can expect a $15 increase to $150 a month.

Additionally, they announced that plans with portability (allowing you to move back and forth from a home address) will no longer be available; and you will essentially need two different plans in order to maintain that level of flexibility.

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Snowbird Roads North: Navigating Spring Conditions

Spring in North America officially arrives when the Earth’s angle to the sun appears directly over the equator. This is the equinox and happens on March 20 this year. Also, Around this time, snowbirds heading north start their long treks home.

For lovers of the outdoors, spring engenders feelings of delight as the temperatures slowly increase and trees and plants start budding. The spring thaw slowly sweeps north as each day passes. But even as the weather improves, some potential snags may stand in the way for travelers.

Spring Forward (With Caution)

The spring thaw can present certain challenges to road travelers. Northern-bound snowbirds traditionally encounter much heavier traffic as they make the long trip home. This higher volume of RV traffic fills many of the available campgrounds relatively early as dark falls. RV owners that forge on into the night hoping to gain a couple of extra hours often have trouble getting a campsite.

Photo: Getty Images

Additionally, most RV owners are used to arriving at their destination RV park well before sunset. This is probably due to the night falling dark later during most of the summer season. However, for those traveling a long journey, as many snowbirds heading north, keeping such arrival habits may be difficult. This leaves the challenge of backing onto an unfamiliar campsite in the dark. Here, the driver and parking spotter should agree on a communication signal, with a flashlight or similar device, to ensure safe docking.

A fifth-wheel drives down a highway flanked with snow banks.
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What’s In Your RV Emergency Supply Kit?

Packing your RV trip-by-trip is a good habit. You bring only what you need and stay organized. In this way, you ensure food isn’t wasted by creating a meal list with needed ingredients. You plan out your activities to know what supplies and equipment to bring. And you pack appropriate clothing for the expected climate. But what do you bring for unexpected emergencies? An emergency supply kit is what you pack to ensure you have essential supplies for an emergency, and it’s important to include one on every RVing trip.

So as you prep for spring and summer RVing this year, carefully consider the items you should carry if for any reason your trip goes awry. There’s a difference between having sufficient backup supplies and overkill, and building an emergency supply kit is a good way to decide the difference.

So what do you include in your emergency supply kit? Here is your step-by-step approach to building out an emergency supply kit to keep in your RV with just the right amount of gear and supplies to be at-the-ready for the unexpected.

When would I need an emergency supply kit?


Things go wrong: breakdowns, bad weather, acts of God, strandings. In these emergencies, we might end up somewhere unfamiliar with fewer resources than we expected and with fellow travelers and family members relying on us for basic necessities.

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Bucket List Destinations with World Wide Nate

Nathan Fluellen of World Wide Nate is an adventure traveler-turned-TV-host who’s visited 50 countries and six continents while bringing an entertaining and joyful perspective along the way. Now he’s finished an important bucket list goal of visiting all 50 states in the US.

Visiting His 50th State in a Rented RV

To complete Nate’s bucket list item to visit all 50 states, he rented a Class C RV through Good Sam Rentals and made his way through South Dakota to wrap up one incredible experience.

On this trip, Nate experiences the open road, an underground cave, goes ATVing on some trails, visits Mount Rushmore—one of America’s greatest National Memorials—and even takes to the sky in a hot air balloon while explaining the importance of living life without regret and checking off items from your bucket list.

Learn how to plan a bucket list road trip from World Wide Nate

Nate’s journey is a part of his bucket list, and his “Bucket List with Mom,” where he calls his mother along the way to bring her along (virtually) for the ride shows how you can make these trips meaningful. Follow Nate’s example and learn how to create your own bucket list by clicking the button below.

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Spring Shimmers in the South for Festive Travelers

Locals in the Upper South welcome spring with fun-filled events that dazzle even the most jaded travelers. Go where the air is filled with the scent of blossoming flowers, succulent barbecue and the sound Southern-fried rock. RV travelers can experience Southern spring with great hospitality to boot.

The following are just a few of the big events unfolding in the Upper South during spring.


Arkansas Roots Festival, April 1, Johnny Cash Boyhood Home, Dyes. Ready to Walk the Line? Celebrate the Man in Black as top musical acts showcase their talents a the small town of Dyes.

Good Sam Campgrounds in the Dyes area:

Tom Sawyer’s RV Park, West MemphisHollywood Casino Hotel RV Park, Tunica, MS
EZ Daze RV Park, Southaven, MSCooks Lake RV Resort Campground, Memphis, TN
Southaven RV Park, Southaven, MSMemphis Graceland RV Park, Memphis, TN

Getty Images

Horses racing in a blur
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A DIY Nomad Charts Her Own Course

“Conventional” has never been part of this RV traveler’s vernacular. After selling all her personal belongings and hitting the road in a 1978 Dodge Commander, Jessy Mueller set off on a solo RV journey that doesn’t seem to be losing any steam. Since 2017, her approach to deliberate living has slowly taken her around the country, living in the moment while sharing the joy, humor, and unfiltered moments of nomadic life along the way on her blog and on Instagram.

Before her great escape, Jessy was a 30-something single from Minnesota who was looking for a change. After 14 years working pizza delivery and later in marketing and branding, she began saving money for her future rolling digs. Following a solo vacation to Colorado, she came home inspired to make her daily life more centered around nature, travel, and living with less. For her, RV life was the answer.

Jessy Mueller carries out repairs on the RV’s wooden walls (left) and renovates cabinetry in the kitchen.

Renovation Rejuvenation

Without experience in renovations or even RV travel, she scoured Craigslist until coming across her vintage Dodge Commander motorhome. With extensive water damage in the back, she spent over a year rebuilding the walls and ceiling, while also remodeling the rest of the RV. With intentions of mostly boondocking, she installed solar panels and ditched the original toilet for a compost toilet. For many, this kind of a project would seem overwhelming, but Jessy doesn’t shy away from challenges.

Before and after dining area: Staid cushions and table (left) are replaced by a new configuration with a swivel tray table.

Before and after images of a kitchen nook
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