*Must Read* 10 Must Know RV Myths and Misconceptions

Friday, October 18, 2013
Heather

Easy

I wanted to share with you some of the myths and misconceptions about using or renting an RV and what it was like to be first time RV renters traveling through Yellowstone National Park. Here are 10 myths and misconceptions about RV travel. Keep these on hand if you plan on renting or traveling in an RV!

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Myth #1 -  I will need a special license to drive this... right?

Truth -  No you will not need any other drivers license other than the one you have right now in your wallet. This is a common misconception, probably brought on by how overwhelmed you feel when you look at how much bigger that RV is compared to your everyday car. Driving an RV doesn't require a specialist or even someone with a CDL (commercial drivers license) it just takes a little time getting used to. After about 30 minutes behind the wheel you will realize you are perfectly capable and you will feel like a pro. 

Myth #2 -  You won't have any privacy on your RV vacation.

Truth - No one likes to travel and feel like they have no privacy the whole time, and trust me the RV manufactures have thought about this. Every window has a shade and most RV's have partitions to section off different areas of the RV. Our RV from Access RV had several ways to create more privacy. The master bedroom had a sliding door that can be locked, the bunk area had a partition that could also be locked and the bed above the cab had curtains you could close. It really felt just like I was at home. If my husband needed to get some work done without being disturbed, he had many areas he could choose from to get work done in peace and quiet.

Myth #3 - (speaking of getting work done) It must be impossible to work or stay connected.

Truth - Now this one really depends on where you are at, and also what you do for a profession. If you are a doctor you probably aren't going to be able to get a whole lot of work done while out on the road. But if you have a job that you can at least do some or all of the work remotely and you stay with KOA or another site with wifi you shouldn't have any problems. Now of course most of us don't want to have to work at all while on vacation, but sometimes it just can't be avoided. Luckily as I stated above you should have plenty of space to get whatever work you have done and get back to your vacation.

Myth #4 - Even if I have a kitchen it won't matter since it will be too tiny and I won't have any space.

Truth - This is one that I was concerned about. A few days before we went to pick up our RV I started grocery shopping for our trip and it hit me!

"What if I buy all this food and I can't even prepare anything in such a small kitchen?" and then "what if all the groceries won't even fit in the fridge?" Luckily once I stepped into the RV all those fears were laid to rest.

I found that the kitchen area was a "slide out" so when we were parked I could make the area bigger with a push of a button! And the fridge and freezer were able to fit everything I purchased at the store and I still had a little bit of extra space. Cooking and preparing food really wasn't that much different than when my husband and I lived in our first apartment.

Myth #5 - I am going to hate dealing with hookups

Truth - I have seen plenty of "funny" movies where someone in an RV is taking care of the hookups and something goes wrong, before you know it... you have waste all over the place and an unhappy camper. Well... thank goodness not everything is like the movies. Taking care of hooking up the power, water and waste was super easy and mess free. If this is a concern of yours, you have nothing to worry about! Access RV even included some latex gloves to use.

Myth #6 - RV's are a huge pain to drive and you will probably run into something.

Truth - When we told family and friends that we were getting a 32 foot RV, they were shocked and immediately wondering how we were going to get in and out of gas stations and pretty much anywhere else we would need to go. Now of course when you choose to rent an RV you don't have to get a 32 foot, there are quite a few sizes that are smaller. Although if you do go with something larger, let me personally reassure you that as long as you are slow and careful it's really quite easy to get into a gas station or anywhere else for that matter. And if you want to be a little more cautious you can also have one person get out and help with guiding. We did this especially when backing out of somewhere.

Myth #7 - RVing is for old people

Truth - To be completely honest this is one myth that I never really thought about. Personally I think traveling in an RV is awesome and a wonderful experience for anyone at any age, but I have heard some say that they feel it's just for retirees. Now I won't lie... there is a huge number of retirees that travel the country by RV. But I really think RV travel is best suited for families, especially families with younger children. There is so much to do in the RV my kiddos were never bored. We would sit at the table and color or do puzzles. The kids could sit on the couch and watch a movie. Little ones can take a nap at any time (as you can see above my little boy took full advantage of this feature)

Also you can feed your family without having to even go anywhere! Unlike when you camp in a tent, kids can be hosed down at any point if they get too messy. Our RV also had a shower outside which was super convenient when we went to Yellowstone Lake and they ended up with sand and dirt all over them. An RV really is the best way to travel with kids. Families love RV travel for its outdoor appeal, flexibility, convenience, comfort, family togetherness, and affordability. What more could you need?

Myth #8 - There aren't that many places to stay with an RV

Truth - There are over 14,000 RV parks that cater to RV travelers. Plus the great thing about RV travel is you can park it almost anywhere. You can even have it out in remote areas that may not even have hotels.

Myth #9  - RV travel will leave me broke

Truth - You might be surprised to find out that RV travel is much more cost effective than other travel methods. When you start to add up airfare, hotel, car rental and food it can start to break the bank. Plus staying in a hotel and renting a car isn't nearly as homey or reliable as having your own kitchen, bathroom, and beds. Nothing beats traveling around all day and still having everything you could possibly need at your fingertips. When we started looking into hotel cost in Yellowstone our jaws dropped to the floor! It's crazy how much you will end up spending just on the hotel, that doesn't even take into account all the meals you will be wasting money on. I loved that we could make meals in the RV while we were out. We stopped at Yellowstone Lake and I made us all sandwiches. If we had to eat at one of the restaurants it would have cost close to $30 for all of us to eat. Preparing home cooked meals in your RV will save you a ton! You can head over here to 5 Star RV Rentals to get a comparison of RV travel vs other travel methods.

Myth #10  - You can't bring everything you will need on your vacation

Truth - I can attest to the fact that we brought everything we needed and then some! My husband kept telling me before we that certain items just weren't going to fit; luckily for me he was wrong. Our Sunseeker had plenty of space! I was amazed at how much cargo room it had. We also brought along 3 bikes with us. You can easily tote along bikes and other big toys, it really is your home away from home!

Be sure to check out more tips and info from the best and highly rated RV rental experts at Access RV.

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*Travel Week* Apps to Save Time and Money on Holiday Travel!

Thursday, October 17, 2013
Heather

Easy

Holiday travel can put a dent in your wallet – especially for families. Value-conscious travelers looking for more value for their money this holiday season can save time and money by downloading these free intelligent travel apps.

This is your guide to save big on time, airfare, rental cars, attraction tickets, local activities, hotel reservations, and more.

Wi-Fi Finder

Hotels are charging $15-$20 per day for Internet access. In many cases, this is an optional service, but it can sometimes be built into your daily rate as a “resort fee.” Isn’t Internet access a necessity? U.S. Consumers seem to think it is, so why pay more?

As an alternative, try Wi-Fi Finder. This is a free app available to iPhone and Android users. It determines your location using your phone’s GPS and feeds back a list of places for paid and public Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi Finder permits you to browse for hotspots both online and off, and its search results are visible by list or map view. Your search returns detailed information about the location, including a brief descriptive overview, contact information and directions.

CarRentals.com

For your car rental needs, download CarRentals.com. It gives you instant access to 15,000 rental car locations worldwide and the ability to reserve a car from the palm of your hand. Unfortunately, it’s currently only available to iPhone users.

Simply enter your city, zip, or airport code and the rate you wish to pay, and the app’s price comparison tool feeds back a list of rental car companies based on that criteria. You can select and reserve a rental car from the palm of your hand.

iFindHotels 

The iFindHotels app by HotelsCombined.com finds bargain rates at hotels worldwide. It connects to the HotelsCombined.com directory giving you instant access to price comparison tools, hotel images, descriptions, guest ratings, reviews and maps. You can browse, research and book your hotel stay directly from your smart device.

Tripit

Now that you’re online, and have your rental car and hotel reservations, try Tripit. The Tripit app saves you valuable time by managing all of your itineraries and reservations. Simply forward existing email confirmations to Tripit and have your entire trip organized into a single master itinerary.

Keep the details of your trips current by taking advantage of Auto Import. Auto Import performs a daily scan of your inbox and automatically updates your master itinerary.

This app can be synchronized with Outlook, Google, Lotus, Blackberry and iPhone and iCal calendars and shared with your social networks. It displays local maps, directions and weather forecasts, enables flight check-in, and aids in booking dinner reservations to purchasing movie tickets. It’s like having a virtual travel agent.

Get added features with Tripit Pro, from storing frequent flyer accounts to trip rerouting options, and a complementary 1-year Regus Gold (access to 1,200 worldwide business lounges) and rental car partner membership.

Tripit is available on most smart devices, including Apple’s iPhone and iPad, Samsung’s Tablet, Android, Blackberry and Windows 7 phones.

Foursquare

If you really want to save big, try Foursquare to find great deals on local shopping, dinning, activities — just about anything. A unique money-saving feature of this app is the ability to “check-in” from merchant locations. Check-ins accumulate points and badges and can be redeemed for instant discounts or free merchandise.

Foursquare is interactive and fun. You can save places you’ve visited, write reviews, track merchant specials and have recommendations sent to your smart device. There are currently over 750,000 merchants offering Foursquare specials.

Groupon and Living Social

Finally, be sure to also check out other amazing deals and offers on travel, hotels, entertainment and local promotions by downloading the Groupon and Living Social apps.

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Guest Post: LEGOLAND on a Budget!

Thursday, October 17, 2013
Heather

Easy

Our travel post today is brought to you by Jenn from Annelily Design.

She recently took her kids to LEGOLAND to celebrate her oldest sons 9th birthday check out this post below for her tips of how she did it on a budget! 


Our kids love legos!  Especially our oldest.  For his 9th birthday we decided to include a visit to Legoland on our family vacation to California.  We already had planned to go to Disneyland later in the week so we didn't want to spend too much money at Legoland.  Many destinations in Southern California including Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, Legoland and the Legoland hotel have a deal in October where kids are free with a paying adult.  Legoland is open Thursday-Monday's during the fall months.  Even if you don't visit during the fall I have found kids are free with a paying adult coupons on cereal boxes and online.

Legoland also offers a shopping pass that allows customers to enter the park for one hour for shopping and you can go on rides during that time too.  They charge you the amount of a regular ticket per person and return the amount on your account when you leave within the hour.  Since we were staying at the Legoland hotel it was a free hour for us.  If you aren't staying at the hotel you will just have to pay for parking at Legoland to do this.  We did the shopping pass one day and were able to go on a ride, see the model Lego cities, all the new Star Wars models, and purchase a Lego our 9 year old had saved up for. 


 We stayed at the new Legoland hotel that was just finished in the spring during our visit.  Since it was the off season the rooms were much less expensive than busier times of the year.  The Legoland hotel also offers kids stay free with a paying adult during October.

 At night in the main lobby they offer three hours of free activities for kids.  One of the hours was a lego building contest.  With Halloween being so close the kids were asked to build something scary out of Legos. This was our kids favorite!  I had read the food is pretty expensive at the hotel.  Our room came with some complimentary drinks, but for our meals we brought Pizza in from Sammy's down the road or ate nearby.

Staying at the hotel is a little crazy with all the kids everywhere, but perfect if you have Lego obsessed kids for a night or two.  There are three different themed rooms.  We stayed in the adventure room.  Our room had a bunk bed with trundle underneath in the kids area and a king bed in the other section.

Be sure to head over to Annelily Design to check out the whole post! Want more LEGOLAND? Check out our trip here!

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Travel Week: *Must Read* 5 Travel Scams No One Warned You About!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Heather

Easy

Watch your wallet while you’re on vacation.

You’ve heard that advice before, haven’t you?

But the real danger isn’t from an overt scam like the “fake” front desk call at the hotel in the middle of the night or the spoofed Wi-Fi hotspot.

It isn’t even the predatory timeshare salesmen that take money from you in increments of thousands of dollars.

With a little common sense, you can avoid most of these swindles.

The real hazards are where you least expect them, and they affect you in less obvious ways.

Here are the top 5:

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*Travel Week* Secret Travel Hacks the Airline Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Heather

Easy

When it comes to saving on airline travel, most of the “hacks” we read about involve relatively common ideas, such as accumulating airline miles via credit card offers or using travel apps to find the best fares.

If you’re looking for real hacks, however – the sort that airlines prefer you’d not know, then read on.

But please don’t tell everyone about them – we’d like to continue benefiting from these loopholes before the airlines shut them down.

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About Mamas Spot

We are a family of four that left it all behind to go travel the world. No, literally we left it all. We sold all of our possessions, packed what we could into four suitcases and said goodbye to suburban life. All we own is now pulled behind us as we travel to new and exciting destinations. Showing our kids the world and teaching them about new cultures, food, and ways of life is now our 9-5.

We love watching our kids learn, and learning along side them. Together we have now explored many new countries, visited family on the other side of the world, and made memories that will last a lifetime.

Welcome to our journey!