Let’s just say my husband and I are newbies when it comes to the RV life. We always wanted to try traveling with an RV but we didn’t even know the start of it. Do we have to charge it? Do we have to fill up water? How does any of this actually work? Well it turns out, we learned real quick and it has inspired a kind of travel that we will continue to pursue for the rest of our lives.
The thing about traveling with an RV is that it gives you freedom. A kind of swept with the wind, do what your heart desires kind of freedom. You wake up when you want to, you eat when you want to, you hike and enjoy the nature around you when and how you want to.
My husband and I traveled for about two weeks in the South-Western region of the United States. Yup, that meant driving from one incredible national park to the other in Arizona and Utah.
Some of the highlights included feeling the immensity of the Grand Canyon, witnessing the sunrise over the horseshoe bend, learning about the Navajo way of living and hiking through the stunning colors of Sedona Park.
Traveling with an RV allowed us to slowly witness the changing of the landscape. One day, we would go from the colorful collection of pinnacles, mesas, and canyons surrounding the Sedona area to the flat desert and stunning red rock formations of the Monument Valley. Another day would start with a sunrise stroll among the stunning colors of Zion’s sandstone and end in a field of giant cacti near Phoenix. Seeing the landscapes change dramatically was astonishing.
The places that really touched our hearts were Monument Valley in Arizona and Zion National Park in Utah. Driving up to Monument Valley, you realize how immense and majestic nature really is. It makes you feel little in this giant world and gives you some much-needed perspective. In Zion, the mountains were so diverse. Some looked like cotton candy or slathered whipped cream. Others were jagged red and lush green. We experienced two incredible hikes while in Zion: Angel’s Landing, a 1,488-foot-tall rock formation, recommended for those who are not scared of heights, and the Narrows, where you find yourself wading through water to reach the crevices of the canyon.
After a long day of hiking, we would park our RV in a dedicated campsite or we would simply “boondock” in the middle of nowhere. That meant finding places to randomly park our RV in nature. If you feel adventurous, give boondocking a try. Waking up in the middle of a forest with no one around you is priceless and will also help you to keep your budget in check. We dry camped in the middle of the Arizona and Utah border. The sky was magic and we had one of our best nights enjoying the wild.
Cruise America’s RVs come equipped with a fully functioning kitchen, a bathroom with shower and a comfortable lounge area where we could dine and relax. After a long day of hiking, we really loved returning to our mobile home, freshening ourselves up and getting ready for the evening. Most nights involved starting a bonfire, cooking dinner, opening a nice bottle of wine and gazing at the stars. There is nothing more peaceful than watching shooting stars and listening to the crickets roaring at night.
A bit of good news for any other newbies thinking about renting an RV: it’s super easy and there are just a few things to keep in mind.
- From time to time, you have to fill up the water tank for taking showers and washing dishes. We had to refill our tank every three to four days but this will depend on your water use as well as the RV model you will be using. Refilling water is simply done via a water hose at any campsites or other designated areas.
- You may also need to plug in the RV to charge your electronics from time to time, or if you’re finding a quiet place to dry camp, you can use the generator.
- Also, you may need to dump the grey water of your RV once in a while. There are dedicated dumping stations at most campsites and it’s frankly super easy to do.
If any of this sounds intimidating, do not worry, the folks at Cruise America will explain everything to you before you start your adventure. We were initially nervous but picked everything up real fast.
Traveling with an RV allowed my husband and I to have a little home with us while we road tripped. We had complete control of our schedule. We went wherever we wanted, whenever we wanted. We could randomly stop along the way to take pictures or have lunch or even take a nap. Also we went grocery shopping twice and made incredible meals, such as pasta, salmon, burgers and salads. The fridge worked well. This allowed us to save money because we were able to avoid expensive restaurant meals. We also didn’t have to pay for shabby hotel rooms and abide by rigid check out times, having to move our luggage and pack it every time.
Mostly, it was being able to have the flexibility of spending time outdoors and being self-sufficient that really made the RV experience special. It didn't feel like we were tourists, it felt like we were living a lifestyle. It definitely won’t be the last time we travel with an RV. We hope to do it again soon in my home country of Canada, where I can already hear the mountains calling!
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To see more of Emanuela's adventures visit her on Instagram. Emanuela departed from Salt Lake City, Utah in a Compact RV.