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Friday, December 23, 2011

FAQs

I thought I'd do a post and answer some of the questions that have been asked by many of you in our comments section or at our email address.

How long have you been RVing?

We bought our first RV in 1993, it was a 1973 Travel Mate 21 foot RV.  You can read about how we started in our very first blog post here

How do you access Internet and Skype on the road?

We use a Sprint Aircard and we have it set into a Cradlepoint router making our own WiFi hotspot inside the Journey.  We have had very good luck with the aircard and have had very good coverage with it all across the US.  Once in a while it might be a little slow and on rare occasions, I have trouble posting pictures.  It costs us about $60 per month.

How do you get your mail on the road? 


We use Alternative Resources mailing service in Sioux Falls, SD.  They have given us a mailing address to have our mail sent to.  Twice a month, we contact them and have whatever mail that has come in sent to our location, wherever that might be.  Sometimes it is a family member's house, or a campground or a nearby post office that will accept general delivery mail.

What do you do for TV?

We subscribe to DirecTV and have an in motion satellite dome on the roof of the Journey.  For times when we are parked at a campground that is heavily treed, we have a portable satellite dish that we use to tune in the signal.  We also have an over the air antenna but since that system went from analog signals to digital we seldom use it.  We have installed the adapter box to change the digital signal so that our non digital TV can accept it, but it works poorly.  Seems we can get great coverage from Chinese and Russian TV stations but can't get local stations merely a few miles away to come in, even after doing multiple scans.

What do you use for phone service?

Marti has an i-Phone and I use a standard cell phone with service through AT&T.

What do you do for health insurance?

We have Tricare Standard medical insurance.  I am retired from the Coast Guard and this is one benefit I earned for my service.  It covers both Marti and me with a small deductible.

What do you do for dental care?

We looked into dental insurance and we don't see that it is cost effective for us.  We'll pay out of pocket as needed and we're going to look into dental checkups in Mexico.

How do you earn income on the road?

I have a pension income from my military service that meets our needs.  It isn't extravagant but it will allow us to enjoy our full time travels if we follow our budget carefully.  We are not opposed to work-kamping if the need arises or we want to try it sometime in a place we'd like to spend some extended time.  We have other investments for our future when we someday decide to buy another home.

How did you learn to fix your RV?

I've always been a tinkerer with mechanical things.  I went to technical school after high school and studied automotive and diesel technology.  I also had many technical courses in the Coast Guard where I served part of my career as a machinery technician working on all kinds of engines and equipment.  After a while, mechanical things seem easy to figure out and fix.

How do you find the cheapest price for propane?

I have a Flying J RV Real Value Card, which gives an additional 10 cent discount per gallon to their already reasonable propane price.  I like the availability of Flying Js and the ease of getting in and out of most locations.  Plus, you can get a 3 cent per gallon discount on diesel fuel, 2 cent per gallon discount on gasoline and half off their dump fee.

Now that you are fulltimers, why don't you change your header picture of your motorhome in front of your house?


The header picture was taken at the Tropical Palms Campground in Kissimee, FL in 2009.  It is my favorite picture of our Journey (so far).  We were on a trip to Disney World with our grandsons and we left a day early to beat a winter storm.  Arriving a day earlier than our reservations at Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground, there was no room for us so we stayed at Tropical Palms CG for the one night.

Speaking of campgrounds, what is your favorite?

Hands down, Disney's Fort Wilderness is our favorite.  It isn't cheap, but we go during the Value Season (1January to 14 February) when prices are much more reasonable and crowds are much less.

What is your favorite state?


Relaxed in my recliner with a good book and a Diet Coke.  Actually, this is hard to answer because we haven't been to all the states yet.  So far I (Paul) like Utah the best because of the wide variety of scenery and things to do.  This could change as we travel more.

What does your budget look like?


We have a draft budget that we'll hone each month.  Some items we pad a bit for unexpected costs, others are pretty fixed.  We have money set aside for repairs, upgrades and unplanned costs so we don't have them in our budget.  Right now this is what we're thinking for our monthly expenses:

Campgrounds - $750 or $25/night  (This is a padded number which we can control using cheaper campgrounds, military Famcamps, Passport America, boondocking, moochdocking, etc.)

Fuel, Motorhome - $750 (This is a padded number which will vary depending on how far we travel.  Less travel will reduce this number.  If we spend it all, we can travel approximately 1500-1700 miles per month and we don't foresee that kind of travel every month.  The leftover money from short travel months will go into our savings account for months when we have to travel further or unexpected fuel price spikes).

Fuel, Car - $100

Propane - $25

Food - $400 (We hope to reduce this using military commissaries).

Entertainment - $100

Vehicle Insurance - $134

Phone - $150

TV - $95

Internet, Sprint aircard - $60

Clothing - $50

Hair care (Marti) - $25


Mail Service - $25

Gifts, donations - $100-200

Misc. - $ 200

Savings - $200

Again, this is a draft and we'll have to adjust it as we go along.

We'll update our FAQ's as we get them.  Feel free to keep asking questions, either in the comment section of our blog or at our email address:  rsanity.dahl@gmail.com.  If you forget our email, it is located at the very bottom of our blog page.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

9 comments:

  1. When I went with my family to Disney World *many* years ago (mid 70's) we stayed in the campground there. It was marvelous! Honestly, I remember more from the campground than I do the park! Merry Christmas to y'all! :)

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  2. I love reading other people's budgets. Thanks for sharing.

    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

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  3. interesting answers to your many questions!!!...

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  4. Lots of questions for you to answer. Unlike living in a home on a solid foundation, many of the expenses of RV'ers can be controlled. Thank goodness.

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  5. Wow Paul, You're sounding like an old PRO there. Someone would think you've been on the road for years! Merry Christmas you two. Stay safe and cozy!

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  6. Your budget sounds alot like ours. It's nice not to have to pay much for health insurance.
    I have another question. Do you ever fuel up at the big truck area or get diesel only at the RV islands? Thanks
    Syl

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  7. Syl,

    I have used truck islands when I have to, but they are not my first choice.

    I don't like them because I try to stay out of the working trucker's way first of all. When pulling up to the pump, I have to go inside and pay an estimated amount first, then the attendant puts that amount on the pump.

    The nozzles are very big and pump fuel at a high rate. Diesel fuel is very foamy and often I'll get a back splash of fuel even though the nozzle has clicked off.

    On my model year (2007) Journey, with the Freightliner chassis, Winnebago mounted the fuel fill pipe at an almost flat angle and it takes a few minutes to squeeze in the last 10 or so gallons.

    As soon as I am done fueling, I pull forward so the truck waiting behind me can fuel, then I go inside and settle the exact amount on my credit card at the fuel desk.

    At the Flying J RV pumps, they use the standard auto nozzle even on the diesel pump. Much easier to use and squeeze the last 10 gallons in. Plus you can use your credit card right at the pump, although it usually has a $75 limit that you can do twice.

    I find it best to still go in and prepay for the RV pumps at the fuel desk so I don't bump up against the $75 limit. Plus I'm not holding up any truckers.

    Not a big deal, just my preference.
    You'll have to try both ways when you get that new DP next year! ;c)

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  8. Merry Christmas from our family to yours Paul and Marti...have a wonderful day and all the very best in 2012

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  9. Hummmm. I don't see anything in the budget for your haircare, just Marti's. What's with that? Are you a fan of the Flowbee?

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