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Statue of Liberty

Governor Cuomo Announces New Travel Restriction Enforcement’s For New York

Governor Cuomo announced this week that he would be implementing even more travel enforcement operations at all airports in the state in order to ensure that all travelers coming into New York follow quarantine guidelines and restrictions. After New York became one of the country’s initial epicenters for Covid-19 at the beginning of this pandemic, the administration has made it a goal to protect itself from that happening again.

Part of the operation includes having enforcement teams stationed at every airport in New York State. These teams will meet arriving planes at the gates to greet all passengers as they exit into the airport. The enforcement teams will request proof of completion from every passenger in regards to their State Department of Health traveler forms. These forms are given to all airline passengers before, during, and after all flights to New York. 

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The state has now made these forms electronic as well to make it easier for passengers to complete before coming in and out of the state. The Department of Health in New York is also issuing an emergency health order that requires all out-of-state travelers coming into New York to complete the DOH traveler form before coming into the state. Travelers who fail to complete the forms before leaving the airport will be subject to a fine of $2,000 and may be brought in for a court hearing that will order a mandatory state-issued quarantine. 

A multitude of airlines have pledged to help make passengers more hyper-aware of these forms and the importance of filling them out. Many airlines have opted to use pre-flight emails/announcements, as well as in-flight announcements throughout the course of the entire trip. 

If you’re an out-of-state traveler that’s from one of the state’s on New York’s designated travel list you must fill out one of the DOH traveler forms online beforehand, this also holds true if you’re planning on entering the state via train or car. Currently New York has 19 states listed as meeting the criteria for a required quarantine. Cuomo states that it’s up to every out-of-state traveler to comply with the rules if the nation has any chance at recovering. 

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“New York’s success in fighting the COVID-19 virus is under two threats: lack of compliance and the virus coming to New York from other states with increasing infection rates.” 

Larger more commercial airlines will be hiring peace officers and various employees from state agencies to work on the enforcement teams for arriving flights everyday. More regional airports throughout the state will have the teams on site based on the number of daily arrivals. As you could imagine, smaller more regional airports are seeing a lot less traffic especially when compared to larger ones that are located in more populated areas such as NYC. 

Regional airport enforcement teams will also be made up of State DOH employees as well as local police depending on the area. Each airport is being required by the state to set up a large physical space at each gate that stands out and is clear to passengers. These areas will have proper social distancing markers set up and will hopefully work to run smoothly and quickly so that passengers can exit the airport as quickly and safely as possible.

Amtrack Train

Amtrak Offers Buy One Get One Free Deal On Roomette Tickets

Amtrak is offering a new opportunity this summer to encourage individuals to get back to travelling in a safe way this summer. The rail service is offering a buy-one-get-one-free discount for its “roomette” accommodations. Basically, every time a person books a roomette for themselves they will receive a second ticket for free.

A roomette on Amtrak includes two lounge seats that can be converted into beds, a large window, fresh towels/linens, and access to a private bathroom and shower within the train car. A car attendant is also available to provide turndown service and assist you with meal options, luggage, and can even provide information about the areas you’re passing through if you’re feeling more of a tourist vibe on your journey. According to Amtrak spokesperson Olivia Irwin, the car attendants have “great stories of life on the rails” any traveler would be interested in hearing.

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“All customers in private rooms receive complimentary lounge access at major stations, priority boarding and complimentary meals on board.”

The offer currently only lasts between July 7th – 17th and will only be valid for trips that will take place between July 13th to September 30th. The tickets and deals are also based on availability and won’t be used for travelers on Amtrak’s Auto Train; the train that allows customers to bring their vehicle on the ride.

Riders must book their trip at least three days in advance and no other discounts will be able to be applied to the purchase if they’re taking advantage of the buy-one-get-one deal. Cancellation fees apply depending on how close the cancellation is to the actual date of departure/booking.

The website lists a few example prices for trips that the deal can be applied to. Some of these trips include a $193 journey from Chicago to Minneapolis (or vice versa), a $319 trip from Washington D.C. to Chicago, and a $243 trip from Atlanta to New Orleans. All pricing listed is good for two individual round-trip tickets.

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Other Amtrak lines that are applying the roomette deal in the US include California Sephyr, Capitol Limited, Cardinal, the entire City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Silver Service, Texas Eagle, and Empire Builder to name a few.

Guests will be able to access the discount by entering the code “V306” when booking their tickets on the Amtrak app or on the companies website; which lays out instructions on when to enter the code as well.

Amtrak in general has already implemented a multitude of health and safety measures for its daily commuters amid the Covid-19 pandemic as well. Ticket change and cancellation fees for regular tickets have been waived for any trip reservation made by August 31st; if you use the discount code cancellation fees will still apply.

Regular ticket sales have also remained limited to maintain social distancing between all passengers at all times. Cleaning and disinfecting methods have been increased especially for high-touch surfaces among the train and station. Clear protective barriers have been implemented into most Amtrak stations, and passengers are required to wear face coverings on trains and in stations at all times unless they book a private room.

To prevent crowing, they’re strongly encouraging all their customers to arrive at least 30 minutes before their departure time to avoid overcrowding the station and its employees. Food services have been made for carry-out only and physical distancing markers and signs have been added. So if you and a loved one decide to book a ticket using this deal, make sure you act fast and stay safe just like Amtrak is trying to.

Woman Traveler in Thailand

Travel Experts Claim Tourism Will Be More Personalized Post-Coronavirus

According to hotel, aviation, and tourism experts, the future of travel in a post-coronavirus world is going to be all about “hyper-personalization” and luxury.  International borders have already begun to reopen which has already given travellers an insight into what the industry is going to look like when it comes to travelling in this new age of living. 

Mr and Mrs Smith’s Founder and Chief Creative Officer James Lohan recently spoke with the media about travelling in a post-Covid world and claims that privacy and personalization will be on the top of every businesses list. Hotels that are already reopening to the public obviously are needing to take major precautions for both staff and guest safety. Lohan believes that guests will begin to notice more options to design their own stay when planning future vacations. 

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“Customers will be asked how they want to be looked after. Do you want your bags carried or would you rather have no contact with the staff? Would you like to have your turn-down every night or not? Do you want your room made up every day or not?”

The goal is comfort, and while many individuals are likely to opt out of travelling until a coronavirus vaccine becomes a reality, there are others who will be forced into beginning work again soon and will likely need to travel. Individuals who need to self-quarantine for other reasons will likely take advantage of hotel/rental reopenings for the summer and beyond as well. 

Lohan also predicts that serving hours for meals in hotel restaurants will likely expand to allow less individuals to be present in one space at a time. Ordering food will also become more digitized in more of a room service type of format. Minimizing face-to-face contact between staff and guests will also be top priority for everyone’s safety. 

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Hotels located in major metropolitan areas are projected to struggle the most at attracting guests to come back after lockdown. For one, many individuals will likely be anxious to enter any major city in the US by the time this pandemic ends. On the other hand, many individuals who do want to get back into the city may also avoid it due to the fact that they know everyone else will avoid it. The going out culture in cities is what makes vacationing in one so exciting, so without the travelers there to fill the streets, many would rather keep their trips simple. 

The biggest change that Lohan and other experts are projecting to occur is a decrease in how often the average individual travels, but an increase in how lavish they vacation when they do. Tourists will likely want to make travel something special, based on the fact that it’s something we’re all being denied at the moment. 

The reality is also over 40 million Americans lost their jobs within the past three months, so the market of individuals who can afford to travel is going to become much smaller for the US. However, this also means that once the economy recovers and jobs are created, individuals will likely want to wait and save for the perfect luxury trip to really make their time away from home worth it in the future. 

It won’t matter how the travel industry looks in a post-coronavirus world, however, if we don’t actually get to a place where Covid-19 is no longer an issue. Continue to take every health and safety precaution you can and listen to your healthcare professionals so that hopefully one day soon you’ll be booking a flight again to your favorite Caribbean island. 

Fireworks

Major US Cities Making Adjustments To Their Fourth Of July Firework Displays

The Fourth of July is often celebrated with backyard barbecues, American flags, and of course, fireworks. However, this year the coronavirus pandemic has created a major obstacle for many fourth of July celebrations. Many major American cities that are known for their massive annual displays have already made announcements for what they plan to do this year to ensure spectators remain healthy and safe while still enjoying sparks light up the night sky.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall cancelled the city’s firework shows that typically take place in Jordan and Liberty Park and instead is asking residents to decorate their homes in red, white, and blue. Residents will be able to light their own fireworks from July 2nd to July 5th between the hours of 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., according to the Salt Lake City fire department.

Chicago cancelled its annual fireworks show at the Navy Pier but the city is still planning on maintaining some level of safe celebration. The city itself is hosting an at-home salsa dance class, a virtual house music festival, and a virtual Independence Day Salute concert accompanied by a professional orchestra for multiple ways of celebrating.

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“While we all reflect on America’s promise of freedom and justice and its painful legacy of racial injustice, I invite Chicagoans to commemorate this year’s holiday with family and close friends, connected with our city and people across our country through the healing power of music,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

In Washington D.C., the nation’s capital is still planning to have some celebrations this year, although the National Independence Day Parade has been cancelled. “A Capitol Fourth” will be hosting a pre-recorded 90 minute program on PBS at 8 p.m. on the fourth as opposed to their normal annual live show in the U.S. Capitol’s West Lawn.

The White House also released a statement in which they said their national “Salute to America” will take place on the South Lawn and feature music, military demonstrations, and flyovers to honor the nation’s service members and first responders who have been battling this pandemic on the front lines.

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Las Vegas is continuing on with plans of multiple firework displays, including one at the famous Red Rock Resort. The event will also be live streamed on the resorts website and social media pages so that anyone can enjoy the show from the comfort of quarantine. The Red Rock Resort parking lot will also be open for spectators who want to see the display in person with social distancing measures enforced.

Los Angeles in general has been setting off fireworks mysteriously every night amid the massive protests for social justice; the same occurrences have been happening in New York City and other major metropolitans as well. The city itself, however, is still planning to continue on with their annual Independence Day shows, but will likely be reduced to only last for 15 minutes maximum.

Finally, New York City recently got word from Macy’s that the retail giant would be setting off 5-minute firework displays in all five boroughs of the city over multiple nights, starting on June 29th.

“Each display will launch from one or two unannounced land or water-based locations across New York City. The final display sites were chosen because they could safely accommodate the launch and firing of large-scale pyrotechnics,” according to city officials.

Regardless of how you plan to celebrate this year, it’s of the utmost importance that we all collectively continue to listen to the world’s healthcare workers and abide by social distancing measures. If you’re planning on attending a firework show in person that is projected to attract a large crowd, wear a face covering, stand at least six feet apart from everyone, and make sure to sanitize/clean yourself properly after you return home.

Traveling

These International Borders Are Planning To Reopen This Month

The Covid-19 pandemic is still very much a public health crisis, so many individuals are likely not going to be travelling anytime soon. However, many international borders have begun to/are projecting to reopen this month based on how badly they’re country is infected. Here’s an update on some of the international borders that are planning to potentially reopen this month:

The Canada and US border was projecting to reopen on June 21st, however, they’re now extending that date to go into July. Prior to this extension airlines in both the US and Canada began booking select routes to and from both countries. While non-essential travel is still banned between the US and Canada, essential trade is permissible between both countries. Canadians are also allowed to fly into the US but US citizens cannot fly into Canada. 

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The US and Mexico border is gearing up to reopen on June 22nd. Unessential travel has previously been banned, and Canada’s decision to extend their border closure may influence Mexico’s decision on whether or not to extend the date, however, for now they’re still projecting to open on the 22nd. An increase in Covid-19 cases in Arizona and Texas has also worried Mexican government officials. While Mexico isn’t planning on enforcing visitors to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, individuals should expect a personal interview and temperature checks. 

Travelling to the Caribbean is going to be dependent on what specific island you would go to. Each island has different opening dates based on how badly they’ve been impacted by Covid-19, however, a majority of the islands have managed to keep case numbers relatively low. 

The entire continent of South America is still under some of the strictest lockdown conditions in the world. Brazil lifted their internal travel ban in May, however, air travel into Brazil won’t be allowed until June 21st, and potentially later depending on if they extend the date or not. It’s important to note that even if the projected date for reopening is tomorrow, it’ll still be subject to change based on how many new cases continue to appear. Brazil alone has the second-highest recorded coronavirus death count, so the government in Latin America is projecting they won’t be able to fully reopen until September the earliest. 

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The United Kingdom was one of the last nations to ban international air travel in and out of the country when the pandemic began. Starting June 8th the UK began requiring that all visitors must self-quarantine for 14-days and provide housing/contact details to local authorities so they can ensure you’re abiding by the lockdown requirements. If one fails any of the requirements they could be subject to a fine of up to $1200. 

Travel between Europe and the US will likely not begin for a long time. Countries within Europe are gradually reopening the same way that states within America are also loosening their health and safety restrictions. However, as we’ve seen in America this premature reopening has led to a huge spike in cases in over 19 states. Some European nations, such as Germany and Ireland, are projecting to open by July, and Greece has already reopened to international travelers; however visitors are required to quarantine for 14 days and wear a mask in public. 

Australia and New Zealand are planning on waiving travel restrictions between each other, but not internationally. Australia will likely allow international visitors first, but require a 14-day quarantine like most places. 

In general, essential workers, trade, and business events would be the only reason one could travel internationally this summer. Every date is subject to change, and many have multiple times, so for now, if you want to be able to travel to any of these places without any Covid-19 fears we must continue to listen to our healthcare providers and protect ourselves and our loved ones. 

Summer Vacation

Planning A Summer Vacation During A Pandemic

Now that summer is officially here, many are trying to think of alternative ways to scratch their vacation itch without breaking Covid-19 health and safety restrictions. Luckily, many home rental and hotel services are still offering ways for you and your loved ones to travel this summer with updated guest policies to ensure everyone has a healthy and fun time. 

Home rental services specifically will be seeing a major influx in business within the next few months, and they may receive even more business then they’re used to, according to Sean Breuner who’s the CEO of AvantStay, a short-term home rental company. 

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“Usually we average about three to four days per stay and now that has increased dramatically. You might see four couples get together to work from home in Scottsdale for a month at a time… people looking for control versus going to a hotel. Generally, people are booking in two windows: they’re either looking to travel immediately or scoping out a trip for late summer,” he explained. 

Home-rentals also offer a change in quarantine scenery. As stated by Breuner, many adults who have been working from home for the past few months are using rental services to change up the spaces they live out their lockdown days in. 

Major hotel chains across America have also begun implementing new health and safety procedures to ensure every guest feels comfortable staying there. For example, Marriott International has adopted new hygiene technology that includes electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectant for all rooms. Hyatt Hotels have hired “Hygiene Managers” for all of their locations to oversee proper disinfection protocols; Hilton Hotels are doing something similar and also employing a “CleanStay Room Seal” so that guests are guaranteed their rooms haven’t been touched since its cleaning. 

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There’s expected to be a major influx in road trips this year, as that genuinely is one of the safest ways to vacation in terms of Covid-19; especially if you’re driving an RV or trailer. 

“People are really embracing the road trip. We’re seeing a lot fewer people book island trips and flights… people can still get away to the lakes, the river, the countryside, and have that bigger space,” Jeff Hurst, the president of Vrbo, a summer rental company, said.

John Staff is the CEO of Getaway, which offers tiny home rentals that are located within driving distance of major cities in America, and in a recent interview he claimed that his company saw a 400% increase in bookings for this summer once president Trump officially banned travel to Europe. 

Obviously, the main concern with all of these options is cleanliness, health, and safety. Major home rental services like Vrbo, Getaway, Airbnb, etc. have all made their new disinfecting/cleaning procedures public online to ensure all guests know they’re walking into a covid-free space. If you’re planning to go the home rental route, call the owner regardless and ask them to take you through what their process is, remember, this is their property, so they likely are going to want the space to be just as clean as you do. 

You can do the same with any hotel you’re planning on staying at, or even campsite grounds if you’re deciding to do that as well. Regardless, make sure you’re prioritizing your health, as that’s what we all should be doing in general right now.

Carribbean

Caribbean Islands Prepare To Reopen For International Travel During Covid-19 Pandemic

I think it’s safe to say we all could use a major break from the world right now, and what better place to take that break than the Caribbean Islands? While Covid-19 is still very much an issue in America, and the entire world, right now, some countries are beginning to reopen their doors as a result of curve flattening. Specifically, many islands within the Caribbean are reopening within the next few months, with some new social distancing measures put into play. 

So far, the island of Anguilla has only had three cases of Covid-19 reported. The British overseas territory closed their airports and shipping ports until at least June 30th; hence the low case numbers. For local islanders, business and other restrictions began lifting on April 30th, allowing gatherings of 25 or less. 

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Antigua and Barbuda opened up their borders on June 1st after only suffering through 26 cases. They have a plan in place to slowly reopen their international airport within the next month or so. Visitors will be required to wear a mask at all times when in public. Visitors will also have to be tested for Covid-19 two days before their arrival, and they must bring proof of a negative result. 

Aruba has just over 100 cases but expects to reopen its borders during the second-half of June. On May 25th the island allowed outdoor restaurants to open up under a strict night curfew. The island has also implemented a new cleaning and hygiene certification program for all tourism-related businesses. This program includes initiatives to sanitize luggage, as well as using protective barriers at concierge desks. 

The Bahamas have had around the same number of cases as Aruba, and they plan to reopen to commercial travel on July 1st. Visitors will only be able to visit islands where the virus has been completely contained. All international airports, resorts, and hotels will remain closed to international travelers until further notice. 

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Not all islands are as optimistic about when they’ll be able to reopen, however. The Cayman Islands have had 150 cases of coronavirus and are planning on remaining closed for all non-essential travel into September. Cuba has had around 3,000 cases and is leaving its airports closed until at least June 30th. The Dominican Republic has collectively had over 17,000 cases and are remaining closed indefinitely. 

Jamaica has had around 600 cases and allowed most of its citizens to return to work on June 1st. Bars and restaurants have also reopened with new capacity restrictions, and they’re hoping to open up their airport to resume flights from Baltimore and Orlando on June 7th. 

Puerto Rico has had more than 3,900 cases but have begun reopening local businesses and public areas like the beach. Restaurants have also been opened, again with new capacity restrictions, and as of right now anyone who visits the island is required to quarantine for 14 days, regardless of how healthy they feel. 

Saint Lucia got lucky and only reported 18 total cases of Covid-19. They begun welcoming back visitors to their island this Thursday, June 4th, as long as they can provide a valid negative test result for the coronavirus taken 48 hours before their flight. They also will be required to wear masks and could be subject to temperature checks upon arrival. 

For further information covering all of the islands in the Caribbean, click here.

Fathers Day

Father’s Day Gift Ideas To Get For Your Outdoorsy Dad

If you have a father who enjoys travelling, he’s probably struggling with the thought of remaining indoors for the rest of the summer amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, since Father’s Day is coming up, now is the perfect time to get the special man in your life something that will remind him of life before the pandemic, and also that this will be over soon, and he’ll be able to hit the road soon enough!

This city map glass from the brand Uncommon Goods combines two great dad stereotypes, drinking dark liquor, and cheesy tourist gifts. The glasses are customizable for most US cities, so you can get a different one for every trip you and your dad took together, one for all the places you want to go in the future, your hometown, or all of the above!

A Fitbit Fitness Activity Tracker is a great staple gift to get for any active individual in your life, but if your dad is responsible for walking the family dog everyday, doing the food shopping, or in general just likes going for long hikes, this gift will be perfect for fathers day. The bracelet tracks how many steps you take in a day, your heart rate, sleeping patterns, and even has built-in GPS and Spotify capabilities. 

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The Jack Black Grand Tour Collection of toiletries for men is a widely popular travel grooming kit for middle-aged men (the company’s main demographic) on the go. The kit comes with deodorant, SPF moisturizer, shaving cream, face cleanser, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. 

The popular “Better Sweater” quarter-zip pullover from outdoorsy brand Patagonia is a super soft classic long-sleeve fleece that will definitely keep your dad warm during the cooler months of the year. You can wear it by itself in the fall, or under a winter coat for an extra layer of warmth. 

Polarized sunglasses in general make amazing gifts for dads. I think we all know what I mean when I say the term “dad sunglasses” so give your old man some style advice by buying him a fresh pair of polarized glasses. These will not only offer the best protection against the sun, but will also help your dad’s wardrobe upgrade a little. 

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If your dad fulfills every aspect of the man’s man dad stereotype, then this Leatherman Wave multi-tool should be a great gift for him. This sleek and portable tool packs in 16 different tool options, including a serrated knife, saw, pliers, a wrench, etc. 

Dads are also famously known for not knowing how to pack for vacation. Most don’t even have a solid overnight bag for shorter trips, so get your dad a nice new duffle bag. The gear we travel with is a part of our overall travel style as well, so by getting your dad a cool new faux leather bag, you’ll be indirectly helping upgrade his wardrobe yet again. 

Yeti has become one of the most popular cooler brands for the avid traveler/camper. The Yeti Hopper M30 Cooler is one of their more well-known products, and it has the same indestructible easy to carry chilling technology that the brand is famous for. 

Finally, no dad is complete without a solid pair of wireless headphones to listen to his music with. There are many brands of wireless headphones out there, and all are relatively credible, the kind you should get is more dependent on how much money you want to spend. The Bose QuietControl 30 Wireless headphones are very popular at the moment and retail for $300, while Apple’s original Airpod design currently retails for about half of that.

Violin

The Story Of Milli Violini And The Miming Orchestra

At just 21-years-old, Hindman was living alone in New York and paying for her Columbia University tuition by selling her own eggs. She’s always played the violin, but was originally studying to be a war correspondent.

RV

Things You Should Know Before Renting An RV

Fantasizing about going on vacation during a worldwide pandemic is either the last thing on your mind, or the only thing keeping you sane during this entire quarantine. However, it can still be fun to disengage from our current reality and think about what life will be like once all of this over, even if it’s just for a little while. 

Taking a trip in an RV has risen in popularity exponentially within the past decade, and now that we’re in the middle of a pandemic that requires you and your loved ones to distance yourself from the rest of the world, an RV road trip is actually one of the most realistic vacations you can go on in the middle of a pandemic; assuming you’ll be keeping to yourselves wherever you end up camping out. So if you’ve never owned an RV but are debating investing just to get out of this reality for a little, here are a few things you should know: 

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The biggest obstacle most people think about when it comes to getting an RV is the investment itself. But if you’re simply renting the vehicle, it’s really not as expensive as you would think. The cost of rental is dependent on how long you’re planning on using the RV for, where you’re going, the type of vehicle, and other extra costs like insurance and camping supplies. On average an RV rental can run about $150 a night, or around $1,000 for every five days. 

The other major cost is paying to park your RV, if you have a friend’s property or access to a free overnight parking lot depending on where you’re going, that’s obviously going to be your best bet. If you don’t have access to either of these options, RV overnight parking normally costs around $30-$50 a night depending on the area. 

“Pack thoughtfully, RV renters should speak to the RV owner about what they keep on board for their renters, such as linens and cookware. It’s important to have a tool kit and first-aid kit on hand, in case of emergencies. If you’re traveling with kids, don’t forget games, craft supplies, movies, kitchen supplies, and of course, sticks, graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate for making s’mores,” says Megan Buemi, senior manager of content marketing at RVshare

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When planning your trip, get the whole family involved in what you guys are looking to do. Plan out your route beforehand so that you’re prepared for how long your journey will be and where the most ideal places to stop, for either sleeping or bathroom breaks, will be.If you’re going to be staying at a lot for RV’s specifically, make sure to call ahead of time to reserve a spot if needed. 

If you’re making the decision to go on an RV road trip, you also need to consider things like if you’re going to be the one driving, where you’re going to pick it up, if you’re just going to tow it behind your regular car for the whole journey, etc. There’s a lot of specific factors that really have more to do with how you personally feel. 

Don’t drive an RV for the sake of adventure if you’re not actually confident in your ability to do so. Like any vehicle, once you get behind the wheel you’re responsible for the safety of everyone inside the RV as well as everyone else on the road. So be mindful, do your research, and talk to some experts before making any major decisions.