Going To Church On Vacation

Going To Church On Vacation

To be fair, it is understandable to not want to go to church on vacation. When traveling abroad or taking a vacation, we feel like we would be uncomfortable and glaring in a church full of strangers. The idea of not knowing anyone at a church is something that can give us a certain amount of anxiety. There could be a language barrier to contend with, and there could also be a matter of finding someone to take care of the children, if you have any. Unless you plan to bring the children along, this is just one more thing you are going to need to consider.

Should I Go To Church On Vacation?

And then it’s entirely possible that you just don’t want to get up early while on vacation. Again, that is understandable. It can certainly feel as though one is going against the grain of how a vacation is supposed to go. There is no question that when we take a break from the rigors of our everyday routine, we often include our relationship to the church in that detachment.

 

While it is necessary, and obviously vital, to take a break from the ordinary on your vacation, this thought need not apply to attending church. Furthermore, the anxieties you may feel about going to a different church can be dramatically outweighed by the long list of benefits. There are just a number of different things that you are going to want to keep in mind.

 

Why You Should Go To Church On Vacation

To be sure, going to church on vacation can be a little challenging. You have to create the resolve to continue building and appreciating your relationship with Christ through fellowship. Then you have to find a church. Then you have to any necessary arrangements. Is it worth the potential hassle? Absolutely.

 

Depending on where you are in the world, there is an excellent chance that there is an English church in the area in which you are vacationing. At the same time, even if you don’t speak the language, you will often find that someone at a service will. They will more likely than not be only too happy to help out a fellow Christian.  A great first stop is to lookup Universal Church of the Kingdom of God Locations since this organization is not only welcoming to all guests but has a huge number of locations around the world.

 

To celebrate your faith in such varied company is a rare gift. While keeping up with the church in our local community is important, it is also important to remember that our faith is a global entity. It is something that you share with people all throughout the world. In just about every corner of the world, someone is celebrating their faith in a fashion similar to yours. In other words, no matter where you are in the world, you can also certainly find a church. You can find people who are going to be only too happy to welcome you into their worship. You will be able to experience the stunning, uplifting power of coming together with people from so many different nations and walks of life. To say that this will all strengthen your relationship to your faith is an understatement!

Due Diligence – Purchasing a Used RV

Coming to the decision to (finally!) purchase an RV is exciting, and downright scary!  Once you’ve committed to the idea it’s time to settle in to some good old-fashioned due diligence on the vehicle you’re looking to acquire – especially when you’ve decided on purchasing a used model.  Whether it’s a last-year’s “gently used” demo vehicle or one that’s seen a few presidents come and go the research you need to do will follow the same process.  Our team has put together a checklist of sorts to help you as you navigate the 101+ things that could possibly be wrong with your prospective purchase.  Follow these steps and you’re sure to maximize enjoyment of your used RV and make memories for years to come while minimizing time in the shop!

First Things First – Pick a Budget

A deceptively simple step, it’s nonetheless mandatory.  Don’t stroll into a RV dealer and end up being hypnotized by all of the doodads and whizz-bangs featured by most RV makes today. Knowing your max budget including insurance and other expected costs will be vital as you move through the diligence period.

Will you be paying or financing out of pocket? If funding, now is a terrific time to get pre-approved through a lending institution by yourself, or to look into your prospective dealers’ financing options. Make sure likewise to have everything you require for a deposit or full purchase rate.

How old is okay?

When buying secondhand, some of the hot features you think of as must-haves won’t be available on older models – is that something you can live with (or better yet, are you able to efficiently retro-fit such options)?  If technology isn’t really as much of an issue to you, or if you understand you want to renovate and customize your RV, then an older model may be the very best fit. However, if modern-day benefits like a big screen and a full-size fridge TV are top on the priority list, then a newer design within your spending plan is what you ought to focus your efforts on.

What Kind of RV are you considering?

Toyhauler, Pop-Up, Class B, Fifth Wheel, Class-C, Class-A … These may all seem like foreign terms right now, however selecting a type of RV can quickly be narrowed down simply by selecting if you wish to drive the thing (as in a motorhome), or pull it (pop-up, travel trailer, or fifth wheel). From there, you can narrow it down some more by choosing how much space you will require to be comfy. Other considerations:

  • What is the maximum tow capability of your auto? Do you have a “tow package”? (Pull-behind)
  • What is the maximum length you’re okay with backing up and pulling? (Pull-behind)
  • For a Motorhome: How big is big enough (without being too big)?
  • Sleeping Capacity
    • 2-4 Sleepers: Pop-Up, Lightweight Travel Trailer, or Class-B
    • 5+ Sleepers (don’t forget pets!): Class C, Class A, or a 5th-wheel
5th Wheel Trailer

5th Wheel Trailer

Research the major brands

There are numerous producers in the marketplace, each with their unique functions and conveniences. Narrowing your search down early to a select couple of manufacturers that provide exactly what you are trying to find will assist you in the long run.

Check Out Customer Reviews

The fantastic part about purchasing pre-owned is that everybody has tested the models for you already. There are countless reviews on the web from customers, just like you, road testing these systems every day. Take exactly what they have actually found out and apply it to how you select the very best model for you.  Forums are going to provide you with the most down-to-earth, honest experiences of real-world owners, along with sound advice.

Request Insurance Quotes

This falls under being aware of all related RV ownership expenses, but here again you’ll find differences in the costs of insurance for an older vehicle vs. a recent model.  Now is a good time to gather insurance quotes from a range of providers to ensure you’re keeping within your overall budget. This is likewise a good time to find exactly what the insurance plan will cover on your new (used) acquisition. This will help you better prepare for upkeep and repair work down the road.

Dig Deep into that Dealer

This is likewise a terrific time to pull in advice from neighbors or friends who’ve bought from the local RV dealers. Their experience will help you ascertain if one is a trustworthy dealership. One of the numerous advantages of purchasing pre-owned is that you have many dealership choices out there. Unlike brand-new models, the majority of dealers will have consignment and trade-in vehicles on the lot, to boast a larger stock on hand. Once you’ve narrowed down dealers, try to determine how they treat their customers and what kind of service used buyers can expect.

Figuring out a Fair Price

The NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) Guide is contested by many as being misleading for first-time RV buyers, but people who are aware of available options find this to be an excellent tool for identifying a reasonable price for the rig you have your eye on.

Research your Future Rig’s History

When you have discovered a RV that you have an interest in, you can– for a small fee– identify typical details associated to service records, remembers, and accident repairs. You will need the VIN # for the unit, then the RV’s history can be found here.

Get a bunch of questions answered via email before going to the lot

This is also a great way to feel out how the dealership treats customers.  You should have dozens of questions about the vehicle that strikes your fancy; don’t rely on hoping to get them all answered in one fell swoop at the RV dealer.

Inspect the Unit

Make certain you have actually done a comprehensive evaluation of the entire unit – mechanical, electrical, interior, outside, seams and plumbing– before moving forward on the purchase. There are some nice “100-point inspection checklists” online that we don’t need to replicate here.  Inquire into warranty life and what typical repairs might cost at the dealership since most have shops on location and do a large amount of maintenance work for their customers who’ve purchased from them.

Lay Down your Offer

Prepared with the NADA knowledge you obtained in your diligence phase, and armed with the real-world experiential advice from friends and forum experts, you should feel pretty good at this point with making an offer on your dream camper. While we could write an additional article just on this topic here is one tip you MUST keep in the back of your mind: don’t be afraid to walk away if anything during the negotiation/purchase process doesn’t sit right with you.  Another rig will indeed come along!

Boondocking With Your RV

lake with mountain in background

Tips for Boondocking With Your Camper or RV

So many of the RV parks and state and national campgrounds I’ve seen over the last few years really boast some awesome convenience upgrades. Powerful A/C hookups, easy-access dump stations, and meticulously clean public bathrooms really take the “rough” out of roughing it.  However, if you’re like me, sometimes you just want to get away from fellow travelers and maybe even off the grid completely on a given trip. And really, to get the most out of your vehicle investment, it’s important to prepare your RV to go anywhere your heart desires.

Making Your RV Adventure Ready

Preparing an off-grid camper is easier than you think. It simply requires a little groundwork before taking the big trip. To stay at established campsites with operational hookups is one thing, but “boondocking” with your RV is a whole other animal. The following are some of the big items to address to be off-grid adventure-ready:

A Power Source

Few things in the modern world operate without at least some source of power, even your boondocked RV. Use multiple sources just to be safe: a solar powered battery bank and a 12-volt deep cycle battery are your best bets. Both sources will help keep your camper lights functional day and night, allowing you to use your camper comfortably while also charging your cell phone, computers, and cameras.

 

Plenty of Water

H2O is very important when you’re camping, but it becomes essential when you’re off the grid. Sustain yourself by traveling with at least two or three different water tanks – one for drinking, one for cleaning, and another for cooking or incidentals. It doesn’t matter where you go; chances are, you’ll eventually want to eat, brush your teeth, shower, and clean up the camper.

A Place to Store Food Safely

Unless you plan to hunt for all your nourishment (which is totally fine, albeit unlikely), storing some food is vital. However, improperly packing food items can lead to illness, so you want to be sure not to make that mistake. Using coolers is one way to keep food safe, but some campers have refrigerators in them. Again, be sure you have an adequate power sources, so you don’t lose electricity when you need it the most.

A Way to Cook

Campfires are nice, but they aren’t always easy or even possible to make and maintain. To be thorough, have a propane grill and plenty of extra propane on hand. The two-burner stove on the inside of most campers will usually suffice. However, adventuring out of the camper will require you to be creative with your food preparation techniques.

 

freestanding propane camp stove with oven

image courtesy of campingworld.com

Connection to the Outside World

Although off-the-grid camping is fun, it’s still important to tether to the rest of the world in the event of an emergency. Whether using cell phones or computers, be sure to have a connection to Wi-Fi while on the road. Most smart phones have hotspot capability, and there’s even a Mifi service in case your WiFi stops working.

A Source of Heating and/or Cooling

Depending on the time of year, having adequate temperature control can be a matter of life or death. Using the propane cans you packed for cooking, run a small and properly functioning space heater to stay warm. It may also be wise to carry a hot water bottle to be used as a makeshift heater at night. To cool off when the weather gets too hot, use battery-operated fans to keep the air in the camper circulating throughout the day.

A Place to Go

This could apply more to those pop-up campers without a built-in commode situation.  And it’s still a consideration if your RV has toilet facilities – depending on your length of being off-grid and access to dump stations you may want to have alternatives in mind. Contaminating the water supply is never the wise choice but boondocking seldom offers access to a public bathroom, so pick up a camping toilet with all the accessories to take with you. We do want to leave these natural resources we enjoy no worse off for our having been there.

Tips for Effectively Working Remote While (Road) Traveling

laptop on rv dinette table

More people are getting the opportunity to give up the rat race of the 9-to-5 office position and instead work remotely, taking their job on the go – oftentimes quite literally – and to pursue the career of their dreams without being tied down to any one particular physical location.

At the same time, though, working remotely (particularly when traveling) is not for the weary or undriven, and comes with its own set of stressors. You’re going to need to make sure you have some pretty rock solid work habits before you dive right into this approach, and it is mission critical that you take advantage of the tips we highlight below so that you can make the most of your time working remotely while traveling on the open road!

Let’s dive right in.

Plan your itinerary around high-speed internet

wi fi signal

When you are working remotely, your high-speed internet connection is going to be your tether to the office – and if you aren’t planning for uninterrupted connectivity when you develop your road tripping itinerary you’re inevitably going to find yourself in some dead zones and some not-so-hot-spots along the way that can cripple your ability to get work done, much to your and your boss’ chagrin.

Cellular coverage (especially 4G LTE cellular coverage) is getting better every day, but you want to make sure that ANY of your scheduled destinations are going to have reliable express to high-speed internet that you can tap into with good upload and download speeds while you are traveling.

As a backup, you should always carry your own pre-paid hotspot.  Look for one that uses the Verizon network as your first choice.  We’ve had wonderful service with the Ellipsis Jetpack, but a word of warning – it is so stupidly hard to recharge this thing with more money when you’re on the road!  Forget about finding an online way to pre-pay – you pretty much have to call it in, or stop into a Verizon store or Best Buy and make your data purchase.

Keep a notebook and pen close at hand

pen on notebook on wooden desk

No matter how well you plan, no matter how well you pack, or how much attention you give to detail there are going to be times when you can’t connect to Wi-Fi, or when a laptop battery goes on the fritz and your charger just isn’t pulling enough juice.

Seems simple, but people overlook the importance of keeping basic writing implements around any more. You want to ensure you will still be able to get work done when you are disconnected, when the muse is upon you, or when the phone suddenly wrings and you need to spring into action.  This issue becomes much more real when on the road and trying to work remotely, without betraying to your boss or coworkers that there are some serious flaws in your production system.

For day-planning and night time journaling (on-the-go productivity hacks you seriously need to incorporate) nothing beats the mind-muscle connection of physically writing your notes.  You’ll have to work a little bit harder to digitize that information but it’s worth it.

Find out when you work best and dedicate that chunk of the day to your working hours

The sooner you can settle into some semblance of a routine while you are traveling and working remotely the better off you are going to be.

A lot of people try and stick to the same 9-to-5 schedule that they had to have the office, only to find that it doesn’t really work while burning up the highway, and instead try to scrape by working every now and again (almost haphazardly) throughout the day without any real system in place.

This is the fastest way to burn out, saddle yourself with ridiculous pressure, and still garner yourself a reputation for being a slacker from those who are waiting on you to complete some work.  This doesn’t even go into the higher likelihood of mistakes from starting and stopping work over and over.

If you work at your best for two hours bright and early in the morning before you do anything else, that’s your dedicated working time. If you find you work best in one hour spurts with half hour breaks in between, that’s the kind of plan you need to organize around. If you are a night owl – like so many other creatives – you’re going to need to make sure that you stick to a night owl schedule and that the office understands why you are submitting your work so late in the day/early in the morning.

Create an environment that is all business

This can be a little bit tough when you are out on the road, especially if you are traveling with a more minimalist approach and not in a large, decked-out RV that allows you to create a dedicated workspace, but the effort you put into creating a true work zone – or finding facilities or shared office space you can do your job in while you travel – will pay off significant dividends for sure.

At the very least, slide into the same routine. Put on your work clothes, put on your productivity playlist, and get to work at the same time each day as we highlighted above and you’ll feel like you are on the job rather than on vacation.

Create email auto responders and turn off your phone while working

smart phone with red slash and circle over it

It’s really easy to have your productivity slip when you are working remotely, which is why you need to do everything you can to avoid distraction while you are on the job.

Create email auto responders that allow your email software program to do the heavy lifting for you so that you can respond after your work is done, turn off your phone or silence it so that you aren’t being pestered by notifications, and generally treat the time that you are working remotely just the same way you would treat the time you were spending at the office beforehand.

Now if you can only get your travel companions – especially the little ones – to sign off on this productivity plan!

5 Favorite National Parks for Camping

There’s a reason why millions of people visit the National Parks in the US each year, and a lot of it has to do with recapturing a sense of wonder and grandeur that our incredible natural resources and Mother Nature herself have to offer every one of us once we get outside of our concrete jungle.  Getting out in the woods also does wonders for beating stress.

 

Taking a road trip to any of the US National Parks will help you feel a deeper and greater respect for nature and a connection with our natural world, but nothing beats camping overnight – or a couple of nights – in some of these incredible destinations. And while all of the National Parks have stellar campsites to accommodate tents, RV’s and even car-campers, here are five of our current favorites.

 

Tuweep at the North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

grand canyon north rim lookout

Picture-perfect for those who are looking to kind of “get away from it all” while camping, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon offer some of the most unique visual experiences you’ll find anywhere in nature – not just in the US, but anywhere on the planet.

 

A lot “lower key” than the South Rim (which has become overcrowded in the last few years for sure), the North Brim campground offers you the kind of “no-frills” experience some people are looking for to enjoy the Grand Canyon their own way if you ever get a chance to.

 

Piñon Flats in Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

 

Situated smack dab in the middle of the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, this campground puts you right in the center of all the action and only just a quick hike away from all of the main attractions of this national park.

 

Not only will you be able to check out some of the biggest sand dunes in North America (with one towering 750 feet high), but you’ll also be able to enjoy some of the most incredible starscapes the to be found anywhere in the US as well just because of how little light pollution there is way out here in the middle of nowhere.

 

Wonder Lake at Denali National Park, Alaska

 

For most outsiders Alaska is almost like an entirely different world in and of itself, still appearing untouched by man for the most part and one of the most incredible examples of the drama and beauty of nature that are becoming harder to find on this over-developed planet. This campground at Wonder Lake is arguably going to be one of the most scenic of the campground sites on this list, and one that is so regularly photographed that even those that haven’t ever visited Alaska almost immediately recognize it at a glance.

 

Fruita in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

 

Utah is so loaded with amazing National Park sites and other tourist destinations that from time to time the Capitol Reef flies a bit under the radar, but this is an incredible hotspot that you don’t want to miss – especially if you are looking to camp out for a night or two.

 

It’s best to visit this campground in the spring when the cherry blossoms are really rocking and rolling (the fruit orchards that have been planted here by settlers in the late 19th century are still maintained), and if you come later in the year when the fruit is in full blossom you can actually pick and eat as much as you like along the Fremont River.

 

Camp 4 in Yosemite National Park, California

large mountain at camp 4 yosemite

If you’re feeling a bit hard core when it comes to camping – or if you are looking to scale some serious rock – check out Camp 4; there may not be a more famous campground site in the entire National Park System then this one!

 

Camp 4 is where Yosemite climbing legends really started to establish their reputation throughout the 1960s, carving up incredible classic lines throughout El Capitan, Half Dome and other rock faces throughout the area. This is such a historic campground that it’s actually been placed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2003 – but you’ll want to make sure that you grab your spot early, as ALL of them are on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

How to Lower Road Trip Anxiety

road trip anxiety

Gearing up for that big road trip, it’s easy to get lost in the romance of it all – the idea of freedom, relaxation, all the great times ahead – but have you ever noticed that as the “leave” day gets closer it can almost feel suffocating as you panic about getting all the last minute items together?

It’s always fun to go on a road trip with friends, family and loved ones. However, the reality is that being in an enclosed automobile for long periods of time can cause back pain, car sickness, boredom, and yes, even anxiety. It doesn’t have to be that way though, nor does traveling anxiety have to ruin your chances of having a good time on your next family vacation.

Being proactive can make a huge impact on your ability to go places without mental or physical distress. Preparing for any trip is essential, so why not include items and activities that can help to reduce the amount of anxiety you feel during the road trip? Do not feel discouraged by your feelings of apprehension; many people feel the same way when traveling for long periods of time in a car.
woman expressing anxiety over planning her vacation
To combat those bothersome emotions, try a few of the following tips and tricks:

Listen to some soothing or uplifting music

Before you head out for your big adventure, put together a road trip playlist. Instead of simply succumbing to whatever the radio stations play or becoming annoyed by the lack of options available, create your own soundtrack which includes songs you enjoy. You’d think road-tunage, as crucial as it is, would be at the top of everyone’s travel checklist but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left the iPod behind!  Keep in mind that the energy level of the songs you choose will directly affect your own. So, if you’re tired, listen to energizing tunes; if you’re feeling anxious, choose something calming instead.

Take a short nap (if you’re not responsible for driving)

Riding in a car for a long time can make a person drowsy, but trying to stay awake when tired can make someone irritable – further exacerbating anxiety. If being alert is causing too many problems, do your best to lay back for a short snooze. Not only will this refresh your senses, but it will also help kill time and charge up your batteries for your next turn at the wheel.

Meditation

This is another one to incorporate while not driving of course, but seriously, we’re talking to more and more folks who regularly get in some form of meditation on their long trips.  “Mindfulness” is a hot topic now and applies itself well to the notion of being in the moment on your trip and not missing out on the important stuff by worrying needlessly.

Meditation can help you prepare for your travels more peacefully and with better focus, then while either a passenger or in your hotel or campground use it to relax and take it all in.  Guided meditation programs are great in that you don’t have to be super-disciplined to get something out of them – just plug and play and get rejuvenated.

Peer Out the Window

There’s nothing quite like the sight-seeing opportunities afforded to folks who undergo a long journey. The sights and sounds, and even new smells (like ocean air or the desert) can waft around the car can get your endorphins pumping causing your road trip anxiety to take a back seat. Look out for interesting people, places, other vehicles and attractions while journaling your findings. This habit can help keep you focused on something other than your ever-tightening core.

Other Activities

Nobody says you must sit still with hands folded and do nothing during a road trip! It’s perfectly acceptable to start up some group activities such as memory games, playing a Jeopardy-like trivia game, singing or just plain talking. If all else fails, open a good book to read, draw a picture inspired by your thoughts and sight-seeing on the trip, or back to the meditation and mindfulness subject try something like a contemplative labyrinth drawing or mandala coloring book. These activities can keep your anxiety at bay while also giving you inspiration for future travels.

Talk to Your Doctor

If none of the aforementioned methods work to reduce or eliminate your road trip anxiety, speak with a health care provider about the problem. There might be a natural nutritional supplement they can recommend, or there might be a deeper physiological or mental cause to the issue that they’ll want to get to the bottom of.

The point is that your vacation is supposed to be a blast – from planning through execution.  Don’t waste a minute of this precious time saddled with anxiety if you can successfully put it to rest.