Traveling in an RV is an exciting and popular way to vacation. So this summer my family and I embarked on a whirlwind tour from Austin bound for Yellowstone National Park. The crazy part wasn’t just that we traveled 4,000 miles in 13 days – it was that we traveled with our 3 dogs!
If you’re considering RVing with dogs I humbly offer the following tips based on my experiences! Enjoy the ride. And the read!
RVing Isn’t For Everyone. If you’re more the room service, chocolate on the pillow, spacious room kinda person, RVing may not be most suitable for your traveler’s DNA. While I had to adjust on a few fronts, I was rewarded in many other ways. Things like ultimate freedom, big skies, and once-in-a-lifetime memorable moments with the family. If you’ve never been RVing you can get a good idea of the experience by watching the movie “RV” before your departure. The movie is hilarious and would only have been more funny with canine costars. Here’s the trailer:
Rent & Reserve Early. RVing is extremely popular! The RV Industry Association reports that the industry has tripled in size since 2009. With 25 million Americans RVing each year, if you plan to stay at state or national parks you’ll want to make your reservation early. 6 months would be a good starting advance timeframe to ensure you have ample time to “presearch” your itinerary and score the RV and campground you most desire. The Reserve America website was super helpful in securing our campsites, like our home away at Colorado’s Mueller State Park.
Flex Your Creativity. When we discovered we couldn’t find available state parks within an hour of Santa Fe and Yellowstone we took a left turn (figuratively speaking). We rented through Airbnb which resulted in a welcomed relief from the RV. Our modern cabin rental had a full-size washer and dryer, shower, satellite TV, and a large kitchen which we thoroughly enjoyed.
Consider All Costs. RVs can be an affordable way to travel per the RV Industry Association. You’ll want to consider things like the daily rental fee, estimated gas, campground fees, and any extras – our rental levied a mileage fee and an hourly generator cost to run the supplemental AC (luckily we didn’t use the generator once we left Texas).
Right-Size Your Trip. 4,000 miles across 6 states in 13 days isn’t for everyone! In retrospect we should have taken more time to stop and smell the roses. Our friends have been asking “would you take another RV trip again?” I would but I’d opt for a much shorter travel distance like a weekend trip to the Texas Coast, a Round Top rendevoux, an outing into Texas Wine Country, or even colorful Colorado, which is not that far away.
Travel With Tech. We used our grocery store app to make a convenient/portable list of things to take on the trip. You should be able to score forgotten items or restock ice/water, food, or dog supplies along the way. Our iPad, USB chargers, LED camping lights, and iHome portable speaker ensured we had a few comforts of home on the go.
Don’t Forget The Dogs! Remember to take food, medications, special toys, beds/blankets, bowls, collars and leads. We purchased a 7-gallon water container to ensure the pack was never thirsty.
Explore. There’s so much to see and do! Just in Texas alone we were able to enjoy Palo Duro Canyon State Park which is the second largest canyon in the US. Dubbed the “Grand Canyon of Texas” this park treated us to impressive, colorful views of the ruggedness of Texas. Did you know Texas has an official bison herd? Neither did I until we decided to stay at Caprock Canyons State Park. In addition to wild bison, you can enjoy the The Bats Of Clarity Tunnel plus over 90 miles of trails! In Telluride we rode their dog-friendly gondola which treated us to free and unforgettable 365° views of the valley from 10,540 feet above the valley below!
There was so much to see on our six state adventure! Perhaps the best part of RVing with dogs is the bountiful bond you’ll create. This form of travel will gift you with unique views and experiences that a plane or train simply cannot. Truly “home was where we parked it” and having the dogs with us only made the family vacation complete.
Have questions about RVing with dogs? Reach out to me – I’d love to collaborate!
~ Joe Paul Reider
Home Style Austin Founder
Keller Williams Realty