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The Frugal RV Traveler Newsletter, Issue #003--- RV Membership Clubs
May 06, 2010

The best-laid plans of mice and men...... and RVers.

Everything can change overnight! As an example, our plans for six months of RVing through California and points west were put on hold due to a parent taking seriously ill in January and we've been living in limbo ever since. Now, three months have passed and Randy's mom is still in the hospital. Although it looks like she will recover, we have no idea how long this could go on, and when or whether she will be able to return to her home. We are just grateful to be close at hand and that we weren't already 2000 miles away when it all started.

While that particular travel plan is on hold, and Randy can't get away from home for any long stretch of time, it occurred to me that this summer might be a good opportunity for me to try my hand at solo RVing.

I wouldn't want to go far from home without Randy but, since I've had some requests about affordable destinations in my home province, this is a good opportunity to discover my own backyard and write about Ontario - What can RVers see and do here on a budget?

So, while Randy's prepping the camper van for me, I'm plotting a route and by mid-May, I'll be off - exploring Ontario's countryside and backroads.

I know I'll be able to find some boondocking along the way by following my own website's suggestions and tips; however, I also know from experience that this can be particularly challenging in Ontario. On top of this, until I get comfortable with traveling solo, I'll also take extra precautions about where I camp.

As a result, I'm sure there will be more paid campgrounds on my route than usual. And have you looked at the prices of camping in Ontario, lately? Prices for a provincial park campsite, if you can get one, range from $26.00 to $40.00 per night. (Add another non-refundable $8.00 to make an almost-always-necessary reservation).

I'm convinced I can do better than that by scouting around, so that's part of the challenge I'm setting for myself on this trip. The other is to find great free hiking and kayaking opportunities and affordable, interesting, and out-of-the-ordinary places to visit. If you know of any that I shouldn't miss, please drop me a line or two. I'd love to hear from you.

Today's Topic: The Best RV Membership Clubs for Boondockers

As avid boondockers who don't spend much time at campgrounds, we would rather spend the night in a Walmart parking lot than buy a $40.00 RV club membership that may or may not (depending on restrictions) get us a 10% discount on a $30.00 campsite - something we'd have to do at least 10 times annually before it's paid off.

That's how we've always thought of it, anyway. However, before heading out on this trip, I decided to join a few membership clubs. I've never been much of a joiner - joining (not these, but some clubs) usually entails commitments and we prefer to blow with the wind. Club rallies and social events may be fun but we have no trouble making friends and creating our own social circumstances on the road. So, for us, joining a club needs to have some other real advantages.

Because they're all a little different, comparing RV membership clubs is like comparing apples to oranges - depends on what you're looking for. I decided, for our purposes, to compare only one aspect: Which ones could save us real money on camping when we can't find suitable boondocking?

Read about which clubs I chose and my reasons. I'm really not sure how much they'll help me with discounts for Ontario camping but, we haven't given up on our trip to California so they'll hopefully be of some use then, too. I'll be sure to follow up to tell you how much benefit we find in them.

I'm excited about my summer. I'll miss Randy sorely - and not only when it's time to dump the tanks or, God forbid, any RV repairs are required! Since I'm not going very far from home, however, I know we'll talk often by phone or Skype and I'm hoping he can scoot out to join me for a day or two here and there.

Don't forget to subscribe to my RSS feed or drop by my blog page frequently, because I plan to post updates about my summer adventure, whenever I can.

More on Importing an RV

In the last edition of this newsletter, I discussed what's involved in importing an RV from USA to Canada. As a follow-up, I wanted to mention that I've found additional information regarding sales tax payable in some states, as well as information on recall clearance.

I also discovered an RV inspection service. Before you go, yourself, to inspect a used RV across the border, you can order an unbiased, thorough, professional, photo-detailed inspection at a very reasonable cost. This could ease your mind about buying from far away.

And finally, if you're still nervous or have questions, you may want to attend a free vehicle Import-Export seminar. They're held monthly in each province.

The details and links for all these suggestions can be found on my updated web page.

Minor Trips

Any baseball fans out there? Many RVers attend minor league games as they travel across America. Minor Trips - the traveler's guide to minor league baseball and independent professional baseball lists all the game schedules for the year so you can find a game just about anywhere you go. The guide's publisher, Bob Carson, is a top-notch writer. I just finished his novel, The Voyage of Mess - very funny and I couldn't put it down - any RVer would enjoy the RV theme with lots of chuckles along the way.

RV Living Webinars

This past April, I was a guest speaker on a monthly webinar hosted by Jaimie Hall Bruzenak. The topic: Frugal RVing. Jaimie has already invited me to join her again for her September webinar, when her topic will be Boondocking. I realized long ago that I'm a writer, not a speaker. But, if you want to tune in and listen to me give it my best shot, you can sign up on Jaimie's website for this or any of her excellent series of webinars.

Frugal Finds

25 On-The-Road Career Ideas: Looking for a way to travel and work at the same time? Here's some inspiration.

Money Saving RV Repair: A new web site with some good tips for all you do-it-yourselfers.

Inspiring People

We Choose This: A family (with five young children) are on the road full time. Crazy? Maybe, but they choose crazy!

Women On The Road: I'll be referring to the advice here myself, seeking confidence for my first solo adventure.

Camping Blogger: More than a blog - the site promotes family camping, complete with tips and tutorials.

That's the news from Lake Woes-be-gone. I'm hitting the road before we use up all the good weather!

Happy summer travels to all of you !!!!


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