Welcome to our readers' tips and advice column.
Email us with your road-tested ideas and advice and we will post them here.
Fire safety tips for RV owners from Nationwide Insurance now that adventurers are beginning to plan out summer road trips:
1. Check extinguishers. Before traveling, be sure your fire extinguisher is functional and contains proper pressurization. You should keep multiple extinguishers on hand throughout the vehicle and understand which extinguisher is effective on different types of fires. Also, be sure to verify that your smoke detectors are in working order.
2. Avoid transmission fires. Many fires are caused by fluid leaking from the transmission, which can be ignited if it comes in contact with the exhaust system. Complete a thorough check of the underside of your RV as part of your pre-trip inspection.
3. Inspect electrical systems. A common cause of fire is a short in the 12-volt electrical system. Check the engine compartment wiring as another part of your pre-trip inspection. Replace any damaged or frayed wires and make sure the connections are secure.
4. Have an evacuation plan. While it may seem simple, a key step to fire safety is ensuring that everyone traveling knows how to operate the latches of doors and windows, allowing for a quick exit in an emergency situation.
5. Stay kitchen savvy. Be sure to keep clothes, linens and other combustibles far from the kitchen area. Stay alert while cooking as items such paper towels and curtains are likely to be close to the stove, creating a fire hazard.
Additional great tips from other Road Trip Dream Readers,
Take a pair of binoculars along on your trip - not only for seeing the sights, but also for using in traffic. You know how annoying it is when you are in freeway traffic, you know you are going to exit, but you don't know what lane(s) you need to be in? Whip out the binoculars and you can read the signs far enough ahead to work your way into the correct lanes.
RV Selection: The key items we suggest other look at are the bed size, chair comfort, reading lights, TV viewing distance and angle, and kitchen layout, especially a place in which to store tableware. -- Carter & Connie Harrison, Tucson, AZ
Put your passport number and name on a label on the front of your passport. It will save you time filling out customs and immigration forms and will insure someone doesn't grab your passport by mistake. -- Deb McClenahan. Vail, Colorado
Always check to be sure you have all the kids when leaving rest stops! -- Susie Iverson, Lakewood, Washington (ed. - I wonder if she had personal experience with this
For maps, we prefer the National Geographic Road atlas because it gives hints of where the mountains are. When towing the trailer, we mapped out our route the night before and wrote out detailed driving instructions, cumulative distances etc. We also relied on the mountain grade books to keep us out of trouble. -- Carter & Connie Harrison, Tucson, AZ
Montana driving rules, check these out first. No speed limit in some places, very low speeding fines mostly, in some cases if you pay $5 on the spot that takes care of the fine. You will get a receipt for this, so it's legal. Called a waste of Energy fee? Plan/time your trip in order to avoid rush hour traffic in big cities. -- David Iverson, Lakewood, Washington
We keep a Barbie roll-along suitcase stocked with travel toys. When we take a trip, it's ready to go. These toys are not played with at home, so they are always fresh and feel like new toys. -- LeAnne Mantero, Miami Lakes, Florida
If you're carrying a laptop, buy mapping software like Microsoft Streets and Trips. It will give you a point to point route between any two addresses in North America without making you fold maps, squint to see names or hold flashlights in your teeth. -- Brian Talbott, Lake Oswego, Oregon
We found it paid to have medical prescriptions on file with a nationwide chain such as K-Mart. -- Carter & Connie Harrison, Tucson, AZ
If you enjoy your evening cocktail hour, make sure that you are supplied before you land in a dry city, county or state! -- Patty Solberg, West Linn, Oregon
When parking for a flight always park in the same section of the lot in order to find the car more easily. When traveling with your life, always make sure there are plenty of emergency snacks.
Apples and almonds are great road trip snacks, healthy and satisfying. -- David Iverson, Lakewood, Washington
We agree on the value of AAA books. We were never disappointed in what AAA called a "stared" attraction. They now call them "gems." We also found that a look in accommodations section would give us some idea of price levels in a community and the temperature charts were very valuable. -- Carter & Connie Harrison, Tucson, AZ
In the Catskills (in upstate New York), don't leave eating to chance. You might find yourself driving for miles with nothing in sight but silos. Ask your innkeeper for recommendations for nearby restaurants, or, better yet, pick up a copy of Catskills Alive - a comprehensive guide to the mountain's four counties. -- Francine Silverman, Author www.nystatetravel.com
Routine dental care appointments requite long range planning. We carried our x-rays with us. -- Carter & Connie Harrison, Tucson, AZ
If you are gone for an extended period of time, always get your photos developed (or downloaded to your computer or website) along the way and mark them with what they are and where -- you will never remember it all when you return! -- Patty Solberg, West Linn, Oregon
Always start a washer or dryer in a Laundromat before loading your clothes -- just in case it doesn't work! Sandra Berry, AAA - Beaverton, Or
Can't get the reservation that you want from the 800 reservation service? Always call the local number. Many times they have rooms/camp sites/tickets available that aren't shown on the national reservation systems. -- Joanna Sawyer, Wilsonville, Oregon
When carrying a firearm in your vehicle, make sure you know the laws of the areas that you are traveling though. -- Eric Kozowski, Deputy Sheriff, Wallowa County, Oregon
I love having my personal pillow along when we travel by car, but it is so easy to leave it behind in a motel. When you get up in the morning, immediately set it by the door so you don't forget it. -- LeAnne Mantero, Miami Lakes, Florida
If your itinerary includes several of the National Parks, be sure to get a National Parks Pass at the first park that you visit. -- Deb McClenahan, Vail, Colorado
We were very please with the mail forwarding by Travelers Remail in Arlington, Texas. We also encountered many happy Escapee customers who used their forwarding service. -- Carter & Connie Harrison, Tucson, AZ