Vacations are about getting away, exploring new territories, being with the ones you love, and discovering different experiences. But to get out of your comfort zone on vacation, it helps to have a comfortable place to decompress after your day’s adventure. And RVs are the perfect escape. Your RV can feel like your home away from home with just a few simple steps.
ENJOY YOUR COFFEE JUST LIKE YOU WOULD AT HOME – DON’T SACRIFICE THAT PERFECT CUP
If there is one thing we don’t do while we’re on the road, it’s drink a bad cup of coffee. Most #vanlifers or full-time RVers have figured that out too, and typically opt for a French Press to make a tasty cup of coffee. While very convenient, this tends to get quite messy. One of our go-tos is Kuju Coffee, a high-quality, delicious cup of coffee without the mess! Just place the bag in your mug and pour in hot water. Enjoy your coffee just like you would at home and get your day started, no clean up necessary.
UNPACK YOUR STUFF AND GIVE EVERYTHING A HOME
One of the things we hear most from folks after their RV trip is how nice it was to only need to unpack once! No jumping from hotel to hotel, unpacking and repacking repeatedly. With an RV, you have the storage space to unpack your suitcase – and we highly suggest you do so. You’re more likely to put things away, keeping your RV tidy and organized. If you are going on the road for a long trip, we suggest bringing ways to create more space – basic organizing tools can make your storage space even more efficient.
Sitting around a campfire or relaxing after a day of adventure allows for downtime that we don’t always allow ourselves to have in our normal lives – we always need to be doing something (have you ever been out to dinner and realized everyone in your group is on their phones? Yeah, us too). These times are the perfect excuse to enjoy the people you are with. With an RV, you have plenty of space to bring along some of your favorite games, like the National Park themed Monopoly or the Parks Project National Park playing cards. So put down your phone and engage with your friends or your family. Raining outside? No problem. Hop in your RV and sit around your table. The weather can’t stop you.
MAKE YOUR FAVORITE MEALS
An RV gives you tons of options when it comes to cooking meals. If you like cooking over an open fire, you can bring all the tools you need. If the idea of that makes you cringe a little, you can opt for cooking inside instead. Most RVs will have a stove top and a wide range of cooking utensils so you can cook most, if not all, of your favorite meals. Don’t want to cook at all? No problem! Your RV should also come equipped with a refrigerator and a microwave – which also make leftovers easy peasy!
Want to know more? Just ask us! We’ve been planning RV vacations for over 20 years and we do quite a bit of road-tripping ourselves. Have other ideas for us? We’d love to hear them!
It’s here! April 20-28, 2019 marks National Park Week! Join the National Park Service, National Park Foundation and people across the US as we celebrate America’s Best Idea. This has been a tough year for the national parks. They were hit hard by the government shutdown and they are still recovering. So to celebrate our parks, we are highlighting some ways to honor them and help in the effort to restore these beautiful areas of the US.
1. Donate to the National Parks Foundation
This fund was opened in January after the government shutdown in partnership with the National Park Service to “assess the damage and provide the resources to coordinate projects such as natural habitat restoration, graffiti removal, and other volunteer efforts”. Your money will go directly to what the NPS deems necessary at the time.
Our friends at MillionMileSecrets wrote an insightful guide on donating to the national parks, outlining how to give back and (BONUS) save on your trip in the process. From workplace matching to AmazonSmile, Meghan offers some great tips. Check that out here.
Whether you grab a few friends and head to a park near your home, or you join an organized group, one of the best ways to give back is to give your time. The National Park Service offers a variety of opportunities as part of the Volunteers-In-Parks program and our friends at Parks Project organize volunteer projects across the country.
Plus, if you log more than 250 service hours, you’ll get a free Volunteer Pass for entrance to all national park and federal recreation lands.
Photo Credit: DeLong Family
3. Give the Rangers some love
The Park Rangers were also deeply affected by the shutdown. They were left unsure when they would receive their next paycheck or when they would be able to return to work. And they have been working tirelessly ever since to ensure the parks are not only up and running, but cleaned up and ready for the millions of visitors they will receive this summer. In some instances, toilets were overflowing, trash was scattered on trails, and illegal campfires were set. When the Rangers returned after the shutdown, they had a lot of work in front of them. At Death Valley, one bathroom took staff two hours to clean fully. One bathroom.
So whether it’s a handshake or a hug, let the Rangers know you appreciate them. They deserve it.
4. Practice Leave No Trace
This is something you should do all the time, but it is especially important this year. Refresh yourself on Leave No Trace principles and set a goal to make the parks better than how you found it. Leave only footprints and take only pictures.
Photo Credit: Aguilar Family
By visiting our national parks, you are supporting our national parks. Enjoy the natural beauty that has been preserved, marvel in the wonders of this Earth, and be appreciative of the fact that we have these lands available to us. And please be extra careful, be loving to our shared planet.
Two falls ago, my husband and I took a road trip through Central Colorado in September and it’s hard to explain the beauty we experienced. The Aspen trees are changing colors, and the bright yellow leaves against the white of their trunks is so drastic it’s hard to take your eyes away to concentrate on the road. It is by far one of my favorite places to visit in the fall!
From Mountain Hot Springs to Caverns Adventure Park, Glenwood Springs has outdoor activities for everyone. These top attractions are less crowded come autumn, even on the peak Colorado color weekends in September through mid-October.
There are many trails around Glenwood Springs to view the gorgeous fall foliage, and several ways to explore them: by bike, by horse, by ATV, or even by Segway! Your options are endless.
Food (& Booze)
Denver is one of our favorite cities, and the fall festivals don’t disappoint.
Great American Beer Fest. This 3 day festival showcases 4,000 different brews from 800 breweries. It is the largest collection of US beer ever served. Lend your pallet in a public tasting event and then see how the private competition winners compare to your top choices. You decide who the experts are.
Denver Food + Wine Festival. This multi-day extravaganza of food, wine and spirits education and tasting has something for everyone. What better way to sample the local Denver food scene than to eat from 40+ of the top restaurants in the state in one night.
Fall is one of the best seasons for fishing. There are fewer anglers and less pressure on aquatic life, so your chances of catching a trophy trout greatly increase! Enjoy the solitude in the crisp fall air, surrounded by the changing leaves. Even for us non-fishermen, this sounds like a perfect day.
The Grand Canyon is the second most visited national park in the US, bringing 6.4 million people to witness its wonders in 2018. There are 2 ways that we like to visit to not coincide with those 6.4 million people – visit the North Rim (it’s less crowded year-round) or visit in the fall! The fall sees far less visitors than the summer months, so you can enjoy the vastness of the park without battling your way to the edge.
Join the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Phoenix field office to welcome our newest citizens! September 28, 2019 will be a day that will change many people’s lives, and the Grand Canyon is the perfect backdrop to witness such an event.
Sedona is a leading community in the cultural arts of the Southwestern United States, and this October festival is the time to celebrate it! 125 artists from across the US will be showcasing their work amongst the stunning red rocks of Sedona.
Sedona is full of trails for any range of hiker, so when the temperature drops in the fall months, you can explore them all! Okay, maybe not all, but you can hit as many as your legs can handle.
And this is just the start. Visit the Grand Canyon & Sedona yourself this fall! Trips are still available July – October 2019. Contact us now to book your spot and enjoy the beauty of the Southwest and all it has to offer.
Stay tuned for our 3rd and final favorite destination for Fall 2019!
Once the summer starts to wind down, the crowds begin to disappear, the heat dissipates, and the taste of fall is in the air. Some would say this is their favorite time to go on vacation, and we can’t help but agree.
It’s no secret that National Parks are big attractions, and the crowds can get overwhelming in the summer months. Visiting in the shoulder season is one (major) way to avoid this. Plus, the weather has cooled down. Seems pretty perfect, doesn’t it? We’re exploring a few of our favorite destinations for the fall, starting with the California Coast.
Drive the California Coast in October
On one of the most iconic road trips in the US, drive your RV from the City by the Bay to the City of Los Angeles, meandering along the western coast. Come October, there are festivals-a-plenty, the weather is some of the best of the year, and everywhere from the beaches to the big cities are less crowded.
October marks the harvest period for the wine growers of California, so many areas host vibrant festivals to celebrate. Stop in Santa Ynez for some grape stomping and tastings, and learn about the wine making process from start to finish.
Not to be outdone by the wine community, the beer scene also comes out in full swing in October. Also inland from Santa Barbara is the Danish town of Solvang, which hosts their annual Oktoberfest, complete with German food, microbrews and dancing.
Two of the most anticipated events in San Francisco in the fall include Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, a free music festival held in Golden Gate Park, and Fleet Week, where you can catch an eye-popping air show and a parade of military ships.
Believe it or not, summer time is actually the chilliest in San Francisco. Someone (maybe Mark Twain) once wrote “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”, and boy is it the truth. Come fall, the fog rolls out and the sun comes back, making way for much more enjoyable weather.
As you head down the coast, expect temperatures to range from the low 70’s on the coast to 80’s inland.
In October, kids are back in school and for most of us, it’s harder to get away. Expect to find less crowds and discover those secluded beaches and quiet redwood forests you were hoping to find on a trip like this.
As you travel down the coast, allow yourself to wander through the quaint, small towns, like Carpinteria, and the State parks and beaches, such as Morro Bay, that dot your path.
Oh, Valentine’s Day. It’s easy to get caught up in the cards, the flowers, the candy, the jewels and the gifts. But this holiday is more than that – it’s about spending time with the person or the people you care about the most. And what better way to do that than to get away from your day-to-day life, free of distraction and stress. Here are a few reasons we think an RV is the perfect way to do that.
You can camp, but in luxury.
While sitting around a fire with uninterrupted star gazing can be extremely romantic, for some people, crawling into a tent dampens the mood. With an RV, you can enjoy all the romance of being outdoors while still feeling luxurious with a clean bed and cozy linens.
Everyone can be happy with your destination.
Maybe you two have different ideas of a good vacation. You like the city, your partner likes the country. With an RV, you don’t have to choose. Spend a couple of days in the hustle and bustle, and then drive out to nature for your next stop. You don’t have to be tied to one place, or a pricey reservation. If someone isn’t satisfied with the destination, move on without worry. Keep it happy and stress-free.
You can watch the sunrise from your bed.
Spending the night in a beautiful place means you can open your windows or your door, watch the sunrise and feel the morning breeze. Sure, you could watch the sunrise from a hotel room, maybe peaking through other buildings or accompanied by the garbage truck coming down the street below you, but there is something about being surrounded by nothing and no one that makes this feel extra special.
You can completely unplug.
With an RV, you can go anywhere without worrying about whether or not you’ll have service, because you have everything you need with you in your vehicle. You can get out of town, away from all distractions. You could go somewhere without WiFi or cell service, or you could just turn your phone off. Spending time just the two of you, without distraction. You can even pack plenty of entertainment options, like a board game or a deck of cards. Allow yourself to be completely focused on one another.
You can try something new together.
Bonding over a new experience brings us closer. Whether that is trying an RV vacation for the first time, or getting adventurous by canyoneering in Utah, whitewater rafting in Colorado, or taking a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. Even the smallest of things matter when you are doing it together.
But first, coffee. If there is one comfort we don’t give up while we are on the road, it’s high-quality, good-tasting coffee. That’s why we love Kuju Coffee. They use the highest quality specialty-grade and ethically sourced coffees they can find, and it’s super easy to make! You simply fit the Pocket PourOver onto any mug, fill with water and you have a freshly brewed cup of coffee. A perfect way to start your day of adventures.
Kuju Coffee donates 1% of sales to the National Park Foundation.
Versatile sandals are key for camping and travel; wearing the same shoes throughout the day while you hike, wade through water, or lounge around the campsite not only helps with packing lightly, but also just makes it extremely easy because you don’t have to think about it! Wearing socks with your Chacos gets you extra points.
Chaco has partnered with the National Park Foundation to create a collection of limited-edition sandals inspired by America’s national parks and monuments. Your purchase helps to support programming, education, and operations of national parks and public lands. And they are cool as hell.
Playing cards are one of our go-to games while traveling by RV. They are small, compact, and offer endless hours of entertainment. Plus, people of all ages can enjoy them so it doesn’t matter who you have brought along – your grandmother or your nephew! We love these National Parks themed playing cards by the Parks Project.
Each item that is purchased from Parks Project helps fund a project in our parks, such as trail restoration and Junior Ranger programs. Follow along with their park projects to see where your money goes.
Do you have gear that you can’t go on an RV adventure without? We’d love to hear about it!
Give the gift of adventure with a trip unlike any other. They will never forget the year you gave them the vacation of a lifetime. With our hand-picked activities, there is something for everyone on your list. We have put together our holiday gift guide for 2018.
For the wine lover: Santa Barbara Wine Tour by Bike
An easy to moderate bike ride takes you into the heart of the Santa Ynez wine country, home to some of California’s most popular vintners.
Plus, many more! Explore our trips to see what other activities we have available. From rock climbing to whitewater rafting to sunset Hummer tours, we are sure you can find something for even the hardest of people to buy for.
Looking for stocking stuffers to pair perfectly with your RV adventure? Check out our favorites that also give back to our national parks.
On the Monday before Thanksgiving, I woke up to countless emails in my inbox about Black Friday deals. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good deal. And now that we have so many options to shop Black Friday from the comfort of our bed, still full from the previous nights Thanksgiving dinner, it’s even easier to take advantage of these deals. And we’re not telling you not to (I know I’m investing in an Instant Pot myself), but after you have made a few online purchases, we hope you will join us and REI to #OptOutside.
Just like many businesses are now doing, thanks to our friends over at REI, we will be closing our doors and allowing our employees to spend the day where they would love to be – outdoors, surrounded by the people they love.
So what will we be doing? We asked a few of our staff to share their plans:
“I am looking forward to taking my nephew (8 years old) to Alcatraz Island in San Francisco for his first time. Alcatraz is managed by the National Park service and includes a beautiful ferry ride across the Bay, tour of the old federal prison and allows time to explore the island. I personally have been more times than I can count, but I always love going back!”– Brooke
“Typically the day after Thanksgiving calls for a leisurely hike in the canyons with friends, followed by taking the old pups around the block for a walk. This year, I hope to start a new tradition and get my 5 year old granddaughter interested in hiking! Can’t wait to show her all the neat places to explore. :)” – Lisa
“We will definitely be getting outside! We will either go for a long trail run at our local trail system or try to find a hike that we’ve never done before so we can explore something new.” – Crystal
“This is my son’s first Thanksgiving so, as all first-time parents do, we’re going big! We have invited lots of family over and we will be going for hikes in our regional park, playing soccer in the front yard with all of the other little ones, and making snow angels in the first snow fall of the season in Lake Tahoe!” – Ashleigh
In August, our Operations Coordinator, Crystal, set out from her home of Grand Junction and travelled 711 miles over the course of a week throughout beautiful Colorado! She visited most of the stops on our Rocky Mountain & Central Colorado trip, including Durango, Leadville, Frisco, Breckenridge and Redstone. In addition to the high mileage she packed onto the T&T RV, she visited 6 campgrounds to make sure we are sending our clients to the best of the best. This also allows us to stay connected with the campground hosts and scope out the best sites in the campground.
One of Crystal’s favorite stops was Leadville. The campground our clients visit sits on the shore of Turquoise Lake – it’s stunning! There is a hiking/biking trail around the lake that is easily accessible from the campground and has great views of the lake and mountains in the distance.
Turquoise Lake at sunset
While in Leadville, she also hiked to Windsor Lake. It’s a tough, steep hike that gains a lot of elevation (after starting at an already high elevation!), but it ends at a beautiful alpine lake. Plus, they never saw another person on the hike so it felt extra special.
Hike to Windsor Lake
Another favorite was Frisco, where they rode their bikes from the campground in Frisco to breakfast one morning and then from there to a trail head for a short hike. The bike path is across the street from the campground and goes to both Frisco and Breckenridge with multiple hiking trails along the path, and of course great views.
Bike ride to Frisco
We always love discovering new things to show our clients while on these scouting trips. Crystal discovered a new hike on a portion of the Colorado Trail directly from the campground in Frisco!
Last but not least, these scouting trips are always a reminder to our staff of the type of trips we send our clients on. We plan them, but sometimes it’s a different experience to actually, well, experience it. So we like to ask what advice do you offer to our clients after being on a T&T trip. Crystal’s advice sounds simple, but it definitely rings true:
Don’t forget to enjoy the drive between destinations! Plan for stops – scenic overlooks, short hikes, etc.