When you first take on a nomadic way of life, it can be difficult to maintain a comfortable day-to-day existence.
In the beginning, you may feel very motivated to strip down all the excesses of your old life and to push towards a more minimalistic lifestyle – justified, to some extent, by your new constraints: a more limited physical space, limited funds, and a burning desire to experience something authentic, something detached from the material enjoyments we so often feel are necessary.
Once you’ve been on the road for some time, however, you realize that it is a bit extreme to give up everything familiar and comfortable in order to achieve a kind of meditative, minimalistic perfection. Certainly, there are limitations that you should keep in mind and adhere to if you intend to be on the move for a decent length of time, but there is more than enough room – both literally and figuratively – for a few creature comforts along the way.
If you’re planning on a lengthy trip (or are in the middle of a long journey), you don’t have to live like a survivalist. As a long-term traveler, it is possible to have your cake and eat it, too. Sit back and make yourself comfortable!
Packing the Essentials…and then Some
If you’ve started packing for a long journey (whether or not you’re in an RV), it’s likely that you’ve thought about the essentials: first aid, extra undergarments, and toiletries, among other things.
Assuming you have some extra storage space, do consider packing some nonessential items that may improve the day-to-day quality of your trip:
1. Vehicle Toolkit
Though it may seem essential, many road-trippers forget (or simply don’t bother) to bring along some tools to maintain and fix their vehicle in the event of a mechanical problem. It’s certainly possible to go out on the road without a toolbox, but it’s less-than-ideal. Without the right tools, you’ll have to rely on other travelers, or you’ll have to find a mechanic and pay for repairs.
Some mechanical issues are unavoidably complex, and it can be much more trouble than its worth to try and fix it on your own. In many instances, however, mechanical issues are quite simple to fix and can be handled on your own (with the right set of tools, of course). This will save you a lot of hassle later on.
2. Entertainment & Media
Too often, long-term travelers cross off “entertainment” items from their packing lists in the name of minimalism. After a few months of RVing, however, charades may start to get long in the tooth.
Assuming you have a bit of spare storage space, try to bring along some of your favorite books, movies, and games. Though it’s nice to be able to “make your own fun,” on a long trip, you’re going to have days where you’re feeling a bit lazy, uncreative, or nostalgic for home. It’s a great relief to be able to unpack a favorite board game or pull out a favorite book and enjoy a relaxing evening where the fun is already built-in.
3. Backup “Temperature Control” Clothing
Though most well-prepared travelers pack a range of clothing for the expected weather conditions, it’s also important to pack some clothing as a backup in the event that your temperature control equipment stops working (or is working less than optimally). If your air conditioning and heating are underperforming or broken, you may plan to take it in for repair, but there is going to be a period of time where you’ll have to suffer the temperature consequences.
To ensure maximum comfort, make sure you pack clothes to handle this event (i.e., pack some jackets and blankets in case your heating breaks down).
Also, you just never know what Mother Nature might throw at you!
Tips for Staying Comfortable
1. Set up a Treat Fund
Even if you have a more limited budget, try to set up a “treat” fund to use for occasional splurging. When you’ve been on the road for awhile, it can be a nice break to go out for a premium dinner once in awhile or spend a little extra on a unique recreational activity (i.e., rock climbing, skydiving, or a boat ride). By setting up a treat fund, you’re also incentivized to stick more strictly to your budget on a day-to-day basis.
We treated ourselves when we visited the Florida Keys! Snorkeling and Margaritas in Margaritaville!
2. Develop an Efficient Cooking Process
Cooking for yourself while on a long trip is one of the best strategies to stay healthy and to keep costs low. Plus, you can enjoy a good home-cooked meal while on the go! Of course, many travelers find it difficult to cook regularly.
To ensure that you remain consistent with your cooking, make sure to pack some quality utensils and equipment, and stick to a process. Choose recipes that you are capable of cooking easily, and set a timer. By limiting yourself to a set amount of time to prepare your meal, you can avoid having the cooking process spiral out of control in terms of complexity.
3. Exercise Regularly
Find the time to exercise regularly while on your journey. If you don’t exercise over the course of your trip, you’ll likely find that physical activities (i.e., hiking, canoeing, etc.) are overly taxing on your body, and may interfere with the rest of your plans.
If you do not have a lot of exercise experience, don’t be dismayed: a long trip serves as an excellent starting point! With fewer distractions, you may find that it is easier to be consistent and to enjoy the exercise process. Since our scenery is always changing, this makes getting outdoors to move especially fun and interesting!
On the Move
So there you have it. Life on the road doesn’t mean leaving all your creature comforts in the past, but you do have to be smart about your packing choices. We hope this article helps you prepare for your next extended adventure!
Written in collaboration with Gaby Cuda
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