Guest Author - Jim Fortune
One of the most time consuming parts of renting an RV and getting it all packed up, is keeping track of where you put all of the "stuff" you take with you on your trip.
Trust me; I know from experience. I know that we packed it because it was on the list we made up and we crossed it off, so it is here - somewhere. But where?
Here is how you keep your sanity and not lose you mind or a lot of time when you go out on the road. After you have located the rental place where you will rent the RV, ask the person there if you can see "the rig" and get some ideas of what it looks like, inside and out.
Take a piece of paper and a pencil and draw a big rectangle on the paper. Somewhere on the paper, maybe at the top, write in large letters - OUTSIDE. This will be the outline of the outside of your "rig". On one side of the rectangle, one of the two smaller sides, write front and at the other end write back. On the passenger side of the "rig", usually on the right side when looking toward the front, draw a dark line, about in the middle, and mark it DOOR. If you are renting a Class C note the approx location of the front passenger and driver doors. If you are renting a Class A the DOOR on the side will be the only door in and out of your rig (in most cases).
Turn the paper over and copy the same rectangle from side one to the back side and mark this page INSIDE.
Now you have a storage map with some orientation on it for the outside and the inside of your rental rig. Take the map with you when you go to spend time with "the rig" the first time. Take a look at the lower compartments on the lower sides of the rig and locate the following: propane tank, sewer hose location, sewer line connection, external battery compartment, spare tire & jack and the instructions on how to use it. Mark these locations on your rig map. Next locate the storage compartments and mark these locations on your rig map.
Look inside each of the storage compartments and see how large they are and look to see if any compartments have a light that can be switched on and off. Make a note of any and all of these lighted storage compartments. The rig that I rent has two such compartments; one on each side.
Now go inside the rig and make a note of the storage compartments that you have inside of the rig and mark these on the INSIDE map. Check out the closet in the bathroom, under the sink, the medicine cabinet. Check the bedroom and see if there is any under bed storage. Sometimes there is room there and sometimes not. Look at the closet in the bedroom and any storage spaces and the dresser drawers.
Start making mental notes where your "stuff" is going to go. In the main living area of the rig you will have a lot of cabinets. Be sure to check out the freezer and note how small it is. There are only two of us so we have much more space than we ever use. However, when we went on a trip with my wife's sister, mother and father (five of us), space was hard to come by. But my wife and I still had room. Not a lot, but some. All of the available space should be on your map and you have checked out how much room there is in each space so you can visualize how things will lay out.
I would number all of the compartments on the INSIDE and OUTSIDE map - maybe starting with the number 1 on the outside and starting with the letter A for the inside. Label every compartment.
When you get home make up a list of what you are taking. On a piece of paper write the number 1 and the list what items you are going to place in that compartment. Do the same with the letter A. When you get done with your list of things to take, all of your items will have a home and you have a list of what is where and where the compartment is located in your rig.
Add to your list a small dish strainer. Your rig will probably not have a dish washer - that's going to be you or a travel companion. So plan on how you will wash and dry the dishes. Make sure the dishes you bring can be placed into the microwave. Don't forget a kitchen drawer organizer for kitchen cooking and eating utensils, a small refrigerator thermometer and a level.
I use the level to place on the bumper to make sure the rig is level so the slides go and and out properly and do not get hung up.
I also place any items that I think I will be using when it is dark outside in the compartments that have a light that I can switch on after dark. Then I don't need a flashlight when I am getting stuff out after the sun goes down.
Despite the economy I hope you are travelling and enjoying yourself. Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.?
Jim Fortune - the Bella Budget Travel Guy