For most RV vacationers and full-timers, the basic essentials needed for a comfortable trip seem all too clear. But there are a few items that often get forgotten in the rush to include that extra bike, kayak, or marshmallow skewer. And in the interest of having a good time, most people try to put emergencies out of mind when planning their trip. But because things can and do go wrong, it’s in the long-term interest of most travelers to formulate backup plans.

For vacationers and live-aboard travelers in recreational vehicles, backup planning falls into three main categories that include personal preparedness, equipment and vehicle preparedness, and evacuation planning. This article will deal with personal planning and evacuation.

Important Personal Resources for RVers

It’s important for RVers to think about what personal items they’ll need to carry with them to be self-sufficient and self-sustaining. Beyond the everyday basics, if they will only be out for a week/month or two at a time chances are there’s no need to worry about really important documents (living wills, health directives, power of attorney, passports, etc.) because they are safe at home. But for full time RV enthusiasts who have no other domicile, safely storing these items on board becomes much more important.

Personal Items Necessary for Long-Term RV Travel May Include:

  • Immunization Records and Medical History
  • Copies of Recent Medical Tests
  • Medical Directives
  • Living Will
  • Last Will & Testament
  • Power of Attorney
  • Financial and Investment Paperwork
  • Passport
  • Important/Cherished Photos.

According to Tom and Nancy Vineski (full-timers for more than a dozen years), many RVers keep fire safe. Documents, jewelry, and jump drives with key computer files and digital pictures of documents, credit cards, insurance cards, etc. can be put in zip lock bags, or stored in a fire safe, and will remain reasonably well protected in the event of fire, storm, or flood.

The Red Cross sponsors an initiative called the Vial of Life Project. It’s a free program that provides registered users with two stickers, one to be placed on the outside of the RV, and one to be placed on a large zip-lock baggie (the “vial”) which will be attached in a safe and easily reached location onboard the RV. In the “vial” users put a completed form listing medical conditions and medications, and any other documents that they think important (list of allergies/prescriptions, living will, medical directives, DNR, etc.). In the event that they have to leave their primary vehicle in a hurry RV travelers using a “vial of life” system will be able to quickly assemble their most important personal items and then execute their evacuation plan.

Emergency Evacuation Planning for RV Travelers

It pays to have a plan in place that lays out where to go in the event of an emergency. We’ve all seen the footage of mass hurricane evacuations. Despite the fact that a recreational vehicle offers a lot more comfort in a traffic jam than the average Prius, nobody wants to sit in traffic. RV travelers have the means to move further afield and should consider passing up the evacuation center fifty miles away in favor of a nice quiet campground a hundred miles away. This could be a particularly useful strategy when traveling with pets, as most evacuation shelters don’t admit refugees with pets.

Emergency Evacuation Kit for RV Travelers

Stories abound of people who remembered to pack clothes and food, but forgot their medication, or put the cat in their tow vehicle but forgot the cat box. So, it pays to consider not just how to evacuate, but what to take when the time comes.

Again, think about what personal items are vital to continuing and enjoying the trip if that’s a reasonable option in an emergency.

Experts suggest keeping an emergency kit (first aid supplies, space blanket, flares, toilet paper, flashlight, spare batteries, and food, etc.) in both the recreational vehicle and tow vehicle car. Having an emergency kit in the car is critical because most RV enthusiasts are rarely at the motor home without the car, but often in the car without the motor home. If they are caught out, generally speaking, the car will have enough basic items to evacuate for a short period of time. Also, many travelers are in habit of always carrying a purse or backpack, which contains insurance cards, wallet, vehicle insurance, credit cards, and cell phone.

These days we hear a great deal of talk about how “dangerous” our world has become. Happily, RVing is still a terrific way of living and vacationing. RVers are generally friendly and happy to be where they are. Accounting for all of the personal items needed to feel secure gives RVers peace of mind. Ultimately, this will prove to be their recreational vehicle’s single greatest asset in both good times and in times of trouble.

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