The great American road trip…
Ricardo and I had always dreamed of packing up and head cross-country in an RV, but our busy work schedules never allowed us the time to take the trip we envisioned.
Last Summer, we both found ourselves working remotely from home, on lockdown, with our kids. Suddenly, we both had no bosses to report to and schedules that were clearer than they’d been in a long while. So we did what we always did when confronted with a challenge—we changed our perspective and searched for the opportunity in the situation we found ourselves in.
It was still in the early concepting and sampling stage of Larroudé, and we knew we could answer all the emails and calls we needed from the road. It really was the perfect time for an adventure. We started by booking the RV we’d be living in and Ricardo spent time planning the route and each and every stop (NYC to Malibu) in just a matter of weeks.
What started as a one-way trip (we were going to fly back home), turned into a roundtrip adventure because we were having so much fun on the journey. Even the kids weren’t for it to end. So we made a deal: As long as I planned the route back home, he was game.
Since our trip was such a success—we’re eager to plan our next one—I thought I’d share some of the tips I learned and resources I found along the way.
First thing’s first:
We rented the RV at El Monte RV, and decided on the Model Class A Family Sleeper. www.elmonterv.com
After a lot of research, we decided to go with El Monte since it was the only company we could find that allowed you to rent in one city and return in another. As you know, our original plan was one way to Los Angeles, flight back to NY.
The Class A we chose had a kitchen with a regular size refrigerator, microwave, oven, and tons of storage space so we could easily eat and cook on the road. It had a small bathroom that we shared, and 4 or 5 twin beds—some were convertible. There was a king size bed in a closed-door bedroom, which was for Ricardo and me. Take a look at the pics to see just how big it was!
El Monte’s pick-up garage is right outside Jersey City, so once we got the trailer, we drove it back into Manhattan, and parked right outside our home the night before we left. Driving an RV through NYC is not something I’d recommend—we’ll save that for a later post.
While we’re both very organized, we’re not big planners. It’s one of the reasons we loved the RV life. You can just go with the flow—if you like a spot, stay an extra day and change plans as you go.
It was by far the best trip we’ve taken as a family to date. We loved it so much we’re already dreaming about the next time we hit the road…hopefully this Summer!
A few tips for the RV Life:
- It does not require a special driver’s license.
- We opted to use our existing insurance instead of the one that El Monte offered – ours had more coverage.
- El Monte’s RV are usually brand new or a year old. They are in very good condition. It was probably even bigger and nicer than our first apartment in NYC!
- We brought bed linens, towels, a couple of pans, cups, plates—one set of older stuff in melamine so that nothing would break along the way, though there are options to rent an RV that is fully equipped. We found plenty of laundry spots at camps along the way.
- Food 1: There is plenty of storage space both inside and in the exterior compartments of the RV. That made it easy to do a big grocery order at the start of the trip of water, snacks, fruits, pasta, soda, nuts, kids favorite foods, so that we were fully prepared for the road.
- Food 2: Along the way, there are plenty of grocery stores to re-stock at any time. We were usually on the road for lunch and found plenty of drive-throughs. We’d usually do barbecues and s’mores for dinner at the camps.
- My kids were 10 and 6 last Summer when we took the trip, and they did not complain once about the long daily drives. It is not like a typical car drive, it’s really a motor home. So there are plenty of spaces for them to sit safely—with seat belt–and even watch TV!!! Or play games.
- We brought our own Apple TV and connected it to their system for added entertainment options.
- Must download apps: AllStays for camp recommendations and locations and Roadtrippers for maps that allow you to map out the entire trip.
- AllStays makes it so easy to find a campsite. You type the name of the city, and it shows all the surrounding camps and you can check by star ratings and read all the reviews. We lucked out with 90% of our camps. They were clean, safe, had great views, and everyone was super friendly.
- As you select your destination on Roadtrippers, it shows you a map for how to get there and drive time. It even allows you to plan by how long you want to be on the road each day. It also recommends national parks and sightseeing as you go—those were by far some of our favorite stops.
- For camping newbies like us, Koa Camps are usually a very safe choice for stays. Koa Resort is the nicest and most expensive of the chain. It usually has a restaurant–nothing fancy but convenient–offering burgers and pizza. There’s also always laundry, nice bathrooms, and a pool.
- Clothing: What to pack depends on your destination and the time of year. We traveled during the summer, so I brought cut-offs, tees, sweatshirts, leggings, swimsuits, jeans, sneakers, flat sandals, and a couple of dresses for a night out in Santa Fe and Malibu. I regret not bringing more summer casual dresses for day—I only took 3 and my trip ended up lasting 33 days!!!
- I don’t recommended driving into or through a big city, if you can avoid it. It’s really difficult to find a large enough space to park.
- The National Parks were absolutely some of the best stops of the trip—the nature is breathtaking and they surpassed my expectations. My favorite spots were Moab, the Colorado mountains, Lake Powell, and Santa Fe. A full post on our itinerary will be coming soon!
- Regret: Not taking the kids’ scooters and bikes. There was plenty of space on the RV to store them and plenty of our stops had room for those types of activities.
- Be ready to make friends along the way! Everyone we encountered at the camps were super friendly.
- Have multiple playlists on hand for those long drives. Here is our favorite one that we played non-stop.