20 RV and Camper Hacks on a Dime

Always On Liberty RV Hacks 1

We’ve all heard of the word ‘HACK’. Just about everything has a hack these days; even RV’s. HACKS are cheap cheats or inexpensive remedies; utilizing objects that are meant for other intended purposes.  We’ve put together a comprehensive list of hacks, tips and ideas to make living in an RV or camper easy and cheap.


They are annoying yet genius in the same sentence. They come in almost anything that’s packed in a box for shipping or packaging; new small appliances, electronics, etc. This hack has a purpose though; to keep moisture away. We stow them in our cookware drawer, cutting board storage, herbs/spice containers, camera bag, cutlery and silverware drawers, handbags, luggage and totes, tea box, battery storage containers, razor storage, clothes and shoe storage, closets, tool boxes, fishing tackle boxes, gym bags, and more!  Instead of throwing them away, we toss them into any compartment to keep contents dry.

Warning: DO NOT OPEN PACKETS!  Keep out of reach of children and pets.

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COST:  Free
FOUND:  Wherever you can find them


We call them ‘cord bendies’.  We’ve seen these in stores that are sold as a hardware/home item but they are expensive. We found them in the hair care section for a just a buck a pack!  When they wear out, just toss and buy a new pack.  They have a foam outer with thick wire inside.  Wrap them around electrical and electronic cords, etc.  These hacks come 5-10 per bag in different gauges and lengths.

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COST:  $1 pkg of 5-10
FOUND:  Dollar Tree


Camping and RV stores sell these but they are pricy.  However, just go to your dollar or big box store in the curtain rod section. We install these in our cabinets and refrigerator on moving days. They can extend according to the lengths you need and have grippy rubber ends to keep them in place.

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COST:  $2-3 each
FOUND:  Walmart, Dollar General


We saw this cool hack on Pinterest and immediately started using it. What are they?  Simple garden flag holders.  They have two prongs that stick in the ground near the picnic table or just outside your basement/storage compartments. We even stick it in the ground near the truck when Dan’s working under the hood. Great picnic hack!

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COST:  $5-7
FOUND:  Walmart, Target, Dollar General, Lowes, Home Depot


We have a bunch of these for storage purposes.  You can find them in the crafting department of big box stores or in the beading or crafting section of the craftstores.  Store everything from batteries, Command Strips and hooks, small hardware pieces, etc.  Label each to identify the contents on the ends and stack them in a cabinet. You can use this hack in every room of your RV.

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COST:  $2-3 each
FOUND:  Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, JoAnn’s


We cut small squares and put them between dishes, inside pots and pans to protect the cooking surface while in transit and in cabinets so things don’t shift or slide around. They are placed under DVD players and electronics inside cabinets, underneath small indoor mats and rugs. We cut them the same shape as lamp or canister bottoms so they don’t slide around on the counters.  They can even be cut into a small square to use for opening new jars of pickles.  They also are great for putting under Krissie and Kandi’s pet beds so they don’t slide off the furniture.

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COST:  $5-$10 Roll
FOUND:  Walmart, Target, Lowes, Home Depot, Dollar General


We already had these from our former S&B so we just brought them with us.  They are lightweight and can be stacked. We have stacked under the sink in the bathroom that has all of our first aid supplies and one in the bedroom that has all of Lisa’s cosmetics, nail care, travel size toiletries, etc.  We put the above rubber shelf liner under them so they don’t slide during travel.  We use an expandable curtain rod ‘vertically’ to keep the drawers from opening while in transit.

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COST:  $7 each set of 3 drawers
FOUND:  Target or Walmart


Being prior military, we are so organized that we are borderline compulsive.  The first time we transitted, we opened a cabinet and had a bunch of stuff fall on our faces.  We remedied that by buying tons of baskets.  I took measurements of each cabinet, stored them in my phone and carried a small sewing tape measure to have when I went shopping.

We like baskets with handles for easy grabbing.  If we need something out of the cabinet, we simply grab the whole basket without having to rifle through the cabinet.  Nothing gets pushed in the back.  We use them in almost every cabinet in our RV. They are in the pantry and living area cabinets. We store maps, books and guides, motorcycle wear and gear, office supplies, small gifts and souvenirs. In the bedroom, we have them in our clothes closet that store ball caps, scarves, sandals, rolled t-shirts, etc.  Most of our baskets were found at Ross’s Stores; keeping them the same style for a cleaner and nicer appearance that we can show off when opening our cabinets.

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COST:  $5 each
FOUND:  ROSS Store or anywhere you can find inexpensive baskets


When I saw these in a Ross Store, I bought out the whole store because I knew I’d use them.  We store our jars and small things in the refrigerator.  In the food pantry, we store gravy and soup packets, dip mixes, oatmeal and hot cocoa packets and other small items.  These hacks keep everything orderly and easy to see the contents. We’ve seen them in big box stores and home stores for double, even triple the price we found them at Ross’s.

TIP: If you see something in Ross, TJMaxx, Marshalls, Home Goods, etc. buy it immediately as their stock is not regular.

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COST:  $3-$5 each
FOUND: ROSS Stores, Bed Bath & Beyond


We had all of our small medicinal and prescription bottles on one of those tiered shelves in the medicine cabinet.  After our first transit, I opened the cabinet only to muttering words a salty sailor would be proud of.  Everything fell out into the sink and at my feet. I found these at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Though pricey, they work beautifully and are worth their weight in gold.

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COST:  $15
FOUND:  Bed Bath & Beyond


Velcro aka ‘hook and loop’ fasteners are a necessary expense in your RV or Camper.  We attached remote controls near the recliners, the outdoor tv remote to the inside compartment, small wall art and picture frames to walls, items to inside cabinet doors, etc.  Command Strip Velcro now come weight rated on the packages. Even our LIBERTY quarterboard is attached to the outside of our 5th wheel and is easily removeable for underway days.  Unfortunately, these are on the pricy side so we more careful planning is used when utilyzing them.

TIP: Be mindful with how much weight is put on them though as to not have the hook pull the wall paper away from the bulkheads.

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COST: $4-$10
FOUND: Walmart, Target, Lowes, Home Depot, Dollar General


These are for attaching things more permanently.  We use them for attaching hooks.  We use the hooks for attaching temporary decorations, strings of lights, etc. Great wall hanging hack!

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COST: $4-$10
FOUND: Walmart, Target, Lowes, Home Depot, Dollar General


We learned this little trick from other seasoned RVers when we first began our on-the-road travels.  Amazingly, most knick-knacks won’t not moved while in transit.  We’ve applied it under the feet of our tea box and faux flower pot on our buffet counter. We love this stuff!

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COST:  $3-4
FOUND:  Dollar General, Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, JoAnn’s


These are awesome to install on the wall side of the shower and adjust it to rest on the upper edge of your shower stall.  We hang wet clothes or towels on it to dry.  We also hang our bathhouse shower bag, loofahs, body scrubbies, etc.  For extra holding power, we put mounting putty between the rubber ends and the wall.

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COST:  $10
FOUND:  Walmart, Target, Dollar General, Lowes, Home Depot


We found this storage container at a Ross Store in the small pet section however, we’ve seen them at big box stores in the bird seed section. We just open the top of the new bag, slide it in and seal.  No bugs or stale pet food.  What’s cool is it has a flip-top pouring spout.  You can find bigger ones at big box stores as well.   You can even store your charcoal in it too!

NOTE: we no longer feed our cats dry food for health reasons. We donated ours to a local shelter.

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COST:  $10
FOUND:  ROSS Stores, Lowes, Home Depot


We’re glad we didn’t toss these when we sold our home.  It fits perfectly on the door of our laundry/utility storage closet in the galley area. We keep bear spray, sunscreen, bug spray, cat brush, lint roller, flashlights, shopping tote bag, packing tape and markers, etc. in it’s pockets.  There’s no limit to this cool must-have for an RV or camper.  Just don’t overload it to affect the sway of the door or to put stress on the hinges.  We put little pieces of adhesive moleskin on the backside of the hooks as to not mar the door finish.

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COST:  $10
FOUND:  Target


One day, we grabbed a bottle of wine out of the liquor locker cabinet and a dozen Koozies fell on the floor.  It dawned on us that if we cut off the bottom and slid it over a bottle like a sleeve, they won’t clang together or break during transit.

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COST:  Free
FOUND:  Fairs, Shows and Expos


Oh, these little buggers are awesome!  These can be found them in a big cardboard promotional bin in Walmart.  Simply cut off the strap, attach museum putty to the backside and stick one  to the underside of a shelf in the pantry cabinet to light up the shelf below.  We put them everywhere; one inside our gauge and control panel, under the cabinet that lights up the commode in the middle of the night, in cabinets, inside drawers, etc.

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COST: $1 Each
FOUND:  Walmart


Don’t worry, they’re clean…and new!  We bought a 10 pair pack of the cheapest ankle socks to slide over our glassware when they are not in use.  And even if they do break, the broken glass will remain inside the sock.

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COST: $5 for 10 pair
FOUND:  Flea Market


This frame had a generic cardboard picture in our bedroom when we bought our RV.  We converted it by mounting 1/2″ foam rubber, adhering fabric to the board, and hanging the frame back up. Never had a single earring come down during transport and necklaces hang without coming off the pins.
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So, those are our Top 20 RV and Camper Hacks on a Dime. You probably have some of your own that you should share; anything to make it easier for others who come after us.

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8 Ways to Forge Friendships While RVing

The day before Thanksgiving 2014, we signed papers and handed over our keys of our home, one shell-shocking question hit us like a ton of bricks…the one question we hadn’t thought of during all the selling, minimizing, and prepping for our RV travels…

How will we meet people and forge friendships?

Being we are both fairly outgoing, we kind of let our own personalities take the reigns. We’re not new at this game.  As a military family for 30+ years, it’s the life we’re accustomed to so, you could say this comes a little easier for us.  Through our experiences so far, we thought we’d share our list that future or new(er) RVers who struggle with ‘getting out there’ can build their amazing relationships, have fat address books and look forward to reunions after.

1)   SMILE & WAVE – Bees are attracted to sweetness, right? It’s a no brainer, we all are drawn to happy people.  When we are in a new location, we smile in hopes that we get noticed as ‘those happy people in the big Landmark’ (our identity at parks).  Don’t be that grumpy one that looks the other way or grumbles as others wave to you.  Be approachable!  Strike up conversation while walking your cat (or dog), polishing your coach or lounging by the campfire.  For what it’s worth, IT WORKS!  Try it, you’ll see.

2)   INVITE – When we have or are planning a campfire, outdoor TV game or just sitting out for cocktails, we love for others to drag their camp chairs and cocktails over to sit with us.  Okay, so you may like the rival team…we can drink to that!  We’ve also been invited over ourselves and of those, we’ve become lifelong friends.  In other words, don’t be shy.  The worst they are going to do is decline.  If they do, suggest the next day. If they decline again, it’s their loss.

Our Marine Corps friends, Ed & Gail whom we met at Malmouth AFB
in 2016 and met up with again at Gila Bend, AZ in early 2017.
3)   PARK & RESORT ACTIVITIES – So, you’ve just pulled in, parked and set up with your chairs and carpet out.  Now you’re wondering, “what next”.  “Oh look, a pickle ball court!”, “Hey, they have two pools and a jacuzzi!”, “Wow, they have Wednesday night dinners in the club house!”.  Come on!  Don’t sit inside and watch tv.  Go out and meet people!  Aren’t the activities the reason for staying at these places.  You pay for it so use what you’ve paid for.  

4)   PLAN & SHARE OUTINGS – You’ve noticed the decals all over your neighbor’s car roof carrier and they’re screaming, “we’re hikers”.  Invite them over for a cold beverage and ask if they know where the best hikes are.  I bet soon, you’ll be hiking together even if it’s just a short one to grasp each other’s level.  On another note, you notice the “I love my Labs” sign in an RV window and you have Labs too.  Go see if they want to walk your pups together.  If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.  We always ask the one’s who’ve been there for awhile where the best eats are and oftentimes, end up going to dinner or lunch with them.  Oh yes, and ask to borrow that cup of sugar.  We’ve met the coolest RV peeps doing this.
Hiking with our friends “Timily” (Tim & Emily) 
from OwnLessDoMore
at Red Rock Canyon in Nevada
5)   ATTEND RV CLUB RALLIES, CONVERGENCES & SHOWS – Join your RV manufacturer owner’s club and other RV clubs like Escapees, Family Motor Coach Association, etc.  We are members of Heartland Owners Club and Xscapers and Escapees.  This is where we meet a lot of our friends.  We tend to break off into different ‘interest groups’ (ie. favorite type diners, ADV/motorcyclists, RZR or Jeepers, etc.).  At the Xscapers Quartzsite Convergence 2017, we organized an ADV Ride with others who also ride. We had a blast!  Now we are Facebook friends with a couple. 

For a comprehensive listing of RV Clubs and Associations, visit RV-Camping’s site HERE.
Xscaper ADV Riders at Quartzsite 2017
6)   SOCIAL MEDIA – Before we started RVing, we joined about a half dozen RV groups on Facebook.  For the first few months, we just read, listened and learned.  Then, once we bought our toyhauler, we were making friends on Facebook and be messaging where we could meet up. We started following others blogs and communicated where the best places to go are.  We learn so much from each other.  Our Facebook page is…drum roll…Always On Liberty if you wish to follow us too!
Networking with on Facebook for over 2 years,
we finally met in person
 RV Outlawz buds Denny & Veronica
7)  GO SEE OLD FRIENDS & FAMILY – Because they’re going to have two friends and those two friends will have two friends, and so on and so on!  We went to San Antonio to meet up with our Army comrades, Leon and Barb.  We met a whole bunch of their Army friends and soon after, we all ‘went to the ball’.  Now, we visit with several friends who live in San Antonio each time we go back.  Our schedule is always full there…all because, “they had two friends…”
Even WE got to go to the Ball!
U.S. Army MedCom Ball 2015
8)   TRAVEL CARDS – After you’ve traveled a bit, you’ll notice others have these cool looking business cards we call Travel Cards.  We exchange them like kids exchange baseball cards.  We have a business card small file book that we keep them in.  We write on the backs where we met them, date and type of RV so it rings our noggins a year or so down the road.  If you don’t have them, get them!!  Even if you don’t have a blog, simple contact information is all you need.  For ours, we don’t list our phone number(s) or address. That’s a personal choice.
So, as you see, making friends is not hard to do when you RV full-time.  In fact, the more you travel, the more friends you’ll make and the more destinations you have later for reunions!  Before you know it, you’ll be making plans with friends to caravan or meet at new destinations.

Top 25 Gifts for RV and Campers!

Ya know, this subject has come up a lot in discussion with family and friends; even amongst fellow RVers around the campfire or happy hour. 
We get the standard, ‘we don’t know what to get you for Christmas’.

Well, come on now, it’s not that hard. While we don’t need weed whackers, lawn mowers, cold winter parkas, mittens or boots, pieces of furniture, etc. we still endeavor to see fancy decorated presents under the tree or open packages with our names on it.  
Our son got it right our first Christmas underway two years ago; he bought a ton of gift cards for national chain restaurants.  He appreciated that on travel days or times we just didn’t feel like cooking, or while we are sightseeing or hiking, a quick meal out is a nice finisher.  So, when we opened up those little envelopes, shiny holographic gift cards fell out, we were blissful!  
He knew we loved Cracker Barrel, Applebees, Starbucks, Carrabbas, Olive Garden, B Dubs, and other chain restaurants nationwide.  I think he even tucked in one for Shell gas station (because we have diesel)
We were happy campers!  We wonder what he and his wife will get us this year as they know our nomadic minimalist lifestyle may limit them in their shopping quest.
However, not ever being ungrateful and please don’t take this the wrong way but sometimes gift cards can become generic.  We admit, we all like to open presents with cool paper with bows and tags or even a little trinket dangling off the bow on top. 
Now realize, this may be ‘our’ perspective but it does give an understanding of what we (collectively speaking) RVers like or need for our travels.  So, we compiled categorized lists that push the envelope your way to your practical gift buying.


Shark or Dyson Vacuum – Even RVs and Campers need to be vacuumed.  Get one that picks up pet hair, sand, gravel, etc.  They will thank you for it and love you for it.

Handcrafted Personalized Banner, Flag or Sign – These are cool!  We see them all over the parks and makes great conversation starters since we see their names. Include their RV name too! 

Unique Outdoor Lights – party lights rock!  You could get a string of lights, rope lights, solar spot lights, etc.  We all like to decorate our coaches and rigs; inside and out. You can go ‘class’ or ‘sass’. 

These are specially designed RV Camper lights.


Portable Countertop Ice Maker – if we don’t already have a residential refrigerator, these are awesome for us who love ice in their cocktails or beverages.

Instant Pot or Crock Pot – because RVers love one-pot meals.  They are easier to clean up after and can be left cooking while we are out hiking, shopping and sightseeing.  Dinner can be ready when we get back.

Collapsible Kitchen Bowls, Colander, and Measuring Cups – they store beautifully and won’t break while in transit. 



SD Memory Cards (mini and macro) – many of us have cameras.  Those of us who have Android phones, love the macro SD cards to hold many photos we take on the road.  We love to show off our photos at table conversations and nothing is better than whipping out our phones that have a card inserted loaded with photos out the ying yang.

Portable USB battery banks – you don’t know how many times we’ve been out somewhere and the battery life on our phones just juiced out.  We’ve had that happen in the middle of Death Valley and the Badlands.  Then we couldn’t take any more photos…because our phone(s) died.  Now we have them everywhere; in our truck, our backpacks, our RV, etc.  You can never have enough of them!

Electronic Picture Frame – Since we are minimalists, we can’t have a thousand picture frames in our RV’s however, we love to show off our families and friends.  Make sure you include an SD card…with a few of your own photos loaded on it!  Good quality is a plus!

Dash Cam – we don’t mean to scare you but you can’t begin to understand how many times distracted or inconsiderate drivers do some awful driving moves right in front of us.  We pray we won’t ever get into an accident (because pulling an 18,000 pound RV it isn’t going to be pretty!) but if or when we do, we need proof for court and our insurance.  We bought one at Walmart for about $50.  Call it a ‘reassurance for insurance’ gift.


Hiking Gear – some of us hike or trek.  Ideas are a good easy compass, small handheld GPS, trekking poles, backpack(s), multi-use tool, waterproof topography maps, Nalgene or stainless water bottles, flashlight(s), small first aid kit, water filter kit, good granola bars, etc.  We already have these but we know these are essential for every hike. 

Binoculars – HA!  You can’t believe the many uses these offer.  Not only for spotting cool looking birds out our back window but also, in the passenger side of our truck.  While transiting, the passenger can look through them to see traffic up ahead, exit signs, fuel stations, wildlife, etc.

LED Lantern and/or Flashlights – we love to walk everywhere and sometimes it’s really dark outside!   Get one…two…or five…all different sizes too!  Seriously, we can never have too many.  We have about five; one in the truck, two in the RV, underneath storage compartment, and backpack. 

Propane Fire Pit – we bought our Outland on Amazon.  These are amazing because most RV parks and Resorts no longer allow wood burning fires.  As well, firewood is expensive and not easy to acquire.  Add in a couple of those small green propane canisters you can find in the camping section of stores.

Portable Grill – we LOVE our Webber Q200!  It heats via propane.  Pair it with a green propane canister (or 5!) you can find in the camping section of stores.  Ours cost about $200.  Every RVer needs a grill!  

Small Hand-Carry Soft Cooler – Fill this sucker up with a couple of can and bottle koozies, bottle/can opener, wine bottle opener, ice packs, vinyl tablecloth, wet wipes, etc.  A ’12-pack’ size is great for a day trip out.  Also, a nice thing to have when we go grocery shopping to put our raw meats in to keep them from spoiling on the way home on hot days.  We have one and its worth a
million dollars to us!


Books of Post Card and First Class StampsSome of us still like to ‘write home’. Add in a nice pen and pencil set and some all-occasion box of greeting cards too!  We still send birthday, get well, sympathy, and congrats cards. 

Small Computer Printer – those small portable ones…that fit in a small case.  We still need to print things like insurance cards, shipping labels, documents to sign, etc.  Pair it with an extra print cartridge and small ream of paper.  Don’t forget to buy a printer cable too.  Again, we’re minimalists and big honkin’
printers just aren’t going to work as we don’t have the space to store or set
it up.


Plane Ticket(s) – most times, we are going to be far from family. Help us to come visit you.  It also gives us ‘a vacation from our vacation’.  (again, humor us!) Pack them inside a small carry-on bag with some destination maps to make it fun! 

Hotel/Spa Gift Cards – Don’t laugh!  What some ladies wouldn’t give to get a comfy high class hotel room for a night because…they have bathtubs and spas!  Sometimes, we enjoy a getaway and pampering even though we RV travel. If you know where your RV family member or friend is going to be, check out that area and find a reputable one. Then TELL them to GO.  Pair it with a nice restaurant and they will love you forever…and more!

Motor Carriers Trucker’s Atlas – these are a must, even if we have a GPS.  We check these for bridge clearance info.  Generally speaking, the bigger we are (RV’s that is…), we are more apt to travel roads and highways that truckers use.



RV & Travel Club Memberships – always check with your RVing family member or friend to see which ones they have.  Even if you don’t buy one, perhaps put cash in an envelope and say ‘this is for your Escapees renewal’.  It’s a thoughtful and practical gesture.  Check out CoachNet, Escapees,Harvest Hosts, Good Sam, Passport America, AAA, etc. 


Restaurant Gift Cards – like we mentioned, national chain restaurants are awesome, but please not McDonald’s or Burger King.  Try for something healthier because we admit, we get caught up in eating local foods and most times, they are not exactly the healthiest.

Gas Gift Cards – we ALWAYS need fuel! But please, make certain the fuel stations you pick have diesel in most places.  That’s what most full-time
RVers use for diesel trucks and motorhomes.

Home Depot/Lowes/BedBath & Beyond Gift Cards – we always are fixing something. We may need a certain tool or supplies.  They also sell holiday decorations, grills and grill parts, outdoor furniture, patio rugs, plants,
cabinet knobs, cleaning supplies, etc.
SO much better than Walmart (humor us!)  We also like to change out our towels and bedding.  Great for cooking tools too!

Gift Cards GALORE!!  Always check if there are expiration dates.
The list doesn’t end here though.  We are sure that there are probably a hundred…or a thousand…or million other things that RVers would love to get as a gift. Things to keep in mind when shopping for your RVing friend or family member; RV’s and Campers are small. We have limited storage space so keep that in mind when shopping.
  1. ASK what they would like. You might get them something they already have or tried and it didn’t work for them or their RV lifestyle.
  2. Always include the receipt. Ask the retailer if your gift can be returned at a different location as we travel around.
  3. Ask if gift cards have expiration dates.  Perhaps your RVer won’t be at that RV resort, or city until a year from now.
  4. If you get anything personalized, make certain you get the names and hometowns/state correct spelling (for signs, banners, flags…).  

So, if you’re reading this, whether you’re an RVer or a family/friend of an RV’er, we hope this helps.  Sometimes asking what they/we would like gets you the standard “I don’t care” or “whatever you’d like” but really, it’s about what the RVer in your life would like.  Holiday gift giving should be FUN…for both of you!