How oh HOW did I end up on a 10 day rv road trip?! If you knew me on a personal level (which, by now, most you do), then you know- I am NOT particularly what one would refer to as adventurous…. or outdoorsy… or an RV type of gal. I like my Netflix, I like my spot on the couch, I really like spending 20 minutes a night on my skincare routine at my vanity, & if we’re gonna leave the house for a trip: I’d really like it if there were room service while were at it.
But you know what they say- THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE!!!!
Zack has been wanting to go on this trip since… before we met. I have literally heard about this RV trip for 7 years straight, but when it came down to getting time off work for a vacay- did we really want to drive around in a moving house OR did we want to lay on a tropical beach somewhere exotic at a hotel that has room service (spoiler alert: we always picked the latter).
The latter is not currently an option, so when Zack *once again* brought up the coveted RV trip he has always dreamed of, I figured- if we’re ever gonna actually do this thing, now is the time. I agreed, we booked the RV, and next thing I know… we’re on the road. FOR 10 FULL DAYS. It was a whirlwind, a whole new world for me, I learned so much, saw so much, and looking back- I am so glad we did it. We had a great time & it was an experience I most definitely do not regret.
I got a bunch of questions while on the road inquiring how exactly we did this trip/our route/traveling with dogs (did I mentioned we brought the dogs with us?!)/the rv/ etc. etc. SO- let’s get all those burning RV trip questions, answered!!
AHH- the good old chateau. Let’s talk about this whole RV rental process…
♡ WHERE WE GOT OUR RV FROM:
we rented our RV from an app/website called Outdoorsy. It’s pretty much an Airbnb for RV’s/camper vans/trucks. When we first got on the app, I didn’t put in our dates (we booked about 3 weeks in advance) & we had SO many fly options. Like literally, these little RV’s were nicer than our house. I was pumped thinking I was gonna have a white leather sofa & marble countertops. AND THEN- I added the date, and the pickings were SLIM.
RV TRIPS ARE BIG RIGHT NOW. Book very, very early & you could get something really cool. Our RV wasn’t horrible in the least, but it was just a regular old brown RV called the “Chateau”. The main reason we picked this one was that the company renting it out had really HIGH standards when it came to covid. This particular vehicle hadn’t been used for 3 weeks and they were featured on the local news for their standards of cleanliness as a company in regards to covid protocols. This was the MOST important thing to both of us. If they don’t have their covid protocols stated on the listing, make sure to inquire about this!!
**but I still bleached the entire RV before we got our stuff in there, cause that’s just who I am**
♡ TIPS FOR RENTING AN RV:
+ book early, ask about covid sanitization protocols. repeating this one, cause it’s my top 2 tips!!
+ if you/your partner are new to driving an RV, don’t go any bigger than 24′.
+ make sure to check the ENTIRE RV before leaving with the person you are renting from & take photos of any damage. They tried to tell us we scratched the roof, so yea- you should probably get on the roof before taking off.
+ negotiate unlimited generator hours!!! when you are at RV site, you will have hook ups so you won’t need to use the generator- but if you are driving for 6 hours & want to charge your laptop, you will want to use the generator. You don’t need it a lot, but it’s an easy thing to ask for.
+ look at daily miles allowed, we didn’t keep a close eye on this & we surpassed the allotted amount BIG TIME & they charge for miles over what is allowed.
+ watch a YouTube video on how to do everything beforehand, but we will get to this in a second.
+ remember, your RV is your ONLY form of transportation. IDK why I didn’t think of that first, but let me tell ya- a Starbucks trip was not quick or easy lol.
♡ REQUIREMENTS FOR RENTING AN RV?:
unless you’re driving a class A RV, which is basically a tour bus/small greyhound, you don’t need any special requirements. Drivers license & insurance and you are good to go. Yes- it is THAT easy. Wild, right?
♡ HAS ZACK EVER DRIVEN AN RV? HOW DID YOU CONVINCE HIM TO DRIVE?
First of all- I didn’t have to convince him at all because this trip was his idea, but I made sure we chatted beforehand about his boundaries because I knew that amount of solo driving would get old. We agreed to take breaks if he needed to stretch his legs, but I’m lucky that he’s pretty easy.
& NO- he has never driven an RV! He is a pretty confident guy & a really good driver- so I never thought twice about it being an issue. He watched a lot of YouTube videos prior to leaving as well. He looked up the exact model of our RV & watched videos on driving tips as well as how to clean the pipes. I don’t know if that’s the technical name, but you gotta empty a tank. It’s gross & I wanted nothing to do with that part of the trip. Other than that- he said it was like driving a UHAUL & I agree cause- YES, I DROVE THAT BEAST.
One night he was really tired, like thinking it wasn’t safe to drive, and we were 20 minutes to our hotel, so not only did I drive us there but it was AT NIGHT. It was a little scary at first, but honestly- driving felt safer than being in the back of the RV.
Planning & Packing
♡ TIPS FOR PLANNING WITH DOGS:
DON’T DO IT! Is that evil? Sorry sorry, we loved having them there, but it did make life about 10000x harder & if we ever do it again, they are staying at home. It’s a lot for… some dogs. Howard absolutely LOVED road dog life, & Ruby was a hot mess. She was so anxious that we almost had to call the vet to get an emergency doggy xanax. We ended up managing on CBD, but still… rough with dogs. The bed is small for all of us (yes, they sleep with us), we have to stop every 2 hours for a poo/pee break, they slide all over the RV if we can’t get them to lay down, lots of panting nerves, etc. etc.
Also we learned, NOT ALL CITIES ARE DOG FRIENDLY. Santa Fe, New Mexico set some new mandates recently because of covid that no dogs can go pretty much anywhere. We found one restaurant that let us sit on the patio & then one cafe that let us sit outside. I had a list of places to eat (see all my recs for each town we visited below!), but we couldn’t even order to-go & eat in the park because no dogs allowed in the park either.
♡ MUST HAVES FOR THE RV:
+ A CANDLE! Ha- I honestly think this was the best thing I brought. I brought my fave yummy candle to make the place feel more homey at night & help with any weird smells (it happens, I don’t want to go into detail here plz).
+ TV is a non negotiable for me, so luckily our RV had two. Also, most RV parks have wi-fi so bring a Firestick or a Apple TV!!! This was great, we cuddled up and watched all of the Haunting on Bly Manor on Netflix.
+ Blankets, pillows, towels, sheets, etc. I basically turned our RV bed into our bed at home & our RV couch into our couch at home.
+ Your kitchen essentials. Pots, pans, mugs, cups, seasonings, Tupperware, silverware, spatula, meat thermometer, whatever you use to cook with. I got us two dinnerware sets that because I didn’t want to bring our own plates & also got us two travel utensil kits. That was the gist of my planning, lol.
It’s a little different than packing for a hotel vacay, because you actually need EVERYTHING but don’t stress because stopping at WalMart is NBD. We had to stop for a lip liner, tampons, more blankets, film, food, water, paper towels, toilet paper, tin foil, etc.
♡ FOOD TIPS/THE FOOD SITUATION:
Well, if you have the same set up as we did- you have a fridge & freezer that work as long as your driving or your plugged in at a campsite. If you stay at a hotel, the fridge won’t work, so you have to get rid of your food (lesson learned).
As far as what we brought- sandwich stuff (make sure to pack for PB&J too, it feels like a must for me), frozen meals that were quick/easy, fresh fruit, raw veggies, taco supplies, frozen waffles, snacks galore, lots of water, sparkling water, lemonade, and…otter pops. LOL. We ate at some restaurants on the trip, but also had a taco night & a few frozen meals & LOTS OF sandwiches.
♡ WHAT WE WISHED WE WOULD HAVE PACKED:
More blankets, velcro for the cabinets/drawers in the RV that kept slamming open while driving, & camping chairs (we ended up buying them at Wal Mart).
We really brought just about everything we need and then some. Better question would be, what do you wish YOU DID NOT BRING? Well- the bike that we thought we’d use for some reason and just was a huge pain in the ass, the dogs crates that we also thought we’d need but never used cause they took up way too much space, & a cooler (pointless, we had a fridge).
Another note for packing- check if your RV has a closet because I put my clothes directly in the closet which was a game changer for me. I didn’t have to live out of a suitcase & also a suitcase would take up so much space. Other than that, we traveled with crates to store our stuff.
Zack very strategically set this route up for us in advance which *TIP* is an absolute MUST. Like I said, book the RV early, well you also need to book your RV sites early. We booked 3 weeks in advanced and that wasn’t enough, we couldn’t get spots at our number 1 preference of RV sites & our number 2 preference kept saying “omg you are so lucky you got the last spot”.
**note: our route changed slightly from the above graphic.**
+ SAN DIEGO TO ZION: our first destination when leaving home was straight to Zion. It was about a 7 hour drive & we stayed for two nights in Zion at the Willow Wind RV Park.
+ ZION TO MONUMENT VALLEY: we left Zion to make our way to Monument Valley, but stopped at the east rim of the Grand Canyon on our way there to see Horseshoe Bend (it was terrifying, but cool). We wanted to see Antelope Canyon as well, but they were closed due to covid.
It was about a 4 hour drive & we stayed one night at Gouldings RV & Campground in Monument Valley. TBH- I wish we nixed this stop & stayed an extra night in Zion. Monument Valley was cool, but Zion was cooler. LESSON LEARNED.
+ MONUMENT VALLEY TO SANTA FE: this was a long drive of 7 hours to get from Monument Valley to Santa Fe, New Mexico. We started early this day & ended up staying 3 nights in Santa Fe instead of going to Albuquerque as we had originally planned. We knew we needed a good three nights in a hotel & the second we got to Santa Fe, we were vibing (minus the whole dog unfriendliness thing).
+ SANTA FE TO SEDONA: after Santa Fe, we drove about 6 hours to our final destination of Sedona where we stayed 2 nights at the Dead Horse campground (which was the coolest campground we stayed at the whole trip!)
Things to Do/See/Eat!!
Zion was great, but also one of the cities that is harder to manage with dogs. There are so many cool hikes to do, that we couldn’t do. We did drive our little RV through the entire national park, went through all the tunnels, and stopped along the way to explore Zion. I listed all the recs I got below!
+ EAT: Feel Love Coffee (OBSESSED with this spot- get the lemon white mocha!), Bit & Spur, Kings Landing Tavern, Spotted Dog. Apparently the restaurants have long lines for dinner, so be prepared. A lot of people get takeout!
♡ SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO:
We absolutely loved Santa Fe, New Mexico. They say it’s the Paris of the United States, and I felt that. The little town is precious, the Fall vibes were on point, & we stayed in a hotel!!! My friend recommended we stay at El Rey Court & it was SO FREAKING CUTE (& a much needed break from road life- that shower was everything!!!).
Again, Santa Fe is newly not dog friendly + A LOT WAS CLOSED. They are very very strict about covid in Santa Fe, but even though we didn’t get to do everything on our list- we left feeling like we got the full Santa Fe experience & loved every second of it.
+ EAT: Cafe Des Artistes (go for coffee & gelato- also, dog friendly outside!), Rancho De Chi Mayo (the only dog friendly patio at a restaurant we found in the whole town & the enchiladas + margs were stunning), The Shed, La Choza, The Teahouse, Jambo Cafe, & we ordered Postmates to our hotel from the Apothecary Restaurant which is vegan and SO good.
+ DO: stroll around the ADORABLE old town area, head over to the Palace of the Governors (this is where the Santa Fe natives sell their crafts, but sadly was closed cause of covid), visit the art galleries on Canyon Road, go to Meow Wolf (sadly also closed cause of covid, I was v bummed).
+ SHOP: Double Take, period & end of story. This is the BEST thrift store I have ever seen. The wall of cowboy boots alone will make your jaw drop!!! It is massive and has all different sections to it- regular thrifting, high end thrifting, cowboy boots & more “cowboy” style clothes, and then a whole upstairs full of home goods. I could’ve been there for HOURS & ended up snagging an iconic pair of cowboy boots.
Sedona was GREAT. I absolutely loved it & wished we had another night there to explore even more. We are already planning a trip back to Sedona where we just go there only, sans RV, so we can have a few days to really see everything- but we did get to eat at a lot more places + do more because unlike Santa Fe, Sedona is all about dogs.
+ DO: explore the main street in Sedona, go to the Tlaquepaque arts & shopping village (obsessed, felt like we were somewhere in Italy), drive up to the Sedona airport mesa for sunset (bring a blanket to sit on, it’s stunning!!), hike Devil’s Bridge and/or Cathedral Rock Trail, & the Pink Jeep tours looked so fun (but… ya know, the dogs).
THERE YA HAVE IT- our entire trip, in a nutshell. Would we do it again? Absolutely. Next time we wanna see how we do in a camper van cause maybe, just maybe, it’d be a fun project for us to renovate our very own camper van so we can take more road trips.
WHO AM I?!