Holy moly! We have learned A LOT during our first three weeks on the road about what it takes to pull a trailer across the country, how to not have personal space and about travelling long term on the road.
Let’s summarize the most important things shall we?!
TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE TOWING A TRAILER ACROSS AMERICA/TRAVELING LONG-TERM!
- Canadians beware! When you enter a tolled freeway you MUST take a ticket! Even if the machine looks weird and there’s no person anywhere to help you. Otherwise you get charged full price toll fare ($65 instead of $5) when you exit the freeway at the next exit! With all our travel knowledge we should have figured this out but stressed and tired as we were we missed it. Thank goodness Philadelphia is sending us a refund since we had proof of eating at McDonald’s at the previous exit! HA! McDonald’s for the win!
- Buying a trailer? BUY SWAY BARS for your trailer hitch. They are a MUST. They make it so much easier to tow your trailer and not get pushed around on the highway by transport trucks. They drive FAST and you will be terrified without sway bars if you don’t have a lot of towing experience.
- Watch the weather closely. We were shocked at how cold it could get in someplace like Arizona at night when the jet steam pushes south. We actually woke up with four zero degree (C) nights when we thought it would be warm. We didn’t drain our pipes because we didn’t expect it to be cold for long during the night but it was a close one!
- When planning a long trip make sure you schedule in at least a couple of big rest spots where you stay for at least 2-3 nights at least every 3-4 days. Moving around and driving too far (more than 250 miles a day while towing) is way too stressful and exhausting. Moving too fast on a long trip will be the end of it as everyone will be too tired to enjoy it any more.
- Passport America is the absolute BEST DEAL ON THE ROAD for camping. Before we left I signed up for the KOA, Good Sam and Passport America discount programs. The KOA campgrounds are the nicest but very expensive and you don’t add up points quickly on their savings program. We’ve tried two highly recommended Good Sam campgrounds and have been very disappointed. I wouldn’t trust their rating program again. Passport America gives you 50% off any participating campground. There are a lot of rules like most campgrounds don’t offer the discount on weekends but you can find some AMAZING deals on really nice campgrounds. I always check Google or Trip Advisor for campground ratings before booking.
- So far in the United States I’ve found data/cell service to be pretty bad. It’s almost non existent on highways in between cities and even in some cities it’s a really bad connection. Campgrounds with good WIFI are incredibly important but so is an unlimited data plan so you can use it A LOT when ever you encounter service.
- Grind your coffee the night before so you don’t wake up everyone in the morning when you’re up at 5:30 am because of travelling and time change!
- Have multiple sources of power so if one breaks you still have power! We have run into at least one campground where we had to move because the 110v power didn’t work and we have also had both our 110v and 12v power sources break on during our trip. This is mainly because we’re living in an antique but I stand by this recommendation for everyone.
- Always do a walk-around of your trailer/camper before you get on the road so you don’t forget a storage door open or a window vent open. We lost our antenna but luckily stopped quickly enough to save our roof vent we left open!
- Buy LOTS of bungee cords, duct tape, breaker bars and hooks with you! There will always be small repairs, never enough plugs and things that fall loose while travelling!!
Disclosure: Thanks to ROAM (sponsored our data plan) for keeping us connected on the road!