The Ultimate Road Trip: THE SILVER SNAIL : A solo woman's full-time RV adventure
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WHERE TO STAY: A full-timer’s perspective

As a solo girl who travels, works and lives full-time in an Airstream trailer, deciding where to stay is usually a matter of cost, beauty and convenience. It’s a rare campground that satisfies all three - usually I’ll get two at the expense of the third - and it can become a competition between public (local, state, national) and private campgrounds. In the end, how long I intend to stay is the deciding factor.

For certain choice destinations, I often plan on monthly stays in private campgrounds with full hookups. Since I don’t have a co-pilot to share the tasks of driving, researching, and setting up/breaking down camp, it’s nice to find a central spot in a desirable location and settle in for a while. Staying for a month is usually half-price and gives me a chance to feel at home and relax without the extra tasks of moving on. It is more akin to settling into a new town as a neighbor, not as a hurried tourist, and it gives me more time around my work obligations to get to know people, hunt for photos and absorb the local culture.

But I want to stay in the beautiful places, of course - with lots of space and privacy too, please. While this can be a tall order for many private parks, often the local and state parks can deliver. However, they rarely offer full hookups, always have a time limit, and never have half-price deals. I can certainly settle for a shorter stay and get by with just an electrical connection (as long as the campground has decent showers) - but then there’s the issue of cost. Yes, the daily rate of public parks can often be less than the private parks, but if you factor in the monthly discount and full hookup convenience, private parks win – and sometimes they can be just as beautiful as the public parks.

Of course, internet and phone are also a concern. My Verizon mifi and phone have served me very well. But on rare occasions I find myself in a beautiful out-of-the-way place and want to stay a little while, but I have very poor coverage. In these cases, I may compromise adequate communication at the homefront if there is something available a few miles down the road. I don’t mind having to drive to the local library or coffee shop for good wifi. It mixes up my day and gives me more opportunities to eavesdrop on the local gossip. Same thing with the phone - sometimes a phone conference happens to work best a couple miles down the road in a pull-out overlooking the spectacular Californian coast. That’s okay with me.

One of the advantages of having a house on wheels is that my yard and my neighborhood can change when I’d like them to. Some places I might not be so crazy about, and other places could feel like a dream come true. Deciding on a campground to call home is part of the fun of being a full-timer and it’s usually where the thrill of discovery begins again with fresh enthusiasm.

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The Silver Snail
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