Practical ideas to make your travel lifestyle more comfortable don't require a lot of money. Many of these ideas are borrowed from others, some are a result of several of our own (sometimes expensive) false starts, and a few of the cheapest turned out to be unbelievably useful. We readily discard ideas that just don't work. Here goes with some of the useful tips.
Winter Running Water. For winter travel we are winterized with no water in the fresh water tank, but we always carry a fresh water supply in separate bottles. We have a 3-litre plastic bottle we bought full of drinking water at a truck stop. When it's empty, we refill it from our tap at home. We store it in the bottom of the hanging wardrobe where it shares space with a 1,500 watt small electric heater and a Bissell Pet Hair Eraser. The second water bottle has a flat shape and holds 1.5 gallons. It fills from the top and has a spigot at a bottom corner. We have broken three of these flat bottles in the past, so we now secure it to the kitchen wall with two eye screws and a bungee cord. The bottom rests on two pieces of thin foam. Normally the spigot hangs into the aisle, but the bottle can be swiveled to empty into the kitchen sink (lined with RV dishpan) when winter boondocking. The flat bottle is sold by Walmart and Meijer.
The Last Paper Towel Holder. Between camping stores and Bed, Bath & Beyond, you can find umpteen kinds of holders for rolls of paper towels. We had bad luck with all we tried– they took up too much counter or cabinet space, they allowed towels to unroll in a heap on the floor, or they leaped into the aisle on sudden stops. Our last towel holder is the cheapest and by far the best. We mounted two screw-eyes on the dish cabinet door. We tied an overhand knot in a bungee cord to shorten it. We threaded the bungee cord through the core of the roll and hook ed the bungee into the screw-eyes. Bungee tension holds the full roll or partial roll firmly against the door under all road conditions.
Folding Laundry Hamper. Walmart sells a collapsible laundry hamper or basket. Ours folds up to 1″ thick x 9″ in diameter and stores atop the towels in the compartment above the toilet. When we travel and have accumulated dirty clothes, it rides on top of the toilet. When we stop for the night, the front passenger seat is swiveled to face the back and the laundry hamper is put into the foot well. It is out of sight completely, but still easy to use. It is one of the very few items we relocate when camped vs. traveling.
Wide Mirror. From Hammacher-Schlememer we bought a wide angle interior mirror that clips onto our interior rear view mirror. It gives you a view of everything back of the driver including an out-the-window view of the right hind quarter blind spot. We gave one to a friend who liked it in his Roadtrek so well, he ordered one for his regular driver car. A digital clock is above it.
Fridge Remote Thermometers. Amazon sells a wireless thermometer specifically for freezers and refrigerators. One sending unit goes in the freezer (must use lithium batteries) compartment and the other remote sending unit is placed in the refrigerator compartment. Ziploc bags protect the sensors against moisture. Both use two AA batteries in the senors and two AAA in the base unit. The display is magnetic and we have ours stuck to the vent over the stove. At a glance we can see whether the freezer is and fridge are in the proper cold ranges. If the temperature starts up on the freezer you know you forgot to relight the fridge! Or forgot to change modes. You can set an alarm to indicate abnormal temperature, such as caused by the fridge door not fully closed. The model we have is from Amazon and we have seen them branded as both Accurite and Chaney.
Sun Visor Storage. The windshield sun visors provide a handy storage area for “while driving” accessories. We bought two from Amazon. But truck accessory stores in Pilot and Loves truck stops have them also. On the passenger side the visor add-on holds CDs, and on the driver's side is a compartment for glasses, and pockets for various cards. We keep the loose insurance card, Good Sam, Flying J/Pilot, FMCA, KOA cards, etc in the pockets. It also stores the grocery savings cards. When traveling we encounter many different grocery chains that all need a special frequent buyer card to get the good prices. Many styles of visor storage pockets are available, so find one or two that suit your needs.
Shower Squeegee. When we use the aisle shower in our camper we remove the floor covering — in our case the interlocking foam flooring with a dark oak pattern — revealing the floor drain. After showering we use a shower wall squeegee to scrape the excess water to the floor drain, so the floor dries almost instantly. Bed, Bath & Beyond has several cheap squeegee models. A motorcycle net with top and bottom expansion rods keep shelf contents in place.
Cheap Plastic Clothes Hangers. In our wardrobe is a clothes hanger rod with vertical slots. From a Roadtrek owner we learned the trick of inserting the hangers from the back side of the rod instead of frontwards. In other words the open end faces the closet door. It makes it easier to hang or remove clothes. Also, cheap plastic hangers flex easily so they work better than sturdy plastic hangers.
That's a wrap on tips for today that can make the travel life easier, more comfortable, and less work.