We RVers typically don’t like to admit it, but some campers are smarter than we are – at least on some topics. The aim of the frugal RVer is to learn something useful from more experienced campers, travel rig owners, and RV groups. Here are my tips on how to get useful answers to common RV problems.
Ask Good Questions
Sometimes the most difficult part of getting a good answer is figuring out what the best question is. Rather than “What oil should I buy?” a better question may be “How would you advise me to select the best quality oil and filter for my high-mileage diesel pickup?” Ask a specific rather than an open-ended question for best results.
Once you’ve framed the question, consider how to approach another RVer with it. If you want a variety of opinions, offer the clarified question to members of your favorite Facebook RV groups or at a local camping club event. For better results, select one or two RVers (see below) and get them into the frame of offering valuable counsel by prefacing your question with something like “I need some help with an RV camping question and would really appreciate your advice.” That approach appreciates the listener’s experience and asks him or her to treat your question with an open mind and best knowledge.
As your camping experience expands, you learn to recognize who are the better resources for your questions. It may be found in what they say, but more often in what they do. Many RVers talk a good camping experience, but camping with them can tell more than any conversation. Do you seem to have the same approach to camping? These are the RVers whose knowledge and skills about camping you most respect. These are the RVers who are as smart, maybe even smarter on some subjects than yourself. And they have different experiences from which they have learned. They have something to teach you.
Most RVers join several different RV groups, travel clubs and associations over the years, but soon find one or two RV groups that focus on their type of camping. These are the groups in which you would consider a lifetime membership. Maybe it’s a brand or model club, a state or regional group, or an association that focuses on weekend trips, seasonal excursions, or specific types of RVs. These are your sources of knowledge, the campers and advisors who have their own unique experiences from which they have learned valuable lessons. These are the RV groups that you should join.
You’ve framed a great question and asked it of a knowledgeable person. But maybe the answer isn’t coming out clearly. The question wasn’t heard the way you thought it would be. Or maybe the listener didn’t understand the terms you used. Time to clarify. “Sorry, but what I meant to say was…” Carefully, you can guide the conversation toward an answer that better fits what you need to know.
Once you have a practical answer from your resource, write it in your Frugal RV Notebook. As you do so, additional questions may crop up and you can get answers or clarifications while you still have your resource nearby. And remember to thank your advisor for helping you.
What does all this have to do with being a frugal RVer? A frugal camper is one who makes common-sense decisions toward getting good value from every travel activity and dollar. Some of those decisions are based on what you’ve learned about camping and travel equipment. They can be enhanced by learning valuable lessons from the experiences of other campers. The bottom line is: To get a valuable answer, ask a good question of someone who knows.
One more tip: Be a valuable resource to other campers. Answer clarified questions with as much helpful guidance as you would like other RVers to offer you. Clearly differentiate between what you know as fact and what your experience has developed as opinion. And don’t be concerned if the listener doesn’t take your advice. Frugal RVers recognize that there are many ways of doing the same thing well.
>>Dan Ramsey, FrugalRV.com
Travel more – spend less!