By Gail Marsh
You’ve probably seen the many different RV packing lists. Maybe you’ve even made your own. “Must Pack” lists are long! My “Must Leave” list is much shorter. In fact, I’ve found only three items that you really should leave at home. Every time. Just three items! How easy is that?
Here are my three “Must Leave” items:
1. Contact information
I know, I know! Part of the fun of RVing is getting away from _____ (fill in the blank). But it’s important to leave basic information that tells how a family member or a neighbor can reach you in case of an emergency. Cell phone numbers are good (when you have service). The RV camp office number or ranger station phone number can be backups. If traveling for work, leave behind a company phone number. The boss will always know how to track you down, right?
2. Travel plans
Again, it’s freeing to tell friends that you will “just go wherever the road leads.” But the truth is that things can happen – both at home and on the road. It’s important that a trusted family member or a friend knows your general plans, like when you will return and the route you plan to take. If you have an accident or become incapacitated in some way, folks will know to call for help on your behalf. If your kids know when you plan to return, they’ll know when to start worrying, right? (But if your travel plans change, be sure to let someone know.)
3. Extra house key, home key code, or garage opener
If you plan to be gone from your sticks-and-bricks home for a while, you’ve probably asked someone you trust to watch the house while you’re away. Give this person a key or some other way to get into your home. There may be a good reason for that person to get inside or enable a first responder to do so. Smoke could indicate a fire. A broken window might indicate a break-in. The list goes on and on. Our next-door neighbor heard water running in our home. Knowing we were gone, he used the key to get into the house. Upon checking, he discovered that a pipe had burst because of the unusually cold temperatures. Was I ever glad that I’d given him a key! He turned off the water and the damage was minimized.
So, whether you leave for an overnight, a weekend, or a month or more, remember these three “Must Leave” items. Can you think of anything you’d add to the list?