Monday, December 5, 2022


RV Shrink: Is documenting RV travels normal? This hubby doesn’t think so


Dear RV Shrink:
My husband thinks I spend too much time documenting our travels. I don’t have a Blog or Vlog, Facebook or Instagram. I just like to document where we have been, what we have done, and anything unusual that might happen along the way. I don’t know why it annoys him so much. It seems very normal to me. Am I odd, or do others do the same while RVing? Danie in Deming

Dear Danie:
Sounds very normal to me. In fact, I am always preaching to RVers to have a list so they don’t pull out of their site dragging electrical or water lines behind them. Documenting a trip can be not only enjoyable, but also very beneficial. We keep a logbook and a calendar of our travels for future reference.

Now that reservations are becoming so necessary, having campground information can be very helpful. We document our favorite sites in every campground we visit. Armed with that data we can make better decisions in the future if we plan to visit again. If you have to make a reservation you might just as well snag a site that doesn’t have a noisy trash dumpster next-door, bathroom light glaring at you all night, or dog park out the front door. We document sites with the best views, no generator loops, good solar and best sunsets. We list several sites we would be happy with. We may never visit again, but if we do this info is priceless. 

You can find all kinds of online sites and apps to help with finding dump stations, boondocking spots, quaint parks, and RV amenities, but having your own data and experiences documented will pay dividends in the future, geared to your own personal needs and desires. It is so easy to forget where you have been and when. Documenting weather conditions you have experienced in different regions will help you in the future decide when to visit again.

As part of your documenting you could add information like equipment purchases. It will help you remember when you bought items, what mileage they have endured, and when warranties expire. A good example would be tires or RV service and maintenance.

I applaud your desire to document, and hope your husband can see how important it is. 

What is your husband doing while you are documenting? He may need a hobby to keep him busy. Maybe he will even help you log your adventures when he understands how beneficial the exercise is. Until then, “Book ’em, Danie O.”

—Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Readers: Do you keep journals of your RV travels? What type of information do you record? Please let us know in the comments below.

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-books, including Book 2 in his two-book series: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.


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Herb & Kathy Baldwin
2 years ago

Great to meet the two of you last week at Rovers Roost … and now I see your post and will follow you regularly! Kathy journals our travels in a written diary while I document on our blog and You Tube. We are in Q for the week, heading back to the Roost on Sunday. Hope to meet up with you two again sometime soon, maybe the four of us can visit.

Matt C
2 years ago

I am actually a life long waterman. So it is natural that I would keep logs. As we have a classic (maybe antique coach) maintenance logs are essential, but the logs of our travels have also proven to be very useful and often entertaining to others. I am really glad that I kept the habit. We acquired the coach for a single and special excursion about fifteen years ago and we have just never let it go. We live in the rust belt, so she does not come out of the barn if there is still salt on the road. (A rule that sometimes get violated to make southern rallies in the spring.) But with few exceptions, we get in a couple or more memorable excursions every traveling year. This is where the excursion log is very good. “Honey, do you remember what year we went to ______? ” As is, I have had to remember when we went where by linking it to something from the maintenance log. “OK, I replaced the house bank before departed for Yellowstone.” If that makes you snicker, you have not been in RV travel mode for very long. With 40odd of these files, I am going to have to start cataloging them by major attraction.

My wife started collecting refrigerator magnets. They were all over both the RV and the S&B reefers. This was not working, so we put a US map on a magnetic white board. Her plan was to stick them where we got them. That quickly became impractical. Now we have little sticky arrows (like the post it notes) with numbers. Maybe we should have put the years there too.

If someone had told me to be sure to keep careful travel logs because in less time than we have had grandchildren, this would all be a blur of memories that are difficult access and impossible to sort into any rational order. I would not have believed them then, but I was younger then too.

2 years ago

I have also kept a record of where we have been and what we have seen with phone numbers, address, mileage. I refer to it for other trips and to keep memories. Can’t imagine why your husband would object.

Tom Gutzke
2 years ago

I’ve taken photos of things we’ve seen and places we’ve visited even before we started RVing in 1981. I used to write notes on what we’ve seen and spent along the way, too. Today I use my computer to take notes of our travels, noting mileage towing and sightseeing, fuel stops, etc. It’s interesting to see that the cost of a vacation changed from about $60 a day to $125 a day. Nothing’s changed except the cost of everything. On our honeymoon in 1967 gas cost 39c a gallon. It’s gone up a little bit since then. Diesel used to be cheaper than gas – until we purchased a diesel pickup truck in 1997. Then diesel was suddenly 10 cents a gallon MORE than gas – and it’s been more than gas ever since. I print our photos and mount them on pages from a photo album, writing down information on what it is, where it is, etc. It’s nice to look back on our travels from 40+ years ago. Makes it easier to show friends and family back home where we’ve been and what we’ve seen with the photos and info right there on the page.

Ron Twellman
2 years ago

Luckily I decided to start a journal on the first day of our 6 week trip to Alaska in 2017. We had to refer to numerous times before the trip was over because we couldn’t remember all the places we’d been. I used to keep a journal at work for the same memory refreshing purpose. I’ll never beat my mother’s record though. She started a journal as a school project in 1943. Her first entry included her determination to continue it for the rest of her life. She only missed that goal by 12 days as she didn’t have the journal with her during her last hospital stay in 2012.

2 years ago

Yes! Yes! Yes! Document your travels!!! I love to read thru my writings and reminisce ! I also have what I call a “travel blanket”. I crochet while my hubby drives and change colors every trip! I document the colors for each trip in a little notebook. I’m going to start just doing granny squares now because the blanket has gotten so large. I have a binder that I only put 3 photos in per trip location. The rest go into my massive scrapbook collection. I agree with others to take a walk around the campgrounds to mark good and bad site numbers on the map for future reference.

2 years ago

I send an email with photos every evening to my family while we’re on our 6-month trip across the country each year to tell them all about where we are, where we hiked or cycled, what museums we visited, anything interesting or exciting that we did, saw, heard, etc. They love it and my husband thinks it’s great. It’s a permanent record of the memories of our trip and we refer back to those emails quite often and they bring a smile to our faces.

Debbie PJ
2 years ago

We have a journal and keep track of our campsites, adventures, lesson learned and things we have done…our kids may have a hoot reading it once we are gone.

2 years ago

I scrapbook so I combine my journal and pictures. It is great fun to look back on our many trips and sometimes a good reference. I have done this for about 25 years now. I don’t know what my kids will do with all this stuff but I think when we cannot travel anymore these scrapbooks will remind us of the great life we have shared. When I am making the scrapbooks it is like reliving our trip. Living in an RV there is really no room for souvenirs and media changes frequently. A physical book will last

2 years ago

My mother-in-law documented the trip she and her husband took in their RV. Her observations and advice are valuable to read. My wife also keeps a journal of our travels. We refer to both documents frequently both for advice and to connect with the past.

2 years ago

There are 4 different personalities types (some will say 6 depending on what psychology class or book they have read).

Analytical Driver

Amiable Expressive

Remember the old saying that opposites attract? Equals repel? (Similar to a magnet).

Obviously, we don’t know each other but based on only your one comment above, you may be an analytical? You like to document not only this, but you probably have a spreadsheet for bills as well?

If not, you may just be an amiable who likes to read books and people please? You may be documenting places to share with others in the future?

Just a couple of guesses without more to go on.

The point is that your husband is likely an opposite. My wife and I are the same way. But we compliment each other. What I don’t have, she does. It makes us complete. So don’t fret over it. Someday that information may well come in handy for something that interests you. We’re all different. Be glad for that. Otherwise, this might be a dull world.

2 years ago
Reply to  TravelingMan

And who knows…those notes may come in handy after you have been traveling for a while. It’s amazing how many places we have been and we can’t remember each and every one of them. You’ll be glad that you have them as you travel to or thru the same area months or years from now. I pre-plan all of our routes with maps, charts, graphs, pictures and the like (I know…where is the spontaneity and does this take the fun out of traveling. Right?). I have a record in case we make it back one day. I can tell you where every truck stop, rest stop, low bridge, free campground, state park, city park, fairground, dump station, truck wash, big box store, tourist attraction or other is. I build them in a PowerPoint format and save them in .pdf format. It drives the wife crazy (but she is patient) since I spend a lot of time now doing that. Later, it might pay off. If not for us, at least the kids will have a head start when they get to this age…

2 years ago

Absolutely nothing wrong with keeping a journal! My Wife has been doing it since we started RVing some 18 years ago!

It is always great to look back at where we’ve been or when it was the last time we visited a particular place.

NOPE, Nothing wrong with it at all!

Pam Shoemaker
2 years ago

Since we are full timers, it’s very helpful to keep journals of our travels. We have one for maintenance and where we’ve had work done. It’s not always easy to find good repair shops on the road. We also have one dedicated to our travels, same as what you’ve stated in the article. It’s always handy to know where you’ve been and whether you’d like to return or not. Also many of our friends are asking about where we like to stay, what there is to do in the area, etc. so we have the information to share. And the best part is sharing with our family when we pass through for the holidays. They love to hear about our adventures, especially our grandchildren.

2 years ago

I am not to big on hand writing, but now I think I will keep a digital journal. A lot of people keeps journals of their everyday life and just not RVing. In fact therapist and shrinks tell people to keep a journal.

Eric Stephan
2 years ago

Darlene has been keeping leather bound water color paper journals of our travel (and other events) since 2002. I buy her a new journal every Christmas, at a cost of $120.00/ea., she now has 15 completed journals, and is working on the large format journal I bought for her in Venice (the one in Italy, not Louisiana) in September. Each journal has her notes written in calligraphy along with water color pictures of specific sites or attractions. She writes notes while we travel, takes photos, and I have learned to get a flyer, brochure or even a business card to document The Who, what, where, when, how and sometimes why (yes, I write investigative reports). We showed the artist she buys her journals from one of her journals when we went to her shop in December, and she immediately discounted the price, and has asked us to bring ALL of them by so she can photograph them for her website.

Rita M. Black
2 years ago

I started keeping a notebook of the places I camped in a couple of years ago, when I had reserved a site that the state park listed as a slight slope. When I got there I had to use everything I could find to get my TT level. Before I left the park, I took a walk around and made a note of the best sites.

David & Linda
2 years ago

When we took our first long-ish trip (3 wks), I wrote a ‘blog’ about twice a week. I posted it in a Google folder that I had invited family and a few friends to join. I continued the notes on our 10-wk trip this past summer. This let us keep in touch with everyone without going into the very public space of Facebook. I did a few summary posts there when we had returned home. In a separate notebook, I keep a record of campgrounds where we have stayed.

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