Vacation: RV Camper or Hotel Room?

Vacation: RV Camper or Hotel Room?

The pros and cons of RV camping and staying in a hotel room
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It is finally summer time, and vacation normally comes with the season. A place to stay is a vital decision in having a wonderful vacation. The two most known ways of vacationing are RV camping and getting a hotel room. There are pros and cons to both. Hopefully, this list of the most common pros and cons will help you make an efficient decision on what method is best for you this summer vacation.

Prices differ, depending on location. However, the ratio difference is about the same difference for each location. In Pigeon Forge TN, the price as of now for a campsite at River Plantation Campground ranges from $35.00 to $38.00 a night for the cheapest site for summer. The Inn at Christmas Place has a price of around 139.00 per night for the cheapest room as of right now for the summer. Based on this research, RV camping is relatively cheaper than a hotel when it comes to the cost of staying per night. The difference between $35.00 and $139.00 is a long stretch, which is an important aspect when considering whether or not to stay at a hotel or a campsite. This price is a pro for camping, and a con for hotel rooms.

Even though the price per night is cheaper for a campsite instead of a hotel room, there is another factor to be considered. In order to RV camp, you must have an RV. If you do not have one already, that is an additional cost. A camper can be costly, depending on what accommodations you are looking for in a camper. Also, a camper requires a yearly tax and most would want insurance which also requires additional money. A hotel room does not require insurance, and you don’t have to worry about traveling with an RV to your location and back home. These aspects are a pro for hotel rooms, and a con for camping.

In a hotel room, nothing is your own (besides your clothing and luggage). In a camper, everything belongs to you. For example, you can bring your own lawn chairs and sit out in the sun or shade. Also, the campsite is perfect for children and adults alike to go bike riding or walking without the danger of traffic that is most common with hotels. RVs come with a kitchen, so you can cook a meal rather than going out to eat; a common pro that comes with RVs and a limitation on hotel rooms since most do not come with kitchens. With the outside area of your campsite, you can easily cook out steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, etc. This is not possible in a hotel room. In a way, camping can be more private or homely than a hotel room.

A hotel room does not include having to unpack and pack up like an RV. For example, there is a lot of additional packing that comes with RVs such as food. In hotel rooms, you normally go out and don’t bother with packing so much food. RVs also require hooking up your sewage system, TV, water, electric, etc. In a hotel, accommodations are already met for you. Most RVs come with a patio; when it rains, the patio has to be positioned a certain way so that it does not collapse. This would not be a problem with a hotel room because you would not have one. RVs can be hard to haul if you are not experienced in hauling something bulky, such as a trailer.

The last pro and con I will list is the ability to have a campfire. An average hotel room does not give you a place for a nice campfire, which means s’mores is out of the question. This con to a hotel room is a good pro for RV camping, if s’mores and campfire are your thing.

I have listed the best known pros and cons of both hotel rooms and RV camping. This article should help you on your quest of planning a perfect vacation this summer. This article was not made to praise one and down the other. Hotel rooms and RV campers are both good ways of vacationing, and there are pros and cons to both. However, these specific pros and cons are important in planning a method that is in your best interest. This list is made only to help you decide whether or not you would like to camp or stay in a hotel room this summer based on your own preferences of vacationing.

Cover Image Credit: newtoncountyschools.org

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11 Reasons I Won't Forget My Trip To Iceland Any Time Soon

For your next vacation, ditch the tropical island and consider the land of ice and fire.
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Although it's typically not at the top of most peoples' lists of dream destinations, Iceland is quickly becoming a popular vacation spot. I recently returned from Iceland, where I stayed in the capital Reykjavik (yes, I went to Iceland in the winter.)

It was easily the best and most memorable country I have ever been to for so many reasons ranging from the people to the magnificent natural wonders it is home to.

I've compiled a list of the most wonderful parts of my trip (but believe me, there are a lot more) and have included some of my own personal photos. Hopefully, I can convince more people to bump a visit to this beautiful country up on their bucket lists.

1. The Kevflavik International Airport

This airport is absolutely stunning, complete with a stain-glass Viking mural and a freaking juice bar. Being a native New Yorker who is accustomed to the dreary, chaotic mess that is JFK or LaGuardia Airport, I was in awe of how clean and bright the terminals were and how easy it was to find healthy airplane snacks. It even had a full-size bookstore with books written in English as well as Icelandic. This airport's many amenities were quite a warm welcome to Iceland (even though we arrived at 6 a.m.).

2. The Hotel Reykjavik Centrum

Hotel Centrum Reykjavik

We stayed at the wonderfully colorful and cozy Hotel Reyjavik Centrum, located in the bustling downtown Reykjavik. The staff was so kind and accommodating, and they also gave my boyfriend and I some insight into the infamously unpredictable Icelandic weather patterns. The only negative aspect of our stay was that our room did not have a queen size bed, but rather two twin beds pushed together... yeah, we were confused as well.

3. The surprising amount of vegan food

It is actually surprisingly easy to eat vegan in Iceland. The list of vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants is growing by the year with more and more traditional eateries adding meat-free options to their menus to appease the tourist crowd. Once a land ruled by meat soup and fish entrees, Iceland is gaining serious street cred in the vegan community. Personally, I visited two completely vegan restaurants, one called Glo and another called Kaffe Vinyl. Others, such as The Laundromat Cafe and Bergsson Mathus (where the delicious breakfast pictured above is from), were very veg-friendly.

4. The colorful houses

Reykjavik is known for its quirky colored houses that line most of its downtown side streets. We passed many bright red, yellow, blue, green, teal and even purple houses while on our walking ventures.

5. The mountains

It seemed that no matter where we walked in Reykjavik, we could always see the mountains looming in the distance. Most easily seen at the waterfront or at the top of the city's tallest church (which is where I was able to photograph the view pictured above), these mountains astounded me again and again over the course of my week in Iceland.

6. The street art

Street art is a large part of Reykjavik culture, and there is an abundance of it throughout the city. Many storefronts and other buildings are adorned with intricate and often colorful murals crafted with obvious skill. I took the above photo on my first day in the city when I was quite taken aback by the size and detail of this particular mural.

7. The Blue Lagoon

We spent an afternoon at the Blue Lagoon, Iceland's geothermal spa. Visiting this spa is quite an experience and includes getting naked with total strangers since every visitor is required to shower (without a bathing suit) before entering the lagoon. Once this discomfort was over, however, I was met with a steaming blue hot tub made by Mother Nature herself. I also treated myself to a goopy silica face mask and fuzzy robe. It even started snowing while I was in the lagoon, so it was an overall beautiful but surreal experience.

8. The geysers and waterfalls

Iceland is home to many natural other wonders, notably its many breathtaking waterfalls. During our trip, we were lucky enough to visit this beautiful twin waterfall in South Iceland (courtesy of our brave bus driver, who had to do quite a bit off-road driving through very deep snow). This waterfall, called Hjalparfoss, is one of two major waterfalls we visited during our stay. We also got a chance to see Strokurr, a geyser that erupts every 4 to 8 minutes and spouts water up to forty meters into the air.

9. The night sky

Although I was not lucky enough to see the Northern Lights quite like they are pictured above, I was able to see their greenish tint sprinkled ever so slightly among a blanket of stars. Unfortunately, it was much too windy to view the lights during my scheduled Northern Lights tour. However, I did not come away from this night empty-handed. Iceland's night sky is easily the most beautiful, star-filled sky I have ever seen, and I was not aware it was possible to see so many bright stars with the naked eye. For this, I can graciously thank Iceland's minimal light pollution, which contributes to its high number of Dark Sky sites.

10. The Icelandic language

Admittedly, before visiting Iceland I had never been in a country where English was not the dominant language. It was strange at first to see road signs, store names, and menus in a completely unfamiliar language (although I did learn a few basic sayings before my trip), but by the end of the week, I found myself completely enamored with Icelandic. It is a beautiful and clever language in sight and in sound, and I hope to learn some more basic sayings before my next trip and to perhaps even master the difficult pronunciation of Icelandic vowels.

11. Icelanders

Lastly, and probably most notably, the Icelandic people are truly what makes Iceland so great (and I'm not the only one who thinks so). Everyone I came across, from cafe baristas to cab drivers, truly wanted to ensure my time there as a tourist was memorable. I received many recommendations, heard many anecdotes, learned about many aspects of Icelandic history and was even given some free drinks at a local pub due to the friendly, kindhearted people of Iceland. Icelanders are the main reason I can see myself going back to this wonderful country, hopefully in the not-so-distant future.

Cover Image Credit: Catherine Natoli

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Traveling Is My Happiness, And I'm Happy With That

To each their own source of happiness. Mine is traveling.
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Some people find happiness in cooking, painting, reading, singing, writing, and an array of other verbs ending in -ing. I find my happiness in traveling. I enjoy 12 hour car rides and stopping at a truck stop off the interstate to grab a snack. I find joy in hurrying to my gate in an airport where hundreds of other people are on their ways to who-knows-where. I love being immersed in a culture so different than the one I grew up in.

Photo Location: Chicago, IL, USA

I have been incredibly fortunate to have grown up with the ability to travel. The memories I have made while traveling are of my most precious. Traveling has opened my eyes—to see the small aspects of life and to realize their value. The way the streetlights reflect off of the wet streets of Chicago on a cold and rainy Saturday morning. Being up at 3:30 in the morning to watching the sun rise on Mt Haleakalā in Maui, HI. The rainbows created in the air of mist-filled chasm known as Niagara Falls. This stays with me while on my journey at Purdue University—mesmerized at the way the morning sun paints on the east face of the Bell Tower.

Photo Location: Venice, FL, USA

Traveling has led me to be more knowledgeable. I have become more knowing in engaging with others. My travels have introduced me to a wide spectrum of different people and taught me how to engage with each. I have met a couple from San Francisco who have traveled the world and been together for decades. The two grew a remarkable family together. When I was younger, my family traveled to Myrtle Beach, SC each summer. One year, I met a girl my age who was on vacation with her grandmother and older sister. I vividly remember the grandmother telling the story: her daughter, and mother of the girls, asked the older sister to simply run to the story for toilet paper. The mother decided to take a shower while the girl was out and had a seizure while in the shower. The grandmother took the two girls on vacation, because the mother no longer could. This story continues to resonate in my heart. I have come to understand to never approach someone with an expectation of their back story, because I have no idea.

Photo Location: North Shore, Oahu, HI, USA

Traveling is my source of happiness. Traveling brings me this joy by pushing my boundaries, bringing me insight, and through the amount of experience I am gaining. All this travel gives me incredible stories to share with others. When asked for an interesting fact about me, I love to use the fact I have eaten a donut at the top of Pike's Peak in Colorado, the fact I have kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland, or the fact I went rock jumping in North Shore, Oahu, HI (pictured above). The happiness I gain from traveling is not short term. The pictures I take on these amazing adventures continue to revive my happiness each time I see them. The memories I have of travel never fail to make me smile.

“Travel makes one modest.
You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
-Gustav Flauber


Photo Location: Gatlinburg, TN, USA

Cover Image Credit: Alley Avery

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