Our First Airbnb Test Run

We have talked about using Airbnb on some of our various European travels because the concept seems so neat. One of the reasons we have the van is to save costs and time on finding hotels. We plan to use the van for most of our travels, but realize sometimes it would be wonderful to experience the more unique places Europe has to offer. I thoroughly enjoy getting the one on one communication with the owners and feel that VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) has become more commercialized. I’m hoping that isn’t the case for Airbnb. We actually learned that the owner of this particular condo is a fellow RV traveler! You can’t get that personalized communication just anywhere! Since we’ve never used Airbnb, we figured what better way to learn about it than try it out here in the states before heading to Europe! We found a wonderful condo on the bay near where we currently are located and stayed for a few days. We hope you enjoy this video, and would love to hear any recommendations you have for our European Airbnb travels!

Van Conversion: Seat Install

What a way to start off our van conversion, by drilling into the floor of our van! :O Talk about a scary way to begin! Needless to say, we stared for hours, we measured for hours, we talked for hours, we drilled and we conquered! This was our first real task for the van conversion, and we quickly learned it was way more complicated that we anticipated. However, live and learn and we’re really happy with how it turned out! We love being able to move the seats forwards and backwards to give us more space inside the van.  We hope you enjoy these videos and subscribe to our YouTube Channel for our most recent videos!

 

Living the Key West Life

Key West, where you’ll learn exactly why the chickens cross the road….to get away from the iguanas!!!

We decided that Key West should be the end of our south Florida travels. Neither of us have ever been and we figured we are about as close to Key West as we may ever be, so now or never as they say! Most of the planning that took place for our south Florida trip was for our Key West portion of our travels. There is so much to do, see, and learn, so I definitely had to plan ahead. Key West is an island at the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys. It is about ninety miles from Cuba with the island itself being four miles long and one mile wide, although by all the walking we did while there we may have to disagree! 😉

There’s so much history in Key West, as well as just relaxing and taking in the beaches and Key West vibe! We scheduled 4-5 attractions for each day of our trip with an empty final day. I highly recommend this concept if you can and have extra time. We refer to it as our “final fave”. It is the last day of any trip where you don’t schedule anything. We can’t do this on most trips, but we definitely set aside a day on our longer/bigger trips. This leaves an extra day if you need some catching up to do, you can see whatever attractions you may have missed the other days of your trip. You’re bound to over-plan, have rain or weather delays, or learn about new attractions that you’d like to add to your “final fave” day.

What did we do for our final fave day, you ask? We had a relaxing day at the beach! That’s another thing you can do if you’ve seen and done everything you want, relax! Now you have a relaxing final day before heading out to your next location or back home to work. We took in the gorgeous Key West beaches, watched the cruise ships sail by while we played the day away in the water!

Do you use the concept of a “final fave” day? Do you do something else that you recommend we try?

Entering the Everglades

The Everglades were our first National Park visit while fulltiming in our RV. I had heard horror stories about trying to get reservations at National Parks. People were waking up at 4am only to have to try again and again at 4am for several straight days to get a reservation. With Alan working a regular full time job, our adaptability in schedule was a big issue. I could move our dates around a bit, but with reservations in Key West and Ft.Myers also needing to be done six months in advance, I wasn’t going to be able to alter them too much. I got online to “practice” the reservation process to ensure I knew how to do it when it became time. Next thing I know, I had a reservation! It was such an easy process online and I had no problem getting a spot. Maybe the issue lies in the larger more popular National Parks?

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Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island is in southwest Florida and is known for its beaches filled with shells brought in from the Gulf of Mexico. Sanibel Island boasts numerous enjoyable tourist attractions. Between the J.N. Darling National Wildlife Refuge, the Sanibel Island Farmers Market, the Sanibel Island Lighthouse, the Bailey Matthews Shell Museum, and the Historic Museum and Village, you’ll never be bored! Sanibel Island is truly a wonderful quaint island 15 miles long and 5 miles across with 15 miles of pretty beaches.

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Hernando Beach: Weeki Wachee & Homosassa Springs

Hernando Beach is located in Florida, about 35 miles north of Tampa. This quaint town has uncrowded beaches, wildlife parks, and so much more! On our way down to south Florida, we were able to yard camp with family in Hernando Beach. We really enjoyed our time with family, not to mention the view and location was pretty amazing!

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Van Purchase & Initial Shakedown

Here’s our video from the day Alan went to purchase and pick up our new-to-us van! We were so very excited to see it for the first time! We were very lucky in finding a unicorn of a Promaster all the way in Connecticut. This was a rare find because it is an empty cargo van (with 2k miles and hardly used). Most cargo vans have high mileage and have been put through the ringer. It’s also rare, because most cargo vans do not have windows because they’re used for deliveries. This one has windows, much like passenger vans. We jumped at this purchase when we saw it and are happy we did!

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