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The Old Road Trip Rule to Still Live By Today

Road trips are adventures. Some are epic cross-country trips from one coast to the other. Others are simply crossing state lines to visit friends. Whatever your reason for taking a road trip, don’t forget to plan for emergencies. 

Items like an emergency blanket, first aid kit, and fire extinguisher help protect you from those “just in case” events. You’ll also want to have cash hidden away in your RV or vehicle. It’s a simple tip, but one you don’t want to forget.

Let’s learn why!

What Is a Key Road Trip Rule to Live By? 

Always keep at least $20 cash hidden somewhere. This isn’t just a good road trip rule but a good travel tip. Whether you’re backpacking in the Swiss Alps or caravaning through Baja Mexico, you should also have extra cash hidden away in case of an emergency.

When traveling with an RV, you should split up cash in a couple of different places. If you have a tow vehicle, keep $10-20 hidden inside it as well. If you’d rather have $50 or $100 hidden somewhere, make sure to divide it up and don’t hide it in one location. Put $10 here and $10 there. Just remember where you’ve stashed your cash.

Why Should You Keep Cash Hidden in Your RV or Vehicle? 

There are a few reasons to keep cash hidden away. One is simply to have some money for tolls if you end up in a location that doesn’t do the toll-by-plate option or doesn’t take cards. But hiding cash is also a safety tip.

Although you hope never to encounter any criminal activity while traveling, you may get mugged or robbed anywhere you go. If you happen to have your wallet stolen, you need to have emergency money. 

You can cancel your credit cards and report a stolen driver’s license, but there’s nothing you can do about the stolen cash. If you have some money stashed in your car, then you can still grab food or gas or whatever you need at the time.

How Much Emergency Cash Should You Have on a Road Trip?

You should keep no less than $20 hidden in your RV or vehicle. Some people feel more comfortable about having an emergency stash of $100, but you don’t want any less than $20. You can’t buy much for less than $20.

If you end up needing to get gas before finding a safe location to stay for the night, you’ll need some money to get a few gallons. Or if it’s close to meal time and you have kids, you’ll need to find some food for them. It will be hard to do anything with less than $20.

Having more than that is good in case you need to book a cheap motel, pay for a repair, or if you travel with a big family.

Where Is the Safest Place to Keep Cash? 

Many motorhomes have floor safes installed in the closets or underneath the bed. Some vehicles also have safes hidden in the consoles. Safes are always the best place to keep valuables. So if you don’t have a permanent factory-installed safe, consider buying a small one.

You can also find creative ways to hide cash. Products like a fake soda can or lint brush can have compartments for bills, like those made by BrickHouse Security. They appear like normal household items but open up to hide small valuables.

How Do You Hide Valuables in a Camper?

The best thing to do is leave your valuables at home. You don’t need to tote around your grandmother’s pearl necklace or a pair of diamond earrings your husband gave you. But for some travelers taking long trips, particularly across borders, you may need birth certificates, passports, social security cards, and other documents.

Consider buying a safe or fireproof box if you need to travel with valuables or important documents. It might be an expensive addition to your camping gear, but it will give you peace of mind and protect you against theft. 

Can You Put a Safe in a Camper? 

Yes, you can certainly put a small safe in your wardrobe closet or underneath your bed. However, thieves could easily pick it up and walk out with it. For better security and protection, you’ll want to install a floor safe or small stealth safe somewhere in your camper. Bolt it to the RV like inside a cabinet or drawer or underneath a piece of carpet. Some people even create a faux panel as an illusion. Whatever type of safe you choose, make sure you install it securely. It won’t do you much good if a thief can just rip it out.

Additionally, it’s best to have one that can withstand fire. Some RVers have had their rigs catch on fire, and they could only salvage what was inside the firebox.

How Do I Protect My RV From Thieves? 

The first thing you should do is change out your locks. It’s common for RVs to have the same locks to make it easy for dealers to open RVs on their lots with just one key. Before you head out on a camping trip, buy a new lock for your entry door.

Motion-sensor lights can also deter thieves. Especially if you’re not camping near other people, you’ll want to have this protection to alert you if someone approaches. Some RVers also choose to install an alarm system. With today’s technology, you have numerous ways to protect your RV from thieves.

Finally, follow the “out of sight, out of mind” principle and put things away when not in use. If going out for the day, put away the outdoor chairs and the Blackstone grill. Bicycles also commonly get stolen at campgrounds, so always lock up your bikes. Additionally, pull the shades when you leave. If thieves can’t see inside your RV, they may just keep walking.

Is Hiding Cash During Your Road Trip Worth It?

Although no one likes to prepare for an emergency, it’s important to take proper steps for those “just in case” events. Just like you should never go camping without an emergency first aid kit, you should also never go on a road trip with no emergency cash. Take the proper steps to protect your valuables and your RV, but be prepared with money on hand if you end up in an emergency.

Just make sure you remember where you’ve hidden it. Do you have at least $20 of cash hidden away in your vehicle?

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