'Tis the season...you're far from home traveling to your winter site. Or maybe you're workamping in a new area. Or... well, I think you get the idea. So how can you handle your holiday shopping quickly and efficiently?
Depending on your situation, there can be many ways to help. If you are fortunate enough to be in a familiar location for several weeks, then you can shop the old-fashioned way - look out, malls! (But even you can find help in the hints to follow.)
Hints on shopping while traveling ....
One of the fun things about traveling is the ability to find merchandise that folks at home don't have access to. Search out the little local shops for these items. Many times these folks will wrap and direct ship your gifts for you. They can get a cheaper shipping rate than you can, just because they are a business.
The old standby for travelers or mall-avoiders is to use catalogs. There are many advantages here, not the least of which is the avoidance of the crowds. You can use companies you are familiar with and trust. It's easy to compare prices and if you wish you can even have your gifts wrapped and direct-shipped - for a fee.
If you don't have any catalogs around (you like to keep your mail lightweight), just ask around the campground. You are bound to find someone with a bunch (I just can't resist them myself). Just remember when you call in your order, ask them to NOT put you on their mailing list. Most companies will honor this request.
A newer solution is to shop the Internet. Many people are afraid of fraud but I have found it is not only very easy to shop this way, but can actually be safer than handing your credit card to a store clerk.
Believe it or not, this year I did 100% of my shopping for out-of-town gifts over the Internet. All but two of my sites were large well-known companies. One of the two I requested a catalog on-line and felt comfortable enough to fax in an order. The other company I took a chance that the quality of the gifts was as shown and was very pleased when the quality exceeded my expectations!
No, I didn't always order on-line but 90% of the time I did. If a site didn't offer a secure server for ordering (both Netscape & Internet Explorer show an "lock" icon when you are working on a secure server), I entered my order information and then printed out the order form to either call or fax to the company.
Did I encounter any problems? Actually very little. One item was not of the quality that I expected and the company provided a pre-paid return shipping label and another item was too small (but it was the size I ordered).
There are many advantages to shopping through catalogs or on the Internet:
Of course there are some disadvantages as well:
For me, the positive aspects outweigh the negative. But then again, I have been a catalog order-er for years! One hint: I always print out my order page as well as any order confirmation page that is displayed. This helps me ensure that I receive what I ordered and am charged what I was told.
Okay, now we have to turn this picture around. What to get your favorite full-time RVer? Shopping for full-time RVers can be intimidating at best. RVers tend to fall into two rather broad categories, those living on a fixed or tight budget and those who don't. But they both have the same issue in dealing with limited space for additional items.
Here are some hints and ideas you may or may not have considered.
See, there you go in a nutshell. I am sure there are many more creative ideas
Come back next time for more information on the full-time RV Lifestyle. In
the meantime, keep on rolling!
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