What’s in your online cart? That’s a new FUN game we like to play around here. It’s like new-age window shopping! When we were young, it was about budgeting to ensure we had enough funds to pay the bills and get “extras”like a new propane heater that would make winter life more comfortable.
Now, our hesitation in placing the order is, where the heck are we going to pick that up? We are traveling full-time and generally only spend two weeks in any location.
As we become more accustomed to a life with far fewer conveniences than our traditional sticks and bricks home in the Phoenix, AZ, area where next-day delivery is standard, we’re learning to adapt!
Here are a few tricks we’ve learned to get the things we need for life on the road.
1. Amazon Lockers! If you’re ordering something relatively small, you can ship it to a locker in the town closest to you (you can search in the app to find one), which will allow you three days to pick it up after delivery.
The lockers were a huge win for Holiday gifts this year as no store I’ve found the variety of things we need for our seven children, their significant others, and our two grandbabies. Have you ever attempted to find a “matching” but varying sizes of PJ’s 12 adults?
The only drawback we found is that if you are buying something large, it often can not be shoved into an Amazon locker. Keep that in mind as you consider this way of consuming things from Amazon.
2. Plan for shipments to arrive at your next location when you do! We’ve had parts delivered to our friends, family, and RV Parks, where we had reservations in the upcoming weeks. A simple call ahead to clear it with the Park is all it took to ensure they would be willing to receive the delivery on our behalf.
When our water heater died, we were a day out from leaving on an 800-mile, three-day voyage from Colorado to Kansas. We neither had enough time to get a new unit, install a new heater, or delay our travel to get the new heater installed. Instead, we shipped the gear to the family, applied extra deodorant, and hit the road! Before we even unhooked the house, our first stop was to snag that new water heater. Russ installed it quickly and quietly in a State Campground, which is specifically against the rules. Thankfully we did not get caught by a State Park Ranger.
3. Only buy high-quality, well-rated items! There’s no time to get a cheap version of something you need. There will be no convenient time to replace the thing you’ve been waiting on. If you think getting the packages are hard to coordinate, try having to return one within the timing window.
We bought some gel blaster guns as our Holiday gift to each other, and wouldn’t you know, one of them is defective. It shoots; however, it is way less powerful than the other. There is no way to return it, and our intended gel gun wars are now on hold until we get two guns of equal range and power. My gun leaves welts on Russ’ skin while his shots are barely noticeable as they hit me. Now, we have to wait until we find one in a store or area where we can have a new one shipped.
Had we spent more time researching the order, we could have gotten ones that were a little more expensive but held much higher reviews for quality. A little more money and a lot less risk are what we have to consider now while shopping.
4. Old-school shopping for items in a store! Don’t discount what is available in a local Ace Hardware, grocery store, or dollar-type store. We’ve been amazed at how well-stocked most rural stores are to accommodate folks who don’t get into a store too often and the travelers who pass through.
Do the research online if you’re inclined, and then seek those items in a locally owned store to support the economy of the places you’re traveling. The local shop owners we’ve met have been incredibly accommodating and will often even order the specific items you need into the store to sell to you. It’s a win-win!
The point is that we’ve all been spoiled over the last few years by the convenience of online shopping. We can go back and use online tools to help us find valuable items we need as we travel, regardless of how we acquire them. That's kind of the point of this life, right?
Safe Travels Roamers!