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Enjoy endless books on the road — without the weight

In this day and age of the Internet and electronic education options, paper books seem to be put on the back burner. That being said, many people, including myself, still love the idea of holding the book in their hands, turning the pages and seeing the progress that they have made.

But, books add a lot of weight to your RV and, especially for those of us full-timing, we all know the importance of every pound. Since we roadschool our kids, we have had to be creative in how we access books in all areas of the country. Here are some of the tips and tricks we have found that allow us to continue to rotate our reading selections.

Local libraries — We have had mixed results when it comes to borrowing books from libraries when we travel. We sure do take advantage of them when we have the chance though. Most libraries are willing to at least give you a temporary card with limited access if you explain that you are in the area for a short while and would love to take advantage of the library.

Bringing something with your name and the campground address is helpful to show that you are “living” locally. Even if the library is unwilling to let you check books out, they are an excellent place to spend a few hours on a rainy day reading and browsing their material.

Campground lending libraries — Many campgrounds have lending libraries for visiting guests. As opposed to a check out system, these type of libraries usually work on the honor system and stay stocked up by using the “take one, leave one” theory. If you finish a book during your stay, go ahead and return it. But don’t worry if you don’t finish it in time, just leave it at the next campground with a lending library.

Thrift stores — Thrift stores are a great inexpensive way to find books to read. Salvation Army and Goodwill are found nationwide and both support great causes and create jobs for those who have fallen on hard times. Local thrift stores often support local charities and are excellent places to find your next novel. You’ll get it for a fraction of the new price and will be able to support the charity twice when you finish the book and donate it back.

Garage Sales — We love to stop at random garage sales along our travels and found they are the absolute cheapest places to find books. We have been able to stock up on kids books for as low as 10 cents each and don’t mind giving them away when we are done since we got them for such a deal. Hard cover adult books are usually just $1. The craigslist page of the area you are staying in is a great way to find out about local garage sales.

Trade with a friend — Campgrounds are a great place to meet people. Make friends with your neighbors, parents at the playground and other swimmers at the pool. Before you know it you will have a group of people with which to exchange books, and you might even find something you would have never otherwise heard about.

E-Reader — As great as it is to hold a book in your hands and see your accomplishment as you turn each page, the reality is, we are in a digital age. You can have endless titles at your fingertips by using an e-reader, like Amazon’s Kindle. The best part is how lightweight it is. You don’t have to lug around hundreds of pounds of books, just simply click on the title from your favorite device. If you still have your home base library card, you can rent thousands of titles through your library. I think this is one of the most underutilized aspects of libraries.

Use these tips to get a book in your hands quickly and you will find yourself relaxed and lost in a story in no time. Enjoy!

About Jen Holt

Jen Holt and her husband Drew are parents to two young kids and travel the country in their fifth wheel nicknamed Big Moosey. The Holts have a passion for the outdoors and love visiting National Parks. You can follow more about the Holts adventures at

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