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Escapees Webinars: Tax Planning for RVers Part 1

For this webinar, we spoke with Tim Ewing, certified public accountant (CPA) and long-time, full-time RVer. Tim has worked with small business for more than 30 years handling accounting, taxes and business development. On three different occasions, he has also started his own small businesses from scratch. His depth of experience, in both self-employment and operating small businesses, combined with his intimate familiarity with the needs of RVers, makes Tim a great resource for helping fellow RVers navigate the potential difficulties of working while traveling.

Show Notes

In the first of several webinars with Tim, he focuses on how self-employed RVers can accurately prepare themselves for federal income taxes. As a small business owner of many years, he is intimately familiar with the ins and outs of the tax code as it applies to self-employment, and is ready to share with you advice on how to avoid penalties and other mistakes he made early in his adventures. We cover how to estimate federal income tax, how the IRS is a pay-as-you-go system and what this means for RVers, and answer a few situational questions from attendees of our live broadcast.
 
Do you have questions we didn’t answer here? Contact Tim at http://quest-cpa.com/
 
This webinar was recorded as a live broadcast on 11/28/2017

Transcript

Georgianne: Hi everyone! Welcome to Escapees Webinars. My name is Georgianne and I’m the marketing director for Escapees RV Club. Today we’re going to talk with our Vice President and Xscapers co-founder Melanie Carr. She’s going to share with us some of her family’s favorite apps for making their RV journey more enjoyable.

As she’s presenting, don’t forget to submit your questions using the chat sidebar. Following our presentation, we will take about 10 to 15 minutes to answer your questions so make sure you stick around.

Thanks again, Melanie, for taking time to join us tonight! Will you take a few minutes introduce yourself?

Melanie: Yes, hi everybody! Thank you for joining us. I’m super excited to share these apps with you today. I’m, like Georgianne said, the vice president of Escapees, the co-founder of Xscapers and I’ve been RVing since 2011 with my husband. Back then, we only had one kid and now we have two. We have a little five year old and a 10 month old. Apps for me are pretty essential while we’re on the road because it helps me save time, energy before I can take care of the kids while we’re driving down the highway and we’re just a lot more prepared when we get to our destination. I have my email address here if you have any questions you can always email me.

So my goal for today with the travel apps is to kind of share with you some of my favorite ones that I use. There are a few that I haven’t personally used before, for different reasons, that I collected data from other  people that use them on their journey. I hope that you learn something today and that we can help you get better prepared on the road. Like I said, one of the main reasons that I choose to use travel apps is to save me time and money and be prepared when I get to my destination. There are a lot of different resources out there, so finding the best ones is always nice to know while you’re traveling.

G: Awesome! well thank you so much for introducing yourself, Melanie. For those of you just joining us, welcome to the webinar! We’re going to get started in just a second here. Melanie, are you ready to take over?

M: I am.

G: Awesome!

M: Alright, so I wanted to start with parking apps because they’re probably the most popular ones that we use and they’re just essential for finding a place to park at night. One of my favorite all-time one is AllStays. That one is it’s $9.99 so it’s a little bit pricey when you’re looking at prices but the resource was invaluable to me. My favorite thing about it is that it can be used without internet. I remember driving through Joshua Tree one night, it was probably about seven o’clock. We pulled in late and as soon as we pulled into the gate we had no internet access. The campground we were planning on staying at was fully booked and we couldn’t fit our Airstream in the one spot that was open. So, luckily we had downloaded the maps offline on here and we were able to continue driving until we got from the next town and knew where we were going. It saves us a lot of time and stress there so I definitely recommend this. You can get all the information you need on there and they also have multiple types of parks like you see the RV park, private land, state parks, BLM so it just takes that stress level a little bit down.

Another one that we have found helpful is RV Parky. This one is free so I definitely recommend it for just browsing. If you know you’re going to go to a destination, check out what they have. You can use it while you’re going down the road, and that also has RV parks, campgrounds, rest areas, Walmarts, and then of course the truck stops in anywhere. The good part about that is that it can be used in the US and Canada and Mexico so there’s an extra level of comfort there.

Continued on this page, I have- these are not currently available in mobile apps but they are two resources that we used for certain on our travels. Of course, I’ve talked about the Escapees Maps and where you can find our Escapees discount parks, where you can save your 15 to 50 percent off your stay. Then it also has your commercial members if you need services while you’re on the road. You can find jobs that are uploaded into our job board and the overnight parking with SKPs. And of course that’s free to use. You can visit it by going to Escapees.com/maps.

Then we also have Campground Views. With this website, it’s pretty cool. It’s got over 15,000 campgrounds and RV parks. One of my favorite things is being able to search the park on there that you want to visit or view what’s in the area. Some of them, they have currently over 2000 parks participating in this right now, that you can actually get a visual view of where you’re going so you can kind of be taken through the campground and actually see what the park looks like and where you’re going to be parked. I’ve really enjoyed using that when it when it’s available for where I’m going. And that website is fully mobile-friendly so we shouldn’t have a problem using that on your phone while you’re going down the road.

Okay, and so we have the next the traffic and weather apps. These I use constantly, all the time. The Waze app is just- I have no words for how great it is. When we get stuck in traffic jams, we’re on the highway. It can become really frustrating because we don’t know what’s going on. So, you can quickly get on this app and you can create your own account. It’s kind of crowd source information, so if somebody is two miles ahead of you, you can see they’ve left a comment that says ‘oh there’s a severe accident- an 18-wheeler ran off the road. Here’s how long we’ve been sitting here,’ so you can be prepared for what you can expect for your next couple miles down the road. It also tells you how fast the traffic is moving so you can see ‘am I going to be here for a couple hours’ and then it also shows you the road so you could find an alternate route if needed. That’s also free, so I highly, highly recommend getting that. Then, what I use for weather- there’s several weather apps out there but I prefer the Weather Bug apps which is also free. Ever since I’ve used this, they’ve updated it quite a bit so it’s by far my favorite. On this, you can view the weather forecast up to 10 days in advance. What I like is if we know we’re going to be headed out in the next week or so I’ll go ahead and check the weather for my next destination and be prepared for that. If I’m going to be driving in a bad weather, I may reconsider staying at the location I’m at longer or just being prepared for that to know what you’re getting into. One of my favorite things about that too, is also getting the alert if there’s severe weather in your location where you currently are, you’ll get a little alert on your phone letting you know that. And that one’s free, also.

These resources we use for internet and satellite needs. The Wi-Fi Finder- there’s a couple different options for this. This is the one that we used on the Android store (I think it might be a different version on the Apple store) but it’s free on both sides. It might be a little different in their features and but this helps you find if you’re going into town and you know you’re going to need Wi-Fi or you’re looking for somewhere to work to get out of your RV or your campground, this is helpful to show you what’s available around you, whether you have to pay for it, or what’s free, but typically I will use it to find a free location where I can get set up on my computer and work for the day. The Satellite Finder is kind of the same concept. It’s free. I think there’s two different ones again for Android and Apple but if you search the satellite finder you should get a couple different options there. You can review the ratings there. This is helpful to those that have the satellite dishes that you sit outside of your RV. It kind of reads the satellites. You point it up at the sky and it tells you where you should set it and where you should point it. We recently upgraded an RV to where it’s on the roof so we don’t have to deal with putting our little hopper outside anymore. So, we haven’t used this in a while, but it was very helpful when we did. Then we have the Coverage? app. This is by Two Steps and Beyond. You probably know of them them as Technomadia. Chris and Cherie,  they’ve created several little apps for our viewers that are focused towards the needs of those out there on the road. I highly recommend this if you’re working and you know you’re going to need good internet signal where you’re going. You can easily check these maps out and see if you’re going to have coverage. My favorite part about it is we have AT&T and Verizon internet service because sometimes Verizon has great signals, sometimes AT&T has great signal, and this allows you to view those maps easily without having to go back and forth between all the websites. You can get all the information you need right in one app and view all four carriers. I found that this saves a lot of time and it’s really helpful especially when we know we’re going to have meetings all next week and we’re moving to a new destination. It just takes a lot of stress off of the whole process knowing that you’re taken care of and connected. The app is made by people who specialize in internet for RVers so you know it’s going to be a great resource. That one is $2.99.

Next we have our social apps and I will start with Rvillage. They recently launched their mobile application. You’ve probably heard of their website before. I recommend using the app because it makes life on the road so much easier if you’re going to utilize that website and you want to meet others around you in your campground. This app makes it easy to do so. It’s totally mobile friendly, allows you to check in, see who’s around you, create socials, you could also view their maps. So, that’s free and all you have to have is an RVillage account to be able to get all those features. The next one- these next two are kind of obvious. Sometimes we have people that don’t know the full capabilities of what’s out there within the groups for other people in the road. Facebook- I’ll try to go over these quickly  since you’re pretty familiar with the platform. It’s moreso to educate you on the other groups that are out there that can help you find other like-minded RVers while you are on the road. For example, we have the Xscapers group page where you can meet and talk with and chat and create a little community with others in your community. The Fulltime Families group page, they have over 15,000 people on there, so it’s a great way to meet other people. Then we have our Escapee Friends group and so chances are if you’re part of another club or membership, they’re going to have some way for you to connect on  Facebook and the same goes for Instagram. It’s a really fun way to share your stories and your travels and your pictures with other RVers. We’ve actually met quite a few people on there that turned into real life friendships when we first got our Airstream. I think I maybe used one hashtag (#airstream) and I instantly had like 20 other people that found my picture and that happened to be in the same area and we ended up meeting up. So, it’s it’s a good way to meet specific audiences that you’re looking for or just share your story with others around you that may not be RVing.

And next, we have food, gas, and things to do. These many not fit together but these are by far my favorite apps for finding things to do. IExit is pretty cool. It’s $2.99 and while you’re going down the road it allows you not to have to rely on those, I think they’re blue little signs that have the food that’s coming up, and the gas stations and stuff like that. So you can, if you know “lunch time is coming up, I’m getting kind of hungry” or wonder what there is up the road, you can use that and kind of be prepared and know when you’re going to stop. That one is $2.99. And then there’s Yelp. This one’s for… you’ve probably heard of it but I found it pretty handy while we’re on the road to find local eateries and stuff and you’re able to kind of see pictures of people’s food that they’ve eaten there, get reviews, see the menu. It just saves us personally time when we’re looking for new things to try and kind of want to get involved in the local scene. Then there’s GasBuddy, which is free. I’m sure you’ve heard of this one, too. It’s really what we liked about it now is that we recently upgraded to the Class A diesel pusher, so being able to compare the diesel prices while we’re on the roads is nice. You can search that by city, state, zip code, so you can if you know you’re going to be stopping in a city up the road, you can be prepared for that, too,  and see where you’re going to stop, and know exactly how you’re going to get there, and it takes that little extra factor for you. Those prices are updated in real time, so you’re pretty much always guaranteed you’re going to see the actual price of what the gas is going to be when you pull up. And continued on the same topic- All Trails. I’ve recently discovered this and I highly recommend it if you’re a hiker. It’s free, and you get to… We are always, especially when we’re in a new state or a new destination, we’re always looking for where we’re going to go hiking because we’re really outdoors. We like to get our kids out, explore anything, so this will help you find trails that are near you. You can see how long they’re going to be, what the elevation is, you can see pictures and reviews from people that have actually hiked it before, so we really enjoy it. And again, if you hike, I definitely would check it out. And then next, we have the Roadside America app. It’s $2.99. This one’s kind of a fun one because it shows you the quirky destinations that you might miss otherwise. I think they advertise as their main one the largest twine ball so it’s kind of those little roadside attractions that you might miss if you don’t have this app. It’s a fun way to take a break while you’re traveling down the highway and get your family out and discover something new and that one’s $2.99 but I think it’s well worth the money just because it’s a lot of fun.

And then we’re on our miscellaneous apps. State Lines- this is again by Two Steps Beyond from Technomadia. This app is… we get a lot of questions all the time like “when I’m traveling through state lines what are the laws for handguns, what are the laws for alcohol” They vary so much state to state so this is really helpful, especially for people who are constantly going to new states. So it will give you, some of the examples they have are the towing and RV-specific laws, phone and texting bans, gas and diesel taxes, and that’s just a few. If you check out that app, they have a lot of resources on there that are helpful in case you have those questions while you’re traveling. That one is $4.99.

Next, we have the Sanidumps. It’s $2.99. This is really helpful for those that do a lot of  oondocking like if you’re going to be on a BLM land for 14 days or you just need you know you’re going to need to dump and you’re not staying in a campground and you don’t have access to those facilities this is helpful to see what is around you how much it’s going to cost and it helps you quickly identify those locations and that all of these should be available on the Android and Apple Store and continued tearing this is one of my little quirky fun ones that I really enjoy it’s free and I quickly found that once we started RVing when you start getting multiple states away from where you may have launched from you realize quickly that there’s so many different grocery stores out there there’s like bonds there’s Publix all these  ones winn-dixie all these loyalty cards where they save you money while you’re grocery shopping and so every time I’ve done like a lie might be back I don’t know what the next – it’s going to have so I’m going to go ahead and sign up for the loyalty card and then they see they’re filled up my keychain or my wallet and I was kind of  putting them to the side and then I’d arrive at the next city and go to the store and I’m like oh I know I have one but it’s at my house so darn this is a way to you can collect these on your phone and actually scan it using your phone while you’re at the store that way you don’t have to worry about carrying around those little pesky cards and so this is the fun little thing if you know that you go to a lot of different grocery stores like we do and and then untapped this one is also another fund 41 if you like craft beer this is a great way to indulge in the local craft breweries if you know you’re going to a place where you’re going to go out and check out the nightlife you can use it to find the bars that are around you what type of beers they have a lot of people will rate and review what they’ve had so you can kind of get a feel for what the best places are maybe what the locals are checking out where you’re going and that one’s free and then another miscellaneous continued I have this one the my like you asked it’s free so it’s worth checking out if you think you might need to track your mileage for any reason some people while they’re on the road they’re traveling to business destinations so it’s helpful to keep track of that for their tax or business purposes if they’re going to need to show where how much they travel and how many miles they put out and really it’s also fun kind of if you don’t need it for business purposes just to kind of track how much you traveled in the year or the month so it’s helpful for that too and then we have I recycle this one’s free also and they’ve recently updated those last year I used to kind of be falling behind a little bit so I always hesitated to share it with people but they did do an update it’s a lot more clean looking they have updated their resources added a bunch more and this helps you find the recycling opportunities around you if that’s something that’s important to you and that will give you information about the facility what they accept their contact information address or business hours so it’s really helpful if you know you’re going to want to recycle on the road that way it takes the guesswork out and you can just easily find those locations well that was it a couple other things I wanted to mention that I didn’t have in our slides one resource that I thought was worth mentioning that’s also I don’t believe it’s been asked yet it wasn’t last time I checked is camp in diem for a parking resource it’s this website was created by our full timer of years and it caters to our viewers that are out there and it also allows everybody to crowdsource their experience at  campgrounds that they’ve stated whether it’s free camping campgrounds RV park it’s just a

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