Long-Lasting RELiON Lithium Batteries Power A Never Ending Honeymoon

Posted June 27, 2022

Mike and Anne Howard left on their honeymoon on January 22, 2012 and haven’t looked back. They originally planned a one-year trip to visit all the destinations they knew would be impossible to see with standard two-week holidays. For the last 10 years, they have traveled, on what is now considered the World’s Longest Honeymoon, to all 7 continents, 62 countries, and 50 states, and they have no plans of stopping. What started out as an extended trip has now become their lifestyle, and one of the most important things they’ve learned is to remain open to new opportunities. Not having an end date or many fixed plans has allowed them to accept those new opportunities that pop up and run with them.

Their blog, HoneyTrek, chronicles their journey to countries like French Polynesia, Ecuador, New Zealand, Dominican Republic, South Africa, Portugal, and dozens more. They have written for BBC Travel, Lonely Planet, Outside Magazine, and National Geographic, among others, and have published two books, Ultimate Journeys for Two: Extraordinary Destinations on Every Continent and Comfortably Wild: The Best Glamping Destinations in North America. Before embarking on their adventure, Mike worked in digital media and photography and Anne worked as a magazine editor. They quit their office jobs in December 2011, but have continued to use their skills to fund their nomadic lifestyle.

HoneyTrek Longest Honeymoon Destinations

Mike and Anne say that traveling slowly allows them to see these destinations differently than those who have to get back to the office on Monday. Finding new destinations and experiences is like “unwrapping a little gift,” so they rarely return to the same place twice. When they reached year five of full-time travel, Mike and Anne realized they had spent so much time learning about other countries that it was time to explore their own. So, they decided to buy an RV and travel domestically. Since then, they’ve road-tripped 49 states (if there was a bridge to Hawaii, they would have taken it) and learned a lot about the VanLife/RV lifestyle in their 21-foot 1985 Toyota Sunrader, “Buddy.”

Among the many benefits of RVing, is the ability to have complete control over your destinations and timeline. Mike says that “if you are able to work remotely, you should definitely consider RVing because it’s easier, safer, more fun, and cheaper than you might think.” However, it does come with its challenges - living in such a small space means you need to find ways to mix it up. Mike and Anne park their RV at the airport (one of the many benefits of being under 22 feet) and pay the $10/day parking fee and travel to different destinations for months at a time and come back refreshed. Anne says that “the U.S. is such a desirable RV destination because of the diversity of landscapes across the country and the abundance of public lands” and she hopes that people take advantage of the beauty in their own backyard.

When they decided to buy their RV and travel around North America, Mike and Anne thought the trip would last about six months. Now, five years later, they realize there is still so much more to see. The Howards recently installed RELiON batteries, so we chatted with them about how the equipment they use allows them to travel with ease and comfort, even in the most remote locations.

What difficulties were you experiencing before transitioning to lithium batteries?

“When we first purchased our lead acid batteries, we were happy with the performance and the lower price point. We installed a solar system that powered our lights, water pump, fans, and charging station. However, after about a year of using the lead acid battery, the performance started to diminish - it took longer to get them charged, and the memory just wasn’t there. After two days of cloud coverage, we would have to start driving so the alternator could charge the battery. This would cut our trips short and we weren’t able to do the longer boondocking trips we enjoyed so much. Eventually, even on sunny days, the battery wouldn’t hold a charge for long. It was impacting our travel style and we decided that we didn’t want our battery to dictate when we moved spots. Beyond that, when we left the RV for a period of time, to either house-sit or take a trip abroad, the battery was often a problem when we came back.”

Mike and Anne decided that after a few years of using a lead acid battery, they wanted to transition to lithium. After doing some research and talking to different companies, they were really impressed by RELiON’s commitment to environmental issues.

Honeytrek RV 12V 300Ah Lithium Battery

Why did you decide to choose RELiON for your lithium battery needs?

“We are big on sustainability and trying to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible. Since this trip began in Brazil in January of 2012, we decided not to use single-use plastic water bottles and haven’t bought a single one since. We also went vegan, and carbon offset every flight and road trip we take. As we were researching lithium battery brands, we saw that RELiON’s CEO, Paul Hecimovich, had a YouTube channel where he talked about sustainability and reducing the impact on the planet. We were also pumped to learn about RELiON’s initiative Limitless Blue, and the various ways they give back to local organizations, and we were convinced that RELiON aligned with our values.”

Now, Buddy the camper is equipped with one RELiON 12V RB300-LT, a 300W WindyNation solar array, a VertaMax inverter, and a WindyNation charge controller, which power the lights, fans, water pumps, and charges nearly a dozen devices each day. As travel journalists, Mike and Anne use camera equipment, drones, and laptops all-day every day and must rely on their power source to keep their devices charged and ready to go.

How has your RELiON battery helped you challenge your limits?

“Our RB300 holds a charge better than any battery we’ve ever used. We’ve been able to get back into longer boondocking trips that were unattainable with our lead acid battery, and we can use many appliances at once without fear of draining the battery too quickly. The long-term performance and reliability make the cost 100% worth it. We’ve been impressed by how long one charge lasts with our RELiON battery - we’ve never seen it drop below 90 percent, whereas before, we’d start worrying if we had too much tree coverage and not enough direct sunlight. In October 2021, we left our RV for over six months while we took multiple international trips, and when we came back, the lights turned on without even a hiccup. We were shocked by how easily we were able to just get in and go after such a long period without use. It’s been a game-changer in how we travel.”

When installing their RELiON battery, the HoneyTrek team needed some help transitioning their settings from the lead acid battery to what they needed for their RELiON battery. Mike said the customer service they received from RELiON’s team was phenomenal, above and beyond what was expected.

Honeytrek RELiON Lithium RV Battery 300Ah

Mike and Anne: “When we were setting up the battery, it was very easy. It fits in the same spot we had the previous one and connecting it to the system only took about 30 minutes. However, the settings on the charge controller needed to be adapted for the RELiON battery, and that was outside of our wheelhouse. We called RELiON for assistance and the customer service agent stayed on the phone with us for nearly an hour. At one point he was pulling up PDFs from the charge controller brand’s website to help us out. He got as close to physically doing it himself as one could over the phone - we were blown away. We haven’t had any problems with our battery since, but after that experience, we are extremely confident in the knowledge and commitment of RELiON’s team to help us out when, and if, we need it.”

The Howards have spent five-plus years traveling around the U.S. in their RV and their top tip to other travelers is to invest in an off-grid solar power system paired with a reliable lithium battery. That combo is a “double win”, Mike says, and “it will change the way you RV.” By relying on an off-grid system, you aren’t tethered to the grid and you can be in the depths of nature for more than a few nights at a time. Having full confidence in your power system gives you the independence and freedom to take full advantage of the RV lifestyle. To learn more about how to calculate your energy needs and find the optimal battery for your application and usage, visit our Lithium Battery Selector Tool.

Read more about Mike and Anne’s adventures by subscribing to their newsletter, checking out the destinations on their website, following them on Instagram and YouTube, or picking up one of their amazing books, Ultimate Journeys for Two and Comfortably Wild.