Top 5 Tips to Avoid RV Beginner Mistakes

How Tos & Tips

If you’re hoping to avoid making a beginner RV mistake, we have some tips here. RVing is hard enough at first, without making some avoidable mistakes. From towing mistakes to leveling mishaps, we have advice on how to avoid common RV pitfalls.

1. Practice Towing Before You Head Out

Many people are intimidated by the idea of towing a car or trailer when they consider RVing. Towing does take some time to learn, but if you practice at first, you’ll find it’s much less scary than many people claim. Don’t let a fear of towing keep you from living the RV lifestyle! Also, be sure to follow a few simple towing tips:

  • Stay within your towing weight capacity
  • Pack your trailer properly, with evenly distributed weight but slightly more of your load towards the front
  • Check your tires, brakes, and lights to make sure everything works properly after it’s hooked up

2. Always Level Your RV

A common beginner RV mistake that many travelers make is to skip leveling their RV when parking. But an unbalanced RV can cause problems. People getting in and out of the RV can put pressure on parts of it that aren’t properly supported, causing wear and tear and damaging parts that weren’t designed to hold that weight. Your RV or trailer can even shift while you’re in it, making it an unsafe way to sleep.

If your RV has an auto-leveling system, you simply need to press the auto-leveling button and the RV should take care of itself. If you need to manually level, there are a few more steps to take.

3. Secure Interior & Exterior Storage Compartments

Double-check that all interior and exterior storage compartments are fastened and secure before driving. Unsecure interior compartments can mean dishes, clothing, and other belongings flying around inside your RV. Unsecure exterior compartments can mean your items flying out of storage and onto the highway. Do one final walk-around and check that all compartments are closed and securely fastened before leaving.

4. Planning & Preparation is Key

It’s tempting to hit the road as soon as you’ve rented or purchased your RV. But planning and preparing can prevent problems in the future. You can make sure your RV is stocked with the right items. You can also be sure you know how to properly operate all parts of your RV. Finally, you can make sure you know the route and where you are stopping along the way. Planning will not only make you better prepared for a trip, it can save you money as well. Here are a few things to plan for ahead of time:

  • Be sure to pack enough food for your camping trip. It can be hard to know how much food you have room for in a new (or new-to-you) RV. Plan your meals, and add in a little extra food, just in case. Or make sure there’s a grocery store within reasonable distance of your campsite.
  • Make a reservation for your campground! People are just as interested in RVing now as they were a year ago, and it can be hard to find campgrounds that are available unless you reserve a site.
  • Plan how far you will be driving. You’ll be traveling slower in an RV or large trailer, so you won’t go as far in the same amount of time as you would in your regular vehicle.
  • Plan some breaks. If you’re going on your first multi-day road trip in your RV, you may want to take a day in-between drives to rest and explore. Driving, setting up, and tearing down a campsite all take work and you may get tired if you don’t give yourself some breaks!

5. Take Care of Your Tanks

Taking care of your waste tanks is a dreaded task for many new RVers. Ask the person you are purchasing the RV from to walk you through how to empty and clean the tanks. You can even request that they accompany you to a dump station to physically go through the motions so you know what you’re doing.

Read the owner’s manual before beginning the job. You can also watch YouTube videos that will walk you through how to empty and clean your tanks. Fellow RVers are usually very friendly, and you may also find plenty of people at your campground who can give you advice and help you the first time you dump your tanks.

Avoiding a beginner RV mistake is possible! Hopefully, listing some of the most common errors can help you to have successful road trips right from the start.

Happy Camping!