If you’re taking an RV vacation for the first time, it can seem very intimidating. What kind of RV should you get? What do you bring? How do you make sure you don’t run into a bridge? Not to worry, we’re here to help answer those questions and more. One of the best ways to get ready for RV travel is to do some research, and we have all the info you need to feel comfortable when you start RVing!
Finding an RV Fit to You
Before you can go anywhere, you have to get an RV. If you’re new to the RV world, this can seem like a huge step – and an expensive purchase! But luckily, buying an RV isn’t your only option. RVshare has thousands of RVs across the United States that you can rent, letting you try different types of RVs without committing. So what should you look for when choosing an RV to rent? Be sure to consider the following:
- How many people will be traveling with you
- How many days you’ll be RVing
- Where you’re planning to travel
- When you’ll be going
Taking these points into consideration can help you choose the right RV. Only traveling with 2 people? You can easily rent a small RV, while families and larger groups may want a rig with more space. Planning on spending time in the wilderness instead of RV parks? Look for rigs that have generators or solar setups to make boondocking easier. There’s also the type of rig to consider – do you want to tow a trailer or drive an RV?
RVshare has rigs of all types so you’ll be able to find the right RV that fits your needs. We also have a great collection of articles to help you find the perfect RV rental:
- RVshare Makes Taking an RV Trip Easy!
- How to Choose the Best RV Size for Your Trip
- RV Classes: RV Motorhome Classes Explained
- Drive or Pull: Choosing the Best RV For You
Gathering Equipment for Your Travels
Now that you’ve got your RV, it’s time to figure out how to prepare for an RV trip, including what you should bring. Be sure to check what comes with the RV you’ll be renting. Some RVs may be offered with everything already included, but others might not include towels, pots and pans, dishes, or other things you’ll need while on the road.
We know how much of a bummer it can be to get to your destination and not have the items you need to enjoy your trip, so we’ve put together several fantastic articles and checklists on what to pack. And what not to!
- How to Pack for Your First RV Trip
- RV Checklist: What Do You Need?
- How to Pack for a Week in a Few Easy Steps!
- Avoid Overpacking: 5 Things NOT to Bring Along on your RV Trip
Charting Out the Best Path for a Trip
Figuring out where to go and how to get there can either be one of the best or most frustrating parts of planning your RV trip. Luckily, there are plenty of tools to help you plot your route safely and easily.
Start by figuring out where you want to go and how long you plan to drive each day. RV specific route planning apps and websites can help you plan a route that can handle your RV. Apps like RV Trip Wizard, CoPilot RV, and Campedium are great for planning a route that avoids low bridges, road grades, and other potential RV hazards. They can even help you find places to stay along the way. For a full list of helpful travel apps, check out our post of the 22 Must-Have Apps for RVers.
Seeking the Best RV Parks or Free Places to Camp
Besides the driving, the biggest part of trip planning is figuring out where to stay. Are you looking for full hook ups and plenty of amenities at RV resorts, or are you more interested in dry camping and free places to stay overnight? There are plenty of great apps and websites that can help you find places to stay that match your needs– from RV parks to free overnight camping to state park campsites. Here are a few to start with:
There are also several questions to think about when choosing a campground. How big are the sites? Are they pull through or back in? Does the park or campground have full hook-ups? How much does it cost? Is the campground big rig friendly? Keeping these questions in mind can make it easier to decide where you’re going to stay. Looking for more information? We have a great article on 6 Essential Tips for Planning the Perfect RV Trip Route.
Preparing for a Break Down
Hopefully it won’t happen to you but just like cars, RVs break down. If you own your RV, it’s a great idea to have roadside assistance such as AAA or Good Sam to give you a tow or help you fix any major issues in the unfortunate event that a breakdown does happen.
One of the great things about renting from RVshare is the 24/7 dedicated support team and emergency roadside assistance. If you do have issues while on your trip, you can call, email, or chat with the support team who will help you with everything from a flat tire to questions about the RV.
Maintaining your RV and Hygiene
Ah, the dreaded RV black tank. While dumping the wastewater tanks is probably everyone’s least favorite part about RVing, it has to be done. This sometimes stinky task can be confusing to newcomers, so we’ve put together an RV Water Tanks Basics guide that has step by step instructions on exactly how to empty, clean, and maintain the fresh, gray, and black water tanks.
There are also a few etiquette rules that all RVers should know, including what to do with the wastewater tanks. Namely, you can’t just dump the tanks wherever you want. Campgrounds and RV parks will list on each individual campsite if there is septic at the site or not. If not, there’s usually (but not always!) a dump station near the entrance that people can use to dump their tanks.
There are also public RV dump stations across the United States where you can pull in and dump your tanks for free. Think of these more like gas stations where you drive in, dump your tanks, and leave – they’re not campsites where you can unhook and hang out for the day. Similarly, some gas stations have RV dump stations, but may charge a fee for using them. Apps like Campendium and Allstays can help you find dump stations near your location.
Finally, though it’s not black tank related, it’s important to pick up after yourself when you’re leaving the campsite. Clean up all trash and litter, make sure any fires are fully extinguished and cold, and be sure to leave anywhere you camped better than you found it.
Now that you know what to do before traveling in an RV, you’ll be much more prepared once you hit the road. You’ll be an RV pro in no time!