If you’re a relative newcomer to the RVing world, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the sea of information available online on the subject of RVs. It can be difficult to sift through all the noise and find the “correct” advice. Generally speaking, however, you’ll be best served to listen to experienced RVers – those who have spent a good portion of their time RVing, and who have lived through the joy and pain of an RV journey.
Veteran RVers have absorbed a lot of hard-earned lessons over years and years of consistent RV use. Whether you are a complete first-timer, a familiar novice, or even a moderately-experienced RVer, rest assured that your next trip will be a better overall experience if you keep the lessons they learned in mind.
Here are some great RV tips from seasoned RVers.
Get Familiar With Your RV Beforehand
Before you set off on your next trip – whether you’ve purchased an RV, or you’re renting – make sure to familiarize yourself with the RV itself.
Familiarity means more than just a quick run-through of the interior and a glance at the engine. True familiarity means reading through the manual, understanding any unique limitations inherent to the vehicle (i.e., load recommendations, amp limits, etc.), spending a bit of time researching frequently-encountered mechanical issues for the model, and perhaps most importantly, taking your RV for a quick spin so that you can get a “feel” for how the vehicle performs on the road before the trip begins.
For example, if you take your RV up a few local hills, you’ll get a better sense of how it will perform if you encounter similar vertical challenges on your trip. Play around with it enough beforehand, and you’ll understand how far you can push the vehicle before it develops a mechanical issue.
Come Prepared With Tools and Parts
Experienced RVers are all too aware: mechanical issues are unfortunately common on the road. You’re almost certain to have to repair one thing or another, particularly on longer trips. Bring along a set of tools for making adjustments and repairs. If your RV model is rather niche, then you may also want to bring along certain spare parts specific to your particular model.
Bring Along Supplies, But Don’t Go Overboard
Make sure you bring along adequate backup supplies so that you avoid running out while on the road. Toiletries, first aid, pharmaceuticals, and food – keeping these supplies well-stocked will ensure that you’re prepared for anything while out on the road. Further, it can save you a great deal of money to buy supplies in bulk before setting off on your trip (rather than buying supplies piecemeal, as needed).
Join an RV Club
Perhaps the largest single expenditure on an RV trip (aside from the rental rate, if you’re renting an RV) is the cost of staying overnight at a campground or other qualified RV parking area. Staying at an RV campground can cost from around $30 at the low end, to $200+ per night at the very high end. To avoid excessive campground costs over the course of a trip, most experienced RVers join an RV club. Though RV clubs usually have a membership fee, they offer discounts on in-network campgrounds (as well as rental dealerships and retail supply outlets), which can save you a significant amount of money in the long run.
Have a Backup Driver
RV driving can be a bit precarious for the newcomer, and this is especially true on a journey where you have to deal with issues of sleepiness, exhaustion, and bouts of bad weather. Make sure that you are traveling with at least one other person who is capable of operating the RV in the event that you are somehow too tired or sick to safely drive.