Ultimate Guide to Exploring and Adventuring in an RV

Are you a travel aficionado looking to upgrade your road trip experience? Been thinking about how convenient it would be to travel with your very own bed and breakfast along for the ride?

Maybe on your last trip you noticed a motorhome or two meandering beside you down the highway, and you started to wonder what that kind of travel might be like. Perhaps a gleaming Airstream trailer caught your eye, and you’ve been dying to explore the interior. Or maybe you’re just ready to experience the road with enough room to actually stretch your legs — and bring along all the adventure gear you need to truly enjoy your destinations.

No matter what’s drawing you into our world, we’d like to extend you a warm welcome — and to assure you that, yes, RV travel and RV vacations are just as awesome as they seem. You get all the comfort of home with all the liberation of the open road… and absolutely zero security guards asking you to take your shoes off. What’s not to love?

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Of course, these large and powerful vehicles can be intimidating to new drivers, not to mention travel necessities unique to RVing like emptying the on-board sewer system. There’s also the simple matter of figuring out, from a long list of worthy destinations, where the heck you should go in the first place!

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Don’t worry — RVing is actually way easier than it seems at first, and once you get the hang of it, it’ll change your perspective on travel forever. (Case in point: many travelers end up ditching their foundation-built home to live in their rigs full time. That’s dedication!)

If you’re ready to get yourself in your very own motorhome or travel trailer and take on the world, strap in. This post will help get you set up for unforgettable adventures, even if you feel like you have no idea where to start.

Why You Should RV Across America

If you’ve never taken an RV trip before, it’s hard to put into words exactly what a steep upgrade it is from a traditional road trip. You’ll have all the room you need to bring along your favorite adventure gear, wardrobe, and more… and you won’t have to worry about packing it and unpacking it every time you reach a different hotel room.

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You’ll also get to enjoy a whole lot more comfort and privacy than you would with traditional vacation accommodations — thin hotel walls or “I-wonder-when-these-were-last-washed” sheets will be a thing of the past when you’re traveling in your very own bungalow on wheels.

RV camping is also an amazing way to participate in a helpful, friendly community, whether you visit a developed, resort-style RV park or find yourself at a prime boondocking location out in the wilderness. RVing tends to draw a scrappy, self-reliant, and gregarious bunch, and chances are your neighbors will be happy to share s’mores and travel stories over the campfire.

Finally, an RV gives you all the freedom and flexibility of the open road without requiring you to sacrifice the creature comforts you’re used to at home. Instead of waiting through taxing TSA lines or biting your nails at the train station, you’ll be entirely on your own itinerary in an RV, meandering down the highway… which is really the best way to see the country in the first place. There’s a reason road trips are an American tradition, after all. The only difference is, in motorhome, you and your family will be so cozy and comfortable, you’ll likely never hear the words, “Are we there yet?”

RV Living: Tips and Tricks to Get You Started

One of the best parts of RVing is that it’s actually pretty simple to learn, despite the size and apparent complexity of these vehicles. However, just as with any hobby or skill, there’s a learning curve involved — and veteran campers will tell you there are certain things you end up learning along the way that you wish someone had told you before you started.

To help you get ahead of that curve, here are some of our most basic RV travel tips. And don’t forget to check out the links at the bottom of this section for even more insider deets. We’ve written about all sorts of stuff to help you get set off on the road right, and we’re constantly coming up with even more helpful ideas and content!

Not all campgrounds are created equal.

Image via lakemonroejellystone.com

Sure, when you’ve got your very own bed and breakfast along for the ride, you can pretty much pull off and set up camp wherever. (Well, within reason. You definitely don’t want to camp on private property or in other restricted areas!)

But deciding where to hang your hat can make or break your RVing experience — and which type of the many RV campgrounds out there is the best will depend a lot on your individual preferences.

For example, you might be after an all-inclusive, RV resort experience, where your stay will come complete with not only utility hookups, but also access to swimming pools, clubhouses, community events, and all sorts of other fun extras to make your vacation special. Or maybe you’re looking for the exact opposite of that: a way to get off the grid and away from it all, totally disconnected from the rush-rush-rush of modern life and technology.

Figuring out which kind of camping experience is right for you will take a little bit of research, which is why we wrote this deep dive post on the difference between public and private campgrounds — and this beginner’s guide to boondocking for those of you looking for a super-adventurous option. But if you’re traveling with the family and looking to keep everyone entertained, we do have one super-helpful suggestion: try a Jellystone Park location!

Jellystone Parks are a nationwide franchise of family-owned resort-style RV parks, and they really know how to create an ideal environment for wholesome fun in the sun. With vast swimming pools, zippy water slides, and bounce-yourself-to-oblivion jumping pillows, the kids will definitely sleep well after a day of on-site adventures (which means you will, too). Plus, they’re located in some of the most sought-after destinations in the country, so there’s plenty to see and do outside the campground gates as well!

Jellystone Parks also host themed events and organized activities fit for campers of all ages. Whether you’re celebrating a holiday or just getting away for the thrill of it, you can really upgrade your RV park experience at Jellystone — so see where the location nearest your next destination is today.

Saving money on the road doesn’t have to be hard.

Family adventure vacations are fun, to be sure — but they can also rack up a serious price tag in a hurry. Even when you score a great deal on your RV rental through the peer-to-peer market at RVshare, there’s still the expenses of gas, food, and fun to think about, not to mention your campground accommodations.

Well, let’s tackle that last one first. There’s actually a really easy way to knock a full 50% off your campsite accommodation fees every single time you stay. It’s our very favorite discount camping club, Passport America — and it gets you half off prices at almost 1900 campgrounds across the country, including select locations in Canada and Mexico. Pretty crazy, right?

Even crazier: the membership costs less than $50 for an entire year. Given that many high-demand campsites cost more than $75 per night, that means the club could easily pay for itself in a single weekend’s stay. And if you’re wondering, “But does it support camping options and RV parks near me?” — well, all you have to do is play with their locator map for a few minutes to see that your favorite destination is very likely covered. It’s definitely worth learning more about, at the least, so click here to get the full details.

Looking for even more ways to save cash on your adventure? From cooking in and avoiding food waste to finding ways to earn money while you travel, we’ve covered tons of topics that’ll keep your wallet fat and happy no matter how far you wander. Here are a few RVshare posts to help you get started:

Traveling with a big family? Here’s how to keep everyone happy.

One reason people are attracted to RVing is the opportunity to travel with a big family and still have space to sleep everyone comfortably, not to mention carry along all their stuff. But even in a 40-foot Class A diesel pusher, things can get a little, shall we say, cozy after a few days on the road.

Fortunately, if you plan correctly and double-check your camping checklist, you can keep all hell from breaking loose — even if you’re hitting the road in a small, lightweight travel trailer or sleeper van. Check out this post on helping everyone maintain at least a little bit of their own space and privacy on board, and this post on clever storage solutions that’ll make even tiny spaces feel way bigger. We’ve also got tips on how to take a girls’ or boys’ trip with friends without driving each other crazy!

Traveling with kids is its own special experience — and it can be as challenging as it is rewarding. So if you’ve got a couple kiddos to bring along, check out our posts on how to keep kids happy, calm, and entertained during your travels, and check out these fun craft projects that’ll help keep them smiling through a rainy day.

Looking for even more tips and tricks to help you hit the road the right way? Check out the following RVshare posts.

The Best RV Trips for Beginners

One thing’s for certain: There’s no shortage of stuff to see and do out on the American highway system. From beach getaways to remote mountain hiking vacations, you can find any kind of destination and activity your heart desires somewhere in this beautiful country of ours. The question is, with all those options, how do you even begin to make a decision?

Playing RV road trip planner can be as overwhelming as it is exciting. There’s just so much amazing, travel-worthy adventure waiting for you and your family out there, and chances are everyone in the party is looking for something a little bit different. Choosing an itinerary is fun, but it can get kind of dicey!

But that’s why one of our very favorite topics to cover here on the blog is RV travel ideas — both for specific destinations and ways to go about choosing one on your own.

Here are some beginner-friendly ways to go about planning your RV road trip.

Pick a theme.

Simply spinning the globe and picking a place might be intimidating. But if you choose a theme first and then narrow down your destinations from there, you’ll have a much more manageable list of potentials.

For example, is someone in your family a history buff? Or unapologetically obsessed with ghosts and haunted buildings? Or maybe you’re after a feast-filled foodie road trip, where you hit every famous restaurant in the area.

No matter what your thing is, crafting a vacation around it is a fun, low-pressure way to choose destinations that are sure to satisfy your travel fantasies. Looking for some inspiration? Here are a few posts that might help.

Head to an event.

Been dying to hit Bonnaroo or Coachella? Or maybe a lower-key fall harvest festival is more your style.

Either way, when you road trip for an event, the destination is already decided. All you have to do is get yourself there in time for the party!

From Oktoberfests to comic conventions, there are tons of events that are totally worth traveling for, and they happen all across the country. Here are a few posts about festivals and concerts that might help get your creative juices flowing:

Take a national park tour.

It’s true, there’s beauty in every state and even city in the country. But when you visit one of our 60+ federally-reserved national parks, you quickly understand why those sites in particular stood out in an already-incredible landscape.

Our national parks are some of our most sacred and treasured places, and they’re well worth visiting in person no matter how many pictures you’ve seen. Doing a tour of one or more of the national parks is a classic RV road trip idea, and it’s a great way to ensure you’ll have a front-row seat on all the action — since you’ll likely be able to stay inside the actual park property.

You might road trip to just a single, large park, like Yellowstone, and spend several days or even a week exploring its many different zones and hiking trails. Or you could string together multiple parks for an incredible, multi-week, cross-country adventure. Either way, in an RV, you won’t sacrifice comfort and convenience!

We’ve written all sorts of great content to help you take advantage of our national parks system to the fullest, from an explanation of the so-called Grand Circle tour of the southwest to a post on why you should definitely get your kids interested in the Junior Ranger program. Just don’t forget to bring along your national parks passport and to collect the cancellation stamps at every stop. That way, you’ll have a simple (but lovely) keepsake to look back on your adventures with in the future!

Try a staycation.

Pst — you don’t have to go far from home to enjoy an amazing vacation, especially when it comes to RV travel. Even just the short drive to your local state park can be enough to make you feel like you’re getting away from it all, particularly when you’re camping in a comfortable vehicle with all your favorite people around you.

Furthermore, public camping options can be some of the most affordable and rewarding ones out there, giving you the opportunity to reconnect with nature while often paying only a small fee for water and electric hookups. No matter where in the U.S. you live, chances are there’s a great camping spot near you — just run a quick search for campgrounds in your area. You might be surprised what you find!

How to Take an Epic Cross-Country Road Trip

Serious-business adventure trips are fun, but they also require serious-business planning. It’s one thing to just hop in your RV and count on the serendipity of the road (which is a real thing), but for best results, you’ll want at least some idea of where you’re going — and definitely how much you’ll spend to get there.

Furthermore, road tripping across the country with a big family comes with its own unique set of challenges. Maybe you have more people than beds and will need to figure out some alternative sleeping arrangements — or maybe you’ve got a teenager who’d ideally like a little bit more privacy than the average RV can afford.

Finding ways to keep your family entertained and feeling like they have a semblance of personal space is indeed a challenge, even in a large Class A rig, but it’s also totally doable! We’ve written a few helpful guide posts to ensure everyone on board will remain a happy camper, no matter how long and winding of a road trip you’re taking:

The other big thing about a cross-country road trip is, well, the whole cross-country part. Planning an itinerary that long can be hard to do, even for a veteran camper.

Some RVers approach this problem with an easygoing point of view, simply deciding to decide along the way where exactly they’ll stay each night (as well as which destination is next on the docket). But as much fun as spontaneity can be, it can also be a little risky — particularly if you’re traveling to popular destinations during popular travel seasons, like high summer. You never know when you might find yourself without an available camping spot, which might force you into a not-so-romantic boondocking situation (i.e., in a Walmart parking lot). The good thing is, when you have your own bed and kitchen along for the ride, even camping in a less-than-ideal place is pretty darn comfy… but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re hoping for a more idyllic getaway.

Cross-country trips can also rack up some serious expenditures! Just putting enough gas in your rig to drive all those miles will cost a pretty penny, and that’s before you consider food or fun. As we mentioned above, a Passport America membership can be invaluable, especially when you’re considering taking on an extra-epic trip like this one — and it’s also worth it to seek out other ways to save money while you’re on the road. (Fortunately, a lot of them are crazy easy!)

Stress-Free Motorhome Rentals through RVshare

If you don’t already have motorhome or travel trailer of your own, renting one can be one of the most intimidating (and costly) parts of your trip. You may think they’re difficult to drive, for instance, or perhaps you’re just put off by the sky-nigh per-night rental rates you see advertised from many of the big, national players.

Obviously, we’re a little biased on the subject… but in our opinion, the best way to secure an RV rental in the USA is to take advantage of the peer-to-peer marketplace through platforms like ours right here at RVshare. Not only will renting from a private owner help you save money, but you’re also whole lot likelier to get a cozy rig with that loved, lived-in feeling — and you can also find nontraditional vehicles, like sleeper vans and travel trailers, if you’re not necessarily looking to take a motorhome trip.

Along with its diversity of available vehicles and more affordable prices, sourcing your vehicle through RVshare gives you the opportunity to enjoy a stress-free rental experience. Every communication and monetary transaction takes place through our secure platform, so you won’t have to worry about the safety of your sensitive information. Thanks to our unique and easy-to-use rating system, you’ll have a great sense of what the vehicle you’re renting is like well before you’re ready to head to checkout — not to mention the renters themselves. Plus, each of our rentals is backed with comprehensive insurance coverage and 24/7 roadside assistance, so in the unlikely event that anything does go wrong, you can rest assured it won’t be a disaster.

Whether you’re looking for a tiny towable rig or a large and luxurious self-driving motorhome, there’s bound to be a vehicle fit for your needs on RVshare. Check out the listings near you today.

Start Your Travel Adventure Today!

We hope that this post has helped convince you that RVing is not only way more approachable than you thought, but also well worth your effort. Maybe your first trip will be to the park down the road, or maybe you’ll dive in headfirst and take on an incredible cross-country journey. Either way, we’re pretty convinced you’re going to fall in love with it… which means you’ll get even more opportunities to experience other types of RV road trips in the future. In fact, that’s how many owners on RVshare got their start: renting a rig for a single, one-off getaway, which totally changed their perspective on travel and motivated them to invest in a rig of their own. Who knows? In a couple of years, you might even find yourself on the other side of the rental agreement.

So — what are you waiting for? It’s time to get going on an adventure… which means it’s time to go RVing!

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