Mistakes RV Owners Make and How to Avoid Them
The RV life is a wonderful one, where many adventures await. You can explore new landscapes, new states, enjoy magnificent views and the freedom of life on the road. If you are new to RVing, you will want to learn all you can, especially from others who have been around the block, the tips and tricks to have a successful experience.
The adventures you can have in your RV as a beginner can be made easy when you know the mistakes to avoid. Read on for these rookie RV mistakes and start traveling like a pro.
Before Your Trip
Packing too little (or too much) food. Setting up camp can sure work up a mighty appetite. But there’s no worse feeling than putting in that hard work setting up your new temporary home than to realize you’ve only brought enough provisions for 2 nights of campfire s’mores during a week-long stay. This means another trek to the grocery store when you’re tired!
Conversely, it’s also easy to pack too much food. Unless you’re headed to the middle of nowhere, it’s not necessary to have a two-month supply of food at one time. You can avoid both mistakes by doing some meal planning beforehand. Depending on your destination, you’ll want to leave a few meals free for eating out and exploring the local culinary scene. Planning is everything! Take only what you need.
Not making reservations for your chosen RV campground or resort. After a long day of driving, you don’t want to pull up to the RV park and hope they have a space available for you. Especially nowadays, when everyone and their dog is out camping. Having a reservation for the right RV spot for your rig, especially if you have a Class A motorhome, will take away some of the headaches of ‘winging it.’
Not planning your route. Driving an RV is not like driving a car. If you happen to lose your way or get in a tight turnaround situation, it can be really stressful. Plan your route in advance and it will help you avoid the blunders associated with RV travel. These can be things like low bridges, small dirt roads, and highway closures. Most people have a good GPS system on their phone, but other online tools such as Good Sam Club trip planner or roadtrippers.com are really great for planning the perfect road trip route for RVs.
At the RV Campground or Resort
Not following camp etiquette. Your RV space is your temporary home, except your neighbors are really close to you! As such, you’ll make fast friends if you follow the rules. Be sure to read and follow the RV park rules. These are common guidelines such as:
- Don’t play music too loud, and adhere to ‘quiet times’ at night
- Avoid walking through the RV sites of others
- Let the kiddos have fun, but make sure they are aware of the campground rules also
- Drive slowly while in the park. If you feel you are going too fast, you probably are!
- Pick up after your pets and keep them on a leash at all times while outside
- Ensure privacy by closing curtains or blinds in your RV at night
Packing Up Your RV
At the dump station. Be sure you know how to quickly and efficiently dump your tank as you head out. You don’t want to be ‘that guy’ as you fumble with how to work it while people are in line behind you ready to hit the road. If you are new to RV living, be sure to read the manual beforehand or watch YouTube videos on how to properly dump your tank.
Forgetting to do a final walk-around check. Before you leave the RV park, it’s essential to walk around your RV. Make sure everything is put away and in its proper place. Then walk around it one more time. Yes, you should do this! Spending a few extra minutes checking everything is better than driving off with your awning out or your sewer hose dragging behind. Trust us, it happens more than you might think! In the RV world, we call these “drive off distasters.”
- Check your antenna, lights, tow vehicle connections, windows, and vents
- Make sure all storage doors are closed and secure
- Check that your cupboards and refrigerator door are secure
- Test your turn signals, brakes, and headlights for safety
While On the Road
Driving too quickly or too long in one day. The RV is not made for flying down the highway. Avoid situations that are too stressful, because driving under pressure can lead to bad decisions. Take your time and follow all traffic rules. If you drive too fast, that ultra-heavy piece of machinery you’re operating puts your passengers and other vehicles at risk. Plan out how much ground you’re going to cover in a single day as you head to the next destination. Also, avoid cramming too much sightseeing in at once, that only adds to the stress. RV living is all about slowing down and savoring every moment!
Ignoring signs and sounds that are amiss. The RV is a big machine with lots of moving parts. Anytime you hear rattling or sensors beeping, be sure to get them checked out as soon as you possibly can. RV people are always willing to lend a helping hand should you get in a bind, but you still want to keep on top of mechanical issues and not get stranded somewhere.
The biggest mistake you can make is giving up on your RV dreams just because you think you’re not up to the task. It’s true that RV living has its challenges, but the rewards are so much greater. And don’t be afraid to ask for help from other RV drivers. We are a welcoming lot. Most slip-ups are minor and make for a great story to tell around the campfire.