Are you thinking about taking your first RV trip? If so, you’re in for a treat! RVing is a great way to see the country and experience all it has to offer. In this post, we describe 7 simple steps for your first RV trip to be successful. Trip planning is half the fun!
Before you hit the open road, there are things you need to do to make sure your trip goes smoothly. By following these steps, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your journey!
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Do you know how to prepare for your RV trip?
Like most new RVers it probably took you months or even years of preparation to get to the point of taking your first RV trip.
- You first had to make the ‘I’m all in…no turning back’ commitment to embrace the RV life
- Dreamed about where you would go
- Explain to friends and family the lifestyle you were planning to embark on
- Downsize your belongings
- Searched for your perfect RV
- Maybe test drove an RV or took lessons
- Did a trial run (Radius Camping)
- Purchased the necessities plus items you would need to be comfortable
- Possibly sold your home
- Maybe quit a stable job
These are all necessary milestones, some being extremely stressful, but all of them have prepared you to the point of your first RV trip.
Congratulations! You made it!
You’ve already become a pro at preparing for your RV life. But have you put yourself in the travel mindset of physically, and mentally preparing for what your first RV trip will entail?
Why some RVers don’t plan ahead
Unfortunately, often new RVers don’t plan ahead for their first journey, (or not thoroughly) and understandably with all you’ve been through to get to this point, the excitement of this new life is well deserved, but it can leave you unprepared for the reality of your first RV trip.
Not preparing properly for your first RV trip can lead to frustration, stress, financial problems, arguments and even accidents. Moreover, new RVers tend to be in vacation mode and rush instead of taking a laid-back approach, the latter can lead to mistakes and can even be dangerous.
In all fairness, there are seasoned RVers who don’t make travel plans. The people who fall into this group just prefer to ‘wing-it’, which is not a bad approach if you are comfortable with that travel lifestyle. However, if you leave some wiggle room in your itinerary (if you are a planner) with this type of RVing you often run into some surprising experiences.
Although, during the COVID period we have witnessed this being problematic, with more people joining the RV community, and campgrounds at full capacity or limited spaces for larger RV’s like Class A’s and the larger 5th Wheels.
We want to encourage you to start with good habits for trip planning. It avoids stress and having to resort to a plan B if you haven’t made reservations ahead of time to secure a camping spot, amongst other things which we will cover later in this post. *Note: Always have a Plan B.
7 Simple Steps for your first RV trip to be successful
Step 1: Do your research
RV Trip Wizard is our go-to resource for trip planning. Before you take your first trip on the open road, it’s important to do research and plan your route.
Make sure you are familiar with the area of your destination, we suggest calling your campground host to inquire if there are any potential hazards like low hanging branches, narrow or curvy roads with blind spots, or construction on route to your campground which will avoid unnecessary driving stress and possible damage to your RV.
Decide where you want to go and what attractions you will see; include stops to stretch your legs and know rest areas along way too! There are other online resources available such as Google Maps which can help you organize your trip.
Step 2: Inspect your RV
You can’t just head out on an adventure without taking care of your RV. Inspecting it beforehand will ensure you have a great time and minimize any problems while traveling!
Make sure all the lights work, check the condition and pressure of your tires, check for leaks, fluid levels and fill your propane tank(s) for heat or cooking purposes. Also keep in mind you will save money by fueling up on weekdays, prices tend to be higher on weekends and during holidays.
Step 3: Make a packing list of supplies
The last thing you don’t want to do before hitting the road is pack too much stuff. Overpacking can lead to a cluttered RV, or exceed your campers weight limit.
Make sure what’s in your RV can be stored comfortably or moved around easily. Stock up on food and drinks, but again don’t overpack. Remember your electronic devices and chargers. You will also want a first-aid kit, and a road safety kit.
Step 4: Have enough money to cover your expenses.
When traveling, it’s best to budget the amount of money you will need for your trip beforehand. This includes covering travel expenses and campground fees, as well as any other incidentals that might pop up along the way. Having an emergency fund will provide peace of mind if you should encounter any travel mishaps.
Step 5: Have important documents available
You should have a list of emergency numbers and insurance information saved into your phone so you can contact the relevant parties quickly in case there is an accident.
It’s also important to keep a list of medications for yourself or any other family members. Don’t forget your furry companions, pet medications and vaccination papers are also something important to keep on hand! Read here for more information on How to Travel with Pets
Step 6: Be aware of your surroundings: Respect other drivers and campers
It’s important to pay attention to other drivers and campers around you. When driving, don’t forget about pedestrians or another driver who is drifting into your lane.
Driving at safe speeds, is not only for your safety and safety of others, but you will also save on fuel. Be aware of your surroundings and use turn signals otherwise the driver behind you will have no idea why you are moving over. (Think of a hazard in the road.) Leave plenty of braking space between you and the vehicle in front, campers take longer to slow down.
Frequently check the weather, high winds can be deadly, too often campers don’t pull-over and wait the weather out and winds will flip their RV. The RV lifestyle is not a hurry up and get there mentality, slow down and enjoy the journey.
Step 7: Reasons to arrive early to your campsite
The best way to avoid an unpleasant camping experience is by arriving early and getting set up before nightfall. This allows you time for routine tasks like leveling your RV, connecting water lines, hooking electricity and sewer connections while ensuring that everything will be in working order when darkness falls!
In addition: arriving at the campsite earlier you can explore the area for sights, activities, entertainment, and local food. Finding off the beaten path locations can be hidden gems, that are fun to share with friends around the campfire.
A resource for you that packs a punch!
Where do you start when looking for somewhere new and interesting to explore? We’re so impressed with this website, we had to share with you!
Use Within Hours! The website provides a simple search function to learn about a list of attractions near your destination. Simply plug-in your desired location, the time-frame and distance you’ve chosen to travel.
Within Hours provides attractions such as: museums, historical sites, places to eat, day trips and the current weather/driving conditions – all without having the hassle of downloading apps or spending additional time on your smartphones!
Be sure to check this little gem out. The value this website provides it deserves us writing a blog post on it alone!
Now that you’re armed with these seven tips, your first RV trip is sure to be a success! Are you excited to go on your first RV trip? We hope these tips will help make your experience as enjoyable as possible. We wish you many happy memories on your adventures.
Read our more in-depth article:
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Do you have any trip planning tools that you use, or ideas you’d like to share below?