Hey RVers! I’m sure you’ve all been making lots of newbie mistakes as you learn the ropes of this wonderful lifestyle. But don’t worry, we’ve all been there! It can be exciting, but it can also be a little daunting.
There’s so much to learn when you first start RVing, and there are plenty of mistakes you’ll want to avoid so you don’t ruin your RV trip. There are a lot of things that can go wrong if you’re not careful, and it’s easy to make mistakes if you’re not familiar with the process.
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In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the most common RV mistakes made by RVers and how to avoid them. Keep reading for some helpful tips! This list will help you start your RV lifestyle on the right foot.
So, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been RVing for a while, read on for some helpful tips. Happy trails!
What should a first time camper know?
We all make mistakes, but when it comes to RVing, some mistakes you’ll want to avoid because they can be costly, inconvenient, stressful, or even dangerous. By learning what the most common RV mistakes are and how to avoid them, you’ll be able to hit the road with confidence and have a great trip. So, what are some of the biggest blunders we need to watch out for? Let’s take a look.
RV Mistakes you’ll want to avoid
1. Not Planning Ahead
RVing can be a spontaneous activity, but it’s important to plan as much as possible. This means budget for your trip, reserving your campsite and other activities in advance, checking for road closures and weather conditions, as well as mapping out your route. By planning, you can avoid many of the stressful situations that can ruin a trip.
2. Not Giving Yourself Enough Time:
Rushing is never a good idea, especially when driving an RV. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination so that you can avoid feeling stressed out on the road. This will also help you avoid making mistakes while driving.
3. Failing to Maintain Your RV
Your RV will require some maintenance while on the road, so be sure to plan for this in advance. This includes things like oil changes and tire rotations.
Your RV is a big investment, and it’s important to take care of it. This means regularly servicing it and making sure all the systems are in working order. By maintaining your RV, you can avoid expensive repairs down the road and ensure that it will be ready for your next adventure.
4. Not Budgeting for Your Trip
You’ll need to budget for things like gas, food, lodging, and activities while on your trip. By doing this, you can avoid overspending and ending up in debt. Make sure to plan and save up enough money to cover all your expenses.
5. Not Budgeting for Fuel
RVing can be expensive, so be sure to budget for fuel costs when planning your trip. This will help you avoid overspending on gas and will keep your trip on track.
PRO TIP: Prices of fuel are lower during the week. Download an app so you can compare gas prices in your current area. The GasBuddy app offers a trip planning tool by providing a trip cost calculator. Grab a free GasBuddy card for savings at the pump nationwide.
6. Not Accounting for Extra Expenses
When budgeting for your RV trip, be sure to account for extra expenses like food, activities, and souvenirs. This will help you avoid overspending and will help you stick to your budget.
We consider a roll of quarters part of our essential items to pay on toll roads. There may not be attendants to take your money. This is a perfect example of an inconvenience we had to learn by experience.
When you reach the toll arm and find you can’t pay, you can’t just simply back up your RV to go find change. Your rig is bulky, the road will be one way and narrow, and vehicles line up behind you. Not only is it an inconvenience for you, but also other drivers.
In this instance the toll machine only took coins, so be prepared with a few dollars of loose change on hand.
You might enjoy reading more about the reality of an RV lifestyle, with tips about saving money on the road.
7. Not Getting RV Insurance:
Be sure to get insurance for your RV before setting out on your trip. This will help you avoid any financial difficulties in case of an accident or other unforeseen event. Don’t ruin your rv trip by not purchasing a roadside assistance plan, and also being covered by an extended RV warranty. Having both of these will keep you safe, save you some costly expenses, and most importantly give you peace of mind if something should go wrong.
8. Not Making Reservations
Be sure to check for campground availability before heading out on your RV trip. This will help you avoid any disappointment and make sure you have a place to stay.
If you’re planning to stay at a campground, it’s important to check for availability in advance. Many campgrounds fill up during peak season, so you don’t want to be left scrambling for a last-minute spot.
Making reservations as far out as a year from now is not uncommon. Failure to make reservations is one of the biggest mistakes you’ll want to avoid.
9. Not Planning Your Route Ahead of Time
If you’re just winging it without any kind of trip planning, you’re more likely to run into problems. It’s a good idea to map out your route ahead of time and make sure you know where you’re going and what you’ll need to do when you get there. This will help you avoid getting lost or stuck in traffic if you plan around rush hour when going through cities.
Be sure to consider any low clearances or weight limits that may be in place on the roads you’re planning to travel, this is another mistake you’ll want to avoid.
Luckily with route planning apps they have a built in feature for you to enter the size of your rig, which directs you away from certain routes.
10. Not Knowing Your Rig’s Capabilities
Your RV is your home away from home, but it’s also a vehicle. That means that you need to know its capabilities and limitations just like you would any other vehicle. Overloading your RV can lead to problems on the road, so make sure you know how much weight your RV can safely carry.
11. Not Packing Essential Items:
When packing for your RV trip, be sure to pack only the essentials and make sure everything has a place. This will save you space and will make it easier to move around your RV, basics such as food, water, and clothing.
Firstly, it’s tempting to bring along everything you might need on your RV trip, but resist the urge to overpack. This can quickly lead to problems. Not only will you have to deal with the hassle of hauling all your stuff around, but you’ll also have to find places to store it all in your RV. This can be difficult, and it can even lead to damage if things are stored improperly.
Secondly, you can always pick up items you need along the way, and there’s no need to bring along things you’re not actually going to use.
Lastly, another mistake is not packing properly. When you’re packing for an RV trip, you need to think about space constraints and weight limits. Not only will this make your RV more difficult to drive and maneuver, but it can also lead to problems like reduced gas mileage and increased wear and tear on the vehicle.
13. Not Being prepared for Weather conditions
Weather can be unpredictable, and bad weather can ruin even the best-laid plans. Before you hit the road, be sure to check the forecast for your destination and plan accordingly. This will help you plan your trip around the weather and potentially dangerous driving conditions
Pack appropriate clothing for the temperatures you’ll encounter. By being prepared, you can avoid being caught off guard by the elements.
14. Not Checking Your RV Before You Hit the Road
It’s important to make sure that your RV is in good working condition before hitting the road. This means do a thorough check of your RV, things like the tires, brakes, fluids, and other essential components. By doing this, you can avoid breakdowns and other issues while on your trip.
Checking Your Tire Pressure
Proper tire pressure is essential for safe RVing. Be sure to check your tires before setting out on your trip and top off the air as needed. This will help you avoid blowouts and other issues while on the road.
Checking Your Lights:
All your RV’s lights should be in working order before setting out on your trip. This includes your headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals. Not only is it the law to have functioning lights, but it’s also important for safety.
PRO TIP: Be sure to carry extra fuses.
15. Not Following the Rules of the Road
Be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules of the road before setting out on your RV trip. This will help you avoid any accidents or traffic violations.
When driving an RV, you will have to be particularly alert. RV’s take extra time to slow down. For instance, if someone cuts in front of you. If you try to avoid hitting your brakes in traffic by leaving a few car lengths between you an the vehicle in front, other drivers will cut in.
The take away here is have patience, be a defensive driver, and most importantly decide how many hours, or miles you are comfortable driving each travel day so you don’t get overly tired.
16. Not Following Campground Rules
When staying at a campground, be sure to follow all posted rules and regulations. This will help you avoid any potential problems and ensure that you have a pleasant experience.
17. Not Leveling Your RV
Many RVs come equipped with leveling jacks to make it easier to level the vehicle when parked. If your RV doesn’t have this feature, be sure to use blocks or other items to level it before setting up camp. This will help you avoid uncomfortable nights spent sleeping on an uneven surface.
PRO TIP: Being unlevel can cause problems with your RV refrigerator.
18. Disposing of Waste Properly
When RVing, it’s important to dispose of all waste properly. This includes everything from gray water (dishwater and shower water) to black water (toilet waste). Be sure to research the proper way to dispose of waste in the area you’ll be visiting before setting up camp.
19. Not Planning for Emergencies
It’s important to be prepared for emergencies before setting out on your RV trip. This includes having a first-aid kit, a fire extinguisher, a roadside emergency kit and preferably a emergency travel fund. By being prepared, you can help ensure that your RV trip goes smoothly.
20. Not Being mindful of Your Surroundings
When you’re in an unfamiliar place, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings, who or what is around you. Crime can happen anywhere, so it’s always best to err on the side of caution when RVing and take precautions like keeping your valuables out of sight and being aware of your surroundings when you’re setting up camp.
PRO TIP: If you feel unsafe remember your home is on wheels, you can pack up and move to a new location anytime.
FAQ’s from other readers on this topic
Like anything else in life, whether you’re a first-time RVer or a seasoned pro, there are some things to keep in mind when hitting the open road in an RV. By avoiding these 20 mistakes, you can make sure your trip is as enjoyable as possible for everyone involved, while exploring in your home on wheels!
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What are some things you would add to this list? Share your tips in the comments.