6 Great Tips for RV Beginners

RVs are exciting and they come with some new challenges, ranging from finding the right RV to getting comfortable with driving your home-on-the-road.

This is all part of a journey that will bring a sense of freedom and discovery to your life.

Many find driving an RV easier than they thought, but it’s important to practice. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Many find driving an RV easier than they thought, but it’s important to practice. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Here are six quick tips to consider before you pile in and head out.

Tip 1: Choose the Right RV For You

There is no right or wrong choice. Each type of RV has features that are attractive to some RVers, and less attractive to others. It’s really not a matter of a towable is better than a motorized, or vice versa, rather, it’s a matter of what will fit best with your RVing lifestyle.

Factors such as family size, whether you want to tow it, or need a bathroom play a role in your choice.

Decide whether to buy or rent. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Decide whether to buy or rent. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 2: Decide Whether to Buy or Rent

This isn’t always an easy decision, with pros and cons for both. However, when you consider a few key factors, the answer becomes clearer.

Buy: You plan to go RV camping often or full-time and you have storage for the times when you aren’t traveling.

Rent: You plan to go on a single trip, or want to test the waters before making a purchase.

Tip 3: Get to Know Your RV

With little road experience, it’s especially important that RV beginners take time to learn how the RV works, even if it’s a rental. If something breaks, you should be able to assess the problem, and potentially fix it. This saves time and money spent on a mechanic.

Plan your RV trip and be aware of low clearance and other travel hazards along your route. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Plan your RV trip and be aware of low clearance and other travel hazards along your route. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When you get to know your RV, you’re less likely to make operational errors. For example, if you don’t know how many amps your main breaker can handle, there’s a good chance you’ll blow it. This is a potentially expensive error that can be avoided by getting to know your rig.

Tip 4: Take a Practice Drive

Many find driving an RV easier than they thought, but it’s important to practice. Get in the driver’s seat and adjust the mirrors, seat belt height, lumbar support, and armrests so you’re comfortable, and make sure you can easily turn your head to see in all directions. Become familiar with all switches and controls.

Make sure the roads you plan to travel are safe for your RV. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Make sure the roads you plan to travel are safe for your RV. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Then take your RV for a drive around a big parking lot practicing backing up, turning, braking, and parking. It’s best to have a partner to assist with the backing up. Finally, take your it for a drive on the road over varied terrain, if possible.

Once you know the intricacies of driving an RV, you can make necessary adjustments. For example, if your drawers pop open you need to find a way to keep them shut.

Tip 5: Pack Tools and Spare Parts

Pack a well-stocked tool kit and store on the curb side of your RV. Include basic tools and items that may need to be replaced including LCD flashlights, spare fuses, LCD lights, jumper cables, nuts and bolts, WD-40, silicon spray, duct and gorilla tape, and cleaning supplies. Be sure to bring spare parts that are unique to your rig.

Reserve camping sites at RV parks along your route. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Reserve camping sites at RV parks along your route. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 5: Don’t Wing It

The urge to be spontaneous is tempting when your home is on wheels. There’s a certain pleasure in going where you want, when you want. However, it does help to have a solid plan in place especially if it’s your first RV trip.

When planning your RV trip, consider:

  • Your budget
  • Your food supplies
  • Your travel route
  • Attractions to see along the way
  • Fuel stops
  • Campgrounds/RV parks

Tip 6: Use a Campground Setup Checklist

Have a plan before backing into your site. Some RV parks and sites are more challenging than others. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Have a plan before backing into your site. Some RV parks and sites are more challenging than others. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pulling into your RV campground is just the start. A set-up checklist will help you keep everything in order and make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Walk your RV site before you pull in to ensure you have the adequate space and clearance for your vehicle checking for low hanging branches and obstacles on the ground. Locate the hookups, including electric, water, cable TV, and sewer. Level the RV if needed. Test that the hookups are working properly.

Worth Pondering…

Our wish to you is this: drive a little slower, take the backroads sometimes, and stay a little longer. Enjoy, learn, relax, and then…plan your next RV journey.

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