The ability to take road trips without worrying about accommodations is the biggest reason to own an RV. Now that you have yours, it’s time to hit the open road and enjoy a camping adventure for the ages.
Still, it’s your first time taking a road trip in your RV. You may not feel sure about how to prepare the vehicle (or yourself) for the journey. Here, you’ll find nine essential tips that ensure your RV road trip is memorable for the right reasons.
Tip 1 – Prepare for a Long Trip (Even if It’s a Short Trip)
Even if you’re heading to a campsite that’s only a few miles down the road, you need to prepare your RV so it’s ready to drive. That means securing loose objects and anything that can open and close, such as windows, drawers, and doors. It’s also a good idea to run a pre-drive check on your brakes, tires, and fuel lines to ensure the vehicle has no mechanical issues.
A1AutoTransport has a handy list of checks to conduct before you head out. Follow the plan, and you’ll feel certain that your RV is ready for the road.
Tip 2 – Plan to Arrive at Campsites Early
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, anybody who uses or visits a national forest is subject to federal law. One of those laws is that you can’t enter a designated campground in a national forest between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. In other words, existing visitors can be there, but you can’t drive up after 10 p.m. and expect to get into the campsite.
If you’re planning to visit a national forest, plan plenty of time for your journey. It’s better to arrive early and have to wait a while to get in than it is to arrive late and have to wait all night.
Tip 3 – Take a Toolkit
RVs aren’t like cars. Beyond the mechanical components required to run the vehicle, you also have to consider the electronics, toilet, and all of the other home comforts built into your RV. Any of those things could malfunction when you’re on the road.
Bring a toolkit that contains the following items:
- Duct tape
- Rubber bands
- Allen wrenches
- Hex wrenches
- Zip ties
This isn’t a catch-all kit. But it’ll help you fix minor issues that could develop into major problems if left unchecked.
Tip 4 – Budget for Everything
The two main costs of running an RV are food and fuel. Add to that any money you spend to stay at campsites, as well as cash spent on attractions, and the costs can quickly add up.
Draw up a budget, with food and fuel being the first two items on your list. Once you’ve confirmed you have enough money to cover the essentials, use your remaining budget to plan the rest of your trip.
Tip 5 – Map Out Your Route
The advent of GPS makes it easier to rely on technology to get you from Point A to Point B. But what happens if you’re internet connection goes down or your GPS device runs out of battery? You’ll be stuck somewhere on the road with no idea where you need to go next.
That’s why planning your route ahead of time is essential. Not only will pre-planning mean you’re prepared for the worst, but it’ll also help you to find unusual attractions that you might miss if you don’t know anything about the roads you’re traveling.
Tip 6 – Understand What Your RV Can Do
Though most RVs are built for long road trips, the specifics of what each vehicle can handle vary. For example, a four-wheel-drive RV is far better at handling rough terrain than a two-wheel-drive model. Trying to take on rough roads in the latter could lead to you getting stuck.
Furthermore, some RVs handle long journeys better than others. If yours is better suited to short trips, you’ll need to schedule several stops on your route to give the RV a chance to cool down.
Simply put, the more you know about what your RV can do, the less likely it is that you’ll find yourself stranded.
Tip 7 – Don’t Forget Leveling Blocks
Speaking of rough terrain, you may end up on uneven ground when you stop for the night. After all, it’s rare to find perfectly level campgrounds. Even parking spaces can be slightly uneven, which makes hanging around in your RV less comfortable.
Leveling blocks solve the problem of uneven ground.
These blocks slot under your RV’s wheels to fill in gaps, thus keeping the vehicle level.
Tip 8 – Don’t Plan as if You’re Driving a Car
You’ll get to where you’re going faster in a car than you will in an RV. That’s a fact that many RV novices don’t realize. RVs are bigger and heavier, meaning they take longer to get up to speed and need to slow down more to take corners.
The point is that even familiar journeys take on a new dimension when you’re driving an RV. Plan your journey as though you’ll be traveling at about 50 miles per hour so you can time your trip correctly.
Tip 9 – Over-Packing Is Better Than Under-Packing
It’s always better to have more than you need than it is to under-pack for your trip. For example, you may be hemming and hawing over whether to take your electric blanket on your trip. Take it because there’s a possibility the temperature may drop, in which case you’ll be glad you have it.
Apply that same line of thinking to anything you’re not sure about packing. Bring it along anyway. Even if you don’t use the item, it’s always better to have it available and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Enjoy Your Road Trip
Owning or renting an RV opens you up to a new world of travel possibilities. Now, road trips aren’t bland drives across the country. They’re more fun because you have so many creature comforts with you.
Remember this simple fact when preparing for your RV road trip – an RV is not a car.
RVs have more potential for maintenance issues and generally require different timing and driving skills than cars. As long as you respect the vehicle that you’re in, and prepare properly, your RV road trip will be an enjoyable journey.