Whether you have purchased an RV or rented an RV, you are ready for the great American way of travel.  Nothing shouts American like an RV and the open road. No security lines or checked baggage here, and often times you find some great hidden treasures that you’ve never meant to find.  Getting out there on the open road has a huge list of opportunities. Loading up the RV to preparing the meals while gone are some of the great adventures to this unique vacation. You’ll meet lots of new people and see some amazing countryside.  So, planning your first RV Camping trip will be an adventure of its own.

Is the RV road ready?

RV’s come with nice fridges and cabinet spaces, but often times they don’t come road ready.  Yes, they look amazing, however, the first corner and your cabinets are going to flood out onto your passengers.  This is a great spot to focus on first. Think of the RV as a moving house and make sure that everything is secure.  Getting cabinet brackets and bins for the fridge. Locks on the doors are important as well. These will keep the doors closed and the items inside the cabinets and drawers. Most rental RV’s will have these things installed for you, but use some common sense when putting thing in the RV.  Straps and bungee cords can be useful and take extras with you as well.

RV Testing

Before going on any really long road trips, we suggest you take a weekend away close to home.  This will help you get the feel of driving the RV and what it’s like to cook and live in one. Often times people learn a lot from a few days in an RV, things like food prep that can make cooking easier.  Or how to strap everything down properly. How well you sleep and socialize with other campers. Getting a feel before a big commitment. After all, there are things like emptying the holding tanks to blocking up on unlevel ground.  These basic things for RVing are not always taught and sometimes a trial and error is needed.

The Outside of the RV

When not on the road, you’ll be wanting to enjoy the outdoors.  And, this will mean having a seating area and BBQ grill. Maybe a drink station or even some outdoor games for the kids.  These are all things that need to be considered. Many campsites come with a picnic table, however, if you aren’t planning on staying at campsites you’ll need to get something similar.  They make unique fold-up designed tables that fit well in an RV, so before you think you need to strap on that basic wooden one, think again. Getting the right grill is important as well.  This will be where you cook the majority of the time and should have an outside burner as well. This will make things easy.

Remember, when people are in campgrounds they are living outside for the most part.  A nice rug, some plants or whatever you like to make the space yours should be considered.  Some people like to put light s up, wind chimes, plastic table clothes, tiki torches and dream catchers to liven up their space and make it look amazing and inviting.  People in campgrounds are there for the socialize experience as well as enjoying the outdoors with a good book. Maybe a nice 6-foot folding table to put outside to have more counter space.  Food preparation can tricky if all done inside the small kitchen area. Stock up on grill recipes and pre-prepping meals can make camping more enjoyable.

Tools for Planning your First RV Trip  

The RV is a mechanical machine with all kinds of things that could have issues.  This isn’t meant to scare you, but just be prepared, after all, it’s a home moving down the road.  Things will come loose and so a basic toolkit should be on board to screw in a loose screw or fix a loose wire.  Bring along a spare tire that is road ready and ensures you have a jack and tire iron on board as well. Running over a nail can happen at the worst times so be prepared.  Pack enough lanterns and flashlights in case you do break down you have the light you need.

Ensure you have wheel chucks as well as leveling blocks to ensure you have a nice level RV when parked.  The wheel chucks ensure that the RV doesn’t take off when in park. Stock up on water supplies, things like water pressure regulators, filters and splitter valves.  Bring along a box of latex gloves for handling the hoses and draining the tanks. However, these gloves come in handy for all kinds of things as well.

Grab some extra light bulbs, fuses and trash bags.  Zipper bags and used grocery bags come in handy from time to time as well.  It’s better to be prepared than unprepared. But, remember you can always stop somewhere along the way if you have forgotten something.

Bring along Bikes or Another Form of Transportation

Bring along bikes to be able to explore the area around you without having to totally pack up the RV and go exploring.  You’ll find that there are many places you can’t park large RV’s or it’s so much work to get everything packed up again just to run to the store.  Bring along a backpack that you can use to take with you to the store and ride the bike safely with product onboard.

Start Making Plans for your First RV Camping Trip

This means plans for:

  • costs
  • make reservations
  • prepare the RV
  • determine the timing
  • decide on activities
  • meal planning

This will allow you to have fewer arguments and more enjoyment.  The key to having a relaxing vacation is to have things in order.  Knowing what the costs are going to be and having the route planned out with some slack for that little side road attraction, but having a schedule.  The meal planning will help keep things flowing well. Cooking inside the RV cannot be great fun, especially if you have your entire family with you. Having the meals planned and even semi-prepared can save frustration and time.  Planning to arrive and having to set up is something that will save you many hours of frustration. Do a mock set up in your driveway if you want to know how long it’ll take to get everything set up outside and ready to use.

Arriving right at dinner time means that everyone will be hungry and the outdoor space isn’t even ready to use.  This can make for some unpleasant interactions but arriving a couple hours earlier can make things go smoothly and seem effortless.  Simple things like this make complete sense, but if you are not experienced in the RV and camping world you may not think about it.

Plan, Plan, Plan for the Best Vacation

Find out what campgrounds you are going to stay at.  Plan for activities around that site and for how many days.  And, ask for pricing, quite often pricing during the week is far less expensive than the weekend.  If your looking to save some cash but want a longer vacation this will help a lot. This holds true for some amusement parks and other tourist attractions.  Doing your research on the area where you want to visit can save you a ton of time and money. Avoid toll roads and take the longer route to see what you might find.  Most phones these days have a GPS system, however, if you have an actual GPS, we recommend taking that along. This will allow you to use your phone for other things and the GPS can just do its job.  

Now, don’t plan everything to the exact min. or your family may leave you behind.  But, having a good idea of what to expect. And, divide up the chores to all the members on the trip.  This is supposed to be fun, it won’t be fun if one person is doing everything. So, talk about this before you leave, who is responsible for what.  And, maybe make a simple checklist to ensure you have done all the proper setups to get the RV back on the road safely. Things like unhooking hose lines and electrical can be damaging if not done properly.  Also, ensure the awning is rolled in and secured, as this can come unrolled and a road hazard pretty easily.

Explore and Socialize

This is the best part of camping, exploring and socializing. People are always socializing and exploring the world around them.  Don’t just go to the tourist spots at that national park, pick a trail and see where it leads. You may see some amazing nature, wildlife, and skies.  Getting the most out of your vacation means you have to let down your guard a little, put down that screen and get back to the roots of America. Say hello to your neighbor and chit-chat with the locals.  This is a great way to learn about the area as well as camping in an RV as well. After all, there are some people that live this lifestyle and can certainly give you more pointers than we could ever imagine..