You are finally answering the siren call of the RV lifestyle. The open roads, convenience, and comfort all speak to your heart. It’s a world full of fun and adventure, but you also have a lot of questions.
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.
Newcomers to recreational vehicles can make a smooth transition by following a few helpful tips. Take these to heart and then get ready to embrace the road in your RV.
1. Pick the right RV
Many experts warn against overbuying for your first RV. You might not need the biggest, most deluxe, and most expensive RV out there. If you already have a good towing vehicle, then a compact trailer may work well. If you have a big family, then you will probably want a larger RV with accommodations and elbow room for everybody.
There are plenty of questions to ask yourself. Will you be spending a lot of time inside, or is your RV basically a place to crash in between exploring the great outdoors? Be sure to allow yourself some budget room for RV necessities, accessories, and travel expenses. If you’re not sure exactly what you want, then consider renting some different styles of RVs to discover what features are important to you before you buy an RV of your own.
2. Practice, practice, practice
Whether you’re driving a stand-alone RV or towing a trailer, an RV doesn’t feel like a regular car. It’s not just the size. The handling and sightlines are different. It takes some getting used to, so plan some driving practice time before you head out on your big trip. Get to know all the switches and controls so you’re not fumbling for the headlights when it gets dark and you’re out on the road.
Find a large, empty parking lot where you can get a good feel for your RV. And don’t forget to practice backing up until you’re comfortable with the maneuver.
3. Avoid the temptation to over-pack
An RV can offer a luxurious amount of space compared to a regular vehicle. You might be tempted to fill up every nook and cranny, but aim to keep things simple. Do you really need three frying pans? Probably not. Pare it down to just the travel essentials and you won’t have to dig through clutter to find what you really need. But do pack a good toolkit with basic necessities like a tire gauge, wrenches, jumper cables, and a flashlight.
4. Write out a set-up checklist
Pulling into your RV parking location is just the start. A set-up checklist will help you keep everything in order and make the process go as smoothly as possible. Here are some items that should be on your checklist: Scope out your RV site before you pull in to make sure you have the space and clearance for your vehicle. Find the location of your hookups, including water, sewage and electrical. Level the RV if needed. Chock the wheels. Connect your hookups (you may need to drive to a separate dump station area depending on the location’s facilities). Test that the hookups are working properly. Your exact list will vary with your RV, but a step-by-step guide will make set-up a breeze.
5. Sign up for roadside assistance
Expect the best, but prepare for all possibilities. Chances are your RVing adventures will go smoothly, but you can’t predict when a blown tire or a mechanical mishap might sideline you. Sign up for a good roadside assistance program that includes towing if necessary. Towing can be expensive, so a single tow can balance out the cost of the program. Best of all, you get the peace of mind of knowing that help is just a phone call away.