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Before we rented an RV, and also before we bought an RV and hit the road on our full time RV life adventure, I had so many questions about RV’ing.
I spent weeks watching RV videos on YouTube, reading blogs and more to make sure I was on the right track.
In this article, I’ll be sharing several tips for first time RV’ers – things that were helpful for me to know. I’m sure you’ll find it helpful on your end too.
RV Tips For First Time RV’ers
Rent or Buy an RV
To rent or purchase an RV? Both renting and buying an RV has its pros and cons, so it’s definitely not an easy decision. However, when you take a few factors into consideration, the answer will become clear to you.
You should consider renting an RV if you’re planning to test the waters before you buy one, or if you’re planning to go on a single trip.
Learn About Your RV
It’s extremely important for you to take the time to learn about how a motorhome works, especially when you have little to no road experience with RV travel.
You should be able to assess any potential problems your RV may have, and potentially be able to fix it. This will save you money and time. By getting to know your RV, even if it’s just a rental, you can avoid making operational mistakes.
For example, if you’re unsure of how many amps your RV’s main breaker can handle, the chances of it blowing is quite high. This is a good example of an expensive mistake due to not knowing your RV.
By the way, RV’s are usually 30amp or 50amp.
Take Your RV for a Practice Drive
Once you have decided which route you’ll be taking and how many roads you’ll be driving on, take your RV for a practice drive on a smaller trip.
Make sure that the terrain is similar to the one you’ll be taking for your actual trip- this is so that you can get used to potential animals that may surprise you, ascending on hills, switching lanes, and parking.
Your RV Needs to Have a Toolbox and Spare Parts
Before going on your trip, your RV needs to have a well-stocked Toolbox, and add in spare parts that the RV may need. This includes jumper cables, extra fuses, bolts, nuts, light bulbs, and connectors.
If you don’t have these spare parts with you, and you need to get them- you’ll end up waiting for the order and shipment of the part. To avoid unnecessary and time-consuming inconveniences, rather be safe than sorry.
Invest In Good RV Tires
Tires make a huge difference in the overall safety of your vehicle. Especially during winter road trips. Plus, good tires make for a much smoother ride.
All tires should be new and/or upgraded and in tip top shape. This means opting for a good brand with strong thread. Used tires, and even tires that an RV comes with, can be scary. And thus, should be used with caution.
Don’t forget to bring along a spare tire as well. You never know what you’ll encounter on the road that could cause a blow out of even the best tires!
What You Need to Take on Your RV Camping Trip
When you’re busy packing for your RV camping trip, there are some essential items that you need to take with you for convenience and comfort.
However, before you pack these things, make sure that they’re not already included if you’re renting an RV.
First Time RV Camping Essentials
- Bedding, this includes a comforter, sleeping bags, sheets, pillow cases, and pillows.
- Washcloths and towels.
- Dish towels.
- Cleaning supplies, this includes dish soap, a sponge, a broom and dust pan, and all-purpose cleaner.
- Meal-specific items and cookware, thus includes a can opener, a colander, steak knives, and a bottle opener.
- Trash bags.
- Drinking glasses and coffee mugs.
- Silverware and dishware.
- Camping chairs.
- Light sources, this includes a headlamp, flashlight, and lantern.
- If there isn’t an auto-leveling system in the RV, take leveling jacks with.
- If you’re camping when there’s cold weather, take a space heater with- even if your RV is heated.
- Laundry bags to separate the dirty clothes from the clean ones.
- At least one small water tank (a couple gallons or more), in case of emergency.
Also, if you want to have the freedom to leave the campsite and enjoy activities during the day, consider towing a vehicle behind your RV. Otherwise, stick to walking.
However, many RV rental companies do allow for the towing of a vehicle behind their rented RV’s.
Don’t Practice Spontaneity
If your home is on wheels, or if you’re just going for a trip – whether your RV has been purchased or rented, you may have the urge to practice spontaneity. It’s best to have a solid plan for your trip, especially when you’re just starting out.
Having a solid plan includes the following :
- Budget – this includes food, entertainment, and overnight stays.
- Food Supply – this includes purchasing food and eating out.
- The Trip’s Route – this includes the route that you’re planning to travel on and alternative options to take for this route.
- Stops – this includes the places that you want to see along the trip’s route.
- Campgrounds – this includes at what point you’ll be calling it a night and taking an overnight stay.
Try To Avoid Late Arrival
There are so many reasons to avoid arriving to your destination late at night or very early in the morning. These include limited visibility on the roads, a harder time parking in back-in only sites, and less time to unpack and check out the area upon arrival.
Instead of rushing or planning to arrive late, its a good idea to plan your trips accordingly and give yourself plenty of time to spare. Leave early enough that you can arrive at your destination at a convenient time.
Create a Checklist for Setting Up Your Campground
As a beginner when it comes to RV camping, you aren’t yet used to having a campground routine. So, by having a checklist with you it will help you ensure that everything is set up the way it should be.
Your checklist should include the following :
- Check the campgrounds for obstacles on the ground and for low hanging branches.
- Check the campgrounds for the hook-ups of the water, electrical, and sewage. Then, park your RV close to these hook-ups and level it if needed with stabilizing jacks or blocks.
- Secure the RV by chocking its wheels.
- Switch your RV’s appliances to pull from the electrical power source, by connecting the RV to the electrical hook-up. This saves your RV’s propane or battery.
- Attach your RV’s sewer hose to the drain hook-up, when doing this make sure to wear gloves.
- Set up the campsite and put out the awning.
Pick Up Your Chocks
You might think this tip is super obvious, but chocks are one of the most commonly forgotten items at RV parks and camps. By those with RVs and those with travel trailers. So, as a part of your exit checklist, always remember to pick up and stow away your wheel chocks.
Adding this tip to your checklist now just might save you a ton of headache (and cash for replacements) later. This goes for leveling blocks as well.
- Make sure to put all appliances away before you drive the RV so things don’t fall from the shelves.
This article is sponsored by Camping World, however as always, all opinions are mine.
Looking for more RV and Roadschooling related posts, then check out these ones below:
- 30+ Campgrounds for Families You Need to Visit
- 10 Camping Essentials Every Camper or RV’er Needs
- What Is Roadschooling & How To Roadschool Your Kids
- 9 Reasons Why Every Parent Should Take An RV Trip With Their Kids
- A Detailed List Of The Best RV Apps for Travel, Entertainment, & More
- RV Rental Websites: The Best Sites to Rent an RV In The USA & Abroad
The world is better for what you do here at themomtrotter. Thanks for being model human beings.
Enjoyed your post, great info for new RVer or someone who has been out of an RV for a while like myself.
Heard about you on CNBC, so happy for you to have found a new way of life! Also happy to hear you found Savamnah, one of my favorite places! Safe travels! Larry Dulude
Hi, I just came across your site! You have a beautiful family 🙂 RV’ing sounds like so much fun. I was curious, since you move around a lot, how do you get your mail?