Hitting the road in an RV for the first time is guaranteed to stir up a lot of feelings. There’s the allure of the open road, and the excitement of entering this new lifestyle. But it’s also normal to feel pretty nervous. After all, there’s a learning curve to traveling in a home-on-wheels, right?
The bad news is no one can predict the future. The good news is we can set you ahead of that learning curve!
In this blog we polled some of the most well-traveled and knowledgeable RV gurus we know to get their #1 tip for newbies! This is a can’t miss for new RV owners, or anyone looking to refresh their education before their next big road trip. So, without further ado, top tips for RV newbies:
1) Practical Prep with Time4t’s Geoff Baker:
Some tips are incredibly simple, and incredibly valuable, like this gem from seasoned RV Inspector Geoff Baker:
“Always check everything at least twice, including the electrolyte level in the coach/house batteries.”
2) RVLove’s Marc and Julie Bennett Remind you to Take it Slow:
As full-time RV experts, Marc and Julie Bennett are no stranger to the excitement of owning your first RV–or to RV education! Their best advice for newbie travelers is to take it slow, and work out all of the kinks before diving into the deep end:
“1) Don’t pick up your RV and head straight out on a big trip. Stay close to home and your dealer for at least a month or longer (if possible) to work through any issues before you hit the road. If buying a brand new RV and planning do full-time or extended travel, try and stay close to your dealer for at least 3-4 months before heading off, to give you time to work through any “bugs” and reduce the likelihood of having frustrating issues or needing repairs while out on the road.
2) Don’t rush! It’s so tempting to want to get out there and see as much as you can as soon as you can. Take your time and enjoy the journey, really get to experience each place you see. By slowing down your travel pace, you’ll lower your stress, your fuel and campground expenses and increase your safety and enjoyment.”
3) Ray Burr of LoveYourRV Suggests: Learn from your Neighbor!
The RV road is paved with the experience of many other travelers: learn from them! The RV gurus at LoveYourRV suggest:
“Seek advice from veteran RVers. Sales guys are usually pretty helpful, but funny enough many of them actually don’t RV much, if at all. I find the manuals provided with rigs are pretty lacking for real world info. Try and strike up a conversation at the campground with folks that look like they have some miles on their equipment. I find long-time RVers to be a friendly bunch, eager to share their experience by way of tips/tricks and best practices they’ve learned. It’s even better if you can connect with an owner of a rig similar to yours. They can alert you to any potential issues you may face, things to keep an eye on. Also, you may learn interesting ways your particular RV can be improved upon by way of modifications and upgrades.”
4) George Agutter of 2B-Limitless‘ Key to a Great RV Vacation? Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff!
All the preparation in the world can’t guarantee there won’t be any bumps in the road! If you run into minor problems while traveling, try to remember that even the bumps are a part of the journey:
“Try not to overthink when a situation arises with your RV. Most of the time it’s the little things that get over looked. Take a step back and relax, that’s what RVing is all about. Don’t let it become a “Ruined Vacation” (RV)”
5) Research Now, Save Later with Chris Carty of Road Ready RV Inspections:
We can admit it–we’re guilty of throwing away the instructions and diving into an exciting new electronic feet first. But our RV expert warns not to do this with your new home-on-wheels:
Read ALL of your Owners Manuals that came with your RV, the manuals will cover proper use and maintenance of your new “Home on Wheels” and all of the installed equipment. This simple thing will save you much time and money over the coming years of ownership! I have found (more often than not), that the majority of folks do not read owners manuals for cars, trucks, RV’s, etc. and as a result spend hard earned money on repairs due to not following the routine maintenance schedule for that piece of equipment.”
6) Valerie and Mitch of RVLuckyorWhat Remind You to Stick Around your Sticks-and-Bricks
One of the most amazing parts of RVing is taking your home with you everywhere you go!
One of the worst parts of RVing? When something breaks, your whole home is in the shop!
Valerie and Mitch of RVLuckyorWhat, who can share how not to break in a new motorhome, suggest sticking around your home base until all of the shakedown warranty work is taken care of:
“We wish we had known the overwhelming number of problems we would have with our new 45-foot diesel pusher coach the first 6 to 12 months. We had planned to hit the road as full-timers a few months after buying our coach and selling our home. But we had more and more problems pop up every day in the beginning, and getting them fixed was difficult. Even though the issues were covered under our 1-year bumper-to-bumper warranty, fixing them meant we would be homeless while a service center would take our coach in for repairs. That is, if we could get an appointment and even then if they would actually get to us. We would advise buying a used RV if you plan to hit the road immediately. For RVing newbies like we were, consider not selling your house right away. Even in a used RV, and especially if it’s new, plan to take numerous weekend trips and short vacations not too far from home the first year in your RV, until you’ve gotten ahead of all the warranty work required.”
There you have it–tried and true tips from travelers who have been exactly where you are now! The RV life is full of adventure, relaxation, and the freedom of the open road. Rely on your fellow RVers and the wonderful online RV communities to hit the pavement with confidence.
Have a tip or trick you’d like to share? Leave us a note in the comments section below!