The allure of the RV lifestyle is drawing in new travelers every single day! From young families working on the road, to retirees and snowbirds, the nomadic way of life can suit just about any adventurer. If you’re new to the lifestyle or just looking to brush up on your skills, read on to check out our best 5 RVing Tips for Newbies:
1) Get an RV Education
Whether it’s free webinars, joining a club to learn from other RVers, or taking a full traveler’s course like the one created by our affiliates at RVLove, the best thing you can do as a newbie RVer is learn! Start with the owner’s manual of your vehicle. Towable RVs and motorhomes alike are very complex these days, and it’s important to know how everything in your unit works before you consider hitting the road.
The good news is that the RV community is incredibly helpful. From online forums to RV-specific groups like the Escapees RV Club, there are travelers who have been exactly where you are, and have already made the mistakes you might face. Learn from them now, and save yourself a headache down the line.
2) Follow in the Footsteps of Others
As mentioned above, the RV community is vast and welcoming, and much of it exists online. All RVers should bookmark a few websites and blogs that provide information, recommendations, inspiration and humor to get you through every potential bump in the road!
We recommend checking out some of the most influential RV community members, such as Howard and Linda Payne of RV-Dreams.com, and Mark and Emily Fagan at RoadsLessTraveled.us. Their blogs, photos, and stories are sure to prepare you for all of the wonderful things this lifestyle has to offer.
3) Take a Test Trip
Learning how to drive, camp, and live in an RV comes with a huge learning curve. Once you’ve tackled some online education, it’s time to hit the road for your first trip! We highly recommend taking a short trip to a campground in your local area. This will give you the practical experience of driving, parking and setting up camp, without putting you too far from home should problems or questions arise.
Your test trip will allow you to get used to the size and restrictions of driving in an RV. Make sure you know your RV height requirements should you come across any bridges, and abide any lane or speed requirements, especially when you’re behind the wheel for the first time. This initial trip will also allow you time to find all of the knobs, switches and buttons you’ll need while traveling!
Your first RV is like a very complicated version of your first card—there’s a lot to learn, and it’s best to learn it close to your comfort zone!
4) Plan Ahead
While RVing provides a ton of freedom, there are some boxes to check off before the trip starts. Make sure you book your campground ahead of time to prevent being turned away from a sold out park. Do online research on your destination as well, as many campgrounds have age or size restrictions. There may also be rules on how long you can stay and what breeds of pets are welcome.
You’ll also want to determine the type of camper you plan on being! Are you planning on staying in buzzing campgrounds with full hook-ups and amenities, or venturing off the beaten path to stay in rural campgrounds, or even boondock on public lands? Each of these requires a specific plan for food, water, and battery needs.
Lastly, you’ll want to pack ahead of time and follow an “essentials” packing list, like this one from GoRVing. There’s a lot to remember when getting your rig ready for a trip, but most importantly, you never want to over-pack your home-on-wheels. Following the weight guidelines of your make and model is crucial to safe travels.
5) Create a Budget, Stick to It, and Protect It
RVing can be a very affordable way of vacationing, but you don’t want to go into it blind. The purchase of an RV is an investment, and you quickly become financially responsible for every part of life on the road. From regular maintenance, the cost of staying in RV campgrounds (especially at peak locations and popular vacation times), to the price of gas, there’s a lot to consider when planning your RV budget.
Once you’ve planned out what an affordable trip looks like, you’ll want to consider all of the unexpected potential costs you might face while traveling. Mechanical failures or accidents can cause a huge financial burden if you’re not protected. Comprehensive RV Insurance and RV Extended Warranty protection can provide immense peace of mind while traveling, as they’ll pick up the repair bill should one of these common, but unexpected costs arise.
You’ll also want to protect your budget by investing in 24/7 RV Roadside Assistance. Towing an RV can get pricey quick, and most RV Roadside Assistance programs come at a low yearly cost.
So there you have it, a little education, involvement in the RV community, planning ahead and RV protection will have you ready to hit the road with confidence!
Do you have a newbie RVer tip or trick to share? Leave your sage RVing advice in the comments section below!