There are so many incredible opportunities and memories to be made while traveling by RV. Making new friends, experiencing different cultures, and exploring new places are just some of the reasons why this lifestyle has grown in popularity. Life on the road can be full of challenges as well so here are a few helpful hints, tips, and tricks to make adjustment to life on the road as smooth as possible.
To begin with, don’t overthink the type of RV you need. It’s easy to get caught up in floorplans, styles, and finishes. Here’s what you should pay attention to:
-Who you are buying/renting it from (dealership/private party) and are they reputable
-Avoiding RVs with damage
-Staying within budget
Many people choose to rent an RV to give it a try. This can be very beneficial and some even find themselves trying out different sizes and styles before knowing just what to get for a permanent purchase.
Once you’ve acquired your RV, you need to be sure you have all the proper hoses and connections to run the water, sewer and electrical systems. If you plan on doing a lot of free camping (boondocking), you’ll need solar panels or a generator.
It is always recommended to stick to the lower end of your budget so you can get on the road well prepared for any surprises. Always have the RV inspected by an independent RV inspector regardless of the RV age or manufacturer. If you are buying new and plan to travel frequently consider paying extra for additional insurance coverage. One benefit of rental RVs is they often come with roadside assistance and so there is no need to worry about breakdowns along the way.
Once you’re on the road, don’t trust the driving time on Google Maps, GPS or any other map or app. In an RV you need to be driving slower so plan on adding at least an hour or two. Leave early and give yourself plenty of time for pit stops. If you are new to driving an RV, choose a campsite that is easy to get to and avoid moving from place to place. Staying a few days to a week in a central spot with lots to see and do is much more enjoyable than trying to drive from place to place in an RV.
A good tip to remember is that it’s usually safer to have spots reserved before arriving to your destination. As this lifestyle becomes more popular campgrounds get more crowded, especially in the summer months, in tourist areas, or in the south during winter. If you are boon docking you still should check to make sure the site you are planning on is approved. Nothing worse than a knock on the door at 2 am telling you to move.
Here are some helpful apps for finding great RV spots:
-Allstays Truck and Travel
-Walmart Parking App
Dumping your tanks before traveling is important. Dump your black tank first then gray tanks and be sure to rinse after dumping. If you are boon-docking make sure a dump station is nearby so you can empty before hitting the road again. Rvdumpstations.info and Sanidumps RV Dump Station Locator are great tools for finding dump stations near your location.
For a smoother transition, and if possible, start slow. Begin RV life with a weekend away. Get to know your coach, how to dump tanks, and basic maintenance without having the stress of frequently moving. You’ll also be able to get a good idea of the things you truly need so you can be properly outfitted before hitting the road. Remember, an RV is a home on wheels so enjoy the comforts and adventure of life traveling on the road.