If it’s your first time traveling in an RV, you’re bound to make many overwhelming mistakes. They can be quite embarrassing and would somehow show that you’re a newcomer to RVing. Having said that, everyone makes mistakes, regardless if you’re a rookie or an expert.
The good thing is you can avoid messing up if you do your research ahead of time and get everything planned. In this article, we’ve curated the most common mistakes new RVers tend to make—and how to avoid them.
Shopping For an RV Before a Loan
Before fixing your eyes on an RV brand, model, or color that you want, research on which RV financing option has the best deal first. The type of motorhome should depend on the principal, terms, and conditions of your loan—not the other way around. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in an RV that you’ll not be able to pay off.
Using the Wrong RV
Don’t be in a rush when choosing your RV, regardless of whether you will rent or buy it. There are several kinds of RVs, ranging from small tow-behind trailers to luxury coaches. But not everything is a great fit for you. Make sure to take your time. Look around different kinds of RVs, join a few RV-related shows, inquire on online forums, or rent an RV to get a feel for what you need or want.
No Plans and Preparations
Planning and getting prepared are the keys to every success, and RVing is no exception. On top of everything, make sure to outline your route. It’s easy since there are several apps for this already. Also, prepare your budget, reservations (more of this later), and other necessities. Doing a checklist won’t hurt you, so list down everything you need.
Not Validating Your Route
We’re too accustomed to checking our phones for directions. We often type in the address on Google Map (or other navigators) and immediately head out without double-checking the route that it suggests. Other RVers also thought truckers would be good as long as they’re on highways—but, no. You don’t want to be like that of the movie “Wrong Turn.” There are always roads leading to and from highways that you want to be careful of.
Under- or Over-packing
Setting up a campsite and driving an RV require you to put in some time and hard work. They’ll indeed work up an appetite, so you want to make sure you have packed enough food.
You can buy healthy meals in small shopping centers and unhealthy dishes in drive-thrus. However, they’re not always available in every corner of your destination. That’s why ensure that you’ll not starve on the road. And this applies not only to food. Make sure you get everything you need ready.
Conversely, it’s crucial not to overpack. Don’t cram everything in your RV. They have weight limits. Everyone—people in the RV and around it—would be put into danger if this weight will be exceeded. In your checklist, cross out the things you don’t need and leave them behind. RVing is more about the experiences than the things you will bring.
Skipping Practice Run Before Full-Timing
Don’t use an RV before knowing how. It’s no mistake to learn as you go. However, doing a trial run before hitting the road full-time is always the best thing to do, even if it’s just for an overnight camping trip.
Doing a practice run means you can avoid making careless errors and ease your nerves because you’ll have increased confidence. If you’re planning to go on a long-term RV trip, practice by taking a short road trip with a rental RV.
Failing to Check the Tires
Tires are always the top point of failure every time you travel, and RV trips are no exception. Always check your tires before hitting the road. In addition, don’t opt for cheap tires, drive at 35mph or over on gravel roads, and put too much weight in your RV. All these factors can cause the most problems for your RV tires.
Not Fueling Up
Frustrating situations come into your way if you’re not going to fuel up before your trip. But if you have to tow on the road, seek out truck stops if you need to fill up, especially if you’re driving a class A. If you have diesel, check your TSD Fuel card out to save at the pump. More importantly, stay out of other truckers’ way and move away from the pump after you finish fuelling.
Forgetting to Do Final Walk Arounds
In addition to your RV’s tires and fuel tank, check the other parts inside and outside your motorhome. Do two workarounds. Spending extra minutes is far better than prompting the so-called “drive off disasters,” like driving off with your sewer hose dragging behind or awning still out. If you tend to forget things, a checklist can always aid you. Keep in mind that you should do this before hitting the road, not during your trip.
Failing to Make Reservations
While it’s fun to travel with no plans, you would think twice when it comes to RVing. It has always been advised to always make reservations, especially at this time of the pandemic. Doing so lets you know the ins and outs, restrictions, and other policies of every campground.
Other parks don’t allow children, may charge taxes or aren’t open for Class A RVs. Hence, before heading out on your trip, you want to research, contact each campground, and make reservations.
Going Too Far, Too Fast
An RV is not meant to be driven down the highway at a fast pace. If you’re going to render little time for your RV trip, don’t cram too much experience and cover too much ground. More importantly, RVing under pressure can usually lead to bad decisions. Hence, take an RV trip one day at a time and slowly enjoy the experience!
Unplanned trips are usually fun, except for RV trips. Outlining your route, checking directions, packing up, and strapping down while eyeing the time to make sure you’re all done by checkout time, will make you easily flustered. In the worst cases, it could lead to dangerous situations. That’s why you should always prepare and plan before RVing.
Lauren Cordell is a financial advisor with a penchant for all things motorhome. She also works as a writer and speaks at events. In her free time, she enjoys reading a good book and watching travel documentaries.