Just getting started with RV travel? At first, things can seem a little daunting. There’s so much information that’s needed to make good decisions starting out, and we’ve compiled a list of ten things that you should think about while getting started with the whole RV process.
1. Rent vs. buy
Look, there are so many types of RVs out there. Class A’s, B’s, C’s, towables – how do you choose what’s best? Take it from us: rent, rent, rent. Especially at first, until you decide to take some major trips and have determined what suits you best. Of course, here at Outdoorsy.co, we can totally hook you up with the best rental rigs out there, from small travel trailers all the way up to luxury motor coaches.
2.Go with a pro
Chances are, you have a family member or a buddy who’s already been through this process. See if you can tag along on one of their adventures or plan one together – you’ll learn things the easy way and have some fun without all the pressure of going at it alone.
3.Do your research
Yep, we recommend consuming as much information from good sources as you can while starting out. Here on Outdoorsy’s Never Idle journal, we’ve got tons of how-to’s, destinations and lots of inspirational posts that are perfect for first-timers and seasoned travelers alike. Check out gorving.com for lots of great information on tips and tricks, destinations and other RV-related topics as well.
4. Put together a pre-flight routine and checklist
Consistency is key to developing good habits with anything, and you can apply the same philosophy to RVing. Check all storage compartment doors, make sure the step is up, the antenna is down, check fluid levels and tire pressure, make sure emergency brake is off, all the cabinet doors are shut properly – that sort of thing. Practice makes perfect.
5. Get to your destination as early as possible
Nothing stinks worse for arriving late in the day, or after dark and trying to set up camp. As a beginner, this is a horrible way to start out, especially if you aren’t comfortable with your rig just yet. Trust us, go early and do things the right way.
6. Double check that awning
We are kind of nutty here at Outdoorsy when it comes to making sure our awnings are rolled up properly and secured. If you’ve ever witnessed an awning coming unfurled from a travel trailer while on the interstate, you’ll understand why it’s important to obsess over this. Check those awning locks and think about adding additional aftermarket locks as well. Take ‘ol Ben Franklin’s words “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” to heart here.
7. Check the date code on your tires
Even if you are renting you need to make sure to check those tire codes to see how new they are. If the RV hasn’t been used frequently, the tires may look great, but could be super new. Tire rubber breaks down over time, and even if the tread looks fine it’s recommended that they be replaced every five to seven years. Allstays has a great post on how to check the date code on your tires.
8. Put together a good tool kit
Guess what? Something’s gonna break on your travels, you can count on that. Make sure to bring along a good assortment of wrenches, ratchets, sockets, screwdrivers, tire repair kit, a good compressor, flares, spare fuses and other goodies to keep things going.
9. Pack light
It’s easy to get carried away when packing for an RV trip. Just because it will physically fit doesn’t mean you need to bring it along. Make good choices. Think like a backpacker – everything is weight, and just focus on the essentials.
10. Plan your route in advance
If you are brand spankin’ new at this, don’t try to roll through downtown Atlanta during rush hour. Or ever, really. Also, windy mountain roads and passes aren’t fun when pulling a train-sized camper, so make sure to take your time and be patient. Hey, this is supposed to be fun, right? Trust us, after some time behind the wheel, you’ll be thinking less about every little thing (a lot of things become second nature) and thinking more about relaxing and kicking back at camp.
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