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How To Plan Your First RV Trip


My husband and I were planning our summer travels, when I suddenly blurted out, “I want to rent an RV and drive up the coast of California.” He stared at me, mouth agape, because we’d never been in an RV, and now suddenly I wanted to take an entire vacation in one. We were so naive too, because we had no idea how to even plan our first RV trip.

That trip actually fell through, and thank goodness, because knowing what I know now, we would have been totally unprepared.

My hope is that you will be better prepared for your first RV trip than we were. So let’s talk about how to plan to make your first journey successful.

Your First RV Trip

You’ve done it! You finally decided to take your first RV trip. Because this is your first time, let’s assume that you’ll be renting an RV. Good news! You’re on the right site for that.

First, you need to decide what kind of RV you want to rent. That’s going to depend on factors like… Do you have a truck that can pull a 5th wheel? Do you want to drive a class A? Or do you maybe want to tow a travel trailer? The answer could also depend on how many people you have going on the trip.

Understand The RV

If you’re renting an RV for the first time, it’s really important that you understand how to operate it, and how the main systems work. The owner should give you an orientation to the coach, but be sure to ask for the literature, manuals etc., for all the systems.

If you’re really new to RVing, it’s a good idea to practice driving in open areas before you take the RV on the road.

Driving a Class A RV

Plan Your Destination

Have you decided where you are going yet? There are so many amazing places to choose from, and you’ll want to consider things like the season, how much time you have to drive to and from your location, and what activities you want to do. Here’s a great article on finding awesome places to park your RV.

Black Elk Peak

You also want to research what’s available in the areas you plan to visit. If you are a coffee fiend like me, you should find out in advance what local coffee shops are in the area and plan ahead for your outing. Or maybe you want to try the local food, or catch some local entertainment. In that case, check ahead for reservations. And if you plan an RV trip of a lifetime, you’ll have to do a lot of advanced research. Like when we planned to be in the Solar Eclipse, Path of Totality. Click here to see that story on RVing to the Solar Eclipse.

Pack What You Need

The nice thing about renting an RV is that they often come stocked with things like dishes and cookware, or sometimes everyday items like soap and tissue paper. Check with the RV owner that you’re renting from so that you know what else to bring.

Consider that weather and activities should play a part in your planning process. For instance, if you are going to cooler climates, you’ll want to pack the right clothing. Or maybe you are going to a beach area. In that case, you’ll want to pack swim clothes and maybe gear for things like paddle boarding or volley ball, etc.

You should also bring first aid and safety items, like band aids, flares, and extra water. Click here to find out what to pack in your first aid kit.

Activities While RVing

Bring Food

Food is one of my favorite topics! I love cooking inside and outside of our RV. If you want to BBQ check with the RV owner on what appliances and equipment are available. You should also consider the size of the RV’s refrigerator (if there is one) and how many days, plus people, you plan to cook for. If you are looking for resources on what to cook, check out this article on 5 One-Pot Meals to Cook while RVing.

One Pot Ground Beef Tacos

Go With The Flow

The best advice that I can give anyone who is planning their first RV Trip is to go with the flow. There will be things outside of your control. For example, you should plan ahead to fill up the gas, but you may find that there’s a long line at the gas station. Or maybe you pack all the food for an awesome cook-out, but you forgot the hot dog buns.

There could be little annoyances all the way up to unplanned events, like bad weather. Do your best to accept these things. Make them a part of the overall experience, because you can’t control them anyway, and they might lead to a funny and fond memory in the future.

Have Fun!

This should go without saying, but have fun! Your first RV trip should be exciting. You should enjoy the environment and flexibility of living in a home on wheels for a while. Yes, some things may not turn out perfect, but perfection is overrated anyways. If you want to RV, you’re someone who’s looking for adventure!

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