It’s fun getting to explore new areas on a regular basis (and having your own bed with you while you do), but the actual process of moving from one location to the next with an RV can wear a person out. Here are some tips for new RVers on how to make travel days easier and more pleasant.
- Have a storage place for everything inside your RV. This reduces the amount of time spent on camp set-up and take-down because stuff is already where it needs to be for traveling and for living. And yes, you’ll want to batten everything down. Loose items will get thrown around.
- Look at the weather before hitting the road. Bad weather conditions affect RVs more strongly than passenger vehicles. Don’t be afraid to stop early or delay leaving your current location on account of weather. Safety is more important than arriving on time.
Store refrigerator door items on the bottom shelf during travel to reduce wear and tear (move them back up to higher shelves once you’re stationary again). The plastic shelves in RV fridge doors are not very robust. If you’re full-timing, they’ll probably break before the fridge reaches the end of its life unless you treat them well.
- Keep liquids such as cleaning supplies in a plastic bins. Changing elevations will lead to leakage as the pressure inside increases and decreases, the bin contains any mess that might be made. And, turn all liquids with their lids upright before travel (for example, ketchup and shampoo bottles are sometimes designed to be stored with the lid down).
- Have an easy-to-make meal planned for travel days. Driving and setting up camp on an empty stomach isn’t fun, but neither is having to stop for over an hour for extensive cooking and dish clean-up.
- Don’t plan on having a travel day also be a work day. Travel takes more physical and mental energy than people expect.
- Allow more time for driving than you would with a car. You shouldn’t rely on the arrival times given by various GPS apps, everything takes longer with an RV. Usually about 30% longer in my case (this is just driving, not including stops), it’ll depend on how fast you drive, the terrain, and other factors.
- Try to avoid rush hour when driving through big cities. Lane changes and finding the right exit is a lot easier when you’re not caught in bumper to bumper traffic. If there are 3 lanes or less, I stay in the right lane when towing my camper. 4 lanes or more, I stay in the second to the right lane.
- Think about comfort. Driving 500 miles in a day to maximize time at a location does no good if it wears you out so much you need to rest the next day. Take breaks often on driving days to stretch and move around, and experiment to find your maximum ideal distance. Most people I’ve talked to put that at 150-300 miles which is a good place to start (mine is about 250).
- Make some wiggle room in your schedule in case you find someplace neat along the way you want to stop at. Unplanned adventures are one of my favorite things about RVing.
Don’t let your gas get as low as you would in a regular vehicle so you can afford to pick and choose gas stations that are more friendly for RVs. You might need to skip some because they’re too small, too busy, or too awkward for a longer rig (deep dips or tight turns). Many GPS apps and units have a button for finding gas stations along your route, apps like GasBuddy will let you calculate gas costs for a whole trip which makes cost planning easier.
- Plan to arrive before nightfall. It’s so much easier to get set up in an unfamiliar place when you can see what you’re doing.
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13. Do any of you current or past RVers out there have a tip you’d like to share with new RVers just starting out? You know the drill, leave it in the comments below!
- For more informational articles on how to go RVing, visit the Resources page!