There are few things as exciting as taking your first RV road trip as a family. It’s an incredibly invigorating and enticing experience knowing that you can take your home-on-wheels in any direction you choose.
As liberating as RV treks can be, there is always a learning curve to any first experience, and RVing is no different. The good news is that there are plenty of steps you can take to help your trip go smoothly and prevent stressful situations from arising.
The RV community is an especially generous one, and there are plenty of seasoned travelers who are happy to share their trials and tribulations so that you can enjoy the hard-earned wisdom without the frustrating hardship.
While you can’t possibly predict or plan for every bump that could arise, here are a few tips that will help your first RV trip be one that’s full of awe-inspiring memories instead o f hectic struggles
Take Time to Get Used to Your RV
If you’ve never driven an RV before, it’s a good idea to take some time and get used to driving it around as well as handling and maintaining the appliances.
Turning, parking, braking, and refueling all tend to be a bit more difficult when you’re operating such a large vehicle. Gas stations offer tight spaces for even normal-size vehicles, so many RVers find it helpful to stick to refueling at truck stops, which can easily accommodate an RV.
It’s also important to learn how to properly handle the appliances, hook up your RV to power sources, and dump your waste.
Practicing these things ahead of time can save a ton of headaches as well as prevent dangerous accidents, so educate yourself properly before venturing too far from home.
Take Advantage of RV Friendly Apps
Technology has come a long way, and there are many apps that are designed to help your trip go smooth and easy.
These digital resources can help you locate nearby locations to dump your waste, find the nearest gas stations with the best prices, stay up-to-date with weather alerts and warnings, discover which Walmart parking lots allow free overnight stays, and find RV parks with great reviews and amenities.
Basically, there is an app that will help add convenience to every area of RVing. While there’s countless ones to discover, this list did a good job of putting together some of the best and most widely utilized in the RV community.
Research Your Route in Advance
As with any trip, it’s always helpful to research your route ahead of time.
Cell-phone service can come and go, so having a hard copy of a map and printed directions can come in handy while RVing. A helpful app called GPS Pilot offers access to offline maps if you don’t have a hard copy available.
Another major reason to research your route is to make sure you can safely access all roads. Some roads ban vehicles that exceed a certain size and height, as the narrow roads or low clearances may render them unsafe for large trucks and RVs to travel through.
For safety and practical reasons, make sure your route is RV-friendly.
Make Informed Reservations at the RV Park
While there is something charming about the idea of hitting the open road and seeing where the wind blows you, it may be beneficial to research where you want to go ahead of time, especially when RVing for the first time with the family.
All RV parks are not created equally, and you’ll do yourself a big favor if you research where you go and make reservations after educating yourself on the details. You may want to ask questions, such as:
Is the campsite a pull-through or a back-in?
Backing into campsites can be difficult for novice RVers, so if you’re not incredibly savvy with your driving skills yet, pull-throughs are much easier to navigate, as you simply drive forward into the entrance and leave by driving forward out the exit.
How secluded is the campsite? Will I have room to access my slide-outs and open my motorhome awning?
Some campsites are spaced so close together that you won’t be able to create a cozy living space without stepping onto your neighbor’s purlieu. One of the best parts about RVing is creating a cozy outdoor lounging area underneath your awning, so if the ability to be somewhat secluded is important to you, make sure you’ll have adequate space and room before making the reservation.
What type of hook-ups and amenities are available?
Campground amenities range from simple laundry and shower access to extravagant spa and recreational opportunities. If you have a big rig, it’s important to note that some campgrounds don’t offer over 30 amp service for hookups, which can be an issue if yours requires 50.
What are the RV park rules?
Knowing this ahead of time can help prevent confusion and frustration. For instance, some campgrounds don’t allow pets or alcohol, or they have specific hours designated for quiet time. If the rules don’t match the experience you want to have, it may be best to look elsewhere
RVing is a liberating and compelling way to travel, but as with any type of travel, a bit of precaution can help keep all passengers safe and happy.
Hopefully these tips give you a solid starting point to planning an RV trip that’s abundant with joy and low on obstacles. After all, if your family’s first RV experience is a success, it will set the stage for many exhilarating trips down the line.
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