The excitement and anticipation of your first RV trip can be quickly replaced by frustration and disappointment if you haven’t done your research and planned things out before you hit the road. Taking the guesswork out of the picture can be a big help in avoiding these 5 common first RV trip mistakes. Even if you are the spontaneous type, a little planning can go a long way when it comes to having a pleasant first RV trip experience.
#1. Hitting the Road Without a Plan
“Have RV Will Travel” is a great motto! There are plenty of adventures that await you out on the open road. Planning is a simple way to avoid unnecessary pitfalls. Don’t worry; there will still be plenty of adventure on your first RV trip! Taking the time to plan it just means the memories you make will not be full of mishaps and wrong turns.
Decide where you want to go for your first trip and line things up. Mapping out your route and calling for reservations means your first RV trip story won’t be about the time you got lost on the way then arrived after dark at the campground and it was full. A little planning means that when your trip goes south that’s an actual direction you planned, not describing the result of a string of unfortunate events.
#2. Going Too Far
Finding a location close to home for your first RV trip will give you a chance to get used to driving your RV. There is a bit of a learning curve with maneuvering your RV. Mastering the art of towing, backing up, and parking your new RV takes experience and when you stick to an area you’re familiar with, it helps.
If you wanted to run a marathon you wouldn’t just jump up from the couch and go run 20 miles. Similarly, you may want to take a cross-country trip, but it’s not advisable to do that for your first RV trip! When you stick within a couple of hours from home, you can take a couple of weekend getaways and take the time to familiarize yourself with driving your RV, planning meals and making lists of things you want to keep in your RV.
#3. Packing Too Much
Speaking of things you want to keep in your RV, a common mistake people make on their first RV trip is bringing too much! While and RV affords a lot more room than just your vehicle alone, it’s best to avoid packing everything but the kitchen sink (because your RV probably already has that)!
While we’ve all experienced over packing for a trip, when you overload your RV it can cost you extra time and money. The more weight you are carrying, the more you’ll spend in gas and when you over pack, much of your time will be wasted unloading and loading back up a lot of items you didn’t end up using.
The good news is it doesn’t take long to realize when you’ve over packed! The other good news is that if you do over pack, it’s not the end of the world. Simply make some notes and pack less the next time!
#4. Relying on Cell Service
We’ve all come to rely on our phones for almost everything from communication to navigation to entertainment. However, when you are camping there’s a good chance you will travel places where cell service isn’t always available. If you’ve used your phone to map out your trip, be sure to download or print them out in case you end up in an area without service. You may also want to have a backup plan for entertainment; there are plenty of games and other forms of entertainment if you are unable to get service on your phone.
The most important backup plan is telling someone where you’ll be and when you’re expected to return! There’s one thing you can be sure of: you can’t be sure of everything! So planning ahead for the unexpected is wise because accidents do occasionally happen. Planning in advance for that slight chance you may not be able to call for help can give you peace of mind.
#5. Not Packing Basic Equipment
There is one way to ensure you need a tool on your first RV trip: forget to pack it! Even those who aren’t DIYers should keep a pack of basic tools like screwdrivers, tape and bungee cords in your RV. Having a few basic tools on hand can save you in the event an unexpected maintenance issue arises.
Additionally, basic safety equipment should always be kept on hand – for your first RV trip and beyond. No matter where you go it’s always important to keep a first aid kit handy. Other items that can come in handy are blankets and extra water in the event you have a breakdown in inclement weather. Some things to pack for road safety should you have a roadside breakdown include a tire pressure gauge, lights, reflectors, and road flares if possible.
When you take some time to do a little planning, you can avoid these 5 common first RV trip mistakes. Your first RV trip will be an adventure no matter where you go. Remember these tips so you can leave the frustration and disappointment behind and only pack for excitement and great memories!
#6. Not Knowing Your RV
Whether your day-to-day car is a sedan or a big truck, you likely have years of experience driving on roads without needing to pay attention to some of those more specialized warnings. Now that you’re in an RV, though, that’s changed. There are two critical numbers you need to keep in your head while you’re traveling: your RV’s height and weight.
The roads out there aren’t always designed with larger vehicles in mind – especially backroads or shortcuts you may be used to taking. Low clearances can spell disaster for the unprepared RV owner on their first RV trip.
Likewise, hitting the road with an overloaded RV can put a strain on it or your tow vehicle. It can lead to damage and ultimately leave you stranded.
If you’re worried about forgetting, it’s a good idea to write these numbers down and have them accessible while you’re driving.
#7. Backing Up Solo
Overconfidence can put a quick end to what might otherwise be a great camping trip. When you’re new to towing a large RV, don’t let your pride get in the way of safety. Especially when it comes to putting your vehicle in reverse!
There’s a lot of RV to keep track of, and reversing with something in tow isn’t as intuitive for every driver. That’s why it pays to have a spotter when you’re getting used to it. They can help ensure you don’t damage your RV, someone else’s, or hurt anyone while you’re learning.
Just remember to take it slow!
#8. Boondocking Without Experience
We’ll start off by saying this isn’t necessarily a mistake. It’s absolutely possible to make your first RV trip a boondocking trip. That said, it’s a good idea to spend some time with your RV near hookups to get used to the daily routine and your RV’s systems first.
You have to walk before you can run! If boondocking is the reason you bought an RV, then by all means, go for it! Just make sure you really know the capacity of your RV’s water tanks, batteries and other features. As long as you’re safe, the worst that happens is you need to pack up early. But a little bit of experience can make sure your first boondocking trip is a successful one.
The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you find the perfect RV for you and your family. Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at (419) 786-1126
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