Christmastime may have been warmer than Thanksgiving this year but there is still a chill in the air. You know that winter weather is inevitable, not to mention how it can drag on well past the date Punxsutawney Phil predicts spring to arrive. So are you ready to escape the onslaught of snow to warmer climates? Here are some great snowbird RV campgrounds, ready to keep you warm until spring weather makes its way back north. Depending on your snowbird lifestyle, you may even want to visit them all!
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.
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
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
your RV it can cost you extra time and money. The more weight you are
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
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.
Whether it’s the call of the open road or the appeal of the quiet woods, RVing is a great way to get away. Even if you are spontaneous by nature, RV trip planning tools are a great resource. With a few keystrokes and mouse clicks, you can have a wealth of trip-planning information at your fingertips and be off on a great adventure.
When planning a cross-country excursion, you understand that the longer your trip, the more often you’ll be filling up. But you don’t have to be more than a weekend warrior to understand that budgeting for fuel is an important step in planning your RV trip. There are several free apps available, such as GasBuddy, that are designed to help you find the best gas prices. If you are planning your route and looking for the best place to fill up in a specific city or even if you are on the road and need to locate the best gas prices nearby, GasBuddy can help. Finding the lowest gas prices makes both you and your wallet happy. Saving money on gas means more of your budget can be allotted to doing more fun activities at your destination or attractions along the way.
Sometimes it’s wanderlust. Sometimes it’s indecision. Whatever the reason, when you know you want to travel, but aren’t sure where to go, TripAdvisor can help.
TripAdvisor is one of the many websites that helps you find information on what is – or isn’t – worth visiting. The data on TripAdvisor is user-submitted information and can be useful for removing the guesswork from your trip planning. You’ll find information about destinations, attractions, even hiking routes. Information on road trips, basic trip planning, family trip planning, trips to National Parks, and even safety concerns (bear spray anyone?) is available. But remember, it’s all user data. So, while it can help remove some of the guesswork from your RV trip planning, don’t forget everyone has differing opinions, so you may want to take it with a grain of salt. All in all, TripAdvisor is helpful because sometimes the hardest part of an RV trip is knowing where to go.
One reason many choose to camp is to unplug and get away. Before you take off, take a few minutes to plan your RV trip with the ever-popular, information-at-your-fingertips Google search. Here, you can find you a lot of information when planning a destination. Whether you choose to stay on public or private land, a 5-minute Google search for RV trip planning can prove quite valuable. You can check reviews of your intended destination, find the official website, research the weather or even find out more information on an area of interest like, “best campsites in northwest Ohio.” Once you find a destination and plan your trip, you can even search Google for some campfire recipes.
KOA Trip Planner
Another useful RV trip planning resource is the KOA Trip Planner. You can find lots of details with this useful tool, especially if you like visiting KOA campgrounds or are interested in giving them a try. Whether you are looking for KOA campground locations, amenities or which locations are open year-round, you’ll find it on the KOA Trip Planner.
You can also learn more about local attractions and see photos of what to expect at each KOA campground, find deals and specials, and even make your reservations through this handy online tool.
Campground Reviews by RV Life
Campground Reviews is geared specifically towards campers which helps curate the information. It is focused on information for a camping trip, as opposed to TripAdvisor’s general travel information. So, you’re less likely to get carried away clicking on tropical island destinations. If you already have a general idea of where you’d like to travel, Campground Reviews can be a quick and useful RV trip planning tool. Just pick a state or keyword search and you’re on your way to planning a great RV trip.
Also, because this site is all about camping, the user reviews are more likely to be aligned with your attitude towards campgrounds, especially when it comes to RVing. Just like you, these campers want to help the RVing and camping community find destinations worth traveling to!