When you purchased your first recreational vehicle, all you probably pictured was the wide-open road and the world as your giant playground.
Well, that’s not too far off from what it’s like, but only if you’re prepared for it. With an RV comes freedom and adventure, but it also comes with more parts to it than just a backpack and a tent.
Because of this, you’ll need to bring more supplies with you and take a methodical approach to your journey to avoid mishaps—-but not to worry—-here’s a list with all the need-to-know basics.
1. Predict The Worst-Case Scenarios
As mentioned, an RV has a lot of parts to it, all of which require maintenance and can tear up during your trip if not properly tended to. Make sure you’re fully aware of the condition of all the systems it has before you take on the road. This detailed guide can help you out with water heater troubleshooting, which is imperative for a trip, especially in a cold climate.
It might actually be a good idea to take your baby in for a check-up with your local mechanic just to make sure the engine, water, and electrical systems are looking fit for the road.
2. Book Campsites Ahead
Finances are a point to consider as well, and booking ahead can help you shop around for the best deal and help you outline your itinerary.
One would think that space in the woods wouldn’t cost that much, but if you don’t do your due diligence, then you might wind up having to pay more than you can afford.
Finding parking can also be a huge hassle if you don’t map out your stops ahead of time. Booking ahead absolves you of that, and actual campsites will have sewage dump and charge stations, so you can be sure you have all you need. Obviously, parking in a mall parking lot is fine if you get too tired searching for a place, but you won’t have all the amenities your RV needs.
3. Practice RV Etiquette
There’s a right and wrong way to do everything, and RV camping is no different. Make sure you know all the unspoken rules of RV camping before you get to your campsite.
It will save you a lot of salty looks and eye rolls from your neighbors. There’s many more, but here is a list of the most important:
Practice Parking Before the Trip
Make sure you know how to back up and park your rig before you get to the campsite. You don’t want your first time parking to be when you get to the camp. Taking out someone’s rig because you don’t know how to park yours is not a good way to make friends.
Find an empty parking lot and practice parking and backing up. Get a good feel for your turning radius and how much space you need to turn into space safely.
Also, calculate your rear swing—-the backside of your RV will swing out a bit when you turn. It’s important to know how much before you try for the first time at your campsite.
Clean Up After Yourselves
Keep the environment in mind when you camp and make sure you dispose of everything properly. That goes for your trash and your sewage.
Only dump your sewage at dumping stations, and spray after you dump. This will help with the smell.
Remember to never leave trash behind when you leave. The people arriving in your place shouldn’t be able to tell you were ever there.
Respect Campsite Boundaries
Don’t ever cut through someone’s campsite. Even in the outdoors, people still value their privacy. Be considerate of the fact that they paid for their space and might not want strangers walking through it.
That shortcut might make your life a lot easier, but it’s a quick way to irritate your neighbors.
Keep the Noise Down
The noise curfews will usually be covered in the campsite rules, so familiarize yourself with them before you arrive or upon arrival.
Generators usually have to be cut off by a certain hour, so make sure you’re prepared for that. Noisy neighbors can really tick off the surrounding areas.
Some people are camping to party, some to relax. Be respectful of that.
Be a Good Neighbor
There’s a handful of things you can do to ensure you're not the neighborhood annoyance.
Smile and wave, but don’t be overly friendly by inviting people to your campsite or constantly visiting theirs and trying to strike up a conversation.
While you might be the social type, some people want to escape and quiet the mind. Gauge their interest before bombarding them with an unwarranted conversation.
Don’t be needy. Make sure you have all the supplies you need, so you’re not having to turn to your neighbors for a hand. This is a quick way to make a nuisance out of yourself.
Avoid it by making a checklist beforehand and checking it all off before departure.
4. Air Out and Wash
If your RV has been in storage for a while, this is an absolute must. It’s still a good idea even if it hasn’t been, and you’re going to be on the road for a while. Make sure you give the inside and outside a good scrub down and air it out afterward.
5. Perform Maintenance
If you’re just a travel enthusiast and not a mechanic, then it’s best you get a maintenance check before you set out on the road.
Have your tires, batteries, engine, and electrical and water systems checked before the trip. You might encounter some unforeseen expenses and a waiting period for repairs.
6. Be Safe
Always take safety precautions when taking your rig out. Never leave valuables unattended, and always lock up. The maintenance before your trip is one of the most important safety precautions you can take.
So, make sure you hire a trusted mechanic. Check your tire pressure and fuel gauge often. Be aware of bridge clearance height, and always drive slow.
If all of these steps are followed through on, then you should have no serious problems that could throw a wrench in your trip. Remember to always see to the steps several weeks, or even months before your trip to avoid any mishaps.