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RV Road Trip: 7 Key Things You Should Know Before Your First RV Trip

Believe it or not, more than 9 million households have some type of RV. It’s the perfect way to see new sights and experience different parts of the country while letting you keep the comforts of home close at hand.

If you’ve just bought your first RV, you’re probably wondering how to plan the perfect RV road trip for you and your loved ones.

It may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few key things you need to keep in mind when planning your trip.

1. Always Plan Your Route Ahead of Time

Towing an RV, whether it’s a new fifth wheel or a used travel trailer, is different from driving a standard truck with nothing behind it. You’ll have to worry about turns, how much clearance you’ll have on side streets, and will have to find gas stations large enough to fit your rig.

This means you’ll want to plan your route before you leave home.

Preview your route with Google Earth and take a look at the suggested directions. If you have a GPS unit in your truck, take the time to program your trailer’s height and width into the settings if possible. This will help you figure out which roads are suitable for your RV and which ones you need to avoid.

2. Pack Only What You Need

An RV is like a home away from home, but that doesn’t mean you need to bring everything with you. In fact, doing so can end up making your trailer too heavy which can hurt your gas mileage and, in some cases, make the RV unsafe to tow.

Instead, pack like you’re going on a normal vacation.

Bring enough clothes to help you stay comfortable throughout your trip. Remember, campgrounds often have laundromats, so you can always wash items as they get dirty.

You’ll also want to pack silverware, dishes, and cooking equipment so you can prepare meals on the road. Just be aware of what types of dishes you pack. Ceramic and glass can break easily if you don’t cushion them in transit.

If you think you’ll end up eating out most nights, avoid the temptation to fill your fridge. You’ll always be able to pick up fresh groceries when you stop at your campground.

3. Go Through the Systems Before You Leave Home

Before you leave, make sure you know how to use your RV. Grab your owner’s manual and get familiar with its layout.

Walk through the interior of the RV and make a note of where the water pump, tank sensors, and water heater are and know how to turn them on. Outside the RV, locate the power cord, generator (if you have one), the propane tanks, and the jacks.

If you have any questions, check the manual for help or contact your dealer.

4. Be Mindful of Your Tank Sizes

When you’re parked at a campground with full hookups, you can fill and empty your tanks whenever you need to. This means you don’t have to keep an eye on how much water is in each tank.

But if you’re boondocking or dry camping with partial hookups, you’ll need to be mindful of your water usage. Keep an eye on your fresh water supply throughout the day and make a note of how full your black and gray tanks get throughout the week.

If you notice them starting to get full or the sensors indicate that they’re about 2/3 full, make sure you can find a dump station. Websites like Sanidumps let you search for dump stations across the country.

Remember, it’s illegal to dump either black or gray water on the ground and paying for a dump station along your route will be cheaper than any ticket you could get.

5. Beware Campground Internet

You’re going on that RV road trip to get away. But that doesn’t mean you want to completely disconnect from the world around you.

You’ll still need access to email if you plan on researching things to do in the area. You may even want to stream a movie or two at night.

Campgrounds may advertise free internet with your site, but those free wi-fi connections are almost always slower than molasses.

If you know you’ll need access to high-speed internet, talk to your cell phone provider. They may let you buy extra data so you can use your phone as a hotspot.

If not, you can always find a local coffee shop or library. Their connections will be much faster than what you’ll get at your campground.

6. Be Patient

RVing is about enjoying life in the slow lane. Embrace it.

You’re never going to be able to go as fast as the other cars on the interstate. After all, you’re towing hundreds of extra pounds behind your car or truck. If you’re not prepared, this can make you feel frustrated.

Take a deep breath and remember that going slow is okay. It’ll make the drive more pleasant and will help you stay safer on the road.

7. Don’t Overbook Yourself

With an RV, it’s easy to pack up and move. This often leaves you wanting to get out there and see as much as possible on your trips.

Be cautious when you’re planning your RV road trip itinerary. Don’t try to see everything you possibly can in one go. This will leave you feeling overwhelmed and can make it tough to enjoy each new experience.

Plan the activities you know you’ll enjoy most and prioritize from there.

Try to schedule just a couple of things each day. This way, you’ll be able to focus on having fun rather than worrying about rushing to the next event.

Try These Tips and Plan the Perfect RV Road Trip with Ease

Owning an RV is the best way to get out there and experience everything the country has to offer. Use these tips to make planning your first RV road trip a breeze.

If anything happens to your RV while you’re on the road, or you realize that it’s not the right one for your needs, contact our team. We’re here to help whether you’re looking for a completely new RV or just want an experienced service department to give your rig a little TLC.

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