One of the joys of any travel adventure is learning as you go. Whether you discover new social customs or pick up a few words of a foreign language, the joy is in the journey as much as in the destination. But when you’re heading off on an RV vacation, learning as you go can be expensive and even dangerous. Set yourself up for a stress-free trip by planning ahead with these five tips for your next RV vacation, and save the surprises for the fun stuff.
Get Up Close and Personal
Once you get your hands on an RV, the temptation to get that baby out on the road is almost irresistible. But it’s important to first make sure you know the ins and outs of every feature. Practice connecting and disconnecting all the major systems. Learn how to empty the holding tanks, and make sure you have the chemicals and supplies you need to keep them clean and well-maintained. Get familiar enough with the battery and generator that you can troubleshoot minor issues while traveling.
Use an RV-Friendly Trip Planner
When you take your home on the road, you can’t use just any GPS system. RVs have special needs, and you need a navigation system smart enough to meet them. Use an online trip planner made just for RVs, an RV mobile app, or see if your GPS provider lets you customize directions and search results according to vehicle type.
Think Outside the RV
Most people spend the bulk of their prep time planning
life inside their RV. But after a few hours of driving, you’ll be eager to spread out and explore. New RVers quickly realize that they don’t want to have to move the RV every time they make a quick trip to a nearby attraction or a run to the store. Bring bikes or a small car so mobility is easy. And while the kitchen in the RV is convenient, you’ll certainly want to enjoy the air and do some grilling. So remember to bring supplies like a folding table and grill gear.
Practice Good Battery and Generator Habits
When you plan on staying in one place for a while, set a reminder to run the engine for several minutes each day. This habit will ensure that you don’t have the unpleasant experience of turning the ignition key to discover a dead battery. Similarly, make a point of periodically running the cabin air conditioner and heat pumps, especially while driving. Not only will doing so keep you comfortable, it’s a great way to give the generator some exercise under load.
Pack an RV First Aid Kt
Of course you should always carry a first aid kit. But RV travel requires a few additional supplies. Bring a flashlight and extra batteries for nighttime excursions, an extra cell phone charger, paper and pens, and a disposable camera as backup for your smartphone, so you can take photos in the event of an accident. These items may not seem critical now, but when you’re in a bind on the road, you’ll notice their absence.
With a little preparation, your next RV adventure will be free of nasty surprises, and that leaves you free to enjoy the kinds of good surprises that wonderful memories are made of.