Updated: Aug 17, 2019
Good for you! You have an RV and you are ready to take your first trip. This is an exciting time but it can also be a little stressful the first time you roll out in your RV to hit the road.
Our first trip was to a friends driveway. So we could get settled and figure out what we were doing. Hopefully this advice from RVers who have been on the road for a while will have you ready for your first RV trip.
23 Tips to Read Before Taking Your First RV Trip
Plan your adventures. Many states are changing their laws and guidelines for RVs. Things such as driver's license classifications, weigh stations, etc. Stay up to date on states you plan to travel. HAPPY CAMPING!
Do all your remodeling BEFORE you move in...we would have gotten done a lot faster!!!
Just remember it’s not IF you break down but WHEN. Have some money saved.
Spend a weekend in the driveway after you buy the RV. You will find many of the things you forgot to put in. Having an RV is like a second home you need a toaster, coffee pot, dishes, bedding, towels, and on and on. Find our favorite RV things here.
Read the manuals. Download all the service manuals. Know the systems. Carry a multimeter.
Don’t go it alone--- make sure your phone index is ready to travel with you. Contacts who are RV savvy, family and friends, your doc, and facilities along your planned routes- have those numbers in a physical file in case of lost or stolen phone or other huge tech snafu.
Carry a fan, an electric heater and a dehumidifier and life will be good. If you can, find a heater/fan that you will save space but they are hard to find and a bit more expensive than just one item.
Learn all the systems of the particular RV you are living in. And take time to learn how to drive it!! Including backing it into spots, especially if you haul a trailer. Also,if you are doing any long trips,always check belts,hoses,and tires. When in doubt,change them(keep the old belts and hoses for emergencies).
Purchase a RV roadside assistance plan. It costs much less than getting towed even once. We have AAA RV but there are others, Coachnet, Good Sam, etc. The plan should be purchased up to a week before you travel the first time, because there can be a waiting period on when the plan becomes active.
I researched routes in advance and look for quirky out of the way attractions and parks. A good resource is any of the Off the Beaten Path books.
The first year out I packed everything but the kitchen sink. Every year we figured out what we really didn't need or use. Only stock what you need and use. If you don't use or wear it, get rid of it. It is so freeing to just let go of the stuff we thought we had to have. Now the adventure and experiences are so much better!
Don’t go out and buy all the must haves after getting your camper. Go with what you already have a few times and slowly start building what you need and use.
Your first trip should be close by. Allows you to get the feel of the RV and parking. Also lets you run home for the OMG forgotten item.
Another piece of advice is (if possible) camp at home the first couple of times so you can be sure everything works and you have everything you need. And if you can't camp in your driveway (HOA, lack of a usable driveway, etc), make sure your first trips are not a mammoth five-hour-drive into the middle of nowhere.
If you have a dog make sure parks will take your breed. Cats can RV. We do with 2! If your planning on workamping make sure you can afford to live without the benefits of workamping in case it doesn't work out.
Don't forget the corkscrew!
Make sure you have $$, ID, Roadside Assistance card, Passport (In case you decide to cross the border) And pets paperwork to prove all shots have been given including rabies.
Coffee! You are going to want lots of coffee. Find the best coffee maker for your RV here.
Make 2 checklists. One for before leaving home, and one for before leaving your site for elsewhere. We have several others, too. One for the kayak stuff, one for all our kilted outfits when we go to Scottish festivals.
Know the height of your rig!
It's never too early to plot out your destinations and get reservations.
Keep in touch with a family member letting them know where you always are.
Have a can of bear spray packed.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst!
Thank you to all of the RVers who took the time to give their advice in hopes of helping others starting out in the RV lifestyle. If you are just dreaming about starting the RV Life check out this post. No matter where you are in your RV journey I hope that you can learn something here on the Penny Pinching Globetrotter that makes your RV Life the best it can be.