If you have never been on an RV road trip, it is important that you know that it will be one of the most exciting experiences of your life. Packing up your RV with all essentials and gathering your family or friends to go on a long or cross-country road trip would be something many of you always wanted to do.
But, like with anything else, people are bound to make mistakes with their RV experience as well. Whether you are a new RV owner and planning your first ever RV adventure, or a seasoned traveler, accidents do happen, despite your best efforts to make sure everything is perfect.
While the anticipation of doing a road trip with your RV can be fun and exciting, the amount of planning and execution of the important steps to make that trip relaxing and successful can be quite stressful. There are several aspects that you could overlook while making your RV ready for travel, from something as simple as forgetting some kitchen utensils to something major related to your vehicle, some mistakes could possibly ruin your whole trip.
To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, here are the top common RV mistakes you should avoid when preparing for your next trip.
Buying an RV that’s Too Big
When it comes to recreational vehicles, there is definitely something for everyone, matching their needs and budget. From small and simple tow trailers to huge luxury coaches that come equipped with all amenities you could think of, the options are quite extensive. All you need to do is invest some time looking into the many models, analyzing what you need and your budget, to find the one that best suits your needs. And think it through.
When buying an RV, one of the most important aspects you should keep in mind is the size of the vehicle. This single mistake can cost you a lot of money, both in the short and long run. People are naturally attracted to RVs that are large and fully equipped. Remember, what you need is something that is just the right size for your family – neither too big, nor too small.
Not Learning to Drive
Driving an RV is totally different from driving a car. These vehicles are taller, longer, and much heavier than a regular sized car, and therefore it is extremely crucial that you first learn to properly drive your RV before heading out. As mentioned, since the vehicle is huge in all aspects, it will take more time for you to learn some techniques like reversing, turning the vehicle, parking, slowing it down during heavy winds, etc. So, take your time and learn each and every RV driving technique. If you are not really confident about learning to drive the RV by yourself, you can join an RV driving class in your neighborhood. Ask for tips and advice from experienced RV drivers, and practice several times. In addition to learning to drive, you should also be aware of all the operating controls to use your motorhome more efficiently.
Starting with Long Trips
Of course, any RV owner would want to go on long distance road trips in their motorhome. However, if you are new to the whole RV driving scenario or have very less vacation time, going on long trips may not be the right choice at this point in time. For instance, if you just have two weeks as vacation time, you cannot possibly visit and enjoy the Grand Canyon from New York and once again head back home. You need some spare time every day to have some fun, and driving for six to eight hours a day isn’t something you’d call fun! Therefore, for your RV trip to be fun and enjoyable, start with shorter trips and gradually move on to long distance trips, if you have sufficient time.
Not Watching Clearance
It has been known that of all the insurance claims filed for RVs, damage to the vehicles’ top area happens to be among the top five. There are two different types of clearances for an RV: hard and soft. While damage to the soft clearances, like your radio antenna, may not always cause huge damage to the vehicle, damages done to the hard clearances, like the AC unit can be extremely disastrous.
Watching your RV’s clearance is extremely important throughout your trip. Right from entering gas stations to driving under bridges, you need to be highly cautious about the clearance in order to avoid costly and hazardous damages. Even at an RV campground or an RV park, you may come across low hanging tree branches, which you should navigate around to protect your motorhome from getting damaged.
How many times have you seen an RV on the road driving away with a sewer hose or electrical cord connected to its back? Forgetting to disconnect is actually more common among RV drivers that you think. When in a campground or RV park, you will be using electricity, sewer, and/or water services. When you are done camping, and preparing to leave the site, you need to make sure that all the lines are disconnected and all parts securely stored before starting the vehicle. While this will indeed be embarrassing, the fact that this mistake of yours could end up being highly expensive in terms of repairing the damages isn’t something any RV owner would like.
Disregarding Weight Limits
When you have an awesome motorhome at your disposal, it is natural to feel tempted to fill every nook and cranny of the vehicle. However, no matter the size of your RV, it has its weight limits. If you overpack your RV, totally disregarding and exceeding its weight limits, your ride could be extremely dangerous, not just for you but also for others on the road. When you pack within the limits, your RV will be able to drive smoothly even in adverse road and weather conditions.
Check the RV’s manual to know how much weight exactly it can carry. Make a list of all the things you think you’ll need for the trip and shortlist items based on the weight. You can trim your list a couple times until you reach only the absolute essentials. Remember, you can always buy certain things, like provisions, batteries, etc. when you are on the road.
Not Properly Leveling the Vehicle
Lethargically or forgetfully, some people tend to not properly level their RV during the start of their road trip. The result – they will have to deal with the consequences throughout the trip, even when at a campground. Think about having to walk uphill every time you want to use the bathroom, or sleeping on a completely uncomfortable angle. You wouldn’t want to deal with these during camping, would you? The only simple solution to this issue, as mentioned, is to level your RV right at the beginning of your trip rather than expecting your campsite to be level.
An RV is more like an escape pod for many, an efficient way to get away from their otherwise stressful life while not giving up the comfort of their home. Remember to avoid these common RV mistakes and your RV road trip will be fun and successful, just how you want it to be.