Here it is! The RV traveling season is finally upon us. If you or your family are campers; or you are just looking to hit the road and travel for a while, you have to know the fundamentals of RVs. Here, we present you with some of the things you should consider.

1. Is It Better to Buy or to Rent?

This is the first decision you have to make. The answer will depend on how often you are planning on using it. If it is for that once a year adventure, I suggest you rent. There is no need for storing the RV if you are not going to use it; plus, maintenance costs money and time. On the contrary, if you do want to travel most of the time, and take into account all the costs of owning an RV,  then it would be better to buy it. Just make sure you have enough space to keep it safe while you are at home.

2. Go For the Right RV

If you have decided to buy, there are a lot of questions you should ask yourself, for example what kind of RV is right for you, whether you prefer Class A or Class C what kind of custom fitments you would like to see on them. Whatever the case is, here are some of the questions you need to answer to make the best decision:

  • How many people are going to be there? This will help you choose the right size.
  • What is your budget? This matters a lot. If you don’t want to spend too much, there are plenty of used options available. You may be tight on budget and need to consider other costs while purchasing the RV, so why not consider the option of used one? Where to find them? Believe me, technology easily allows you to find everything around you.
  • Where are you planning to go? If you are going to be in mostly warm places, you have to make sure it has air conditioning or a fan system, and good insulation.
  • Gas or Diesel? Your budget can also influence this matter. A gas-powered RV is less expensive to maintain than a diesel one; also, they are easier to repair in case something fails in the middle of the road. This could be a con on the diesel RV because if you are driving in the middle of nowhere it could be more stressful to fix it. However, diesel engines have pros as well. They usually last longer and they also have more power when you are driving through high elevations. The choice will depend on what works better for you.

Related: How to Insulate Your RV

3. Get Comfortable With Your RV

You should always go for a test drive before hitting the road. This will allow you to get to know your RV. Keep in mind that our day to day vehicles are smaller so the driving experience is going to be completely different. Read the manual, practice how to park it, learn what to do in case something breaks down. You don’t need to be a pro mechanic but you must know how to fix at least the basics. You can make a mall trip before your full-time trip to get to know the RV.

4. Be Ready for Breakdowns

You should not make a trip if you don’t own a box of tools. You must have it so you can act in case of an emergency. Sometimes you can be lucky and find a mechanic wherever you are, but it is better to be prepared. Also, don’t forget about spare parts. You should always bring things that you might need during the travel, such as connectors and bolts, bulbs, and RV fuses, which can frequently get damaged during a long RV trip.

5. Pack the Essentials

This is very important because if you pack unnecessary stuff, the RV is going to be heavier. And guess what? The weight hurts your gas mileage. In this aspect, for RV travelers, “less is more”. And whether this depends on everyone’s personal needs, here are some of the basics we recommend beginners to pack:

  • Clothing: Consider the weather you will be in so you “keep it light” and don’t pack any unnecessary coats. Also, remember that most RV campgrounds have a washer and a dryer to do laundry; so you don’t need to pack your entire closet, since you will probably have an opportunity to get some laundry done during the trip.
  • Food and drinks: You should not travel with tanks full of water if you are going to a place where there is water available as it can add a ton of unnecessary weight. However, it is advisable to have water in small amounts in case something happens. Just avoid the extra weight if it is not urgent.
  • Organizers: The more space you have, the better. Organizers are key to keep your environment neat. Remember, the RV will be your home for as long as your trip is, so all the things that can help you to have it more organized are welcome.

Once you have packed, check that everything is secured in the house. You can have a checklist to make sure you are not leaving anything behind and you will be ready to go!

Related: RV Organization Tips and Ideas

6. Places to Go

This is a very personal decision but the good thing is that traveling with an RV allows you to go almost anywhere. However, there are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Is it a tourist hotspot? If it is, and especially in high season, you should make reservations at the campground online or over the phone. You would not want to end up with no place to park. It’s important to plan ahead and have some backups in mind – there are various apps that help travelers find campgrounds and RV parking locations.
  • Always have a solid plan: Even if you just want to drive and make the choices on the road, it is good to have a backup plan. This point may not thrill the spontaneous people out there, but it is wise to have a place in mind in case your strategy of “we will decide on the road” does not work.
  • GPS: whether you are planning to travel through a small or a large city, a GPS or a smartphone with any navigation app will help you and you will be thankful. It is important to have apps for road trip and drive with a better sense of orientation, especially when your vehicle is as large as an RV, and sometimes you need extra time to switch lanes, for example.

Related: Best RV GPS

7. Get Familiar with the Campground

As a beginner, it is likely that you haven’t been to an RV campground. Luckily, you can find everything you need on the Internet. You should define whether you would like to camp in a luxury campground or a simpler one. The first ones usually have Wi-Fi, power hookups; sometimes, they even have extra features such as swimming pools! However if this all sounds like too much and you don’t need all those amenities, go for a standard RV park or a campground. Whatever the case is, do your research online so you can see if there will be available water and power connections.

8. Setting Up

Once you get to the campground and you park, here are the things you should do:

  • Level the RV; side to side goes first, and then, front to back.
  • Check around to find the hookups for water and electricity.
  • Wheels need to be secure so they don’t move for any reason.
  • Enjoy your campground!
  • When it is time to leave, do everything in reverse.
  • “Leave it better than you found it.”

There are many ways to go out there and explore the world. Whether it is a family trip or a couple’s adventure; even if it’s just you on your own, just remember to plan ahead for a much more enjoyable experience. Good luck!