Wednesday, November 29, 2023


Beginner’s Guide to RVing Issue 3

Issue 3 • January 18, 2019

Welcome, new RVers, and thanks for joining us for another great issue of our Beginner’s Guide to RVing newsletter. We’re happy to have you along for the ride!

This newsletter is brought to you monthly by and is funded primarily through voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!

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By Chuck Woodbury

It may be hard to believe, but some RV buyers sign on the dotted line and pop down their cash before performing one very important task. What is it?

Retract the slideouts! Bring them in, just as they’ll be when you’re traveling down the highway. At RV shows and in dealers’ lots, the slideouts are always in the out position, revealing the roominess of the RV.

What will you learn by retracting the slides? You’ll learn whether you’ll still have access to the kitchen, the bedroom (for a little nap at a rest area) or even the bathroom. In most RVs there will be no problem, but there are plenty of exceptions.

Watch my short video on this subject.


Did you miss Chuck’s essay, Good Sam Club, Rest In Peace? If so, you’ll want to read it here.

New newsletters from
Signed up yet? Do so here. Free. No spam!
•News about trucks for RVers
•No RV parking at these Walmarts (weekly update of stores that don’t allow “camping”)
•RV emergency preparedness tips

2019 editions of our favorite RVing books are here!

Every seasoned RVer will tell you they have these on their bookcase for easy reference.


Water is heavy. Avoid transporting it as much as possible says: “RV Packing Tip: If your destination has water available, don’t travel with full tanks. If your camp spot has full hookups, you will have water easily available as soon as you connect to your hookups. In other instances, you may have to fill your fresh water tank at the fill-up station usually located at the campground entrance and then drive to your actual camp spot. The same goes for your gray and black water tanks; empty those tanks before you start driving so you don’t carry unnecessary weight.”

Save on gas!

Be mindful of how many mpgs you get in your rig (it’s probably not a lot). GasBuddy is a huge help, and will save you tons of money at the pump. Through their cardholder program, you’ll get 5, 10, maybe even 15 cents off at the pump, and you’ll also be able to see a map of the cheapest fuel closest to you. It might pay to stop for gas even before you’re nearing empty!

Find a great public campground

From CompactAppliance: A perk of staying at state and national parks is that you typically know what to expect as far as amenities. Plus, they’re location-based, so you will likely enjoy some beautiful scenery, lake access or an interesting monument. Some states have excellent websites with information and booking options, while others provide a simple listing of parks that allow camping. Most federal campgrounds utilize or as a central reservation system. If you need additional information, refer to the following sites:

Some government parks operate strictly on a first-come, first-served basis, but most allow for both advanced reservations and walk-ins. Keep in mind, however, that many RV parks charge both a park entrance fee and a camping fee.

Want more quick tips? Be sure to sign up for our RV Daily Tips newsletter, which you’ll get in your inbox every Monday-Thursday. Tons of great tips and information you won’t want to miss! Sign up here.

If you’re buying an RV soon, you’ll absolutely want to follow the instructions in this video. Our friend Alan Warren, from the radio program The RV Show USA, talks with RV lemon law attorney Ron Burdge, who explains nine little-known words RV buyers must insist are handwritten on their contracts when buying an RV from a dealer. It could save you thousands of dollars later. Click the image to play the video and make sure you have a pen and paper handy.
If you haven’t looked through our YouTube channel yet, you can do so here


  1. VIDEO: RV dealers scam buyers by charging bogus inspection fees
  2. Camping World customer satisfaction poll deeply lopsided
  3. Do RV manufacturers “lie with statistics”?
  4. RV delivery driver tells workmanship horror stories
  5. Newbie asks: How much propane does my RV refrigerator burn?
  6. RV buying dilemma – Couple can’t agree on type to purchase
  7. Seeing through campground reservation “smoke and mirrors”
  8. RV weight terminology you should know
  9. VIDEO: RV tail swing. How to stay out of trouble
  10. What’s best for a beginning RVer, trailer or motorhome?

Check out the long list of great RVing-related websites from

DIY toothbrush storage is practical and crafty!

Make these adorable PVC pipe toothbrush holders for under the bathroom sink. They’re useful for keeping the bathroom organized, and the kids or grandkids will love decorating their own. Nothing like getting the kiddos to help with DIY projects, right? Learn how to make them here.

Be prepared if there’s a roadside emergency
Make sure you keep roadside flares on hand in case you need to stop on the side of the road for any reason – you and your RV need to be seen! You should also have traffic cones, collapsible ones like these are great for storage, and a reflective vest so you and the family stay safe too.


How to camp at Walmart for free

Note to new RV drivers

If possible, pull over when you’ve got a train of traffic behind you (or even just one other vehicle). It’s the polite thing to do. You’ll be appreciated.

Click to enlarge. Via Pinterest/



It’s always wise to attend a few RV shows before you buy — a chance to compare many RVs in one place, talk to salespeople and even factory representatives, and maybe even pick up a bargain (but not always, which is another story…). Here’s a comprehensive list of upcoming shows.

IF YOU APPRECIATE THIS NEWSLETTER and others from, will you please consider pledging your support? Even $5, $10 or $20 is appreciated. Many readers set up an ongoing contribution, typically $5 to $10 a month. Your contributions make it possible for us to produce more than 250 highly informative newsletters every year. Learn more or contribute.

Did you miss the last issue of this newsletter? Read it here.

Beginner’s Guide to RVing Staff

Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Contributing writers: Russ De Maris, Bob Difley, Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Mike Sokol, Greg Illes, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring. Marketing director: Jessica Sarvis. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.

ADVERTISE on and/or in this newsletter. Contact Gail Meyring at Gail(at) .

Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of or this newsletter.

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

This newsletter is copyright 2019 by

Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury is the editor here at She was lucky enough to grow up alongside two traveling parents, one domestically by RV (yep, Chuck Woodbury) and the other for international adventures, and has been lucky to see a great deal of our world (and counting!). She lives near Seattle with her dog and chickens. When she's not cranking out 365+ newsletters for she's hiking, cooking or, well, probably traveling.



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Vanessa (@guest_38547)
4 years ago

I didn’t pull in the slide…can’t get to the bedroom but if I am exhausted and need to take a nap I can stretch out on the sofa.

Dave Telenko (@guest_38536)
4 years ago

Seems that GasBuddy discount card is a credit card if you want that discount. I have way too may cards now & they all seem to give you something! Pretty soon my gas will be FREE-FREE Although I do use their App for finding the cheep fuel.

John Sagraves (@guest_38526)
4 years ago

A suggestion about not using ReserveAmerica because of their high fees for making reservations and cancellation policy would probably be helpful to many new RVers. We use Passport America and Thousand Trails along with calling campgrounds directly to avoid these charges. I hate to say it, but we reside in Florida and it is almost impossible to reserve a campground with all sites having been reserved through the snowbirds months. I know Florida will not change from ReserveAmerica as long as it works. I personally have paid over $100 cancellation and reserve fees since having to change plans due to our snowbird renters have change date of arrival. We have found several campgrounds at the last minute mostly north of Orlando through Passport America which has provided for out needs. No more ReserveAmerica for me.

Jeff (@guest_38525)
4 years ago

We are into the RV SHOW Season once again! And while I know Chuck won’t say it or can’t say it!

I Can Say it, as an experienced RVer!


RV Shows are just that, SHOWS! And in many cases depending on which show you go to, the choices are mind boggling. So many NEW Shiny RVs, and Shiny, Pretty things. All designed to make you want to buy an RV. However, RV Shows are a means for dealers and manufacturers to get rid of their previous years inventory. They will have all their Best RVs at their shows and have those GREAT “SHOW SPECIALS”, with HUGE Markdowns. But, that “SHOW SPECIAL” is not always the RV you will actually get.

RV Shows should be used as a means of RESEARCH and Information gathering. Don’t be quick to pull the trigger and buy at an RV Show, even if the dealer makes you a great offer and says you must buy today, to get the HUGE SHOW SPECIAL!

Many RV Shows will have a Camping World Dealer there as well! First and Foremost, “DO NOT BUY ANY RV FROM CAMPING WORLD”! Camping World these days are NOT Consumer Friendly and it is well documented on the internet.



Michael (@guest_38534)
4 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

Thanks Jeff! Sound advice

Wolfe (@guest_38538)
4 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

I second the blacklist on Camping World… I’ve told my story elsewhere, but two local dealers sold me great RVs (exactly what they said they were at my pricepoint) while CW sold me a White Elephant with all kinds of intentionally (dealer) hidden damage. CW then closed that branch THAT MONTH and refused to stand behind ANYTHING they had promised or warrantied even when the same manager took over another CW in my area. Steer Clear of Cheating Wankers.

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