Monday, September 20, 2021
Monday, September 20, 2021

What I’ve learned about RVing in 5 short years

By Gail Marsh
I’m not a long-time RVer. In fact, my hubby and I have only been RVing for the past 5 years. In that time, we’ve learned a lot, but some things hold more importance than others. Here’s what I’ve learned about RVing, including full-time RVing, in those short five years:

Ask questions when you begin RVing

  • Ask questions when you purchase your RV (either from an individual or a dealer). We’ve called our dealership numerous times. They’ve always been knowledgeable and patient. We also kept the phone number of the private owner who sold us our latest rig. He, too, has been extremely helpful!
  • You can ask neighboring campers for advice. They’ll often guide you to products they’ve used and many times their hints can help you avoid costly mistakes.
  • Ask camp hosts/owners your questions. They most likely know great local places to eat and out-of-the-way places to see in the area.
  • Ask friends who go RVing for their tips and tricks. No one knows everything, but everyone knows something if they’re RVing. If the advice doesn’t sound quite right, you can check it out with your dealership, look online (check several sources), or refer to your owner’s manual.
  • You might need to humble yourself to admit you need help. But you’ll save yourself from bigger embarrassment or potentially expensive repairs if you just go ahead and ask! You can even ask RVTravel! (Hint, hint.)

Keep lists

  • We did this when we first began RVing, but then, I’ll admit, we got a bit overconfident. We relied on our memory. Big mistake! There are so many procedures where lists can help. Now we have packing lists for the RV interior as well as the basement. We use a “Before the Trip” list (stop mail, arrange for lawn care, turn off water, etc.) and an “After the Trip” list (basically the “Before the Trip” list in reverse.)
  • We have a list of “Personal Items to Pack” (medical prescriptions, shoes, etc.) and a “Kitchen List” (appliances, food, etc.). That’s already six lists and I’ve not even mentioned the lists for setting up the RV properly (hook up electricity, extend slides, etc.) and getting ready to leave the campground.
  • Whew! That’s a lot of lists! After a while, your muscle memory may take over and some tasks (leveling the rig, emptying tanks, etc.) will become second nature. But we still scan our lists – just to make sure.

Take your time when RVing

  • When we first started out, we RVed like it was a high-stakes competition. We got started early, drove long hours, and tried to “make good time” as we raced toward our destination. What happened is that by the time we finally arrived, we were both exhausted from driving too long and sleeping too little.
  • I understand that your calendar may dictate how long you travel each day, but hubby and I are both retired. It didn’t take us long to realize that racing to a particular destination meant we missed lots of great places along the way – not to mention needing to rest once we arrived at our destination. Now we try to slow down a bit and enjoy the journey like more experienced RVers do.

Don’t be afraid of RVing

  • My hubby was excited to begin the RV lifestyle. It seems a little silly to me now, but I was afraid. I’m talking scared! Neither of us had experience driving a big truck, let alone pulling a behemoth behind it! Looking back, it seems I held my breath just waiting for us to run off the road, have a flat tire, or hit something.
  • Practicing helped. We took our first RV to an empty parking lot and practiced turning, backing up, etc. It really helped. We perfected our “hand signals” for communicating when checking lights pre-trip and backing into a parking spot at our destination. We learned how to operate the many parts of our RV, from using the convection oven to properly caring for the rig’s tires. It’s taken a little while, but now I can really relax when RVing!

How about you?

What are the most important things you learned when first RVing? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Related:

Here are some great books about RVing on Amazon.

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Dale Castles
4 months ago

Hey guys my wife and I have been following this site for about 3 years full time RVing and have learned a lot. Read Gail Marsh’s list story. We went thru the same and finally I found the best list ever on Google Play Store ” Adventure Treks” a complete inter active check list for departure, arrival, Camping preparation and RV inspection lists on your smart phone. you can actually put in check marks on the list as well as modifying for your particular use, vehicle etc. Please share with everyone

Drew
4 months ago

I’ve seen lots of lists. They are all too long and include maint items there also. Those belong on maint logs…not on a departure or arrival list. Also, who’s going to forget to put slides out or plug in shore cord? -I’ve seen those things too. Lists tend to be too long and not specific to your rig. Make them as short as possible.

Steve
4 months ago
Reply to  Drew

I tend to agree… everyone and their lists 🙂 We’re in our 9th year as fulltime nomads, and I’ve yet to make a list. When breaking camp, one of us does the inside and the other does the outside, then we swap and do a walk around checking after each other.

Sue
4 months ago

The most important item on your rig is your tires, blow out can take out the side of your rig. Recommend a tire pressure and heat tracker. We have a 38 foot coach. Every time we park, I put polyethylene cutting boards under the tires, protects them from chemicals in ground, asphalt, etc. Boards must be big enough so entire tire footprint fits on them. Then I hang my tire protector material to protect tires from sun, recommend Beasley’s in Florida, lasts 20 years for material. Our last tires lasted 11 years without a problem. Good luck in your travels. PS you should check your tires with a digital pressure gauge periodically too. Have fun!!!!!

Glenda Alexander
4 months ago

If you don’t already have an online blog, start one. I have used http://www.MyTripJournal.com ever since I started traveling. There’s a free version, which will show ads, and an ad-free version for $99 a year. At the end of each entry, on days when I was driving, I include travel statistics: Route, total miles, weather and road conditions, RV park/campground name and condition and fuel purchase (cost and city). Happy travels!

Larry Lee
4 months ago

Tire monitor system
Thermometer for refrigerator & freezer
You need to know if the food in the freezer thawed and then refroze.
Solar panels: At least enough to maintain the batteries when in the RV is in storage.
Logbooks: one for mechanical/maintenance & one for daily journaling.
AllStays membership (or other quality one)
Trucker atlas or other system to know road crossing clearances.
Covers for tires, rearview mirrors, and windshield wipers.
Battery charge monitor system
(the 3 light system that comes with your RV simply will not suffice)
Water filter and pressure regulator
Short (5-10 ft) & long (20-25 ft) water hoses and sewer hoses with fittings including 90 degree water connector for attachment at the RV and at least 1 clear section/angle to visualize the sewer output. (I know, yuck right?)
Electrical adapters & surge protector
You’ll be glad you did!

Len
4 months ago

Keep a journal of the places you visit, RV parks you’ve stayed in, restaurants, etc. and what you liked and disliked about each. In a few years you’ll be passing through again and want to recall that great Mexican Restaurant or whether the local KOA was worth going back to

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