Wednesday, October 20, 2021


Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter Volume 2, Issue 37

rv travel logoWelcome to the Beginner’s Guide to RVing from The information we present here every Monday through Friday is for brand-new RVers – those in the market to buy their first RV and those who just purchased theirs. If you are an experienced RVer, this material may be too basic for you.

This newsletter is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thanks to all of you!

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

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DID YOU MISS reading this morning’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter? Good stuff there.

RVing Basics

I camp a lot. Do you have any tips about how I can save money at private campgrounds?

Two ways come to mind. Join the Good Sam Club. As a member, you will receive an automatic 10 percent savings at most private campgrounds. And purchase a KOA Value Kard for $33 at any KOA campground, or on its website. The card entitles you to a 10 percent discount at all of the hundreds of KOAs in North America. Perhaps the best way to save money at campgrounds is to stay in non-hookup sites, where the cost will likely be 20 to 25% less than with a full-hookup site. Passport America offers an annual membership for $44 that permits half-price stays at about 1,600 commercial campgrounds. This is an excellent deal for RVers who travel a lot. Also check out the popular Escapees RV Club.

Do I need a membership to camp at KOA?

No, no membership is required. But if you purchase an annual KOA Value Card for $33, you’ll receive 10 percent off the price of a campsite when you stay.

Are pets allowed in campgrounds?

Yes, almost always. Some parks may have a limit of how many pets, with an extra charge per pet, even the first one. It’s usually only a couple of dollars, but we’ve seen it as high as $10. So be sure to ask about extra charges for pets before making a reservation. If you have a large dog or one that is perceived as an “aggressive breed,” always check when making a reservation. Sometimes the dog will not be allowed, usually because of insurance restrictions.

Quick Tips

How to tell if the black tank is almost full
Just before the black tank gets to the full stage the toilet will start to sound a little different and a small burp or bubble of air will happen. This means the waste level is above the vent pipe and it’s time to dump! Thanks to Ray Burr at RV Happy Hour.

Quick and easy freezer defrosting
Tired of spending a lot of time defrosting your RV freezer? Here’s a tip from Leigh Prettyman: Cut to size and install plastic cutting mats on the rear wall of the freezer, smooth side out. When it’s time to “defrost,” simply pull the ice-encrusted mats, shake them off, and reinstall. Thanks, Leigh!

Bring your bedroom slide-out in at night
Here’s a double-header sleeping solution for folks with bedroom slide-outs. Bill and Wanda Kearny tell us they roll their slide-out in at night (when necessary) to reduce traffic noise – and if the weather is exceptionally cold. Either way, it dampens the noise factor and reduces the need for heat. Thanks, folks!

Five-fingered hitch ball cover
Tommy Molnar says he has read in different RV sites and blogs about how to cover your hitch ball when not towing: plastic thingies with magnets inside, tennis balls slit to fit, even the ones you buy at RV supply places (that you can’t get on or off in the cold). He says, “Well, you know those boxes of ‘rubber’ gloves you buy at Costco? I keep several boxes around all the time – in my shop, in the garage and in our tow vehicle. I use them for everything to keep my hands from getting dirty, greasy or wet. I always put one over my hitch ball as soon as we unhitch. I can even get more than one use out of one. But even if I only use it once, it’s SO cheap it doesn’t matter. However, it doesn’t keep me from banging my knee from time to time. It just keeps me clean, and the ball, too, if I happen to drive somewhere on a gravel road.” A high-five to Tommy for this tip!

Parking in busy, crowded parking lots
When parking across several spaces, make certain your toad’s rear end is not sticking out in the traffic lane. Make sure it also sits inside the lines of the parking spaces. Judge from front and back to be sure. Thanks to Ron Jones,

We welcome your Quick Tips: Send to

George Foreman Grill is perfect for RVs
Create nutritious meals in minutes with this George Foreman 2-serving, Classic-Plate Grill, with a patented slope to help knock out the fat as you cook (critical if you’re watching your cholesterol). The nonstick coating lets you cook oil-free. A dishwasher-safe grease tray helps make cleanup a snap. Great for grilled cheese sandwiches and paninis, too and it’s under $20! Learn more or order.

Common Terms Used by RV Salespeople

RESERVE: Sometimes thought of as a “kickback” the bank gives the dealer for setting up the loan; the income a dealership realizes on a contract in excess of the finance source’s discount rate. For example: If the bank is going to charge $600 in finance charges on a given contract and the total finance charge to the customer on this contract is $1,000, the dealership will realize $400 in “reserve money” but the customer thinks the interest is all being charged by the bank.

Another one next issue. Courtesy of the Burdge Law Office.

If you could tell someone new to RVing just one thing, what would it be?

From the editors: We asked our readers this question recently. Here is one response: 

“One thing… but I’d have lots more than one! Let’s see. How about buyer beware! When shopping for an RV it’s nice to look at the glitz and glamour but make sure you check inside places, underneath the rig, in all the operating compartments (water, sewer, power) and make sure they are all working correctly. Also touch and feel walls, counters and built-in areas. If they feel wonky, they are! You’ll pay more for that quality RV but it IS worth it.” — Jane Morgan

Random RV Thought

On the last day of an RV trip, if you are hooked up to water and sewer it’s a good idea to wash your tables, counters, floor, fridge and other places inside your RV. If you wait until you get home, when you may not be hooked up, your water will likely be limited and you’ll end up draining water into a holding tank which you’d probably prefer stay empty.

• If you’re a member of Facebook, be sure to sign up for our groups RV Buying Advice, RV Advice and Budget RV Travel. For a list of all our groups and newsletters, visit here.

• If you buy a defective RV and are unable to get it fixed or its warranty honored, here is where to turn for help.

• If you need an RV Lemon Law Lawyer, Ron Burdge is your man.

Why you should never finance an RV for 20 years!

RV Travel staff


Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editors: Emily Woodbury, Diane McGovern.

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. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers.

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

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1 year ago

An additional note about bringing pets to an rv park, I’ve read there are parks that will require your pet’s original vaccination records and would not accept a photocopy.

Lisa Adcox
3 months ago
Reply to  Shelley

Never has happened to me in over 3 years. I always have them but not been asked.

1 year ago

And when parking in parking lots, plan your exit strategy!

Firefighter Tom
1 year ago

Two of my RVs said to NOT put weight on anything in a slideout room IF THE SLIDEOUT IS NOT EXTENDED! There are a few types that can be used while the (slde) is “in”. Follow what the manufacturer’s book says on this one. I stepped on the floor of one before reading the owner’s manual and caused some damage. Not even the dealer told me not to put weight on it.