Many people dream of taking an epic RV road trip at some point of their lives: The broken backpacker exploring the Australian outback, the family of four making their way through the French Provence, or the retired couple cruising over American highways. The idea of freedom and sleeping wherever and whenever you want, seems utterly intriguing to a wide range of folks. Are you one of them?
Taken that you’re continuing to read this article, I assume you are. And that’s absolutely awesome! There are however a few things you should know, before embarking on the first RV road trip of your life.
Every trip bears the potential to become an incredible experience. But making RV road trip magic happen, requires a wee bit of preparation and a whole lot of patience, with yourself, and your companions (should you have any).
Know Your Budget
Renting an RV in America can be an expensive treat. For rental cost (100$/day), gas (30$/day) and the money spent on parking (40$/day), you can expect a monthly total of up to 2k. This of course, depends on the length of your rental period, the vehicle of your choice and how many miles you’re actually driving each day.
This might sound a lot at first, but considering that you’ll save money on flights, accommodation and food – as you’ll be prepping most meals in your mobile kitchen instead of eating out, you can actually be saving money. Especially when traveling with kids.
And let’s not forget, that an RV road trip is oh so much more fun!
Plan Your Journey
Therefore, the trip should be planned carefully in advance. Pick the destinations you’re wanting to cross off your list, and you might want to check out our West Coasts Top 5 Under-the-Radar Family Road Trip Destinations
Check driving distances, and where you could have a stop-over. We recommend the use of Roadtrippers.com – a great tool that will help you to find spots to visit, stop-overs and RV parks.
Never just take off without a plan. Make sure you are aware of the following:
- Budget: How much you can allocate for RV rental, gas, accommodation, food and fun?
- Food: Are you cooking yourself or eating out?
- Route: Where are you planning to go?
- Stops: What do you want to see along the way?
- RV Parks: Where are you going to stay over-night?
Be Flexible in Your Schedule
One of the biggest perks of RV traveling is the flexibility! Should your plans change, because of the weather, or your mood, or maybe because you’re coming across another awesome opportunity to have a stop-over, you can just pick another RV park and stay there!
Know Where to Park Your RV
You can not unfortunately just park your RV anywhere. RV parks are the place where you park the vehicle to connect it to water, electricity and sewage. RV parks come with laundry facilities, pools and even gyms. You will soon realize that quality and price vary greatly. There are parks designed specifically for long-term rental. If you’re on a vacation, you will want to avoid these. The right RV park offers the opportunity to connect with other travelers, families with kids and foreigners, whereas people staying in long-term parks often prefer their peace.
Choose The Right Vehicle
There are two main classes of RVs you should know: Class A and Class C. The difference being, that the RV is either built on top of a van (Class C) or is a whole vehicle (Class A).
Try to find a place close to where you live, where you can check out the different types of RVs. Don’t make compromises on quality and size. You want to enjoy your holidays and not feel cramped. For a family of four, we recommend 24″, or 30″ for more comfort. An RV that slides out, meaning it becomes wider at parking, makes all the difference.
Don’t be afraid of driving a bigger vehicle than what you’re used to. However, make sure to go on a test drive before putting down money. Consider the roads you plan to drive on and take it easy. A day or two into the trip, you’ll understand how everything works. Also: It’s important to know how to assess a problem and potentially fix it, should something break. This will save you time and money spent on a mechanic.
Have The Correct Equipment
If you’ve got the camper van life on your mind, there are a few things that will be worth the investment. The Wandering RV has a full list of accessories you shouldn’t travel without right here. You will also want to make sure to pack a toolkit, including extra fuses, light bulbs, jumper cables, nuts, bolts, connectors and parts that are unique to your rig.
While there are many new and cool things to buy, make sure to not overload your trailer. It’s not fun to have the aisles and every inch of the ground or cabinets cluttered with things.
Get Ready to Go Offline
On the road, you’ll often end up in areas that don’t get any coverage. Be prepared and download all apps and maps you might want to use. On the bright side: Wifi in the RV parks is often just as good, if not better than that of many hotels. Take advantage of your little holiday, and turn off your phone’s sync feature, don’t check your emails and limit your internet use to the frequent post of your trip updates.
Prepare For Long Drives
That means you will be seated a lot driving a lot. RV seats are clearly more comfy than most cars, but don’t take the chance and do whatever you have to to be comfortable. Prepare your Spotify Playlists, download a couple of podcasts and audiobooks, and bring plenty of snacks. And don’t forget the entertainment for your kids.
We hope this little RV road trip guide will prepare you for your first camper-van experience. Whether you’re traveling with a family or are retired couple, every RV beginner has to know a few important things before taking the first trip.