Tips for Preparing an RV Trip

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Tips for Preparing an RV Trip

Once you purchase an RV you are left with the prospect of getting the best use possible out of your new purchase. After planning where you want to go, mapping the best route and making campground reservations through Trailer Life’s Campground Directory, Woodalls or the Rand McNally Directory the next step is to organize your supplies. Nothing is worse than being 50 miles from nowhere and either not having or being unable to find the things that make your RV experience the best it can possible be. 

First, prepare a list of items that you need for your trip.  The following list will provide a good guide for basic necessities:

  • Kitchen items:  Including pots and pans, dishes, a coffee maker, dishtowels, dish soap, bowls, silverware, cups, utensils, a can opener and plastic storage containers.
  • Clothing:  In addition to four days worth of everyday wear, consider rain gear, boots, walking shoes, swimsuits, hats and work gloves.
  • Bedroom items:  Sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, bath towels, washcloths, sheets and a mattress cover.
  • Items to help you have fun items include:  Fishing tackle, firewood, a lighter, lawn chairs, a camera, lantern, water bottles, insect repellant, bicycles, sunscreen and a tarp.
  • Other miscellaneous options include:  Trash bags, a campground directory, road maps, toilet paper, toilet chemicals, paper towels, aluminum foil, matches, plastic wrap, a BBQ grill and a lawn mat.

Although you need to be prepared, it is also important to travel light. The amount of cubic feet available for storage vary by your type, model, and style of RV coach, most have under-dinette, under-bed, overhead, and wardrobe storage.  There is still limited space so plan on carrying only what you need and leave a little room for clothes and other stuff that you add along your trip.  Don’t bring an excessive amount of clothing, as most campgrounds have laundry services available.  When you leave for vacation and as when leaving a campground at each leg of your journey, dump your sewer and only fill your water tank enough to last for use between campgrounds.  Water is very heavy and traveling light will help on fuel costs and make the pulling or driving of your vehicle much easier on the driver.  Be conscious not to overload your Recreational Vehicle.

It is very important that you make sure your RV is safe for travel before you leave. The following checklist may help prevent potential problems:

  • Entrance door locked and deadbolted?
  • Loose Items secured? 
  • Heavy items secured in low cabinets, light items in overhead cabinets.
  • Check Liquid Propane, make sure tank valves are closed.
  • Check water and sewer levels.
  • Make sure roof vents are closed.
  • Check lug nuts on wheels, have bearings been checked and greased lately?
  • Check brakes
  • Check Engine oil, washer fluid, coolant, generator oil.
  • Power cord stored properly?
  • TV antenna down.
  • Make sure awning is tightly secured.
  • Don’t forget your sewer hose.
  • Water hose disconnected and cap back in place.
  • Storage doors closed and locked?
  • Have someone watch while you test tail lights, brake lights, and turn signals

Another important safety tip: if you aren’t sure about how to operate a feature of your RV, get assistance. Seek out help from your local Coachman or Forest River dealers (or another appropriate expert for your RV manufacturer.)  

Finally, once you leave on your trip —  be mindful of the extra size and weight you are carrying on the road.  Think ahead, allow yourself more time and distance when approaching traffic and traffic lights.  Slow down and be safe, you are on vacation and in no hurry.  Pace yourself to the conditions at hand, speed up while approaching a hill, slow down while descending one.  Consider the cost of fuel while driving.  Instead of driving the extra miles to buy small items along the way, plan ahead and make one big trip before you go.  If possible, buy your food and fuel at one spot and whenever you stop always check your tires and lug nuts.  Do not start or stop rapidly and remember to always think ahead, you will have a much safer and enjoyable journey as a result.

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