There are so many who have recently joined the RV lifestyle. It’s a great time seeing the sites, enjoying family and friends, and adding special moments to our life experiences. But, for many, taking this new RV on the road has brought along a number of new challenges. And some of these challenges can have a major impact on one’s future RV travels. Below, and we expand in the video, 7 big RV mistakes so many make when owning an RV for the first time. And like so many, we’ve made our share mistakes. Here are 7 big RV mistakes to avoid as you start your RV adventures.
#1 – Not Being Familiar With Your RV
Before you take the RV off the lot, make sure you understand what every switch, valve and moving part does on your RV. Put your phone on record and follow the technician around as they demonstrate every feature and function of your RV. Then before your first trip, test everyone before you leave.
#2 – Not Knowing How To Drive, Park or Turn Your RV
Driving, turning and parking an RV is nothing like driving the family car. These things are heavy and very long. The turning radius is substantial. For the larger RV’s, no you can’t pull into the fast food restaurant! Backing up is part art and part geometry. It’s opposite of what you typically do when backing up a car.
Best tip I can share – practice. Go to a large, open parking lot where the stores are closed. Sunday’s mornings are usually a good time. Set up some buckets that resemble a turn into a camping spot and practice backing up… a lot. It’s better to destroy a $5 bucket practicing, then hitting another camper or tree when backing up this new RV.
#3 – Not Enough RV Tow Vehicle
This is one of the big Facebook and RV forum topics. If the gross weight of your RV tow vehicle is not large enough or is just equal to the weight of the RV, then do not tow with this vehicle. You’re asking for trouble. Aside from damaging you vehicle, it’s dangerous. My rule of thumb – the gross towing weight of the vehicle should be at least 35% higher than the total weight of the trailer or 5th wheel.
#4 – Poor RV Travel Planning
With Covid-19, there has been an increase in RV purchases and travels. The campgrounds have been very busy this spring and summer. We have been making reservation many months in advance. If there is a popular place, advance booking, especially during weekend stays is a must.
Equally important is knowing if the campground will have the fit and features for your RV stay. Will the site is long and wide enough? Will you have enough RV power?
Also lay out your route. Know the best time to travel through large cities. Avoid low underpasses. Map the route from start to finish including the last mile to the campground. Here are additional tips for RV travel planning.
#5 – Too Much Travel. Not Enough Time.
When we started our RV travel, we thought the more we saw, the better the RV experience. Actually, the opposite is true. Stop and smell the roses! Rushing just to say you’ve been there isn’t experiencing all there is to see and do. Take your time. As you travel, add time to rest and decompress. Leave a little time for the unknowns that pop up to keep stress to a minimum.
#6 – Not Having An RV Checklist
Not having an RV checklist for departure gets more RV travelers in trouble. We see it often – forgetting to unplug from power; leaving the water hose connected; leaving the awning extended and hitting tree; forgetting to lower the antenna and breaking off from a low hanging tree limb. I could go on and on.
Having an RV checklist minimizes this risk. Here’s a link a blog where we discuss the checklist. Here is a link in the blog where you can download our checklist and modify for your needs.
#7 – Not Performing RV Maintenance
RV’s must be maintained. It’s important to minimize the risk of being stranded during your travels. Maintenance is needed to ensure everything in and on the RV is working properly before you travel. Also, fix what breaks. Letting things build up impacts not only the value of your RV, but the experience of travel.
We go into more detail of each in the video below. Plus, waiting till you here one of our big, big goof ups we made in our RV travels.
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