Over 40 million Americans go camping each year, and around 15 million of those will head out in a recreation vehicle. Make no mistake, RVing is hugely popular for Americans, and over 11% of US households own an RV. Besides being 20-60% cheaper than a traditional holiday, RVing gives people a much-needed sense of freedom unlike anything else. One thing is for sure: a road trip adventure with an RV is a unique and must-have experience.
With spring season being in full effect, now is the perfect time to start thinking about where you want to take your RV this year. Before you pack everything and hit the road for a US cross-country trip, you have to take time and prepare yourself and your RV for the upcoming adventure. At the very start of this article, we’ll use the famous Benjamin Franklin quote: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Even though he definitely wasn’t talking about your next RV camping trip, the saying is very applicable and is good advice nonetheless. To help you prepare for the open road, we recommend the following steps to make sure your next adventure is fun, safe, and worry-free.
Pick Your Destination
The initial step to planning an awesome RV adventure is to decide where you want to go. The great thing about RV travel is that you don’t really have to pick just one place, you can always visit multiple destinations in one trip. You can get really old-school and use a map. Mark the potential locations you’d like to visit. Make sure to ask your family or friends for their recommendations as well.
Have in mind that while you can visit many places in just one RV trip, you shouldn’t try to cram too much into one vacation. You definitely want to avoid over-scheduling that can easily lead to exhaustion and burn out. The smart thing to do here is to look for an area of the country with multiple destinations that you want to visit.
Plan Your Route
As soon as you’ve picked your destination(s), it’s time to figure out how to get there. In most cases, there are multiple ways to get where you’re going. If you are interested in saving time, you may want to stick to interstate highways for most of the travel. This way, you also won’t have to worry about finding gas stations along the way, as there will probably be plenty of options.
However, if you are not in a rush, you might consider taking state highways or scenic drives to get to the final destination. Getting there is half the fun, and a scenic drive is everything that RV travel is about. If you take the more adventurous and long way, make sure to gas up before you set out on your trip, as RV friendly gas stations may be harder to come by.
Prepare The RV
Inspect The Exterior
Before you set out for the season, give your RV a good exterior wash with car soap and water. Not only will the VR look clean and shiny, but it will also help you observe any leaks or damages. Use only premium liquid silicone for small repairs, whilst you inspect all the seals and sealants for cracks or leaks.
Check The Tires
Inspect the tires for wear, cracks, or dry rot between the treads, and repair or replace them if needed. Make sure you know the recommended pressure by checking the owner’s manual and inflate them to the proper PSI levels, including the spare tire.
Make Sure You Have Clean Water
Depending on how long your RV has been sitting in the garage, drain, sanitize, and flush antifreeze from the water system as needed. Since it’s considered as the heart of the entire plumbing system, pay close attention to the RV’s water pump. With time, magnesium and calcium from hard water can build up and cause the pipes to clog and even leak. It helps if you use RV water filter replacement cartridges to remove harmful contaminants from your water supply in order to keep the kitchen and bathroom utilities functioning properly.
Photo from RV Web
Test The Batteries
Before inspecting the RV batteries, turn off all appliances and disconnect the shore power. Clean the terminals, check the connections, inspect for any cracks or damages, and spray with an anti-corrosion lubricant when needed. Charge the battery to the maximum and reconnect. Make a full inspection around the RV to make sure all of the lights are working as they should.
Clean The Waste Removal System
Check the condition of your sewer drain hoses and replace them annually. Take a look at the valve seals on your empty waste tank and make sure it opens and closes properly. Be certain to use a high-efficient toilet treatment solution that’s safe for use in RV septic tanks and successfully breaks down waste and controls odors.
Plan Your Activities For The Adventure
Once you’re sure that the RV is in top shape, you know where you’re going and how you’re getting there, it’s time to think about what you will do at your destination. You might also “go with the flow” and make a plan when you arrive, but we recommend that it’s for the best to plan ahead. Partly because the best activities in a location need to be reserved in advance, take a look at the popular things to do in the area and decide which ones interest you.
Clothes And Food
It’s very important to take the time and plan the clothes that you’ll be bringing on your trip. Take a good look at the weather for the area before you start to pack to get a better idea of which clothes you will need for the upcoming time. It’s sensible to bring layers of clothing, including a lightweight jacket. Raincoats and hiking boots are items that you want in your RV at all times. Try not to overpack because whatever you pack will take up space in the vehicle, so bring what’s needed and nothing more.
On the other hand, food is of the best parts of RV road trips as you have access to your kitchen wherever you go. Cooking in your RV kitchen and avoiding restaurants can help to make your trip more cost-effective. Also, being able to prepare quick snacks and sandwiches for a hike will also make your experience more pleasurable. Make a grocery list based on your preferred meal plan and buy everything you need ahead of time. Load up your groceries and set out for an adventure!
Supplies You Will Need
You surely don’t want to wake up with a stomach ache to discover that you forgot to pack the medicine and that the nearest pharmacy is a hundred miles away. At a minimum, you will need a first aid kit, toiletries, tool kit, flashlights, batteries, and a set of utensils and dishes for everyone. Whatever else you have in mind, write it down and don’t cross it until you physically put it in the RV.
Plan Your Return… Or Don’t!
Right now, it’s easier than ever to travel full time with an RV. No matter if you’re a digital nomad, or a retiree, living on the road full time is definitely an option worth considering. Whatever you decide, we hope you will have a fantastic time on your RV adventure!