10 Experts Share Their Favorite Travel Tips For New RV Owners
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Here are the best new rv owner travel tips!! Purchasing your first RV is a big deal! Your head is in the clouds, dreaming of the great places that you soon will be visiting. The campfires, the new adventures, and beautiful scenery are all waiting for you. Traveling is amazing. You get to meet new friends and see all of the places that you have ever wanted to see.
Soon after you purchase your vehicle, you start to realize that there are some challenges to this lifestyle. There are new things to learn such as how to park, how much to pack, which roads to drive, how to organize, and much more. The goal of this article is to tap into the years of experience that other RV’ers have and share the best tips for traveling to add to your toolbox. Soak up the advice and get out there and enjoy your travels!!
Meet the experts that will be contributing their tips!
Expert Travel Tips
One thing we recommend to all new RVers is to take your time. When you set out on a new and exciting adventure, it is natural to want to rush and see it all! However, the great thing about full-time travel is that you can slow down and truly enjoy the journey. Don’t be on such a tight schedule that you don’t have time to savor the unexpected gems that you will come across in your travels. Some of our favorite destinations in over six years of full-time travel were ones we had never heard of before we stumbled across them. An additional benefit of staying longer at a location is that you can save money as well. Most privately owned campgrounds offer discounts for extended stays including weekly and monthly rates.
Our second tip is about budgeting. Thinking about money isn’t nearly as exciting as dreaming of all the destinations you’ll visit. It is necessary though. One of the biggest mistakes new full-time RVers make is to live like they are on vacation: dining out all the time and spending a lot of money on entertainment or fancy RV resorts. This behavior will blow the budget in no time. Instead you should practice mindful spending by taking some time thinking about what experiences are really important to you.
Creating a full-time RV budget can be difficult because many blogs and YouTube videos on the topic only cover the top items like campgrounds and fuel. There is so much more to it. Living a debt free life while traveling full-time and continuing to invest in our future is something we are passionate about. That is why we created a program called Full-Time RV Finance where we share how to budget, save on expenses, make money, and pay off debt while living and traveling in an RV.
The best advice we could give for a travel tip, is to not be in a rush, thinking you have to go as fast as you can from one place to the other. Take your time and soak up your surroundings.
When traveling, we like to break up a trip that may be only even 4-8 hours long into two days. we find a place along the way to stop and enjoy and spend the night – most of the time that is dry camping. We find either a Harvest Host place to check out or some sort of historical site or maybe even an eating place that has really good reviews. We found that it makes traveling less stressful and more enjoyable.
Also, when traveling, whether you’re in a motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer, 62-63 mph seems to be that “sweet-spot” where you not only get the best mpg, but you will also notice that it feels much more safer – and it is. Don’t be in a rush to get to your next destination…take your time, you will be glad you did.
Whether you’re a full-time RVer, weekend warrior, or you’re heading off on an extended RV trip, planning out meals and snacks will be a lifesaver for your budget and your health. Just like we want our RVs to run optimal by using quality fuel, we need to fuel our bodies properly for optimal performance.
When it comes to food and beverages this is the one area that I encourage overpacking. Stock up on as much as you have room for because the closer you get to a National Park or other tourist attraction the fewer stores there are plus products tend to be more expensive along with fewer selections. By jotting down a list of meal ideas for the week, I can stock up on supplies at my home base where I’m familiar with local stores and the prices. I’ll also make a bunch of freezer/refrigerator meals and treats ahead of time, so we’re not tempted to go out to eat as often or pick up snacks while fueling.
By eating fresh whole foods and home cooked meals, my husband and I are able to maintain our energy for fun RV adventures as well as put in some long driving days if that’s what we decide to do. And the bonus is staying on budget.
After traveling full-time in our RV for 4 years, we have certainly learned a lot. We went in at top speed initially, moving around almost every weekend. We quickly realized, since we were working full-time during the week, that we couldn’t keep up that pace for very long. We never truly had a full weekend of rest because of moving so often.
We also realized, with moving so often, we were spending too much money on campgrounds. We were paying a daily rate, sometimes a weekly rate, and missing out on the greatest discount – a monthly rate. Monthly rates are typically 50% lower than a daily rate so, it’s worth slowing down and spending more time in one location. This also gives you an opportunity to explore an area fully before moving on to your next adventure.
When it comes to travel planning, our number one go-to resource is RV Trip Wizard We can plan our route, track expenses, read campground reviews, avoid low clearance bridges and explore points of interest all in one application. When looking for free camping, our go-to is Campendium.
Our tip for newbie RVers is to follow the 2/2/2 rule, which means don’t drive more than 200 miles in a day, get off the road by 2 pm, and stay at least 2 nights. One of the most common mistakes people tell us they made (and we did this too) when they were RV newbies was moving too quickly in the beginning. It is so easy to get burned out this way! We know this rule might not seem that big of a deal, but it will make much more sense when you hit the road. 200 miles doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you’re moving every few days, that’s plenty of ground to cover. Ensuring you get off the road by 2 pm gives you time to set up camp and explore the new area before it gets dark.
Lastly, staying at least two nights gives you time to relax after your driving day and catch up on some rest before hitting the road again. Personally, we’ve adjusted the rule to mean two weeks instead of two days for us, as we love to settle in and really have time to relax and explore a new town. Speaking from personal experience, you’ll eventually lose steam exploring too quickly, and we guarantee you won’t truly be getting a feel for the area.
There are so many places that we need to return to because we blew through them so fast our first year on the road. It’s best to start slow; you’ll have a much more enjoyable experience if you do!
You don’t need all the gear you THINK you do. Start small, add as you go but don’t go crazy on Amazon or Wal-Mart as soon as you buy your first rig! Also, take a SHAKEDOWN trip first! Somewhere close to home (within 3 hours or so) to get your feet wet.
Go slow and steady… we tend to favor traveling less than 200 miles on any leg of our journey and perfect is 150 miles. Why? If you go any further you will miss what is in between.
Don’t assume there is nothing to see or do in “X” Why? Every town or location has its own appeal, beauty, hidden spots and or story….
Be patient… Why? Things will break and go bad for you sometimes on your travels. Take a deep breath, be patient and solve your problems under less stress.
Wan’t to save money camping? Stay a week or a month as the price per night is way less.
Go now! That’s it.
So many people we talk to say things like: “we really want to but….” or “that must be fun but…” or “I could never live in that small space” and similar comments.
Yes, living in 200-300 square feet of space seems limiting. We would submit that its the exact opposite. Ridding yourself of excess, often unnecessary things is very freeing. Our society of abundance fills our closets, garages, and storage facilities with too much “stuff” and doesn’t bring the joy or benefits that you probably anticipated.
After downsizing to just the things we absolutely need and keeping a few items that we want, we now have less things to keep track of and its much easier to find what we are looking for!
If it doesn’t serve a consistent purpose or bring joy to our lives, we have jettisoned it.
Back to the “go now” comment. If you think RV travel looks exciting, go try it out. We HIGHLY recommend that you spend a few weekends renting a variety of styles of campers, trailers and the like to determine what you want. This “try before you buy” option should be something everyone commits to before these big purchases.
All too often, people purchase one and decide it doesn’t have something they like and they trade it in very soon after. The RV industry makes huge profits because of this. Also, many people have very expensive yard ornaments because they rarely use what they bought.
Get on the road. Stop and chat with other RV’ers out there. Most are very willing to invite you in and show you what they like and don’t about their rigs. Also, many YouTube channels are out there with plenty of resources on most every type and model of rig available.
Start where you are! No need to save up huge sums of money to buy the best thing on the market. Get what you can afford (which is different than what the banks will lend you) and go for it!
I think the best travel tip I have right now is “Enjoy the Moment”. I know it sounds cliche but as I think back to all my travels and how I haven’t been on a trip in about 10 months, I think it is so important to enjoy the moments we get. I think some easy ways to do this are: unplug, breathe and be present. Don’t be thinking or waiting for your next big thing, stressing about this or that, or constantly be on your phone comparing your journey to others. Just enjoy the moment because this moment will never come your way again!
The first time we went camping with an RV, there were a lot of unknowns. One of the biggest was related to our tanks. Yes, those tanks. The ones that hold all the waste! However, it didn’t end up being too messy! The most important thing, in my opinion, is to bring gloves for this! While it may not be very messy, you’re still going to have to touch the hose.
Having gloves made me feel much more comfortable with the entire process! Something else that I would suggest is getting a portable waste container. We didn’t know anything about these before we got to the first campground. We started to notice some of the campers that were set up for a longer time had containers hooked up to their waste drains.
These portable waste containers can hook up so your waste is going directly into them. Then, when that is full, you can just take it to the dump area and never have to worry about moving your RV. We saw some people hook them up to the hitch on the back of their trucks, pull behind a golf cart, and someone was even pulling one behind a bicycle.
Our experts have spoken. They have many years of experience and their words of wisdom ring true. The road is calling. It is calling for new RV’ers to be safe, slow down, and enjoy. Don’t be in a hurry. Enjoy your surroundings. Be mindful of your finances but, mainly remember the reasons why you decided to embark on this lifestyle. Was if for the simplicity and the beauty? Don’t get caught up in the hustle of moving around so fast that you forget to enjoy those things. We hope to see you out there on your journey.
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Happy camping folks!!
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Hello! My name is Cortney. I am 45 years old. I live full time in a 33 foot airstream trailer with my husband of 21 years. I run my own business out of my tin can and love living small. I have two grown kids and three pets. I have worn many hats including mental health counselor and truck driver. My husband is prepping for retiring from the Navy in the next five years. He has been serving for over 22 years faithfully.