When you're getting ready for an RV road trip, what do you need to do? Above all, you should reference the following checklist to ensure you're really good to go for the RV adventure of a lifetime!
15 Tips for RV Trip Planning
Ready to head out on your road trip? Not so fast: Here are some tips to ensure you do it right!
1. Decide Where to Go
Yes, you can hit the open road with no particular destination in mind, but it's better to plan things out a bit. Decide where you'll be driving to first — the main destination — and then be open to finding and exploring new places along the way (and be prepared for plans to change!).
2. Decide When to Go
Traveling in season to certain places is challenging for many reasons; there may be no camping spots available, and crowds may be overbearing. Plus, everything can be more expensive! Do you really need to travel in peak season, or is traveling in the off-season a possibility? What about the weather you'll face on the road? You need to think about all of it!
3. Choose Your RV Wisely
Think about how long your RV trip is going to be and who is going on it with you; will you have enough space with a smaller rig? Will you have too much space with a larger RV? Take a look at different RVs and floor plans to see which goes best with your travel party size and travel plans.
4. Learn How To Operate Your RV
It's been said before and needs to be said again: RVs aren't like other vehicles — unless that "other" vehicle is an eighteen-wheeler commercial vehicle. If you've never driven an RV before, or are just out of practice, head to an empty parking lot to practice your wide turns.
5. Buy an RV-Specific GPS Device
Okay, yes, there are also smartphone apps that perform the same function — but you'd be better off buying a GPS unit specifically made for RVs. An RV-specific GPS can help you find RV-suitable routes and avoid potentially disastrous RV height-clearance incidents!
6. Buy a Road Map (Yes, a Real Physical Road Map!)
Smartphones and GPS units are all well and good, but nothing beats knowing where you are and where you're going, like the back of your hand. Traditional road maps might seem outdated, but never put too much trust in modern technology. Always have an actual map on hand in case batteries run out.
7. Make Your RV Campsite Reservations Well in Advance
Some destinations always have a campsite available for drive-ins, but other campgrounds can fill up months in advance — especially at popular times and well-traveled locales.
Don't take anything for granted, and see if your preferred campground has spaces available early on. Have a few backups ready, too, just in case your preferred campground has already filled up (it happens).
8. Check the Weather Forecast Before Leaving
It's important to know the conditions you may be driving in since driving an RV is a bit different from driving your normal (smaller) personal vehicle. You should also be aware of what kinds of clothes you'll need to pack for the journey.
So, check the weather forecast as your trip gets closer.
9. Check Your RV Tires
Whether you're renting an RV for a road trip or dusting off your own RV after months in storage, you need to check your tires before heading out. Make sure they're filled up and in good condition — and not just before you first head out but also periodically throughout your RV road trip.
10. Stock Up on Food and Drinks
One of the joys of RV travel is having almost everything you need with you wherever you go, and there's no knocking the convenience of an RV fridge. Be sure to stock your RV fridge and shelves with your favorite snacks and beverages, along with special meals/ingredients.
11. Budget for Gas
Gas will be one of the biggest expenses on your RV road trip. How much you may spend will depend on the size of your rig (with larger RVs having 100-gallon tanks and smaller ones around 25 gallons), and how much driving you'll be doing. Be prepared to spend big bucks at the pump; you may even want to get a gas card to earn points/free gas!
12. Learn How To Maximize Limited Space
RVs are known for being big, comfortable homes on the road...but "big" does not usually describe the storage space available inside. Before you head out on your road trip, see what you can do to make the most of the limited storage space you have (shelves and stackable dishes are your friend!).
13. Make Sure Your Propane Tank is Full
Some RV campgrounds offer propane for sale, but you can't count on that. Propane helps keep your RV heated in winter and also often powers your appliances in the absence of hookups. Even if your campground offers full hookups, it never hurts to have a full tank of propane on hand — and to know where you can fill it up again!
14. Watch Cruise America's Renter's Orientation Video
If it's your first time renting an RV, you might be thinking you're out of your league. That's not the case, though, and watching Cruise America's RV renter's orientation video before you head out on your first (or even fourth) road trip will help you get as ready as you could ever be.
15. Have Backup Plans — and Backup Plans for Your Backups!
While planning before the trip is important, anything can happen while on the road, too. No-reservation campsites can fill up, and inclement weather (rain or snow) can also shut down attractions, sites, and roadways. Don't be wedded to plans or destinations; be flexible, be prepared, and have some activities ready to go in your rig, just in case!
Plan for a Great RV Adventure With Cruise America
Cruise America has numerous resources that can help RV renters like you fully prepare for their next road trip. Visit Cruise today to find an RV or even just double-check that everything is ready for your upcoming travels!