There’s never been a better time to take up the RV life. Whether you’re a weekend wanderer, a snowbird or an RV full-timer, there’s an RV to suit any travel budget and taste.
With baby boomers reaching retirement age, more and more people are taking to the road with their motor homes, RVs or travel trailers. The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association recently reported that nearly 8 million American households have an RV, motor home or travel trailer and that there are as many as 30 million RV enthusiasts in the U.S.
Seeing the country in an RV offers many benefits for travelers seeking an affordable and exciting way to spend quality family time. According to one study, a family of four can save up to 74% traveling by RV over more conventional travel. And with more than 16,000 public and privately owned campgrounds in the US, there’s a site to fulfill everyone’s vacation fantasy, whether it’s an oceanfront view, hiking trails, casino gambling or tennis.
6 Tips for Successful RV Travel
RV travel is easy to learn, and once you’ve got the hang of it there’ll be no going back! Here are six helpful tips that will come in handy for both beginning and seasoned RV enthusiasts:
- Map Your RV Travel Destinations
A large part of the RV appeal is the exhilarating freedom of the open road — to go wherever you want, whenever you want. But it helps to have a solid travel plan in place. If you know where you’re heading, you can determine the route that will offer the most interesting sights.
Look in RV and other travel guides, contact tourism boards in states you’ll be passing through, and search the Internet.
Make sure to bring the correct road maps, and a GPS system is a good idea as well, especially if you’re new to RV travel.
Carefully designing the route you’ll be taking will make it easier to do spur-of-the moment things like checking out that oddball museum you just spotted on a roadside billboard!
- Have A Checklist? Just Checking
During your pre-trip prep, in addition to working out what needs to be in the RV, put together a thorough checklist of things to do when setting up at an RV campground.
There are the basics:
- Locate all campground connections
- Make sure your RV is level
- Properly hook up your water, gas and electric systems
Don't forget comfort concerns, like making sure you packed your favorite CDs and DVDs, and those new lawn chairs.
Equally important, you should have a second checklist of things that have to be done to break camp and set up your RV for departure (Quick hint: when you think the job is done and everything is ready, check again).
- Be Prepared with a “Just-For-The-RV” First-Aid Kit
Always make sure you have a fully stocked RV first-aid kit, and keep it in an outside storage compartment.
Your RV first-aid kit should include basic medical supplies:
- Over-the-counter pain reliever
- Insect repellant
- An emergency supply of must-have medications
Plus the following extras for your RV:
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Paper and pens
- A disposable camera in case you have to take photos of an accident site.
- Cell phone and charger
If you don’t feel up to the task of putting together an RV first-aid kit yourself, an extensive range of ready-made first-aid kits is available for purchase.
Don’t forget to include a list of important contact information, including family members, doctors, insurance agents, etc. [Editor’s note: Leave a copy of your itinerary and your contact information with a family member or friend, in case you need to be located in an emergency.]
- RV Camping with Kids and Pets
If your RV travel includes children, make sure to set aside time during the day for outdoor activities, as even the roomiest RV can be confining for kids.
And give each child his or her own space in the RV (no matter how small) for toys, games and personal stuff.
RV travel is a unique opportunity for your children to see new and different places and faces. There are often plenty of other kids at campgrounds – but be sure to walk around a new campground with your children when you first get settled there. They need to know how to find your campsite and navigate the RV grounds. If you plan to bring the family pet, check beforehand to confirm that pets are allowed at the RV campground.
- A Little Help From Your Friends
When in doubt, ask your fellow RVer. However well-traveled you might be, odds are there is someone you’ll meet along the way who has been somewhere you haven’t, solved a problem you haven’t yet encountered, or spotted an out-of-the-way delight you’ve never heard of.
No matter how much research you’ve done, there’s bound to be an RV campsite you haven’t read about, a storage system that has escaped your notice, or a funny anecdote that you’ll laugh about for years to come.
The new folks you meet may or may not become close friends for life, but they are an important part of your RV journey.
John Noble is the Marketing Consultant for Sky River RV.