The RV lifestyle is filled with fun and adventure, and those who are willing to take the plunge will surely not look back. That being said, if you go into things without knowing what you’re doing, you may make some mistakes that you’ll wish you hadn’t. Fortunately for you, we have been the RV experts for nearly 60 years, and we are here to help you start your journey on a good note. Be sure you DON’T make the following mistakes, and you’ll be off to a good start!
1. TRAVELING TOO FAR IN ONE DAY
This is an easy mistake to relate to for most RVers. For you to know what your daily driving limit is, you may need to have a few rough days where you overdo it and learn the hard way. A good rule of thumb is the 3 or 3 rule —arrive at your destination by 3 pm, or drive 300 miles in one day, whichever happens first.
2. BUYING THE FIRST RV YOU LOOK AT
This might seem obvious for some, but many people don’t know how many different RV floor plans exist and how customizable some RVs actually are. If you “sort of” like the model but you wish there were more kitchen space, or a larger bathroom, then speak up! If you’re willing to wait a little longer or travel outside your immediate area, you can likely find the PERFECT model for how you plan to use your RV. If you still feel overwhelmed, check out our recent blog, RV Buying Tips.
3. PACKING TOO MUCH
Part of being an RVer is learning how to be resourceful. That means being able to do a lot with limited resources. Packing too much is an easy mistake to make until you learn how to minimize. This should include cooking, cleaning, and even clothing. If you will never be cooking for more than 2 or 4 people, there is no need to bring along every pot, pan, and dish from your sticks-and-bricks kitchen.
The same goes with your clothes (depending on your laundry machine situation, this may be easier for you) and other camping equipment. It is better on your fuel economy, easier to pack and unpack things, and the mental clarity of having less clutter will be very beneficial.
4. WINGING IT WITHOUT A CHECKLIST
A well-crafted checklist can make your campsite setup or tear-down process run smoothly and consistently each time, which can be handy for those of you who are moving around between campgrounds a lot. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, FMCA has an app that is available for iPhone and Android where you can download premade checklists or create your own customized checklists.
5. NOT SEEKING PROPER RV TRAINING
Owning an RV is a learning process, but you don’t want to jump into it without any knowledge at all. You’ll want to start reading up on RVing ahead of time. There are hundreds of online forums and Facebook groups that you can join to discuss various things with other RVers. If you’re serious about improving your RV knowledge, check out the quizzes, lessons, and educational articles at FMCA University.
6. NOT PLANNING AN RV-FRIENDLY ROUTE
If you’re new to RVing, you might not realize that there are certain routes that you simply cannot take due to size and height restrictions. There may be narrow roads, small tunnels, or low bridges along your route, and if you aren’t expecting them, you may end up spending multiple hours being rerouted to a safer alternative. There are special GPS devices and trip planning tools that allow you to program in your RV’s size and height; that way you can ensure that your route will be safe for you to navigate!
7. NEGLECTING RV MAINTENANCE
You should expect to have regular upkeep and maintenance expenses that come along with RV ownership. If you remember simple maintenance tasks such as checking tire pressure before driving, you can prevent larger, more costly issues from occurring and leaving your RV out of commission for days, weeks, or even months at a time.
8. FORGETTING TO SECURE YOUR BELONGINGS WHEN DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD
You will eventually develop a routine for this one, but it is worth mentioning. Make sure that you place all loose items into drawers, bags, closets, or other secure locations since things tend to shift and move around during travel. This includes all of your toiletries and refrigerated items as well.
9. START RVING WITHOUT AN FMCA MEMBERSHIP
This is the biggest mistake any RVer can make: hitting the road without an FMCA membership! A membership to FMCA can save you hundreds of dollars on RV necessities like batteries, tires, and windshield replacement, while connecting you to a plethora of educational resources to ensure your RV experience is easy and smooth. Click here.