There are mistakes every new RVer makes on travel days. And then there are MISTAKES! Don’t be the new RVer that doesn’t plan ahead…..at least minimally ? Planning ahead isn’t always fun, but can help you avoid travel disappointments and avoidable situations.
Travel day for most new RVers is exciting! A new destination! You can’t wait to get there! But realizing & implementing a few simple things can make your RV travel days less stressful and much more relaxing.
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Taking Their First RV Camping Trip Too Far Away
I remember when we bought our first RV. We were so excited! We picked it up, packed it and drove 5 hours to our first campground! Not a good plan!
We got in after dark to a campground that was crazy busy and overrun with summer campers in the road riding bikes at night. We couldn’t find our site and ended up on a one-way beach road trying to find our site!
That was after a late start (another RV newbie mistake) and a stop at Camping World to fix a noise we heard. That was a very stressful time and not fun at all! We laugh at it now because we survived it but it could have gone very differently.
All of the above could have been avoided had we stayed in a campground close to home to try everything out and get comfortable in our new travel home. We would have heard the noise in the air conditioner and had it repaired before we did the 5-hour drive to our new destination.
Not Planning Ahead
Another newbie RVer mistake is not planning ahead for their nightly stop. Planning ahead for your next stop before you leave your current campsite can leave you in a situation you won’t like!
Knowing where the next stop is helps you plan your travel day accordingly…when to leave, when to take breaks, and when you will arrive. This can take the stress out of RV travel day in a big way.
If you don’t call ahead to make reservations or at least know they have plenty of spots available, you run the risk of not getting a campsite. Planning ahead is a key component to RV travel planning, especially during peak travel seasons.
Even if you are an adventurous type and think you will boondock a lot, you will need to plan for that, too!
We have tried to boondock on the fly before. And we’ve found out upon arrival that particular place won’t let you or they were overrun with other boondockers!
When boondocking, a plan for two options is your best bet.
I recommend an app called Overnight RV Parking for boondockers.
This app is a paid subscription but really comes in handy on the road. When you are in a new area and want to boondock, this app will let you know the best place to go. You can’t always rely on Walmart and other common boondocking stores.
Make planning ahead easy by having a couple key things in your travel planning arsenal. We like to use RV Trip Wizard for an online tool for route planning. It is a great value for what it offers.
We also use a paper planner for planning and recording our campground reservations and planning our travel dates.
We tried many types of planning calendars but ended up creating one ourselves. It’s called The Complete RV Travel Planner and is designed especially for RVers. It has everything you need to keep track of your RV life.
Using a Regular GPS or Your Phone for Navigation
RVers should not use a regular GPS.
Your RV is not a car. You could have height and weight limitations on your travel route. An RV GPS can help you find out if the route you are trying take is the right one. It’s takes into account things like bridge weights and overpass heights.
It has unique settings you customize to your RV and then it routes you to avoid any unpleasant occurrences you would have with a regular GPS, like turning around!
Just make sure the GPS you buy is made for RVers or truckers.
We use our RV GPS in conjunction with Google Maps to see a bigger picture of our planned travel route. Careful route planning goes a long way in an RV.
Not Checking the Weather
When you travel in your RV you are often in vacation brain!
Fun! Travel! Things to see!
But weather is always there to temper your activities and attitude. Before you set out on a travel day, be sure to check the weather. Make sure you aren’t running into something unexpected when you travel down the road.
This is especially true during winter when snow or ice storms could be expected or during hurricane season.
There are many great ways to help you stay on top of weather while you travel. Check them out this article on weather safety tips.
Attempting Too Many Miles in a Day
As a new RVer, you might not realize just how tiring driving an RV can be. There are mental and physical stressors that are different than when traveling by auto.
Your vehicle is larger and wider. And definitely harder to handle on the road. You’re also are towing something, making you longer and your attention more broken up! You’ve not only got to pay attention to what’s going on in front of you, but what your back end is doing behind you.
The whole dynamic is stressful until you learn to relax and start to enjoy the journey.
I highly recommend that every new RVer avoid burnout from driving and set a maximum number of miles to drive each day. Our personal mileage limit is 300 miles.
200 miles is ideal, but we will go 300 when we are trying to get to a destination with multiple travel days.
If you don’t know what your personal average should be, take mine and do some experimenting. How do you feel after 200 miles? 250? 300 even?
You will quickly learn what your maximum number of miles should be.
Not Stopping Before Dark
When you’re in the RV, you are in GO MODE. Getting there fast seems like a good idea.
But not stopping before dark to camp can leave you with a lot of travel stress.
Finding your site in the dark is not easy. Parking your RV in the dark can be really hard. And setting up camp can be enough to send you over the edge after a long hard day of travel.
On top of all that, getting there after dark can keep you from getting adequate rest for the next days travel. It also limits your evening activities like cooking dinner and enjoying a campfire. These are all part of the RV experience…don’t miss them!
Avoid stressful RV travel days by taking a little advice and implement these 7 tips to make your RV travel day easier! Happy Travels!!!
Luann Street lives, works, and travels full-time with her husband Bryan in their Tiffin Allegro Bus. She is co-creator of their newest resource The Complete RV Travel Planner. Together they produce content & develop resources at their blog Where the Streets Wander just for RVers. Their mission is to inspire, educate, and encourage others to make the most of their RV lifestyle however they travel!
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