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RVing has a lot of perks—you can skip hotels, only pack and unpack once and see a wealth of destinations along one trip. However there are many responsibilities that come along with owning or even renting, but they are easily overcome with education and commitment. So if you’re convinced to get behind the wheel of a motorhome, or to hook a fifth wheel onto the back of your truck, there are some things you should know, that go beyond our list of top tips and recommended RV destinations.
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Have the Right Insurance
Insurance for RVs is similar to that of vehicles, and the company that your car is insured with likely offers options. States can have different minimum requirements, but you’ve made a big investment, so protecting it makes sense. Typically, only self-propelled units need separate insurance, as campers might be covered by the tow vehicle policy. Always talk extensively with your agent.
Pay Attention to the Tires
Get acquainted with your tires—doing so can prevent dangerous blowouts on the open road. How old are your tires? Have the right ones been placed on your unit? Sometimes the tires already in place aren’t capable to withstand the load of the motor home or camper itself. Be sure to know the recommended pressure for the tires, and use a PSI device to keep an eye on things.
Have the Right Tools
RVs require various tools that most likely aren’t already in the garage. This includes a four-way tire iron that is specially fit to lug nuts on the RV tires – – no, the one from your car won’t fit. Many of the screws inside an RV also require a special type of screwdriver, with a square head. Experienced RVers often note the frequent need to tighten things here and there, so bring along a wrench set as well.
Walmart is Your Friend
You may have seen campers and RVs indiscreetly parked at the back end of a Walmart parking lot. Walmart generally is a bit more hospitable when it comes to folks parking overnight. However, it’s important to check with a store manager at the Walmart you intend to stop at. While there, be courteous as you would any other campsite. Pack all of your trash out, or dispose of it properly, and be sure to respect shoppers as well. Overall, Walmart can really save you when out on the road in areas that aren’t equipped with a lot of campgrounds.
Make Like a Turtle
Slow and steady really does win this race. Respect that an RV is much bigger than a typical vehicle—it’s easier to make mistakes if flying around like a bat out of Hades (which we don’t recommend even in a car of course). Plan trips in a way that allows plenty of time for getting from point A to B, and even if you are running late, it never pays to rush.
Set Up Check List
Setting up takes patience and some time—by going precisely from step to step, you’ll avoid annoying or even costly mistakes later. Know how to properly level your unit if setting up a camper, and take advantage of useful items like those plastic squares which prevent equipment from digging into the muddy ground. Experienced campers recommended having a checklist that’s used every time.
Reserve Ahead of Time
Reserving campsites ahead of time is a must, especially at crowded destinations like popular National Parks. Recreation.gov can help travelers book their sites. Some sites really do require people to book months, if not more, in advance. So planning out your itinerary is vital. This doesn’t mean that less populated spots can’t be selected for a last-minute inspired trip.
Properly storing your unit will prevent the anguish of water damage and other costly fixes. Keep it covered in a garage preferably, or opt to have it stored at an equipped location. You can buy zipping covers that offer some extra protection as well. All in all, thinking ahead before purchase, about where you will put your new prized possession, is imperative.
Emty in the Right Order
Blackwater first, greywater second, that’s the motto that will save you from chunks of dried, well, doo doo, caking up in your emptying pipe. Sorry, there’s not a polite way to put it. But seriously, going in this order will give a relatively decent “flush” out for that cringy hose.
Some Units Have Pet Accessories
Many units have some pretty sweet features for pets, making it easy to bring precious fur babies along for the trip. More flooring options exist that don’t involve carpet. Pull out food bowls are space savers and just fun in general. And on the outside of the unit, pet parents can get leash holders so fur babies stay safe outside.