Rv Travel: What You Need To Know

what to know about rv travel

RV travel has become an increasingly popular way to vacation, especially in the wake of the pandemic. It's a great way to see the world, offering freedom, flexibility and comfort. But before you embark on your first RV adventure, there are a few things you should know.

First, you'll need to decide whether to buy or rent an RV. If you're planning on taking multiple trips, buying might be the best option, but renting is a good way to test the waters. Either way, it's important to get to know your RV and take it for a practice drive before your trip. Familiarise yourself with the mechanics, and consider taking a shorter trip on similar terrain to the one you plan to drive on. That way, you can make any necessary adjustments and avoid operational errors.

Next, remember to bring tools and spare parts. Pack a well-stocked toolkit and include items like extra fuses, light bulbs, and jumper cables. It's also a good idea to have a plan and a budget in place, including a food supply and a route with alternate options. While RV travel offers spontaneity, a little preparation can go a long way.

Finally, when it comes to parking and campsites, there are a few things to keep in mind. RVs are larger vehicles, so parking options may be more limited. Walmart is a good backup option, and you can find campsites through websites like KOA. When setting up camp, remember to check for obstacles, locate the electrical, water, and sewage hookups, and secure your RV.

With a bit of preparation and the right mindset, your RV trip is sure to be an unforgettable adventure.


RV travel is a cost-effective way to explore

Firstly, RVs can be a cheaper alternative to hotels and motels. You can also save money by cooking your own meals in your RV kitchen, which is healthier and more convenient than eating out.

Secondly, RVs offer a flexible way to travel. You can go wherever you want, whenever you want, without the need to book accommodation in advance. This means you can take advantage of last-minute deals and be spontaneous. You can also save money on fuel by driving at a slower pace and avoiding highways and interstates.

Thirdly, RVs are a great option if you are travelling as a family or with a group of friends. There is plenty of storage space for suitcases and other items, and you only need to unpack once, making it a more relaxed and enjoyable journey. RVs also tend to have built-in seatbelts and workstations, so you can use your travel time productively.

Finally, RVs are a great way to explore nature and visit national parks. You can find free campsites on public land or in cheaper, remote locations. This can be a more cost-effective option than staying in expensive resorts or hotels.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind. RVs can be expensive to purchase and maintain, so it might be more cost-effective to rent one if you are only taking a few trips a year. They are also larger and heavier than cars, so they can be more difficult to drive and park. It is recommended that you take a practice drive before your trip to get used to the vehicle.

Overall, RV travel can be a cost-effective and enjoyable way to explore, offering flexibility, convenience, and the opportunity to connect with nature.


You can rent or buy an RV

Renting an RV is a great option if you want to avoid the hassle of purchasing one. You can rent from companies like Go RVing, Cruise America, El Monte RV, and KOA Kampgrounds, which offer a range of vehicle sizes. The daily rate for renting an RV or camper averages $165, and some companies also charge a fee per mile travelled. When renting, you also get the convenience of all-inclusive rates, which often include supplies like kitchen tools and insurance. Renting is a good option if you don't have much experience with RVs or don't want the responsibility of maintaining a large vehicle that you'll only use occasionally.

On the other hand, buying an RV gives you the freedom to go on spontaneous camping trips and long-haul adventures whenever you want. You can customise your RV, stock it with your favourite amenities, and simplify your travel by avoiding rental contracts. However, buying an RV comes with significant costs, including maintenance, storage, registration, and potential loan payments. Even small RVs have hefty price tags, and you'll also need to budget for gear and repairs. If you're considering buying, you may want to look into purchasing a used RV to reduce costs.


RVs come in different shapes, styles, and sizes

RVs come in a variety of shapes, styles, and sizes, and consequently, they come in a variety of prices and levels of luxury. Here is a brief overview of the main categories:

Class A Motorhomes

These are the big, bus-shaped motorhomes you might associate with singers or movie stars. They can reach up to 45 feet in length and often feature multiple slide-outs, full-sized kitchens, and a variety of sleeping surfaces for up to 8 or more passengers. Class A motorhomes are usually very luxurious and well-appointed, but they are also serious gas guzzlers.

Class B Motorhomes

Sometimes referred to as sleeper vans or camper vans, Class B motorhomes are on the small end of the RV spectrum. They come in a range of price points, from relatively affordable Westfalia vans or VW conversions to top-of-the-line Mercedes Sprinters. Don't be fooled by their compact size, though—high-end camper vans frequently fetch $100,000 or more.

Class C Motorhomes

Class C motorhomes offer many of the same amenities and conveniences as Class A motorhomes but at a generally smaller price point. They are built into standard truck chassis, which makes them relatively simple to operate even for those intimidated by the idea of driving a large vehicle. Their iconic over-cockpit attic space can be used for storage, sleeping, or entertainment. Class C motorhomes tend to be a little less luxurious than Class As, and they are more commonly available in smaller sizes.

Fifth Wheels and Travel Trailers

Fifth wheels and travel trailers are towable RVs that offer the unique benefit of having an auxiliary vehicle without having to tow one separately. However, because travel trailers are heavy, the tow vehicle is likely to be a full-sized truck or SUV, which may not be ideal for city driving. Travel trailers are more affordable than motorhomes since you're not purchasing an engine, and they often have some of the largest and most well-laid-out living floor plans. Setting up camp takes a bit more work than with a motorhome, though, as you'll need to level your trailer and/or fold out your camper.


RVs require regular maintenance

RVs are a great way to travel and explore the outdoors. However, they require regular maintenance, which can be expensive and time-consuming. Here are some tips to help you keep your RV in good condition:

Know Your RV

It is important to take the time to learn how your RV works, even if it is just a rental. This will help you identify and fix any problems that may arise, saving you time and money on mechanic visits. For example, knowing how many amps your main breaker can handle will prevent you from blowing it, which can be an expensive mistake.

Practice Driving

RV driving is harder than driving a car. It is bigger, heavier, slower, less fuel-efficient, and more physically tiring. Practise parking and manoeuvring your RV in an empty lot before taking it on a trip. Take breaks every couple of hours and plan for a longer trip than your navigation system suggests—add a 20% buffer to the estimated time.

Maintenance and Repairs

RVs have all the regular maintenance considerations of a car, plus the extras related to the appliances and amenities inside the coach. They are also particularly prone to water leakage, which can cause significant damage. Seals and seams should be regularly checked and conditioned to prevent water damage. Other common issues include problems with slide-outs and the engine. Finding a trustworthy mechanic and setting a regular maintenance schedule can help prevent age-related issues.

Weight and Tire Pressure

RVs have weight limits, and overloading them can damage the tires. The cargo-carrying capacity should be listed on a yellow sticker inside the vehicle. Check the tire pressure before every trip, as RV tires are under heavier strain than regular car tires.


RVs have weight limits

RV weight is a critical component of RVing and one that is often overlooked. Understanding your RV's weight is important for insurance coverage, safety, and knowing how much cargo you can bring.

An overweight RV can lead to increased wear and tear on components such as suspension, brakes, axles, and the engine, resulting in more frequent repairs and a shorter vehicle lifespan. Additionally, overweight RVs are more likely to experience major vehicle problems and blowouts, which can cause accidents. When driving in mountainous areas, an RV that is too heavy may struggle with steep grades, leading to engine overheating and damage.

To ensure safety and avoid overloading, it is essential to understand the weight ratings and limitations of your RV and tow vehicle. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is the maximum permissible weight of your RV when fully loaded, including all weight on the axles and tongue or pin. The Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW) is the weight of the RV as manufactured at the factory, including fluids and, in some cases, dealer-installed equipment. The Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC) represents the remaining weight that can be added to the RV, calculated as GVWR minus UVW, water weight, and propane weight.

To determine your RV's weight, locate the "RV Weight Information" sticker, typically found inside kitchen cabinets, behind the driver's seat, near the pinbox, or on the side of the RV. This sticker provides weight ratings such as GVWR, UVW, and CCC. Additionally, you can refer to the owner's manual for weight information.

When packing your RV, consider the weight of your cargo, fluids, passengers, and optional equipment. Even liquids like water and propane contribute significantly to the overall weight. To stay within safe weight limits, you may need to make careful decisions about what items to bring and how much water to carry.

Remember that weight distribution is also crucial. Ensure your cargo is evenly distributed to avoid weight mismatches and potential RV trailer sway.

By understanding and respecting weight limits, you can help ensure a safer and more enjoyable RV experience.

Frequently asked questions

RV travel offers the freedom to go wherever you want, unpack only once, and stay in the comfort of your own home. It's also a great way to save money on accommodation and dining out. However, RVs can be expensive to buy and maintain, and driving them can be more challenging than driving a car.

It's important to get to know your RV and take a practice drive to familiarise yourself with its handling. Bring tools and spare parts, plan your route and stops in advance, and be mindful of weight limits and tire pressure.

Consider "boondocking" on public land or staying overnight for free at businesses like Walmarts or vineyards. Cooking your own meals and purchasing an annual National Park Pass can also help you save money.

Written by
Reviewed by
Share this post
Did this article help you?

Leave a comment