Just as your regular car won’t do you much good without a healthy battery, neither will your RV. If you are going to get a long and healthy useful life from your RV purchase, you need to complete regular battery maintenance. Fortunately, battery maintenance doesn’t have to be difficult or even time consuming once you understand the basics of what needs to be done, and when to do it.
When talking about maintenance of any kind on your RV, prevention is the first step to success. Rather than trying to fix a problem after it gets to the point of no return, try to stay on top of your RV maintenance to save both time and money over the long run. By spending just a little bit of time working on your RV before and after each trip, you can keep it in good condition and will be able to catch any issues before they become major problems.
Battery Terminal Corrosion
This is a problem that can be found in many cars, and it has the same potentially destructive power in RV’s. Over time, your battery terminals may start to corrode, damaging the quality of the electrical connection. If the corrosion becomes bad enough, you might not even be able to start the engine. Minor corrosion doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong with the battery – it can be simply a natural byproduct of using the battery time and again.
To prevent the corrosion from becoming a major issue, stay ahead of it and brush the terminals regularly. If you check the battery before each trip you take, simply brush away any corrosion that has started to show. Use a wire brush or a specialty battery brush that you can find at an auto parts store for the job. If you have enough corrosion to need more than just a brush, try using baking soda to eat away at the corrosion before brushing it off.
Once cleaned, you can use a variety of anti-corrosion sprays that are available on the market to find against this from becoming an ongoing problem. If you have taken apart the cables from the terminals to do the cleaning, make sure everything is reattached tightly and correctly before firing up the engine and heading off for your next trip.
Refilling the Water Levels
If your RV uses flooded cell batteries, you will need to check the water level within the batteries and refill as necessary. The water is going to evaporate over time, so it is to be expected that you will have to refill the batteries periodically. Check them before and after each trip, and add distilled water to the battery so that the water level is slightly higher than the plates found inside. After you have owned your RV for a while you should have a good idea of how much water is going to evaporate over a given period of time, so you can consistently replenish the water on a regular schedule.
Some RV’s run on maintenance free batteries, meaning they are sealed and don’t need to be replenished with water. Obviously, you can cross off refilling your batteries if your RV uses this type. However, maintenance free batteries still can develop corrosion over time, so it is a smart idea to keep an eye on the battery terminals when conducting basic maintenance.
A Tip for Seasonal Users
Many RV owners only use their rigs in the warm summer months, and simply park them in the garage or on the side of the house during the winter. If this sounds like you, you will want to make sure your battery is prepared to live through the winter and is ready to get back to work for you when spring and summer roll around. First, make sure you give your battery a full charge before you park the RV for the winter. Also, disconnect the electrical connections while it sits and waits out the cold months. When the time comes, you can reconnect everything as it was, and give the battery a full charge before starting up the RV for the first time in the new season.
Overall, battery maintenance isn’t a major time-drain for an RV owner. It is, however, very important and something that you need to be sure and keep up with if you are going to get the best possible life and performance from your battery. Make sure to follow the directions that come with your RV and the battery itself, and don’t get lazy on your maintenance schedule. With regular attention, you can keep the battery healthy and keep your RV where it belongs – out on the road.
Taking your RV for a long drive to a great destination is something that most RV owners dream of all year long. The open road can be a great place to unwind, soak in some scenery, and catch up with your traveling companions. Where some people count the miles until they will be done with their trip, RV owners tend to savor the miles instead, enjoying each one as it passes.
Of course, that doesn’t mean its always smooth sailing out there on the road. Things can happen when you take off on a long drive, especially in a large RV. Being prepared for a variety of circumstances is the smart and responsible thing to do. While that is true for any trip you take, it is especially important when you are going to be taking the ‘road less traveled’.
Wandering the Back Roads
There are more than 300 million people living in the United States. With that kind of population base, you might think that there would be nowhere to go in this country where you could get some peace and quiet. Oh but you would be wrong. There are many many miles of lonely roads all over this country – especially in the west. As you gain experience traveling around the country in your RV, you will find that there is still plenty of desolate land to explore, even in a country with so many millions of residents.
If you are going to be traveling some of these ‘lonely’ roads on your next RV trip, be sure to prepare yourself for as many circumstances as possible. Some of these roads see very few travelers, and you will likely be well out of cell phone range when you get deep into the country. Anytime you head out into such remote territory in your RV, you should always be prepared to spend the night if absolutely necessary. Take food and plenty of water and comfortable clothing so you can get through a night safely if there is a problem with the RV along the way. Hopefully this situation will never come to pass, but you will enjoy your trip more thoroughly if you are prepared just in case.
Where are These Roads?
Still not convinced that there are desolate highways crisscrossing the country? You don’t have to look at a map for very long to find plenty of them. The state of Nevada alone is home to plenty of lonely stretches of highway, such as US-93 which runs north and south in the eastern half of the state. Leaving from the metropolis of Las Vegas on I-15 east, it doesn’t take long to find US-93N, which will quickly take you away from the bright lights of the strip out into the desert. While you will run into a few small towns along the way, there is very little along this highway of note – and you shouldn’t plan on seeing too many other cars on the road with you. Of course, this is just one example of the remote highways that can be explored throughout the western half of the country. These roads can lead to great vacations, but be sure you are prepared before setting off.
The average person is only used to driving ‘average’ sized vehicles – meaning coupes, sedans, pickup trucks, SUV’s, and the like. Most people, unless they are professional truck drivers or work in another transportation-related field, never pilot anything with more than four wheels. If you buy an RV, however, you will quickly need to learn how to safely and efficiently operate an RV which is likely the biggest thing you have ever put in motion.
One of the considerations that you have to make when driving your RV is the other cars around you on the road. Not only do you want to help everyone stay safe, but you also want to make sure you are being courteous to others. You are taking up a large portion of the road in your RV, so it is only right that you should be aware of your positioning and do what you can to keep traffic moving freely. Following are a few points of etiquette to think about while driving your RV to and from your next vacation.
Get out of the Way!
The main rule of thumb regarding RV etiquette on the road is simply to get out of the way of faster, small vehicles. That means using the right lane whenever possible, and maybe even using a pullout along the side of the road to allow cars to pass on a one-lane highway (when safe). If you are traveling significantly lower than the speed limit – which is likely going to be the case when going up a long mountain pass, for example – you are responsible for allowing everyone else to maintain their speed successfully. Pay attention to cars coming up behind you and share the road in a friendly manner.
Don’t Follow Too Close
Nothing will make a driver nervous faster than a large vehicle coming up quickly from behind. If you are piloting an RV, make sure to maintain a safe following distance from the car in front of you. Even if the car is going slower than they should be going on a given road, you still don’t need to move up within a few feet of their bumper. You don’t have the flexibility in an RV to stop as quickly as you could in a small car, so stay back to provide yourself with more time to react should they stop suddenly for some reason.
Park Well Away from the Entrance
When you stop to park your rig at a store or restaurant, make sure to use parking spaces that are well away from the entrance to the business. You shouldn’t be blocking several spaces right up front with your large vehicle, as you will be getting in the way of several other customers. It is proper etiquette to park out away from the store, even if that means a longer walk to get inside. Your big RV will make it hard to people to get around the parking lot, and the visual obstruction that it provides could even cause an accident. Do the right thing, and park near the back of the lot for the benefit of those around you.
In recent years, there have been more and more businesses popping up which allow customers to rent RV’s for vacations. Rather than having to commit to purchasing an RV and all that entails, you can simply rent one for however long you need it and then return it after the trip. On the surface, there is a lot to like about this plan. But, does it really work as good as it sounds? In order to decide if renting an RV is a good idea for you and your family, you will need to consider a few different elements. As with any consumer decision, there are both pros and cons to be found with renting and RV. In the end, you will have to decide which side wins out and if renting an RV is something you could benefit from.
Renting Can Be a Good Intro to the RV Lifestyle
If you are someone who has never traveled in an RV, or haven’t since you were a child, renting an RV can be a good option to get a little experience and find out how much you like it. It would be pretty risky to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a new RV without even knowing how much you will enjoy using it, so renting could be a good way to start. You will be able to enjoy a short trip for limited financial investment, and find out what you and your family think of this mode of vacationing. If you find that you enjoy it, you can start to consider the possibility of purchasing your own RV down the road. If not, you will have only spend a relatively small amount of money, and you can move on to other kinds of travel.
It Gets Expensive Quickly
For those who already know they enjoy RV traveling, renting a rig can get expensive in a hurry. While you might think that you would be better off just renting an RV for the one or two trips a year that you want to take, the math will quickly show you otherwise. When you start to add up not only the rental fee for the RV, but also all the other related expenses, you will see that it is no bargain if you are going to do it on a regular basis. When you purchase an RV, you have the possibility of recouping some of that purchase price when you decide to sell it later on. That is not the case with a rental – once you pay for the rental RV trip, that money is spent and it’s not coming back.
No Sense of Ownership
Part of the allure of traveling in an RV is that you can feel like part of home is coming along with you for the trip. You can appoint your own RV with a variety of decorations and touches that remind you of home, and you will get more and more comfortable with your RV as you take more and more trips. That won’t be the case in a rental. Basically, you will be traveling in a hotel room on wheels, and the space will feel generic and unfamiliar. That isn’t to say that you can’t have fun on a trip in a rental RV, because you can – but it will never be the same as traveling in your own rig.
Consider it for Unique Opportunities
There are certain places – such as National Parks for example – that often don’t have hotel rooms available for you to stay in. If you want to visit these places and see everything that they have to offer, you might need to camp in either an RV or a tent. To avoid having to tent camp, renting an RV may be a perfect solution. If you don’t think you will want to RV travel on a regular basis but would love to see one or two specific destinations, opting for the rental option might be the right call.
For most people, renting an RV is a good option only on a limited basis, and for special occasions. If you are going to RV on even a semi-regular basis, it will likely be to your benefit to purchase an RV rather than paying rental fees for each trip. Unless you are just getting started in RV’ing and wish to experience what it is all about without committing to a purchase, renting an RV is just too expensive to make sense in the long run.
There are no two ways about it – buying an RV is a significant investment, and should be a family decision. If you are going to spend the money to add an RV to your personal property, you want to make sure that it is something you will use and enjoy for many years to come. While many people consider their RV vacations the highlight of the year, traveling in this way is not for everyone. Think carefully about the kinds of things you and your family enjoy doing on vacation, and the kinds of places you like to visit, and then decide if an RV is the best way to make those things happen.
As you work through the process of deciding whether or not to purchase an RV, ask yourself the three questions below.
Where would we go on vacation?
Before you even set foot on an RV dealership lot, take some time to browse the web and look for potential destinations for your RV vacations. You might already know of a place or two you would like to visit, but take some time to do research and see if there are any other options within your general area that would be interesting to you and your family. You want to make sure there are plenty of spots for you to take trips if you are going to spend the money on an RV purchase.
As part of this exercise, think about how far you would be willing to drive for most trips and use that number to focus your search. If you and your family really don’t want to be in the RV traveling for more than five hours, for example, make sure to search within a five hour drive radius from your house. Some people are more willing to drive long distances than others, so this will have to be a personal choice based on your own preferences.
What would we do on vacation?
What sounds like a great vacation to one family might sound terrible to another. Love to play nice golf courses and enjoy high-end resort amenities? There is nothing wrong with that – but an RV might not be the best use of your recreation money. Enjoy fishing, hiking, boating, and other outdoors activities? RV ownership could be right up your alley. Think about not only where you could go on vacations, but what you could do when you get there. If you would enjoy fishing, then you will need to find an RV that allows you to take along a boat as well. Think ahead in terms of activities so you can decide not only if an RV is right for you, but also what kind of RV would serve you best.
What does the future look like for our family?
Buying an RV is not a short-term proposition. In order for the purchase to make financial sense, you will want to be enjoying your RV for many years to come. With that in mind, what does the future look like for your family in the next few years? Are the kids going off to college, or maybe getting married? While a large RV might be perfect for your family today, it may be way too big for you and your spouse in just a couple short years. Conversely, maybe you are planning to add to your family in the near future and might need a larger RV in the years to come. This possibility might lead you to buy a bigger rig than you need now, with the idea that your family will grow into it over time.
RV traveling is great fun, and offers the opportunity to make some wonderful memories. It is not, however, for everyone. Considering how much money you will have to spend to purchase an RV of your own, it is not a decision to be taken lightly. Think about the three questions above, and talk them over with your family. After spending some time thinking and reviewing all of the RV vacation options in your local area, you should soon have a clear decision as to whether or not buying an RV will be the best way to go.
In many ways, buying an RV feels like you will be traveling in a hotel. After all, your bed is waiting for you in the RV, you have a bathroom, a kitchen, and plenty of room to put your stuff. In a nice RV, you might even have a full-size couch and a TV. Even with all of those amenities, it is important that you don’t forget about the basic camping gear that applies to any kind of trip into nature.
It’s All About Being Outside
There is something of a paradox when it comes to RV ownership. You spend tens of thousands of dollars on a
beautiful new RV, only to take it to places where you want to spend more of your time outside. The beautiful destinations that are available to RV travelers include lakes, rivers, mountains, forests, and more. These are not places that you want to visit only to sit inside and look out the window. The whole point is to get out and enjoy these settings, so you need to be prepared for a traditional camping trip even though you will be sleeping within the walls of your trailer or Motorhome.
If you were a tent camper at one point, you probably already own most of what you will need to set up camp outside of your RV. Among the basic items to include when packing are as follows –
Outdoor table cloth
Flashlights or a lantern
Fire building materials
With the items on the list above, you should be able to put together a comfortable outdoor area to spend time with your family and friends. You can think of this area as an extension of your RV – you want to make it comfortable and relaxing in order to spend as much time outside during the trip as possible. However, unlike a tent camper, you can always retreat to the controlled environment of your RV if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Don’t Bring Too Much
It is a fine line between not bringing enough traditional camping gear on your RV trips, and wasting space by bringing too much. Carefully think about how many people are coming on the trip and what you will want to be able to do while you are outside. You don’t want to waste valuable space in the RV as you are packing, so it may take a little practice to strike the perfect balance on this point.
One final piece to this puzzle is the specific destination that you have in mind. For example, some locations allow campfires while others don’t – are you going to be able to burn where you are staying? If not, there is no point in taking your campfire equipment. Pack smart by tailoring your items to the destination you will be visiting and you can save space while still being able to enjoy everything about your trip.
Getting started in the world of RV travel can be a bit overwhelming. RVs are large vehicles, they are expensive, and they often need to be parked in tight spaces. There is a lot to love about owning and using an RV, but there is a learning curve to be sure. Of course, the only way to get over that learning curve is to get started. In this article, we will provide you some basic tips which can help you transition into becoming a veteran RV user in no time at all.
The biggest thing for a new RV owner to learn is how to maneuver the vehicle safely. No matter what kind of RV you have purchased – a motorhome, a trailer, fifth-wheel, etc. – you are going to need to get comfortable driving this big rig out on the road. Most likely, this will be the largest vehicle you have ever been in charge of operating. To learn how to handle the size and weight of the vehicle, head to a large, empty parking lot to practice. With open space and nothing to hit, you can work on things like backing up, parking in a tight spot (that you can mark out with some cones), and braking in a controlled manner. RV travel will only be fun if you are comfortable driving the rig that you have purchased.
The Trip Will Take Longer Than You Expect
When planning your upcoming vacation, you might just plug your start and end points into Google Maps to determine how long the journey will be. While this is usually a great way to plan a road trip, it isn’t likely to be as effective in this case. The problem comes down to the time you will make in your RV. You aren’t going to travel nearly as quickly as you would in a passenger vehicle, so plan on significantly more time on the road than what your GPS system is suggesting. Rather than trying to ‘make good time’, just enjoy the journey and get there safely.
The Owner’s Manual is Your Friend
Many people toss out the owner’s manual immediately when they purchase a new product. That might be okay if you buy a toaster, but you certainly don’t want to do such a thing if you buy an RV. In fact, you should see the owner’s manual as a great assistant when taking your first trips. Keep it close at hand and consult it whenever you are unsure of how to use your rig. In time, you will need to use it less and less, but it should always be on board just in case.
Bring Relevant Tools
You probably already thought of the fact that you should have a tool kit with you in case repairs need to be made. However, you might be tempted just to toss your tool box from home into the RV – despite the fact that those tools may not be relevant on the trip. Take a look around your RV and make sure you are bringing tools that will actually work when you have a problem to fix.
RV buyers tend to fit into two general categories – those who are about to retire and want to travel the country, and those who are just getting started with a family of their own. Kids tend to love RV travel, as it feels like an adventure that they get to take to a number of new and interesting places. If you have kids and would like them to develop an appreciation for the outdoors, becoming an RV owner is a great idea.
Of course, as is always the case, there are rewards and there are challenges when dealing with kids. You have to be well-prepared in order to make the most of an RV vacation with your children, and you have to think about their needs when purchasing the rig to begin with. The tips that follow should help you make many great memories along the way in your family RV.
They Need Their Space
It should go without saying that your kids are going to need a space of their own where they can sleep in the RV. However, in addition to having sleeping quarters, it is helpful if they have a space they can call their own during the trip – even if they have to share it with their siblings. Most kids enjoy having a room of their own at home, and this is the same concept. They can keep their toys in this area, and they can head there while you are doing some of the adult tasks that come along with running an RV. As you pick out your RV, think about this requirement and make sure the kids will have somewhere to go.
Break the Drive into Short Stretches
You already know that kids don’t necessarily do well when riding in a vehicle for hours on end. So does that mean you have to limit your vacations to only destinations within a short drive of your home? No – you just have to be smart about how you plan your time on the road. If you can extend your vacation, consider adding a couple of nights on the road so the kids are able to have fun each day rather than just riding along. Alternatively, you could break up a long day of driving with a fun stop to enjoy an outdoor activity for an hour. The key here is planning – know when and where you will be able to break up the drive, and tell your kids so they have something to look forward to while on the road.
Give Them Tasks
Believe it or not, most kids actually take quite well to being given jobs while on a trip. As you are completing all of the necessary tasks to get your RV set up, find ways for your kids to help you. Of course, these should be safe things for them to do, and you should always be supervising. When they feel some sense of pride and ownership in the process, they will become that much more invested in your vacations.
Some of the best times you are going to have as a family will be enjoyed in your RV. As long as you plan ahead, think about the kids when buying an RV, and involve them in the process, you will find that children and RV travel are a natural fit.
Golf is one of the most popular games in the world, and many RV owners are also golf enthusiasts. If that sounds like you, taking your RV on a golf vacation may just be one of the best experiences you have in your life. There are beautiful golf courses all over the United States, and what better way to visit them than in an RV? With RV travel, there will be plenty of room for your clubs to come along on the trip, and you won’t have to rack up expensive hotel bills all along the way. Also, if you are traveling with your favorite foursome, there should be space for everyone to stay right there with you in the RV.
Look to the West
While there are great golf courses all across the country, the western half of the United States has an incredible collection of scenic courses that every golfer should try to visit at least once. Where many of the iconic courses on the east coast are private country clubs, most of the great courses out west are open to the public (although they certainly can be expensive). Consider adding some of the following beautiful courses to your itinerary – Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines, Bandon Dunes, PGA West, TPC Scottsdale, and Shadow Creek (in Las Vegas). While there are hundreds of other courses throughout the west that deserve your attention, the names on this list are some of the highlights. If you get a chance to play any of these courses, it will likely be an experience that you talk about for years to come.
Consider Shoulder Season Travel
In the golf world (and in other tourism industries), the early spring and late fall is often considered the ‘shoulder’ season. If you are willing to travel during these times of year, you will enjoy reduced rates at many of the courses you visit. Obviously, you may encounter less-desirable weather during these periods, but the trade may be worth it if you can bring the overall price of your vacation down to a more reasonable level. Check the average weather conditions for the specific times of year you are considering so you will know what you are getting into prior to making any tee times.
See Other Sights
In addition to visiting some of the best golf courses in the country, you can also use this kind of trip to visit other destinations. For example, if you went to play Pebble Beach, you could also spend time visiting nearby Monterey and seeing the various tourist attractions that the area has to offer. Many of the best golf courses are located in areas with plenty of other things to do, so your trip doesn’t have to be only about golf.
To make your golf vacation as enjoyable and stress-free as possible, scout out RV parks near the golf courses as far in advance as possible. Make sure you have both a tee time in hand and an RV spot reserved so your trip can be all about having fun with your traveling companions while enjoying some world-class golf experiences.
The term ‘snowbirds’ often refers to retired people who split their time in two locations – they live farther north in the warm summer months, and head south for a warmer climate during the winter. This is a popular plan for countless people later in life, as they aren’t tied to a specific geographic location by work or kids. Many people own a home in both locations so they can move easily back and forth from one to the other each year. Owning two homes is a great way to go, but there is another option that might be even more effective for some people.
Instead of having a house in the north and a house in the south, snowbirds can consider owning one house and an RV, with the RV serving as their winter ‘home’. With the high quality of many RV models on the market today, they are more than capable of serving as home for a few months and provide a number of advantages over owning a second house.
Far More Affordable
A challenge that stops many people from living the snowbird lifestyle is simply not being able to afford to own two houses. Owning two homes is a costly proposition, especially when you consider that people of this age are typically on a fixed income. This is where an RV starts to make so much sense. The cost of an RV pales in comparison to buying a whole extra house, even when you factor in paying for the fees to stay at a campground. During the summer at home somewhere in the north, the RV can simply be parked and stored until the winter when it is put back in use. Maintenance costs will generally be less on an RV than a house as well.
Imagine that you are planning to live the snowbird lifestyle, so you purchase a second home in Palm Springs, California – a popular winter destination for snowbirds thanks to warm weather, golf courses, shopping, and more. There is nothing wrong with this plan, however, you will be headed to Palm Springs each winter because that is where the house is located. You are locked in to that one specific location even if you decide that you would like to mix it up.
With an RV, that is not a problem at all. If you decide that Palm Springs sounds good one year, you can easily head in that direction. Maybe the next year, you choose Arizona – or even Florida. With an RV as your second home, you can pick the destination that you want to visit each year without feeling committed to any one place. Also, you could break up the winter in a variety of places to see different things and meet new people. The choice is yours.
One of the challenges when living part time in two different locations is making friends in both places. While you probably already have a network of friends in the place where you spent most of your adult life, you might not know very many people (or anyone) at your second home in the south. This is another advantage to choosing the RV plan. Campgrounds and RV parks tend to be social places where people with a similar lifestyle are happy to meet each other, share stories, and make new friends. Spending just one winter at an RV facility in a warm location will likely leave you with more than enough friends to stay busy all throughout your winter stay. In fact, you might be surprised to find how many people you meet actually are doing the same thing as you – and might live pretty close to you back at your house in the north, as well.
Working your whole adult life toward retirement means that you should be able to enjoy yourself and live the lifestyle that you have been dreaming about for years. Taking the snowbird approach and living in two locations is a great option, and doing so with an RV provides you with even more flexibility and options. All you need to do is find an RV that you will be comfortable living in for months at a time, and pick out a destination for your first winter. With those preparations made, look forward to a new experience and the opportunity to meet new people living the same lifestyle as you.
Having a tire blowout from under your RV while on the road is one of the worst things that can happen while traveling to or from your destination. Obviously, losing a tire while moving at freeway speed can lead to very serious consequences, so the best thing that you can do when it comes to this issue is to avoid it in the first place. By caring for your tires properly, you can steer clear of a blowout and keep your traveling party safe in the process.
The first thing you can do to lessen the likelihood of a tire blowout is to keep all of your tires in relatively good condition – which means replacing them as they get old. When the tread starts to wear thin on an old set of tires, consider replacing the entire set before your next trip. Even if you haven’t put all that many miles on the tires to this point, you still may want to replace them if they have been on the RV for several years. The condition of the rubber is going to degrade over time, especially if you live in a harsh climate, so it would be a mistake to push it too far.
Air Pressure Issues
The next thing you need to watch for before heading out on a trip is the inflation level of your tires. When your RV tires are under inflated before you hit the road, they will run the risk of getting too hot as you travel along, especially if you are driving on the freeway – and it is hot tires that are susceptible to blowouts. Before any long road trip, take a moment to check on the air pressure in your tires and adjust them as necessary. The appropriate level of pressure will vary on a number of factors including the tires themselves and the specific RV that you own, so educate yourself on the needs of your situation and respond accordingly.
Watch Your Weight
When packing up your RV to hit the open road, do your best to evenly distribute the weight inside the RV around the cabin. You should be focused on this for a number of reasons, including the fact that it can help you avoid a blowout (and it can help you recover more easily should a blowout occur). If you were to load up one side of the RV significantly heavier than the other side, you would be placing extra load on the tires on that side of the vehicle. Pay attention to heavy items as you pack and do your best to even things out nicely.
A Simple Walk-Around
Sometimes, it is the simple steps you take toward travel safety that are the most important. That is true in this case, as a simple walk-around your RV before you hit the road can give you a chance to inspect each tire for damage before you set off. After camping in the woods for a week, for instance, you might not have noticed that one of your tires suffered some form of damage that will compromise it while out on the road. Take a few moments to have a close look at each tire before heading out and your odds of a blowout will be dramatically reduced.
One of the best things to do with an RV is simply to take it to beautiful places. RV’s allow to stay closer to nature than you would be able to do otherwise, while still providing many of the comforts of home. Fortunately, the United States offers countless beautiful locations in which to enjoy an RV vacation. In fact, even going beyond the U.S., there are many great RV’ing destinations in Canada as well.
When it comes to beautiful Canadian destinations, it is hard to imagine doing better than Whistler, British Columbia. A short drive north from Vancouver, Whistler has long been an international skiing destination. With an incredible number of ski runs available on both Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain, the appeal of this area is obvious from the moment you arrive. However, even if you aren’t a skier, there is still plenty to love about the greater Whistler area.
Summer is Stunning
Make no mistake, the mountains in this region are incredible when they are covered in show. If you are able to make it up to Whistler in the winter, you will be in for a real treat. With that said, summer should not be overlooked. As an RV traveler, summer provides the advantage of better road conditions, and the Whistler crowds are usually smaller during the warm season. Worried that there won’t be enough to do in Whistler without snow on the slopes? Don’t be. Between the hiking, fishing, biking, shopping, dining, and golfing, you will have more than enough to keep your busy throughout your stay.
If you are a sports fan, you probably have a special place in your heart for the Olympics. Playing for country instead of a paycheck brings a different dynamic to each Olympic sport, so many fans wait anxiously for the Summer and Winter Olympics to make their four-year rotations. To experience a little bit of Olympic history, visit Whistler and see some of the locations where the 2010 Winter Olympics were contested. While Vancouver was the official host city for the games, many of the skiing events took place in and around Whistler, in addition to the luge and bobsled races. Even though the games have come and gone, there are still plenty of signs recalling Olympic memories all around the village.
The Sea to Sky is Unforgettable
It isn’t often that you come home from a trip talking as much about the drive as you do about the eventual destination – but that just might be the case when you get back from Whistler. Part of the road from Vancouver up to Whistler is known as the Sea to Sky Highway, and it is truly amazing. The road winds along the water’s edge before rising up into the mountains that wrap around the entire region. Be sure to drive safe and keep your eyes on the road, as it is easy to get distracted by the scenery. Fortunately, there are plenty of places along the way where you can pull of the road and take in the beautiful Canadian landscape.
Have you recently purchased your first RV? Congratulations! RV ownership can be a ton of fun, especially once you learn how to use your rig properly. In order to help you get off to the best possible start with your RVing experience, we have listed ten helpful ‘newbie’ tips below. Keep these tips in mind as you plan and embark on your inaugural trip in the new RV.
#1 – RVs Take a Long Time to Stop
Forgive us if this should go in the ‘obvious’ category, but it is a point which needs to be made anyway. Most people are used to driving around town in cars or pickup trucks, but piloting an RV is a different kind of experience altogether. Make sure you give yourself as much room to stop as possible, since the weight of these vehicles means they need far more runway than the average sedan.
#2 – You Don’t Need to Pack Your Entire House
It is tempting to pack a ton of gear for an RV camping trip, as you will have quite a bit of space available in the rig. Don’t fall victim to that temptation. Only bring what you need, just as you would when camping in a tent. It is no fun to have to squeeze yourself into tight corners of your RV because you have packed a whole bunch of gear which will never be used.
#3 – Pack from Bottom to Top
Speaking of packing, make it a habit to keep heavier items down low while moving the lighter stuff into higher spaces. Remember, you are going to be driving your RV on the open road, so you want to be logical about weight distribution. Moving heavy stuff up high is going to make the rig less stable overall.
#4 – Buy Food Close to Camp
When possible, plan a stop at a grocery store close to your destination in order to pick up most of your items. You don’t need to haul all of your food the whole way if there is a store near the campground, and it will be easier to keep your food fresh this way.
#5 – Happiness is Being Level
You are only going to be able to enjoy your RV to the fullest if you are able to get it level once in your campsite. Bring along the right equipment for leveling, such as jacks and leveling blocks, and take time to get this task right.
#6 – Master the Sewer
One of the best things about owning an RV is the fact that you have a bathroom on board. One of the worst things about owning an RV is the fact that you are responsible for emptying the tanks associated with that bathroom. Learn how to handle this chore like a pro so you don’t have any smelly problems later on.
#7 – Not Every Road is an RV Road
Just because a road shows up on your GPS as a viable option for your trip does not mean it’s a good choice for your RV. Be smart, avoid narrow, windy roads, and always do your research before setting out.
#8 – Your Checklist is Crucial
Every RV owner should have a checklist of things to pack and review before hitting the road. This list should be a constant companion at the start and end of every trip. There is a lot to remember when traveling by RV, and a good checklist can take the stress out of the process.
#9 – Other RV Owners Are Usually Friendly – But Give Them Space
You should expect to make plenty of friends along the way when traveling by RV. You should also expect to meet some people who would rather be left alone. Be sure to give others the space they request, and enjoy chatting with those who want to make new friends.
#10 – Patience Goes a Long Way
Don’t rush when you are traveling by RV. You shouldn’t be trying to make record time getting to your destination, and you shouldn’t be in a hurry when packing either. This is supposed to be your recreational time, so enjoy it and make the most of the opportunity.
If you already own a truck, you are halfway to having a great RV setup for travel with family and friends. Instead of having to buy both a truck and trailer, or a Motorhome, you can simply pick out a trailer to pull behind your existing truck. Of course, when taking that course of action, you will need to be sure to pick a trailer that falls within the towing capabilities of your truck – otherwise, you will be stuck in the driveway just trying to make it down the street. This plan is only going to work when you get the right trailer weight for the truck, so use the advice in this article to make the right pick.
What is Gross Vehicle Weight Rating?
This is a number that you need to understand before you go shopping for a truck. The GVWR of your truck is a number that tells you exactly how much weight you can have on your tires when everything is all added up. This number includes the weight of the truck itself, the weight of your passengers and gear, and the weight that the trailer presses down on the tongue. When you go out to shop for a trailer, you will find that they have various ‘tongue weights’ that need to be considered. So, do some basic math to add up all of the relevant weights to decide if a specific trailer is going to be suitable for your truck.
Other Important Numbers
Of course, GVWR is just one place to start. You will need to know more than just this single number if you are going to pick out the right trailer, so your homework must continue on to a few more points. Specifically, look into information on the points highlighted below –
Gross Combination Weight Rating. As you might guess, this is the rating for everything when it is all added up – including both truck and trailer. Exceeding this rating is a bad idea both for the performance of your vehicle and for your safety out on the road.
Maximum tow rating. This is the number that tells you how much weight you are supposed to be able to tow safely with your truck. Naturally, you will want to be sure that you are selecting a trailer that falls well below your maximum rating, as you need to be able to put things inside the RV for your trips which will add to the weight of the whole rig.
Beware of Marketing Hype
You need to be careful to do some math on your own in order to figure out if you can pull a specific trailer – because the marketing department behind some trucks tends to get a little carried away. You don’t want to rely on a single number that you saw in a commercial which said you could tow a certain amount of weight. Do your own research, and your own math, and come to a conclusion that you are comfortable with. Remember, erring on the side of caution is always best, as there is no need to stress your truck harshly while trying to pull an RV for a fun family vacation. Keep everything well within the weight limit and look forward to many great trips to come.