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All RV owners – from those who just purchased their rig and are out for their first trip, to those who have been doing it for twenty years or more – will make mistakes from time to time. Most of them are no big deal, but they can be annoying nonetheless. While being perfect is probably an impossible goal, you can learn from the mistakes of your fellow RV’ers and take steps to avoid them in the future.
Below are a few of the more common mistakes that are made when it comes to owning and operating an RV. You just might recognize a couple from your past experiences – it’s okay, we won’t ask!
Not Moving the Wheel Chocks
So you enjoyed a great week of camping in your RV, and have gotten everything all packed up and put away from the drive home – until you can’t get the RV moving out of the parking spot. Hopefully, it won’t take you much time to realize that the wheel chocks are still in place, preventing the RV from rolling away (and hopefully no one in the campground is watching). Since moving the chocks away from the wheels is probably one of the last things you will do before heading out, it is an understandable mistake to make – but probably one you will only make once.
Driving Away – But Connected
If you have been connected to water, or sewer, or power, or all three, while you have been camped, it is obviously important to make sure you are disconnected (and all of the parts and accessories are put away) before driving off. Beyond being embarrassing, this is a mistake that could prove expensive if you damage something in the process of trying to drive away. Always double check that your RV is free and clear and ready to hit the road before you actually head out.
Not Getting Level Right Away
Either through forgetfulness or laziness, some RV’ers don’t get their rig properly level at the start of the trip, and end up dealing with it for the rest of the time they are camped. Not only is this uncomfortable when you are trying to relax inside and realize that things aren’t level, it can also cause your RV to not quite function as it should. Always get level when you arrive for your stay so you don’t have to worry about it later on.
Buying the Huge RV – When You Don’t Need It
This is a mistake that can get expensive, quick. When you go to the RV dealership to pick out just the right rig for you and your family, don’t automatically head to the largest one on the lot and assume that is the one you want. Bigger coaches are more expensive to buy, more expensive to fuel, etc. You want to pick one that is just the right size for you family’s needs – not too big, not too small. Also, by getting one that isn’t too large, you should be able to get into more campgrounds than you would have if you purchased the largest one on the lot.
Going the Wrong Direction
If you do own a large RV, make sure to plan your trip such that you can avoid going on roads that have overpasses too low for you to clear – or streets too narrow for you to navigate comfortably. Think ahead and research the best route to get to your destination without having to deal with extra challenges along the way.
Staying at Home Too Often
This is the mistake that most RV owners are guilty of – not using their RV enough! If you decide to make the commitment to purchase an RV, then you should make the commitment to get out and use it as often as possible. Even if you can only get away for a short trip, look for fun places to go that won’t be too long of a drive from your home and check them out for yourself.
There is no shame in making some silly mistakes with your RV, as long as they don’t cost you too much money or create an unsafe situation. Before you get back out onto the road, make sure to go over your checklist and ensure that everything is done properly and the rig is ready to go. By taking your time double-checking your work, you should be able to avoid the common mistakes that RV owners make.
For most people, RV travel is all about experiencing nature. Seeing wildlife, trees, flowers, lakes, rivers, and more is what the RV lifestyle has to offer. However, that nature should stay outside of the RV. When nature starts to make its way inside of your Motorhome or trailer, trouble is soon to follow.
One example of unwanted nature in your RV is ants. Depending on where you are camping, it is a very real possibility to get ants inside of your RV. Not only can this make your RV a significantly less-comfortable place to be, but those ants could potentially to long-term damage to your rig. It would be in your best interest to keep ants from ever getting inside your RV, but that is a job that is easier said than done.
They Need a Path
Ants aren’t going to get inside of your RV unless they have a path to take. Unfortunately, your RV needs to be connected to the ground at several points, so there are usually a number of opportunities for the ants to make the journey up into the vehicle. Your tires, stabilizers, hoses, and more will all give the ants a free pass up into the RV. To prevent them from making the journey, consider using a bug spray or similar product to discourage them from finding their way in. You should be able to find a variety of products at the RV store to choose from, so just pick the one that works best for your needs.
Don’t Give Them Any Motivation
Leaving food out inside the RV is a bad habit, as open food containers or leftovers are an open invitation for ants to come join your fun. Keep your RV kitchen clean and always close up food containers when they aren’t in use. This will not only give you a much better chance of keeping the ants away, but it will also make your RV a more comfortable place to be throughout the trip.
Call in the Pros
At some point, an infestation of ants will go beyond your abilities as a typical RV owner. If you have a serious ant problem in your rig, don’t hesitate to call in professional exterminators who can handle the job quickly and correctly. The longer you allow the ants to live on your RV, the more damage that can be done. It won’t be fun to spend the money on an exterminator for your RV, but you won’t have much choice if the any population gets out of control.
You should be able to lay your head down at night and relax when camping in an RV – but relaxation will be the last thing on your mind if you are worried about ants infiltrating your rig. Take the time to put some preventative measures in place at the start of your trip so you can forget about ants and move on to enjoying your RV vacation.
The Financial Side of an RV Purchase
In a perfect world, we all would be able to just walk into an RV dealership, pick out the one we like, write a check for the purchase, and drive away. Of course, for most people, that isn’t how it works. Even the cost of RV’s today, most people will need to finance the purchase of the RV so they can pay it off over a period of time. While having to get a loan for your RV purchase might complicate the process a little bit, it shouldn’t be too difficult to manage. As long as you have reasonable credit and enough income to qualify for the loan, most dealers or banks will be happy to work with you.
Before you ever step foot on an RV lot to look at the possible rigs you could purchase, you should have a very clear budget in mind. It might help to stop by your bank and ask about RV loans in regard to what terms they can offer, and what amount you could qualify for. This will give you a starting point for your budget, and also help you to determine what your monthly payments would look like based on the cost of the RV that you end up purchasing. Armed with this information, you can start to visit some dealers and work on finding the RV that is right for you and your family.
You’ve Probably Done This Before
Even if this is your first RV purchase, you likely have already bought a car at some point in your life. If so, the RV buying process will probably look pretty familiar. The process of getting a loan to buy an RV is very similar to that of getting a car loan, and you might even be able to work with the same lender. You will have the option of putting down as much of a down payment as you would like, although you probably don’t have a trade-in like you may have when you purchased a new vehicle. Obviously, the more down payment you are able to put on the purchase, the smaller the loan you will need to take out. The lender will want to do a credit check, and will offer you terms for the loan based on a number of factors, including the size of the purchase and your credit history.
Understand the Monthly Payment Obligation
While it is important to understand all of the terms of your RV loan, the monthly payment number is one to pay particular attention to. If you aren’t comfortable with paying back that amount each month, you shouldn’t take on the loan. Go into the process with a firm limit on how much you are willing to take on per month, and don’t exceed that number. The RV you are buying should be a source of fun and excitement in your life – but it will be more stressful than anything else if the loan payment becomes a significant burden.
Keep an Eye on Refinancing
After you secure an RV loan and make a purchase, keep checking in on the average lending rates from time to time. If they fall significantly from the time of your original purchase, and are below the terms on your current loan, you might be able to refinance the loan and save yourself money in the process. Of course, there are usually fees associated with a refinance, so make sure that the overall financial picture of refinancing the loan comes out in your best interest. However, if it does make sense for you, it can certainly be worth your time to save money both on a monthly basis, and in terms of interest over the life of the loan.
Being prepared before you head into an RV buying process is the most-important lesson that you can learn. Know what kind of budget you have to work with, and what amount of monthly payment you are willing to take on. This will give you clear and defined targets, and will help you to not get talked into something you can’t afford by the salesperson. At the end of the day, the goal is to drive away with an RV that is perfect for you and your family, for a price that you are comfortable with.
If you have landed on this site, it is probably because you are interested in RV’s. Maybe you already own an RV, or maybe you are thinking about making a purchase in the near future. Either way, you have come to this site to learn a little bit more about what it is that makes RV’ing such a great pastime for so many people.
Unfortunately, that’s not what this article is about. Instead, this article is going to highlight the downsides of RV travel and ownership. Although this is an RV site, it is important to paint a clear picture – both good and bad – of what it is like to use an RV. We love RV’s, obviously, but everything in life has its pros and cons. If we are going to give you a fair evaluation of everything RV, it is only right that the negative points should at least be brought to light. If you are anything like us, however, the points on the list below will not be enough to outweigh the many positives that come along with traveling in an RV.
There is no doubt that purchasing an RV can be expensive. Whether you buy a small trailer or a large Motorhome, you are going to be making a significant investment that will have at least some effect on your financial future. For example, buying an RV will easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars, while you could spend just a few hundred dollars to get a nice tent. Owning an RV isn’t the only way to experience the outdoors, so you will have to be committed to using your RV extensively in order to justify the cost.
RV’s are big, and not everyone will have a convenient place to store their rig when it isn’t in use. If you can’t park your RV on your own property, you will have to find a storage facility near your home that accepts RV’s. That means paying an extra monthly expense on top of your RV loan payment, and you will have to go get your RV anytime you want to use it. Most cities have plenty of storage facilities available, but this is still a point that needs to be considered.
Most people would agree that traveling in an RV is less work than traveling in a tent – but there is still work to be done. You will have to setup everything when you arrive at the campsite, and you will have to take everything back down again when you leave. For some people, this is no big deal at all – but it is a major hassle for others. If you would prefer to travel in a ‘hands-off’ method, you will want to consider staying in hotels or cabins as opposed to purchasing an RV.
When you are planning for a vacation, of course you should be expecting to have a great time, have great weather, and have no challenges along the way. However, it probably goes without saying that life doesn’t always work out that way. Unexpected things happen all the time, and you need to be prepared to respond quickly to correct any problems and move on with the enjoyment of your trip. RV travel can be great fun, but there are certain problems that can potentially pop up along the way. With a little extra preparation, you can be ready for those surprises and hopefully handle them without much of a problem.
Think About the RV First
Whether you are pulling a trailer behind your truck, or driving a Motorhome, you want to be prepared for issues that might come up with the rig somewhere along the road. Obviously you won’t be able to repair every possible engine or tire problem right there on the side of the road, but you should have the basics along with you to solve simple problems. Some ideas for things you can pack for the trip include a portable battery charger, extra engine oil, coolant, a spare tire, and some basic tools. Just being prepared with some simple maintenance items could be exactly what you need if a minor problem comes up with your vehicle.
Also, beyond what you can pack in your RV for the trip, you should consider signing up for a roadside assistance program such as AAA. Being able to call and get help in case of a problem is nice for peace of mind, even if you never end up using it. The nice thing about joining a service such as that is you will be able to use it all year round if anything should happen during your normal day to day life as well as on your vacations.
It is important to mention that you need to be familiar with how your RV works and how to use some of the basic tools that you have packed along for the trip. Study the owner’s manual for your RV and take a look under the hood and at the tires so you won’t be surprised by anything if you need to make a quick fix out on the road. By investing just a little bit of time before your trip in learning about your RV you can be far better prepared to deal with unexpected situations.
First Aid is Also Important
Depending where you decide to head on your RV vacation, you may be quite a long distance away from a hospital or other medical services – and you might be out of cell phone range as well. If that is the case, you will want to be sure that you pack a first aid kit to handle basic medical situations until you can get to a doctor for further care. You can buy a pre-made first aid kit meant for camping and hiking, or you can buy various components and assemble the kit yourself.
When choosing a kit, think about the needs of each person in the group and prepare for any specific medical conditions that they are known to suffer from. Even simple things like pollen allergies can really make a trip uncomfortable if you aren’t prepared with the right medicine. Also, the activities you are going to be engaging in should determine what goes in the kit. For example, a trip that is going to be focused on hiking could lead to a sprained ankle or knee, so including an instant cold pack to treat the injury would make sense. You can’t predict everything that could happen while on your trip, but preparing for as much as you can is a smart strategy.
Hopefully, all of your RV trips will be completely successful and your preparations will never be used. However, should something happen that you didn’t plan on, having made some basic preparations could make the difference between having to turn around and head home and being able to continue on with your trip. Spend a little time and effort ahead of time to get ready for your next RV trip so you can deal with almost anything that may come up.
Most people don’t travel in an RV just to sit inside for the whole trip. Usually, the RV is simply a place to get a good night’s sleep in between adventures, as well as somewhere to prepare some food and even have a quick shower. However, there are likely to be plenty of times through your RV trips where you need to find some entertainment while sitting inside. Whether you are inside because the sun has gone down for the day, or the weather has turned ugly and you need to stay dry, having a few entertainment options available can help you have even more fun on your trip.
Of course, the entertainment options that you choose to include in your RV vacations will depend on the kinds of things that you enjoy doing. Below are some of the popular options that RV campers have been known to take with them in order to pass the time and relax with friends and family.
This one is somewhat controversial in that many campers don’t feel like they want to have this kind of technology in the RV – they would rather keep their trip more traditional and leave the television at home. Others, however, love being able to relax with some television at the end of the day and watch a sporting event or favorite TV show. The choice, of course, is completely up to you. If you do want to be able to watch some TV on your trip, look into the satellite receiver options on the RV market that you can install on your rig to pick up a variety of channels even when you are far from civilization. Short of adding a satellite to your RV, you can always hook up a DVD player to the television and bring along some of your favorite discs for entertainment.
Listen to the Radio
Taking a step back in technology, you could opt to add a high-quality radio antenna to your RV so you are able to pick up a variety of radio stations. The radio works well for putting on some background music while you relax inside the RV. Also, you may be able to pick up news and weather stations on your radio to get a little information from the ‘outside world’. While your RV might come with a stock radio, you may find that you need a more powerful antenna to add to the system to pick up stations depending on where you go camping.
Playing board games is a standard family activity and one that works great in an RV thanks to the comfortable seating around a table. If you are traveling with children, bringing along a couple of their board games is a great way to keep them engaged in the trip even after the sun has gone done or while you wait for the rain to pass. In fact, it is a good idea to buy a couple board games with the specific purpose of keeping them stored in the RV so they are always available when needed.
Playing Card Games
Much like board games, playing cards is another classic family activity, but it can certainly be enjoyed among a group of adults as well. Since playing cards are so inexpensive, they are another great addition to your standard RV gear. Make sure you have the right kinds of cards to play your favorite games. Playing cards are also handy to pass a little time by yourself playing some solitaire.
Going on an RV vacation is all about relaxing and enjoying your time away from the usual day-to-day routine of life. While the main purpose of your trip is likely to see some specific sights or engage in activities like fishing or boating, you can still have fun even when those things are done for the day. Prepare for some entertainment inside the RV so you are able to keep your mind engaged and interact with the rest of the people on your trip. It doesn’t matter what kind of entertainment you prefer – just be sure to have it ready when needed and that everyone along for the trip will be able to enjoy it.
There are many things that make California an incredible place, but the diversity of its geography is probably at the top of the list. In the south, you have the Mojave Desert inland and the moderate, sunny climates along the coast. Moving north, there is the Sierra Nevada mountain range running along the eastern edge of the state, while the stunning Pacific coast is home to all kinds of memorable scenery. Also, there is Mount Shasta in the north, the Redwood forests and more. To say there is a lot to see in the state of California would be a serious understatement.
Of course, all of the points listed in the previous paragraph leave out one notable location (among many others) – the Napa Valley. California’s wine country, which includes the Napa Valley and other surrounding areas, is one of the most popular destinations in the state. While wine tasting is obviously a big attraction in the region, the natural beauty of the area is another draw that encourages people to come back time and time again. If you would like to find a destination for your next RV vacation that will allow you to simply relax and recharge while soaking up some beautiful weather, you will be hard to find a better option than the Napa Valley.
Endless Winery Options
Amazingly, there are more than 400 wineries in the wine country of California, most of which can be found in Napa Valley or nearby Sonoma County. No matter what kind of wine you like, there is likely to be an option in this area that will suit your tastes perfectly. Not much of a wine drinker? Don’t worry – there is still plenty for you to experience. Along with the wine culture has developed an amazing culinary scene, meaning you will have no trouble at all finding a great meal during your trip.
Plenty of Other Activities
It’s not all about wine in this part of California, although the wine business has been the main driver of development in the area. If you would like to enjoy some activities outside of touring wineries, you can also look for hiking, biking, and golfing opportunities. The weather in this region tends to be perfect for much of the year, meaning it is rarely too hot or too cold for outdoor fun.
Not Far from the Bay
Depending on where exactly you decide to park your RV during the trip, you likely won’t have far to go if you wish to experience San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area. For example, if you are staying in Napa, CA, you will only be 52 miles from San Francisco. Of course, taking an RV into the heart of San Francisco would be a pretty bad idea, so you will want to find another mode of transportation to see the city (unless you have a separate vehicle with you). While there is plenty to do and see in the greater Bay Area, make sure to leave plenty of time for simply relaxing in wine country, as that is the best feature of this vacation destination.
When you think of National Parks worth visiting, you probably place locations like Yellowstone and Yosemite at the top of your list, along with the Grand Canyon and Glacier. Those are all certainly great options, and visiting each of them will give you the opportunity to make great memories. However, some of the lesser-known National Parks in
the system will also allow you to see incredible sights, while also not encountering the same kinds of crowds.
One such park is Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. Joshua Tree is located near Palm Springs at the southern edge of the Mohave Desert. Unless you are a National Parks aficionado, you might not have even been aware that this location was included in the Parks system, as it was only added in 1994. While you won’t find any iconic locations within the park such as Old Faithful at Yellowstone or Half Dome at Yosemite, there is still plenty of stunning scenery to go around. In addition to the scenery, plenty of wildlife make their home in the park, including lizards, snakes, sheep, coyotes, rabbits, and more.
Easy to Reach
Among the many benefits of choosing Joshua Tree as your destination is the fact that it is easy to reach from a variety of destinations around the country. You can use I-10 to reach Joshua Tree from many points to the east, and you can use a combination of I-5 and I-10 to get to Joshua Tree from up and down the west coast. No matter where you are, you shouldn’t have much trouble putting together a route that will lead you into Southern California.
If you like it hot, Joshua Tree is a desirable destination. In the summer, the entire region frequently experiences temperatures that soar into the 100’s, and it isn’t uncommon to see days in the 70’s and 80’s even in the winter months. Rain is rare at Joshua Tree National Park, so you will have a great chance of seeing the sun when you are on your trip.
Plenty of Other Attractions
Once you are in Southern California, you certainly don’t need to limit your trip to just Joshua Tree National Park. After spending some time seeing sights in the park, you can expand your vacation to include many of the other great things to do and see throughout the region. Near Joshua Tree you can head into the Palm Springs area which offers golf, shopping, dining, and plenty of cultural events. Of course, just a short drive on I-10 to the west will take you right into Los Angeles, and San Diego is only a bit further south from there. In short, there is more do to and see in this part of the country than you could ever cover in a single trip.
Visiting Joshua Tree National Park is an experience that just might surprise you. You aren’t going to find the huge attractions that you find in some of the other National Parks, but you also aren’t going to find the big crowds, either. If you would like to explore a Park that many people never get the chance to see, consider putting Joshua Tree on your list.
Camping is a great activity that allows you to get away from the stresses you experience in life. However, if you are not properly prepared, your trip can go awry. This article will provide you with tips you need to plan ahead for a smooth camping experience.
Pick a sleeping bag according to what season it is. You are going to be really hot and uncomfortable camping in a sleeping bag is rated for sub-zero temperatures. On the flip side, you don’t want a lightweight summer sleeping bag if you’re going to be out in the frigid temperatures of wintertime. You could even develop hypothermia.
TIP! Make sure that you get a tent that is big enough for you and whoever else is going to be inside the tent. That makes it easier for everyone to have a comfy time while they’re asleep and moving around when they have to get up in the dead of night.
Bring a survival kit with you that you can carry on your person at all times. Survival kits must include water purification tablets, a survival knife, a first aid kit, flare gun and waterproof matches. This survival kit may just be what helps you to stay alive in case you get lost or something bad happens and you’re stuck outside for longer than planned. Remember to take it everywhere you go when you’re away from your camp.
Check the weather before you leave for your destination. There are dozens of websites that contain information about what sort of weather you will encounter. This will help you better prepare for severe weather conditions.
Camping is a great time. It can be incredibly fun or incredibly dangerous if you don’t properly prepare. Only go camping once you have prepared yourself for it.
A ‘jungle breakfast’ can be a great way to add excitement to your trip. Take mini-boxes of cereal and juice boxes and tie them in the trees. Make your kids hunt for their breakfast. This can add some magic to their camping experience and make it more interesting.
TIP! Try to combine a camping experience with a swimming experience of some kind. While camping, you might really miss the luxury of showering.
If you are a novice at camping, make your first trip close to home. You don’t want to be far away if you decide you’ve had enough of camping, like problems with equipment. You may run short of supplies early. A lot of issues can happen to those camping for the first time, so being close to home can prevent you from feeling stranded and stuck.
TIP! Keep a kerchief or bandana close at hand. Not only can it keep the hair out of your eyes, it can also be a sack to carry things, a towel to dry your hands or a potholder to grab your coffee pot from the fire.
If you will be camping in an area that is known for having dangerous wildlife, you will need to be doubly careful with food storage. Doing so will lessen your chances for an animal attack.
TIP! Oranges taste great, but they can also help keep mosquitoes away from you. Use the discarded peels to rub your exposed skin, and the insects will stay away from you.
Duct tape is a handy item to pack with you on any camping trip. It is nearly as convenient for repairs while camping as it is at home. It can be used as a quick patch in the case of a punctured air mattress, seal and protect your tent or fix a tarp or sleeping bag. You can even put some on your feet to protect against blisters during long hikes.
As mentioned initially in this article, taking a camping trip is usually a fun adventure. Unfortunately, it can also be miserable if you are not prepared for what may come your way. Use the tips above to be sure your trip goes according to plan. Enjoy yourself!
It’s great to own an RV because of all of the wonderful places that you can visit and explore – however, it won’t do you much good to have that RV if you can’t make time to take any trips. If you want to maximize your enjoyment of RV ownership, you will need to be able to find time within your busy schedule to squeeze in as many getaways as possible. Whether you are just taking a short trip only a couple hours from home, or you plan to drive through several states, building the time into your calendar is the first step in any vacation.
So how do you make time when there is so much else going on in life? Try using the following tips to increase in the amount of time you spend traveling in your RV.
Make It a Priority
Quite simply, you have to make RV travel a priority if it is ever going to find its way into your schedule. When something is a priority, it suddenly becomes easier to spot gaps in your calendar that can be used for trips. Unfortunately, many people have their priorities somewhat out of order in the modern world. If you bought an RV with the idea that you could use it to make memories with family and friends, be sure to commit yourself to bringing those experiences to life.
Plan One Big Trip
To start with, try to find a week or so within your schedule to plan one big trip each year. You may want to schedule this trip for the summer if you have kids who are in school, or you may want to try a less-busy part of the year if you don’t have kids to consider. By getting the time off work and making reservations as early as possible, you can be ‘locked in’ to this trip as one sure-fire chance to use your RV. Most likely, you will want to use this trip as your chance to travel to a longer-distance destination.
Be Open to Short Weekends
Even if you don’t have time off of work to take a long trip, you can have plenty of fun in your RV by taking short weekends away. Leave on Friday evening after work and come back on Sunday night in time to be back at the office on Monday. Obviously, you will want to pick destinations that are close to home when only going for 36 hours or so, but you don’t have to travel far in order to have a good time.
Modern life is busy, especially if you have a full-time job, kids, and more to balance on a daily basis. However, RV travel offers the opportunity to make countless great memories, so don’t miss out on the chance to take enjoyable trips just because you have a crowded calendar. With a little effort and some creativity, you should be able to find ways to get out in your RV on plenty of occasions throughout the year.