We’ve been in our RV almost full-time since we bought it a little over one month ago (we went home for 3 days to get more things). I’m definitely no expert at RV living but I have learned many RV tips and tricks since we started traveling in it.
We do still have many other things to learn. However, I wanted to create this post because I know many of you are interested in possibly getting an RV as well.
Just as a refresher, we bought a Class C RV, the Winnebago Itasca Viva, back in July. We bought an RV because:
- We have spent almost the entire year in our car on road trips
- We were spending a lot of money on dingy hotels
- We want to travel more comfortably
- We want to travel at a more leisurely pace
- We want to spend more time with friends and family now that we live far away
- We enjoy traveling
- We are location independent.
Here are my tips for beginner RVers. With the below RV tips and tricks in mind, you will hopefully start your RV trip the right way – having fun and enjoying your new lifestyle!
Have a plan.
If you are new to RVing, you probably have many questions. Yes, you may have already decided on what type of RV to buy, but the questions and planning do not end there!
- Set a budget regarding gas, food, and where you will stay.
- Decide where you are traveling to and for how long.
- Remember when you need maintenance and actually do it.
- Keep your pets in mind if you are bringing them. For example, we always make sure to have enough dog waste bags – no one wants to think about that, but it needs to be done!
- Determine what items you should bring. This includes determining how many extra fuses, rolls of toilet paper, light bulbs, trash bags, soap, shampoo, bikes, food, dishes, utensils, and so on that you need for your trip.
- Book your stays. When we were tent camping, we had no problem camping anywhere. However, with an RV there are usually wait times of a few months. Yes, MONTHS! It's very wise to book a campground in advance if you plan on staying somewhere during the high season.
Take a small trip first.
One of my top RV tips and tricks is to take a small trip first.
For our first RV trip, we went just around 50 miles away. It was just for a day so that we could drive the RV a little bit and get the hang of it. For the next trip, we just went within a few hours of our home in Colorado.
There are many reasons to take a small trip first:
- You can learn more about your RV without being too far away to ask for help.
- To pick up items you may not have thought you needed.
- Just in case something breaks. New RVs are notorious for this. This is probably the biggest reason you should stay close. Our dealership even told us to stay close for this very reason.
Earn money while RVing.
Many say they dream of traveling in an RV, but they are unable to because there is no way for them to make a living. While it may be more difficult to earn a living while traveling, there are definitely possibilities!
In fact, many of the RVers we have met earn a living while on the road.
For me, I make money while RVing by blogging. You can check out my income reports here.
- Make Money While Traveling – Yes, It's Possible!
- 75+ Ways To Make Extra Money
- 10 Ways To Make Money Online From The Comfort of Your Home
- 10 Things I’ve Done To Make Extra Money
- Ways To Make An Extra $1,000 A Month
Research your internet options.
Being in the RV doesn’t mean you have to completely disconnect with the world. There are many different internet options out there.
Before you decide who you will use, you should look at factors including WIFI coverage and cost. There are many companies out there and we found Verizon to be the best option for us. If you need a contact email for the person I use, please send me an email.
Find free camping options.
My next of my RV tips and tricks is to find free camping options.
There are many, many free camping options out there. Before you spend a ton of money on some sort of membership plan to a national or regional RV campground, I recommend you see what kind of camping you prefer best.
For us, we like to camp for free. We like it because it's usually more much secluded, plus it's FREE!
Our plan is to camp for free as much as we can, to stay somewhere just a few times a week (or less) to dump, get water, and get better internet (such as at a commercial campground), and to travel to where the weather is better during that time of the year.
Some websites I recommend that we have used many times a week include FreeCampsites.net and Sanidumps.com. FreeCampsites is great because it lists all of the free campsites in the U.S, plus you can see actual reviews and pictures that other campers have left. Sanidumps is another great website that lists all of the places where you can dump your tanks and get fresh water. This is especially good to know when you are free camping because you usually do not have these options available to you.
Bring tools with you.
We brought some tools with us on our two week trip but realized we didn’t have everything we needed. When we went back home we made sure to stock back up. This is why it’s so important to take smaller trips before you set out for a single big trip.
Bringing any tools you think you may need can save you a lot of time and money since you'll be able to do some repairs on your own.
Pack less stuff.
Whatever you think you need to bring with you, try to eliminate at least one-third of that. We plan on being on the road for as long as we can and we still have plenty of storage space in our RV.
Just remember that the more things you bring, the heavier your RV will be and, therefore, the more gas you will be using. This is another reason why a few smaller trips in the beginning is extremely helpful – you will realize what you need to bring and what can be left behind.
Have a checklist.
I’m the type of person who does well with lists so I think this is a must. Even if you just have a list in your head, that is better than nothing.
Some things you will want to have on your list include:
- Items that you MUST have with you in your RV.
- Things to keep your RV in an operable condition such as a leveling kit, hoses, tools, and so on.
- A checklist of things you must do before you vacate a site (such as doing a walk around to make sure that you are okay to leave) – you might even want to include the RV tips and tricks above on your checklist so that you can have everything in one easy-to-find place.
What RV-related questions do you have? Are you interested in living the RV lifestyle? What’s something you would definitely bring with you in an RV?