Did you know that there are more than 1 million Americans living in an RV at the moment? Many of these so-called “modern nomads” spend their time traveling across the country and taking in all the sights and sounds that the U.S. has to offer.
There are so many advantages that come with living in an RV. For starters, it helps you avoid a lot of the usual work that goes into maintaining a home. It also provides you with more freedom than you ever could have imagined and makes your entire life feel like one big adventure.
If you’re thinking about buying an RV and living in it full-time, there are some things you’ll need to know before you do it. Here are 12 tips that’ll help beginner RVers when they hit the highway for the first time.
1. Get to Know Your RV Inside and Out
Before you start living in an RV, it’s important for you to get to know everything that you can about it. There are so many different components that make up an RV that you’ll need to familiarize yourself with.
If you buy a new RV, it’ll often come with a bunch of manuals that you can read through prior to moving into your RV. You can learn what kind of oil your RV needs, how to put your RV’s awning up and down, and the ins and outs of emptying your RV’s gray water and black water holding tanks.
If you buy a used RV, it might not come with all the original manuals. But you can likely track them down online and put them to good use. They’ll make you feel more comfortable once you get behind the wheel of your RV for your maiden voyage.
2. Fill It With the Necessary Gear
Once you’ve learned all there is to know about your RV, you can start stocking it with the necessary gear. This gear should include all the essentials that you’ll need to maintain your RV and live comfortably.
Some of these essentials include:
- Leveling blocks
- Wheel chocks
- Water hoses
- Water filter
- Cleaning solution for black water holding tank
- RV toilet paper
- First-aid kit
You should also think about investing in power generators for your RV. While you’ll be able to connect your RV to electricity at many campsites, you’ll need generators when power isn’t accessible.
3. Avoid Packing Too Many Personal Items
Your RV is not going to be able to fit everything that you have in your home right now. There won’t be anywhere for you to move if you attempt to jampack it with all your personal items.
Therefore, you should either throw almost all of your personal items into storage back home before living in an RV or, better yet, get rid of as many personal items as you can prior to starting your travels.
Hold a yard sale or post some of your possessions on online marketplaces. It’ll give you more space in your RV and provide you with some extra cash that you can spend on your first RV trip.
4. Make Sure Everything Has Its Own Place
While you shouldn’t bring too many personal items on board your RV, you will obviously want to bring some stuff along with you. Just make sure that everything you bring has its own place on your RV.
Once your RV gets out on the road, you’re going to find that things are going to start falling all over the place if they’re not secured. You can place things in drawers, closets, and other storage areas on your RV to prevent them from bouncing around and either breaking or injuring someone.
5. Clean Your RV on a Regular Basis
One of the best parts about living in an RV is that it cuts way down on the amount of time you’ll need to spend every week cleaning. You won’t have to worry about mopping your kitchen floor, washing every window in your house, or vacuuming a bunch of carpets when you’re an RVer.
But that doesn’t mean you should forget about cleaning completely! Since you’re going to be spending a ton of time in your RV, it’s going to get messy. Your job is to clean it up once a week or so in order to make it more livable.
6. Rely on Checklists to Stay Organized
Before you pull out of one campsite and head to the next in your RV, there are going to be a bunch of questions swirling around inside your head. Some of these questions will be:
- “Did I remember to put the RV’s awning down?”
- “Did I bring the portable grill in from outside and secure it safely?”
- “Are all my lines and hoses disconnected and put away?”
It’s going to be easy to forget to do some things if you’re not organized. So get organized by relying on checklists throughout the course of your travels. They’ll prevent you from forgetting anything.
7. Plan Ahead Before Taking Trips
Most large RVs have fuel tanks that are capable of holding somewhere between 100 and 150 gallons of fuel. They can hold enough gas to take you up to 1,500 miles in some cases.
But that doesn’t mean you should waste a single gallon of gas during a trip. If you get into the habit of burning through more gas than you should, it can cost you a lot of money in the long run.
Rather than running the risk of running up your gas bill, plan out each and every trip that you take and find the best ways to get from point A to point B. Invest in a reliable GPS system as well so that you don’t ever get completely lost and waste a bunch of gas in the process.
8. Share Driving Responsibilities With Others
With the exception of those who are under the legal driving age, everyone who is traveling in your RV should know how to drive it and be prepared to pitch in as far as driving is concerned.
Whether you’re traveling with just you and your spouse or bringing the whole family along, those who can drive should drive. It’ll help everyone avoid the fatigue that accompanies driving an RV for long hours at a time.
9. Prepare for the Unexpected
No matter how many preparations you make for an RV trip, there will be things that’ll happen and knock you off course. You’ll blow a tire, crack your windshield, or get stuck in severe weather.
It’s always a good idea to prepare for the unexpected so that you’re not caught off guard by it. Pack a spare tire, learn how to repair a windshield on your own, and keep an eye on the forecast so you can steer clear of bad weather conditions.
10. Be Open to Being Flexible
One of the most amazing parts about living in an RV is that you don’t have to go anywhere if you don’t want to. If you’re having the time of your life in a city that you only expected to spend a single weekend in, you’re more than welcome to stick around for a few extra days.
While it’s good to have some tentative plans in place to avoid wasting fuel, it’s also good to show some flexibility. That’s when you’ll make some of the best memories.
11. Maintain Your RV Over Time
It doesn’t matter if you’re going to be driving your RV up and down the East Coast while you’re living in it or setting out to drive across the country. You’re going to put your RV through hell at times when you’re driving it.
With this in mind, you should seek to maintain your vehicle on a set schedule so that it doesn’t ever break down on you. This includes performing oil changes, checking fluid levels, and adding air to your tires when they get low.
These small maintenance steps will go a long way towards keeping your RV up and running.
12. Make the Most of Every Single Second
Not everyone gets the opportunity to try living in an RV. So if you’re given the chance to do it, savor every second of it.
Take lots of photos as you travel to different parts of the country, and consider documenting your journey in a journal. You might even be able to jumpstart a new career (and keep your RV travels going for longer!) by launching a successful blog about what it’s like to spend all your days and nights on an RV.
Start Enjoying Life More by Living in an RV
Living in an RV is an experience like no other. You’ll get to see a side of the world that you don’t get to see when you’re living in a house.
Whether you live in an RV for a year, five years, or longer than that, it’s a time in your life that you’ll remember forever. Use the tips listed here to make the most of it.
Read our blog to learn about how camping in an RV can be beneficial to your health.