If you are new to RVing you will have a few beginner RV mistakes. There are so many things to learn when you first start RVing it can be overwhelming. The good news is that everyone makes mistakes and most are willing to share. These are 7 mistakes that we made and are sharing so you don't make them as well.
– 1. Not gassing up before you go –
Do you know how annoying (and not to mention scary) it is trying to tow a 40 ft trailer through a gas station filled with cars and people? It's awful. Save yourself the hassle and gas up the night before. If you drive a class A or need to fill up while towing, seek out truck stops. They have a higher clearance and truckers know everyone needs their space. As a side note, be considerate of truckers as well. Stay out of their way, don't block pathways or intersections, and move away from the pump when you finish fuelling.
– 2. Pack food! –
We made this beginner RV mistake a couple of times. Thinking we had a fairly easy drive ahead of us, only to get delayed for one reason or another. Normally places with food are in smaller shopping centers and drive-thrus or are just plain unhealthy. Can you imagine trying to park a fifth wheel in a shopping center? No, don't even imagine it, it's not fun. Or, have you been driving for what feels like a million miles with no food in sight? Also, not fun. Do yourself a solid and pack a lunch and snacks no matter how short you think your drive is.
– 3. Have an extension cord –
Whether you're using 50 amp or 30 amp cord, just have an extension on hand. This wasn't something we even thought of having, until we pulled into a spot and began setting up, only to discover the electrical box was waaaaaay in the back. Shocker, our cord didn't reach. Trust us when we say it's not fun hunting down an RV parts store after a long day of travel. Since it was Sunday, nowhere was open! Thanks to our friendly neighbors for letting us borrow a cord for the night so we could use our A/C overnight in Las Vegas Thousand Trails!
– 4. Buy a tire air compressor! –
Dealing with tire issues is almost inevitable, so just be prepared as possible. We found out the hard way in week 9 that not all air compressors are created equal. A gas station air compressor didn’t have what it needed to top off our trailer tires. Luckily for us, there was a commercial tire shop a few blocks down the road that could get us in working order. After that experience, we were convinced we needed an air compressor. It took going to 5 different gas stations in Louisiana to find a working air compressor to finally get us to cough up the bucks for the Viair that was recommended to us.
– 5. Do a comprehensive PDI –
We hope you're reading this before you buy your rig because this is key. Do a thorough walkthrough when you pick up your rig! We did a ton of research for things to look for in a walkthrough, and we were inspecting our rig for hours. Unfortunately, we got bamboozled and they snuck two major issues by us. It's harder to get warranty work done when you move every week, so make sure you're not heading out with issues.
– 6. Don’t freak out when using your furnace for the first time –
The first time we started our furnace the fire alarm went off. It was over 80 degrees in our rig when we did our PDI so we skipped testing the furnace (See #5). During our shakedown trip, we had a cooler morning so excitedly tested the furnace. The smell of burning quickly filled the RV and the smoke alarm started blaring. We opened all the windows and turned off the furnace. A quick inspection showed nothing wrong but a quick Google search told us that we were not the only ones to experience this. The furnace sometimes has an oil residue, dust, or sawdust in it when new that will burn off during the first use. It took us about a month to get the smell of burning to stop completely when using the furnace.
– 7. Use an RV specific GPS –
Using Google Maps, Apple Maps, or Waze is great in your car or truck. They just don’t have what you need when driving an RV. We use CoPilot which has specific options available for your RV like height and length. It even has a scary loud beep when you are heading toward a bridge that is too low. My favorite function is that you can also modify your preference for roads. This allows us to set Interstates as the preference when in a hurry or two-lane country roads when we want to see some of the beautiful countrysides. If you prefer a standalone unit, we have heard good things about the Rand McNally RV Tablet 80. It comes with a dashcam included and the ability to add a backup camera feed.
Those are our seven beginner RV mistakes that you can easily avoid! As we continue to make mistakes, we will continue to share them with you. Which mistake did you find most beneficial? What mistakes have you done?