We learned a lot during our first week of full time RVing but the below five items are the most important. No, this isn't your typical list of “things we've learned” that you find online. Some may seem small but trust us, they make a big difference in your travels. We've highlighted these to hopefully help out any other folks just getting started with traveling full time in an RV.
1. Create a Checklist
Specifically, listing out what you need to do to get the coach ready for moving day. Simple enough right? We found tons of generic checklists online before heading out but we just glazed over while reading them. Most are very lengthy and of course there were countless items that didn't apply to us. Some were quite pointless as half the items were so obvious (example: pick up and pack any belongings outside). We recommend reviewing lists like this just to get an idea of what should be done but then create one that applies to your situation once you get on the road. You'll learn pretty quickly what needs to be done but creating a list is great for double checking and providing instructions to someone else. Jason typically does the electrical, water, and sewer tasks while I pack up everything on the inside; so having a list of both responsibilities is great because we will be switching off eventually.
2. Measure Your Slides and Hoses
You know what sucks? Getting into a spot and unhitching the trailer only to find out your slide is going to extend into the water/power pole. You know what else sucks? Getting settled into a site and then realizing your sewer line isn't long enough to reach. So yes, know the measurements of your slides when extended and the length of all your hoses. Keep a measuring tape in your truck so you can measure the distance between your slide and that water/power pole and know for sure if you fit or not.
3. Have your GPS volume on Loud
Jason and I have always been the type to mute our GPS and just follow the directions on the screen. Well, that quickly changed after we realized it's pretty stressful towing a fifth wheel (or as our former angry neighbor once put it, “a condo complex”) and trying to read a small screen.We learned this the hard way by taking the wrong freeway (took the 80 instead of the 580 in San Francisco) which caused a small five mile detour but it was a grueling two hour delay time in our drive that day. Towing our monstrosity requires full attention, meaning we don't have the bandwidth to be checking our mirrors, speed, reading signs, AND looking down at a 4″ GPS screen. By making sure the GPS volume is LOUD we can focus on other aspects of driving and simply follow directions as they come.
4. People are Friendly, Say “Hi”
I know what you're thinking, “really, this is on your list of things you learned?”. Yes, yes it is. Jason and I come from a land where we are socially bred to ignore other humans and think they are inherently indecent. That place is Los Angeles, CA. So imagine our surprise when literally every single person we passed in our campground waved and said some sort of greeting. Honestly, it creeped us out at first but I'd have to say we're quite enjoying these pleasantries now. I even try to wave first 🙂
5. Chock Your Trailer Tires
Honestly, this is the most important lesson we learned. I wanted to have it in all caps and bolded, but that would ruin the flow of this blog post 😉 All jokes aside, I can't stress this point enough. We made the giant mistake of forgetting this key step when we were unhitching our trailer and almost lost it down a hill. I truly can't explain the blood curdling fear that runs through you when you watch your new trailer roll back off the leveling blocks and your front jacks drag into gravel for two feet. It's terrifying and I don't wish it on any camper. So please, learn from us and drill it into your head that the first thing you do after getting into your site is, say it with me… CHOCK YOUR TIRES!
Well, I I hope you can learn from our mistakes and follow these quick little tips in your upcoming travels. Oh, and if you're one of those people that enjoys hearing about others misfortunes, take a look at the video above.