There was a time when moving day for our family meant a frantic morning rush to get out of the campground in time. We are not morning people, and the fact that we had to be unhooked, hitched up, and out the gate by 10 or 11am was difficult to handle at first.
On top of that morning rush, we also found that the travel itself was often stressful. More than once we found ourselves on the side of the road with a tire blowout, and I can’t even begin to count the number of times we had to make bathroom stops only minutes after pulling out of the campground. All of this meant longer days and grumpy moods all around.
Fortunately with practice comes improvement, and we have gotten smarter (though certainly not perfect) about the whole ordeal. Below are our top tips for ensuring your RV travel days go smoothly.
Store things in “travel position”
Part of what made getting ready to go such a long process was the fact that a lot of our stuff was stored on shelves. In fact, we even had a TV that wasn’t mounted to the wall. Once we got rid of the TV and started storing breakables in cabinets instead, moving days were much easier.
Try storing everything in a place where it won’t be harmed—or harm something else—during travel. This removes the need to rearrange all of your stuff every time you move.
Do you need to store certain things on open shelves? Consider using shelf liners or cupboard bars to keep things in place.
Start the night before
There are some tasks that can be done the night before you move in order to make the morning go more smoothly. For instance, we almost always dump our tanks and put our sewer hose away the evening before we pull out.
Additionally, we will take the trash out and clean up our campsite, making sure to put our son’s bike inside before we go to bed.
Figure out what you can do the evening before your move and do it. When the morning comes, you’ll be glad you did!
Keep food on hand
Another thing you can do the night before leaving to make the day easier is put together some snacks and simple meals for the road.
Keep these on hand in the vehicle, and you will avoid making unnecessary stops when someone gets hungry. This makes your travel time shorter and prevents impulsive fast food stops, saving you money in the process.
Check everything twice
Create a list of all the things you must do before pulling out of a campground. Include tasks like locking the fridge, checking the tire pressure and tread, and making sure your lights are working.
When it’s time to go, pull out your list and check everything twice. This will help you avoid many of the nasty surprises that can come your way during a travel day.
Keep gas on hand
It’s no secret that RVs are gas guzzlers. It’s also a fact that many stretches of road in the rural areas of the US are rather short on gas stops.
Avoid being caught without gas on one of these stretches by always keeping a full gas can on hand. We do this, and the peace of mind it brings is wonderful.
Always use the restroom
I know this is one of those things I should have learned as a child, but I do still need to be reminded sometimes that it’s best to use the restroom whenever we stop.
While we will never be caught without a toilet (thanks to our handy traveling bathroom), it’s never fun to make an extra stop when you don’t have to.
Shorten your trips
As new RVers, we would often schedule ourselves to travel for a solid 9 or 10 hours a day. This would all be fine and dandy, except that things always go wrong on these days.
Tire issues, giant traffic jams, and unscheduled stops all meant these enormously long stretches took even longer than scheduled, leading to super long, stressful days that nobody enjoyed.
Now we make a point of scheduling only 4–5 hours of travel in a day. This gives us tons of wiggle room and allows us to stop and explore any cool things we may find along the way.
Need help planning your trip? Try RV LIFE Trip Wizard. It’s an amazing tool that can help you plan every aspect of your travels, including drive times and distances.
Have roadside assistance
Sometimes things go wrong with your vehicle or RV no matter how many preparations you make and precautions you take. When these things happen, it’s good to have a plan in place and somebody to call for help.
This is where roadside assistance steps in. For us, roadside assistance has been an incredible investment, and we highly recommend everyone pull a bit out of their bank account to make the same one.
Personally, I prefer Coach-Net for this purpose. However, there are other options like Good Sam and AAA, so be sure to do your research and decide what’s best for you.
No matter which service you choose, you will be glad to have that service when the time comes to use it. Your roadside assistance will most definitely help make a bad travel day a little bit better.
I hope these simple tips help make your travel days go more smoothly. After all, the RV lifestyle is all about enjoyment, and stressful travel days are far from enjoyable.
So take it easy, and have happy, leisurely travels as a well-prepared RVer. Taking steps to do this will give you an entirely different experience that we know you’ll love.