Our Top 10 Tips For New RVers
What you need to know when you are new to RVing will vary based on why you are RVing, what type of RVing you are doing, and how many people you will be RVing with. You should have determined these things before you purchased your first RV because your RV needs to work with your lifestyle, just like a brick-and-mortar home.
Once you have your RV, there will be many things you should know. Several of these things are key to every type of RVer, no matter what rig you have or where you are camping. Most of these things can be refined along the way, and some needs may change as you go along. But you need a base list of things to start.
1. Refine your RV tool kit
Start refining your tool kit specifically to your RV. You don’t always have a lot of extra space. Select tools that will have multiple functions and make sure you keep them accessible. Tool lists will vary based on your RV, maintenance practices, toys, or hobbies you have, etc.
Add them as you need them, so you don’t end up with too many tools on hand. Some general tools might be a measuring tape, a hammer, a drill, and a ladder.
2. Be resourceful
Keep your owner manuals close. When you need repair parts or items for your rig, you will need to have specifications to order new parts.
Membership organizations can provide good resources. Learning how to find a mobile repair person is also a good skill to have.
3. Stay on top of RV maintenance
Learn how to identify potential issues in your RV. Keep a record of all the work you do, certifications, and licenses on RV LIFE Maintenance.
Hold off on starting any large project on your RV until you have time for delays. You should have a weekly, monthly, and annual checklist for your entire RV system.
It’s important to note that your system may not be like someone else’s. Do you need to change air filters? Do you need to replace anodes?
4. Get to know other RVers
Get to know other people who live a similar lifestyle to yours. It goes a long way in having someone to turn to for experienced answers.
On a short-term basis, meet your fellow RV neighbors. You can form temporary support systems or even long-term friendships. Peruse RV forums like iRV2 and AIR Forums and join social media groups to find information you may need as you travel.
5. Learn how to stay connected
Everyone needs to be connected now, even if it is just for emergencies. Not all RV parks or areas have Wi-Fi services or a cell signal available. When you are new to RVing, you will need to decide what level of service you need.
If you work full-time from your rig, you will need to make sure you have redundant services because park services rarely are enough, and in some cases, your AT&T may work and not your T-Mobile or vice versa. Learn how to do an internet speed test on RV LIFE.
6. Do RV upgrades when possible
Make a list of upgrades you would like to do but not all at once. This helps with your maintenance and budget planning as well. But be aware as you travel along, some upgrades are necessary.
In the last year, we have upgraded our rig with simple USB connections. An appliance may become energy inefficient. As technology and available services change, your lifestyle will follow suit, and you may need to select an upgrade because it is cheaper to do so in the long run.
7. Make a budget (and stick to it)
Only work on one project at a time with your RV. Starting multiple items can run you off budget due to time delays and unexpected costs. It is also wise to start a new budget for potential emergencies.
Some RVers have reports annual budgets as high as $4,000 for unexpected expenses. This is not much different than expected expenses in a stationary home. However, there are also ways to save money while RVing and live on a budget of $2,000 or less a month.
8. Monitor your power usage
Not only should you learn how to perform your hookups correctly, but you should also monitor your usages. These will help you in times when you need to plan for resources or find yourself without certain services. You will also want to quickly know how to shut off services in case of emergencies.
9. Protect your RV
Whether you full-time or you have a rig in storage, set up protection. Most burglaries used to take place at night, but the current stats show that most occur between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
If you plan on being away from your rig during the day, set up deterrents just like you would on a stationary home. Put monitoring stickers on your windows. Have lights on, and make sure all windows and doors are locked. Also, make sure you reset the locks on your rig so no one has a key to it. You may also want to set up monitoring systems that protect your pet while you are away.
10. Be ready for emergencies
Every place you go, you need to be aware of the places around you. Watch the weather all the time. You need to know if you need to bring in your awnings, put away outdoor items, or have an evacuation plan.
We were in a big storm before I realized I had no idea where to go if there was a tornado. You should also note where the nearest hospital or emergency room is. If you have special medical needs or issues, find out where the local doctors are that can assist. If you are traveling with a pet, find a vet. And have all your medical paperwork (or pet papers) easily available.
Here’s another tip for those new to RVing: Everyone has a sensitivity or an obsession that can easily turn into an annoyance. Acknowledge those and have solutions on hand before you find yourself in the situation. It will be much easier if you have the supplies on hand to alleviate the stress and move on to enjoying your RVing!
New to RVing? Join the discussion on RV forums
Forums such as iRV2.com and blog sites like RV LIFE, Do It Yourself RV, and Camper Report provide all the information you need to enjoy your RV. You’ll also find brand-specific information on additional forums like Air Forums, Forest River Forums, and Jayco Owners Forum.