Whether you're off to the beautiful mountain roads of Vermont or the zigzagging switchbacks of Beartooth Highway, the only way to ensure a fun-filled road trip adventure is to plan it well.
The last thing you want is to get stuck in the middle of nowhere because your tire has blown out, your car battery died, or you've got an empty tank.
Check out our tips for surviving long RV road trips and make your RV-cation more fun and memorable.
Prepare Your Vehicle
First of all, you want to be sure that you have the right vehicle for your road trip. Not all RVs are the same. Essentially, there are two basic types: motorhomes and towable campers or trailers. If you're renting or purchasing an RV, choose the vehicle that's ideal for the road trips you plan to do.
Travel trailers are most recommended for vacationing and full-time RV living as they are typically the least expensive, and you could pull an ultralight model with an SUV or similar car model.
- Before you get on a road trip, get your car checked. Here's a checklist for the essential things to look at before hitting the road:
- Battery - check if it has enough charge and won't die on you.
- Tires - check if your tires need replacing. There are custom wheels that are specifically designed for off-road driving. - Depending on the conditions you’re driving your RV in, you may just need one.
- Lights - check the blinkers and interior lights. This is very important, especially if you're pulling an all-night driving stint.
- Oil - make sure your fluid levels are topped up.
- Water - check if the hoses are in good working order and the belts are free of cracks or frays.
- Brakes - check if the pads and linings are worn.
- Gas - fill-up the tank so you won't run on empty. Running on reserves can greatly damage your car.
Don't forget to check the interior of your RV. Make sure everything is securely attached so your items stay in place while your car moves. Getting the best RV insurance is a must, especially if you travel often. Having a service plan will give you peace of mind while you're out on the open road and experience a mechanical failure.
Know Your Route
Doing a little bit of research about the places you’re visiting can go a long way in ensuring a hassle-and stress-free trip. There are route planning apps you can download that come in handy when you need to find a restaurant, refill your tank, or simply stretch your legs.
A map is your best friend down the road too. Learn about your routes so you won't get surprised with challenging paths, steep roads, and dead ends, among others.
Since the RV will be your home for the next few days or weeks, you want to make it comfortable for you and your family.
Extend the same bedtime comforts by replacing the standard RV foam with a comfortable loveseat couch. Just make sure it fits. Think of the little things like ultra-soft throw blankets, storage containers, and pillows.
The best thing about RVing is that you can pack as many items as you please. However, don't get too carried away, or you might end up overpacking unimportant stuff and underpacking more important items.
Here are some of the RV essentials to stay organized and have a successful road trip:
- First-aid supplies (bandages, pain reliever, antacids, tweezers, antibiotic cream, prescription medications, etc.)
- Toiletries (wipes, shampoo, soap, mosquito repellant, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.)
- Cleaning supplies (dish soap, laundry soap, bleach, cleaners)
- Kitchen essentials (pots, pans, cutting board, mixing bowls, silverware, knife, plastic bags, cooler)
- Food and beverages
- Grilling essentials
- Tools and gadgets (Toolbox, flashlight, road flares, extension cord, weather radio, GPS, etc.)
Schedule Down Days
The best RV trips are jam-packed with adventures. However, it's important to squeeze in some downtime because traveling can get stressful too.
Dedicate a day after a few days just to enjoy the stillness of the surroundings. It could be sitting at the playground or lounging around a campfire. You can also use this day for grocery shopping, cleaning your RV, or doing the laundry.
Plan for Entertainment
A road trip is always fun. But that doesn’t mean you're immune to experiencing boredom. If you're planning to cover hundreds of miles, you'll want some entertainment along the way.
Before you hit the road, plan out a playlist or download some audiobooks or podcasts to listen to. If you have kids, make sure they've got plenty of toys, books, coloring pages, and activities to do.
Make Regular Stops
Stop frequently to get some snacks, enjoy ice cream, or snap a photo. You and your family will greatly benefit from doing a few stretches or taking a quick walk. A bit of physical activity helps refuel your energy and keep stress at bay. Also, those little random things can surely make your road trip more fun and special.
Plan and Prep Meals
You can’t be hungry down the road. Cooking outdoors is fun. But if you don't prepare in advance, you could end up hungry and frustrated. When road tripping on an RV, you don't want to stress over labor-intensive meals. The key is to keep it simple and, as much as possible, healthy.
It's best to plan your meals for the entire trip so you can buy enough supplies. Consider rotating your menu so you can cut down on the number of ingredients, staples, and spices you have to keep in your camper cupboards.
Browse the web for some go-to recipes that taste good but aren't hard to make. You can also save more time by preparing food in advance. Lastly, stock up on simple snacks that are filling and have a longer shelf life, such as biscuits, granola, nuts, trail mix, and cookies.
Gas Up Often
The idea is to keep your tank full. You’ll never know how far the next gas station is, so it’s best to be prepared. Running out of gas could mean you’ll be stranded for hours or for as long as it takes for someone to stop and help.
By following these tips, you can get the most out of your RV-cation, wherever you plan to go.
Have a fun and safe trip!