There is no greater freedom than driving on the road in a motorhome! You are not waiting at an airport or subject to public transport timetables, you can go anywhere at any time.
There’s no need to constantly repack your suitcase because you’re in a house on wheels. Plus, it’s much more comfortable than regular camping, because you sleep on a real mattress and have a fridge for food and drinks.
Planning your first RV road trip can seem a little daunting, so we’ve narrowed down everything you need to know for a successful trip!
How to plan a road trip with an RV
1. Choose the right RV
Your first challenge will be choosing the right RV for your trip. A common mistake is to immediately opt for a large motorhome, simply because it seems like the best option. People will book a motorhome with a toilet and shower, but hardly use them.
This means you end up paying more for an RV than you need, and you also limit where you can park and drive due to the size of the vehicle.
When choosing an RV for your trip, keep in mind:
- How many people will you be traveling with?
- How long will you spend in the vehicle?
- Do you mind tidying up a bed every day?
- Do you feel comfortable driving a larger vehicle?
- Will you cook a lot in the van or will you eat mainly in the restaurant?
- Do you bring bikes or other bulky items?
2. Choose where to go
You’ve sorted out your home on wheels, so now it’s time to think about where you’ll be going on your RV trip. You can either plot your own road trip to combine items from your bucket list, or go for a set route.
For your first RV road trip, we recommend following a well-known road trip. This will make planning a bit easier, as it can be difficult to know how much you want to drive per day or how to find the right campsites. You can find many road trip routes online, including on Goboony, a motorhome sharing platform.
You’ll want to book popular campgrounds well in advance as they fill up quickly! See Recreation.gov and Parks.ca.gov for national and state park reservations.
3. What to pack
Packing for an RV vacation is both difficult and easy. You have much more space than if you were staying in a hotel or on a plane, because you are not limited to a suitcase or a specific weight. You will be able to unpack correctly because you will not be constantly on the move.
However, it is easy to overestimate the amount of extra luggage you can bring in a motorhome. So be strict with what you bring and think of little touches like spices or extra pillows.
As soon as you get your RV back, we recommend that you unpack properly and give everything its own place. This ensures that things don’t get messy later.
4. Present your RV
Some countries allow wild camping, but the majority do not. To avoid getting a fine, it is best to stay at designated campsites. These are especially great for new travelers, as you can talk to other RV travelers and get advice from them. You can also use their sanitary facilities and take advantage of the extra space.
If you’re wild camping, keep in mind that it’s not the same as camping. You cannot completely settle down and you may still be asked to leave.
When looking for a place to pitch, use apps like Park4Night or PitchUp.
5. Slow down
Everyone has to find their own balance in terms of how much time they want to drive per day. It can also change from day to day. Sometimes you want to put in some good hours of driving with a good playlist, while other days the weather is too good to spend in the RV.
Take each day as it comes and savor the flexibility that an RV provides. But always make sure you enjoy your current destination enough and don’t just think about where you need to go next.
It can be easy to slip into the mindset of ticking off enough destinations during your road trip, but is it worth ticking them off if you haven’t really experienced them? The beauty of a motorhome is in the flexibility; the fact that you can leave a day later because you don’t have expensive hotel reservations to anchor yourself to a specific schedule.
6. Arrive early
Our biggest tip is to get to campsites early, especially at the start. Be sure to pitch your RV before sunset, not only to enjoy the pretty view, but also to be able to set it up properly. Connecting to electricity can be tricky if you’re inexperienced, so you need enough light to do it properly.
Place your front door away from others to give yourself a bit more privacy, but leave plenty of room to set up the awning. Remember to park on level ground to avoid tilting the RV.
If in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask! Your neighbors or campsite staff are usually happy to help.
And there you have it, everything you need to know for your first RV road trip! Your first trip will involve a lot of learning, but it can be a really fun experience. Things will get easier each time, and before you know it, you’ll be the one people are asking for advice. Have a good road trip!
Leave a Comment