RVing Tips for First Timers
Buying an RV opens up a world of adventure and discovery, but it also provides a chance to learn some new skills. An RV is a complex product, and with all of the features and systems available for modern RVs, there’s a lot to keep track of. You could choose to just throw a couple bags and some groceries in your RV and call it a day, but this approach can often lead to more headache than enjoyable spontaneity. Here at Crabtree RV Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, we love RVs and we want to share that love with our customers. That’s why we’ve designed this brief guide to help our customers learn the basics of RVing. Follow these steps and you’ll have more time to enjoy a headache free vacation!
Planning is crucial when you’re considering taking an RV trip, and it doesn’t have to be a chore if you develop the right process. Start by choosing where you want to go. You might have a destination you’ve been wanting to visit for years, or you might be ready to pick someplace at random off the map. Wherever you go, make sure there are plenty of campsites available for reservation. Going the “spontaneous” route is fun until you get to your destination, find that there are no spots left, and are forced to camp in a grocery store parking lot without electricity.
Once you plan a destination, consider your time frame. If you’re planning to visit multiple stops, develop a rough itinerary that includes approximate travel times between stops. This itinerary will help you make necessary campsite reservations and it will also give you an idea of what you will need to pack on your trip.
A crucial part of planning is documentation. In the past, many RVers would assemble a binder that contained all their necessary packing lists, to-do lists, journals, and forms. Many modern RVers prefer computer spreadsheets and word processing documents. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to be thorough as you develop your documents and consistent with updating them.
A good place to start with documentation is building a general RV packing list. These are the things you need in your RV for most trips. For example, tableware is important on every RV trip. You might choose to keep your tableware in your RV, but it’s helpful to have that on the list so that if you decided to take it all out to wash it in your house, you’ll remember to double check that it’s still in the right place. If you put this in a spreadsheet, remember to add a trip-specific column to track things that this trip will require, such as water toys for trips to the lake or snow jackets for trips to the mountains. You should also make sure to create to-do lists for packing your RV, getting it ready for towing (or driving, if it’s a motorhome), set up at the campsite, and tear down at the campsite. These lists should be updated and adjusted on a trip-by-trip basis to account for things you find you do and don’t need to bring on trips.
Finally, keep a journal of your trip including fields for discussing things like specific campsites or national parks. Not only will this give you a handy point of reference should you ever return to the area, it will also give you a time capsule of good (or sometimes comically bad!) experiences that you had on the road.
Preparing for your trip involves spinning many plates, especially so if you are bringing the whole family. Luckily, you’ll have everything written out beforehand so you won’t have to worry that you might be forgetting something. Make sure to open up your trailer and test out the appliances before you ever hit the road. If your RV has been sitting over the winter, follow through with a dewinterizing protocol. Pack up all the necessary belongings, make your trips to the store, fill your propane, make sure your tires are filled with air and your RV brake and signal lights work. While this step involves the most labor, it doesn’t have to be stressful if you’ve planned correctly.
The reason to do all of the planning and documentation listed above is so that you end up shifting the burden of stress from the actual trip to the time before and after the trip. Not only will this reduce the total amount of stress you feel (trip by trip the process will only get easier and more natural) it will also make it so you can relax and sleep easy when you’re actually on vacation. There will always be camping curveballs and moments of unavoidable stress, but if you plan things correctly, those won’t define your trip.
Are you ready to start RVing? Stop by Crabtree RV Center if you want to see the latest travel trailers, fifth wheels, pop up campers, and motorhomes. Our passionate staff will help you find what you need. We proudly serve the areas of Fayetteville, Russellville, Fort Smith, and Van Buren, Arkansas, as well as Poteau, Oklahoma.