How to Improve Your RVing Experience
Taking a recreational vehicle vacation can either be a delight or a nightmare, depending on the experience of those who are doing the traveling.
As with anything else, it takes time to learn what to do to make this type of vacation succeed, because there are many pieces of the puzzle that must work well together to create it.
- learning where to camp,
- understanding how weather patterns can affect a vacation and
- knowing the best times to go
are pieces of information people learn over a period of years.
This article will provide some shortcuts that will teach you a few basics right now, so that you can have a better time of it while vacationing in your motor home, camper or travel trailer.
How to Have Great RV Trips
Contrary to what many people think, you can have a great RV vacation every time you travel if you take the time to
- make detailed travel plans before you ever leave home,
- use accurate informational guides and appropriate electronics,
- learn where and how to save money,
- time your trips to avoid problems,
- choose the best routes,
- make sure you can afford your vacation
- and enjoy your trip!
Recently I discovered that a camping resort I want to visit charges $65 per night on weekends, but only $25 during the week. Thus, instead of having just two nights of camping, I can have five for the same amount of money. This information allowed me to adjust my travel plans accordingly.
This is just one example of how advanced planning coupled with having access to good information can help you to make your RV vacation plans more effectively.
Make Detailed Travel Plans Far in Advance
- People who start making plans early have time to figure costs, make reservations, determine timing and make sure that their vehicles are road ready.
- Those who don’t do this create major travel problems for themselves.
How to Estimate the Cost of Your Next RV Trip shows you how to set up a detailed plan so that you can know exactly where you will be going, where you’ll be staying and how much your fuel and camping will cost.
By following the advice in this article, you can visualize your vacation in advance and make changes as needed.
Advance detailed planning can save you a ton of money and a great deal of wear and tear on your vehicles as well as on you and your fellow travelers.
A Visit to Yosemite National Park
Use Helpful Travel Books and Electronics
Having accurate and timely information is one of the key factors people need in order to plan and take good RV vacations.
Some people think you need tons of books, but you really only need four.
The two best and least expensive RV travel guides my husband and I have always used are the and Good Sam Travel Guide because they are loaded with useful information about camping facilities,government park contacts, free dump stations nationwide, repair facilities, state fishing license guidelines and costs and much more. The RVer's Friend
There are other guides on the market but they are more expensive and really are not necessary.
For example, you can buy a Corps of Engineers Guide, but the Good Sam Guide lists them, anyhow and none of the others has the information that the RVer's Friend provides.
We also use a Walmart Atlas because it lists every one of their stores and their highway exits so if we need to buy things or just stay overnight, we know right where to go.
If you use these books alongside of a campground guide from a good discount camping club such as Passport America, you can eliminate many problems.
In addition, we keep a cell phone and GPS handy so that we can call ahead to help us find good campsites.
Using these products helps us to avoid unpleasant surprises and is a real money saver.
Learn How to Save Money
Many people don't realize that saving a few dollars here and there can really add up over time. Those new to RVing don't think much of paying $40 per night to camp because they're used to paying $150 per night for hotel rooms.
However, camping trips usually last longer than hotel trips, so if you can cut your expenses for camping, food and gas, you can have the same exact vacation while paying hundreds of dollars less for it.
- A good discount camping club can reduce facility fees by half.
- Finding free camping spots saves you even more.
- Eating in rather than dining in restaurants can save hundreds of dollars.
- Paying attention to prices and driving slower can also reduce gas and fuel costs.
- Planning routes carefully can also save money.
Time Your Trips
It is a common mistake to think that you can go anywhere at any time you choose without running into problems of one sort or another. For example:
- driving through the middle of the country in early to mid spring can put you in danger because that is exactly when weather becomes extremely violent in that area or
- traveling to areas at a time when major events are taking place (such as Hot Summer Nights in Reno, NV (which takes place every August) or the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, NM (which takes place every October) will likely leave you with no place to camp or facing costs that double or triple during those special events
It is always a good idea to research the areas you plan to visit so that you will know when to avoid them, time your trips such that you are already in place before special events take place and plan to visit attractions before or after high season.
Choose the Best Routes
It is important for you to plan routes that will save travel time and cause the least amount of wear and tear on your vehicles.
The ones you choose should allow you to drive shorter distances on better roads while at the same time avoiding tolls. If you want to know which ones are the worst, you can find out by reading The Worst Roads in America. The information it provides should help you with your travel planning.
Plan a Vacation You Can Afford
While it may sound great to take a 4 week vacation from Miami, FL to Kalispell, MT, but you’ll have to decide whether you can afford to go because fuel can easily cost you $1481, and camping, even at the $20 per night rate will cost you $560.
So, you’ll pay $2041 just for the basics and will also have to figure in costs for incidentals such as laundry, fishing licenses and park entry fees.
Remember, too, that these figures can change based on how you do your camping, where you fuel up and what you spend for food and entertainment.
The last thing you want to do is plan a trip that will cost more than you can afford to pay.
A Visit to Custer State Park
More Helpful Advice
Here are 14 things you should keep in mind that will help you to have a better RV travel experience:
- The average RV with slides in gives you less than 400 square feet of living area. If you plan to be in that space, it’s important to make sure that you have a solid relationship with your fellow travelers.
- Carry cash and hide it well. These days travelers’ checks are not always acceptable and not everybody accepts credit cards.
- Always travel with a cell phone and a GPS.
- Never overload you coach. How to Load and Pack Your RV for Safety and Comfort explains the importance of driving a lightly loaded and well balanced RV.
- Before you leave for your vacation, secure your home so that you can avoid having problems while you’re away.
- Always spend the first night of your trip in a camping facility that is close to your home so that if you forget something, you can quickly retrieve it and also so you can start fresh the next morning. Loading is very tiring.
- Never stay overnight in a rest area. It’s too dangerous.
- Mark your Atlas so that you can see where the free campgrounds are located. You will find most of them in the western US.
- Prepare most of your meals in your RV because doing so will save money.\
- Test campground water before drinking it or allowing it to enter your RV’s plumbing system
- Stock up on food and supplies before you leave home in order to save money and time.\
- Use check lists to help you remember what you need to pack and do while traveling.\
- Don’t rush. Driving too fast or for long periods of time is dangerous.
- Take breaks regularly during days when you are on the road.
Most importantly, enjoy your RV vacation.
I've included a few travel videos to whet your appetite, so now all you need to do is follow my advice about how to improve your RVing experience.