Beginner’s Guide To RVing – 10 Things to Know

So you just got your first RV and you’re ready to hit the road on your first adventure? That’s awesome! You’re going to have so much fun in your new tiny home. That said, RVing for beginners can be a bit overwhelming and there are some things you’ll want to know before you take it out for the first time. 

In this article we will discuss the top 10 RVing tips for newbies. Keep these things in mind as you prepare for your adventures and you’re sure to have an amazing time. 

Learn Your Limits

The first thing you need to do as one of the novice RVers out there? Learn your limits. If you’ll be camping in a trailer or fifth wheel, figure out the tow capacity of your tow vehicle—as well as the fully loaded weight of your rig—to ensure your RV can be safely towed by your truck.

You’ll also want to know the weight, height, and cargo carrying capacity of your RV. This will help you determine what you can pack in your rig, whether you can pass under low clearance bridges, and if you can go over certain bridges with weight limits.

Replace Your Tires

The vast majority of RVs on the market come from the factory with cheap, poorly made tires that really aren’t road safe. Obviously you don’t want to damage your new home-on-wheels, and you certainly don’t want to put your family or yourself at risk. Therefore, one of our top RVing tips for newbies is to replace those RV tires before you head out on your first trip. 

This tire replacement won’t be an inexpensive venture, but it is absolutely something that is worth doing in order to avoid blowouts. Once they’re replaced, be sure to check them every trip and stay on top of maintenance. 

Related: Remember to stay on top of all RV maintenance!

There are several quality tire brands for you to choose from.

Practice Driving

Driving an RV or towing a trailer can be overwhelming, especially for novice RVers. It feels completely different from driving a regular car, truck, or SUV, and hitting the highway before you know what you’re doing can be a terrible mistake. 

For this reason, we highly recommend practicing in a large parking lot before you ever go on a trip. Practice turning to get a feel for your new turn radius, try backing up, and make some stops so you can feel how much time you need to stop completely. Doing these things will absolutely help keep you safer on the road. 

See more RV driving tips here!

Create Checklists

Another RVing for beginners tip that will help keep you safe and ensure you don’t damage anything when moving day comes around? Checklists. We love our checklists, and we have one for just about everything RV related. There is just so much to remember when using and caring for an RV, and checklists keep us on top of things. 

Some of the most important lists include a packing list, a list of things to do and check before you begin a trip, a list of things to do while packing up your campsite, and a list of necessary maintenance, complete with dates for when each task needs to be done. 

Make Reservations

Now that you’re traveling in an RV, it might be tempting to get on the road without any real plan and fly by the seat of your pants. In some parts of the country and at certain times of year, this might be just fine. However, because RVing has become so popular in recent months, it’s usually best to have reservations lined up before you go out on a trip.

After all, it would really spoil a trip to show up at your preferred campground and find there are no sites available, and it would be an even bigger bummer if all campgrounds in the area were full. Making reservations in advance helps you avoid this problem and one of our top RV tips for newbies is to make sure those are in place before hitting the road. 

If you do find yourself someplace without a place to park the rig, try one of these free places to park an RV

Gather the Necessities

We mentioned a packing list above, but we didn’t mention what should be on it. Obviously, you will need the usual essentials such as clothing and toiletries, but there are several other things you’ll need in your RV that aren’t generally included in the purchase of a trailer or motorhome.

Some RVing necessities you will need to gather before you go on a trip include:

  • A freshwater hose
  • A water pressure regulator
  • RV-safe toilet paper
  • A sewer hose
  • Leveling blocks
  • Wheel chocks
  • Jack pads
  • An RV surge protector

Many campsites have quiet hours that need to be adhered to.

Plan for Delays

Delays tend to come along with traveling in an RV. You won’t be able to drive as fast as usual in your big rig and you might even have to take a longer route than a car would. Getting in and out of gas stations and other places is difficult and might take more time than you’d think. On top of that, issues can and do come up along the way.

For this reason, we highly recommend planning for delays. Plan shorter travel days (as in 200 miles or less) when possible, and start moving early. You really want to avoid driving your RV in the dark, so giving yourself plenty of extra time is always a good idea. It will almost always take longer than what the GPS tells you.

Know the Unspoken Rules

Once you arrive at your campsite, it is important that you know the sometimes printed, but often unspoken rules of the campground. For the most part, as long as you use common courtesy, you should be good to go, but some rules that are often broken include the following. 

  • Never walking through another person’s site.
  • Always picking up after your pets.
  • Observing quiet hours. If none are posted, keep noise down between 10pm and 7am.

Often, novice RVers are unaware of these “rules”. Don’t join the annoying campers by being clueless. 

Don’t Limit Yourself to the Campground

Many people buy RVs purely to go camping. They park their trailer or motorhome on a site and spend their whole trip hanging around the campground. While there’s nothing wrong with this really, you might be missing out on some amazing things.

Our RVing for beginners advice? Go ahead and give yourself a day or two to hang around the campground and relax, but also plan for at least one day of adventure. Get out and explore the area around the campground. You never know what awesome hiking trails, museums, and restaurants you might stumble across, and these adventures make RVing even more fun and exciting. 

Make New Friends

Lastly, it is important that you remember to make friends while out RVing. RVers are some of the friendliest and most fun people out there. Joining the club is an excellent way to jump into a new community and meet new people. 

Honestly, you will probably meet people just hanging out in campgrounds. However, if you want to take it a step further, you can also join clubs (such as Escapees) and head to rallies and other events to make some new connections and learn even more about RVing, two that can be helpful for novice RVers. 

There is a lot to know about the world of RVing. It can seem pretty overwhelming when you’re jumping in for the first time. The good news? The RVing tips for newbies above will get you started and you will figure the rest out along the way. After all, you can always ask your friendly RV neighbor for help if you need it!

About Chelsea Gonzales

Chelsea Gonzales has been living in an RV and traveling with her family for 7 years now. She road schools her two children, using various travel experiences as lessons in history, science, geography, and more. During their time on the road, the Gonzales family has had the pleasure of touring the 48 contiguous United States as well as parts of Canada. They have learned a lot along the way and Chelsea is happy to share some of that knowledge through her writing.