Top 5 Mistakes RVers make

My husband and I RV full-time.  Each year, I think we have seen it all and then there is a new surprise.  I’m not saying we are not part of the mistake makers!  We have been there and done that too.  Over the years, these are some of the most common RV mistakes that are made that any RVer could eliminate with very little planning or effort.  

Interrupting Arriving RVers

We have this happen at about every other campground.  We have just pulled into the campground and are beginning our checklist for setting up and someone comes walking across to us.  They usually walk up to us and start with, ‘I don’t mean to be an interruption but..’  Unfortunately, they do interrupt.  I don’t understand why any camper believes this is a good time to strike up a conversation..  The driver has probably been driving for several hours.  The bigger the RV, the more concentration that takes and the more worn out the driver will be.  On top of being tired, they are trying to go through a checklist, making sure they get everything set up correctly.  They are probably looking forward to getting the electricity connected and the air conditioner running in the hot rig too.

Whatever questions you have for your RV neighbor – hold it in.  I know we have seen some very interesting rigs pull in and can’t wait to talk to them about their set up.  The most effective action is to allow them to settle in first.  Give them a couple of hours to get set up and get inside their rig to cool down, make calls, eat or whatever else they do in their arrival routine.  Then you can go tap on the door and say, ‘I hate to disturb you but…’.  Then they will probably be very happy to educate you on their rig or how to do something for yours.


To ensure a smooth interaction, it’s best to let other campers settle in before approaching them with questions or requests for favors.

Interrupting Departing RVers

When an RVer is preparing to leave the campground, you have missed your window of opportunity to visit or ask questions.  Do not bother an RVer that is about to leave.  This is a very critical time.  I once saw someone interrupt an RVer in their packing up process.  They had a fifth wheel.  About half an hour later the RVer went to pull out of their spot and their rig slammed down on their tail gate.  Due to a talkative camper interrupting their packing, they failed to lock the fifth wheel into the hitch. Do not interrupt RVers when they are packing up.  This is a big ‘no, no’.

Not being RV Educated

RVers are extremely helpful.  You can ask anyone in the campground questions or chat about their rigs and we are happy to talk about what we do and why we do it. However, I find it astonishing the number of RVers who come to us with very basic questions.  I’m glad they ask and I’m not judging the questions.  It just makes me so concerned about them driving around in an RV with how little they know about managing issues or emergencies.  They are a danger to themselves and those around them.  

At a campground we had an older couple pull in beside us.  They knocked on our door and asked my husband to come over and aid them.  They had bought their RV and driven straight to the campground and did not know how to hook up their water or electricity.  The dealership had given them no instructions on their class A and they had done no research. 

My husband strongly recommended they download a service manual for their rig and put into place a regular maintenance program.  After that they went their own way the next morning.  All I could think about was all the issues we have had through the years and how we handled them on our own through education.  Yet this couple was taking off down the road with no clue on how to even get drinking water.  They couldn’t anticipate the situations that would arise when their black tanks were full or their anode rod needed replacement. Study up and avoid those RV mistakes!


Arriving late at night can be an inconvenience to both you and other campers.

Arriving too late at a Campground

If you have been RVing for a while, you know sometimes things happen.  Flat tires, longer lines at the gas station, trips take longer when you RV.  Inexperienced RVers to not plan extra time into their itinerary which can cause them to arrive late at their destination.  We have learned that for about every three hours of RVing, we add about an hour delay for stops, fuel, etc.  We also follow the 3-3-3 rule – a little loosely, more like the 4-4-4 rule.  If you don’t know what that rule is, it means you drive for 3 hours or 300 miles and arrive no later than 3pm at your destination.  We do 4 hours and arrive no later than 4pm. This helps eliminate unneeded RV mistakes.  

Why do you not want to arrive in the evening at a campground?  There are many reasons and here are a few to get you started:

  • If you are arriving at a campground you haven’t been to before, you really don’t want to be maneuvering an RV in the dark.
  • Are you familiar with the designated parking area and any potential obstructions like trees or tables that might hinder your access?
  • The campground office might be closed, leaving you without assistance for check-in or any inquiries.
  • Arrival lights and noise from you setting up late bothers other campers.

Arriving at a reasonable time at a campground not only helps you with setting up easily in the daylight.  It also gives you an extra window of time for potential delay issues while you are traveling.  I have found most road travel issues take at least two hours to resolve.  Whether it is a blow-out tire, or a part has come loose, or a slide is messing up.  A planned arrival at 4pm has now turned into 6pm, at least.  But 6pm is still before dark!  Also, traveling during business hours makes a big difference if you need someone to show up and aid.

Not knowing RV campground rules.

Not knowing campground rules usually a mistake that everyone else in the campground pays for, not the person who is breaking the rules.  The rule breaker just becomes a discourteous camper.  Read through the paperwork they give you when you check in.  Every campground has similar rules, but some can be just a little different.  (Like the range of hours for quite times).  Here are a few rules I see broken on a regular basis. For those who are adhering to these rules, please be mindful that some are not and make an effort to steer clear of these problematic areas.

  • Letting your pets off the leash.  Our dog has been attacked so many times.  We quit taking her out or pick her up and take her home when we see other dogs out.  
  • Not picking up after pets.  Tired of mentioning that one but whether you have a pet or not, you can still step in it.
  • Using the picnic table for other than its intended purpose.  I have seen poop hoses on them, people standing on top of them to reach the top of their rig and more.  We never eat at a picnic table anymore without hosing it down and covering it.
  • Lights out/quite times.  It’s the campground rule, just follow it so everyone can enjoy their stay or stay at another campground that has rules you like.

Leaving RV items behind.

My husband and I have gained a collection of RV items over the years.  We try to catch RVers on their drive out if we see they have left something behind.  That is not always possible.  We have added to our own RV collection, outdoor rugs, wheel chocks, hoses and more. We may have left something behind for others too but so far, I haven’t missed anything.  You should have a checklist you follow.  My husband and I do a walk-around every single time we get ready to leave a campground.  If you do that, you will see your RV item and retrieve it.  We also do a walk-around when we stop at fuel stations, to make sure things are still latched and attached like they should be.  It is good practice to walk around your rig at every stop, no matter how long or short it may be.

I hope these tips will give you a jump start on avoiding headaches as you RV.  These top RV mistakes can be easily removed without a lot of planning and effort on your part.  Practice and awareness go a long way to looking like an experienced RVer and with less hassle and loss.

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About Lucinda Belden

Lucinda Belden is a travel writer who has been full-time RVing for several years in a 44-foot fifth wheel toy hauler with her husband Will and their dog Cozy. Lucinda writes on all kinds of travel from cruises to motorcycling to RVing as well as travel books available on Amazon. She is also the Program Director for MyRVRadio, the first online radio station for RVers. You can follow her adventures at