RV Camping takes some time to get used to! Today, we’re here to make the transition to RV life a little bit easier.
We’ll be sharing 11 lessons from 11 different RV campers. These lessons are all about answering the following question: What one thing do you wish you knew before starting RV life?
Strap on your seat belt, crank up that engine and let’s go for a virtual drive down Wisdom Avenue!
RV Camping Lesson 1 – It Won’t Change You
RV life won’t change who you are. It can make you more relaxed, more fun, or more patient…but, it won’t change your deep set preferences.
Alissa from The Path to Less thought that she would all of a sudden become an outdoor enthusiast, but she quickly realized otherwise. She says,
We thought we would become these mountain climbing, outdoorsy, bike riding people but living in an RV versus a house did not change who we are.
If you think traveling in an RV will help you increase physical activity, become a better socializer or hone your inner entrepreneur…you may want to think again. We’re full believers in the ability to change for the better, but make those changes today fueled by your desires. Don’t expect an RV to change you!
RV Camping Lesson 2 – All Campsites aren’t Equal
From Atlantic to Pacific, campsites vary greatly. This isn’t too important if you travel in a small unit. However, being aware of campsite limitations is crucial if you’re in a 5th wheel or motorhome.
National and state parks are among the worst regarding size limitations. Not to mention, this year will be one of the most popular years for RV Camping in National Parks.
Tom from enjoythejourney.life understands this dilemma all too well. Traveling the US in a 40ft 5th wheel has taught him a few important lessons:
We really can’t go to all the places we wish we could go. So that’s something I wish I knew before we started.
We’ve found sites like Campendium to be an awesome resource when scouting potential campsites. The user reviews on Campendium are informative and level-headed.
RV Camping Lesson 3 – You Got this!
You can research RV camping for years and still not learn everything you need to know. Some lessons have to be learned on the road. Being prepared is great, but don’t get stuck in that phase.
Valerie from Four A Lifetime drops a wisdom bomb below:
Being flexible and knowing that you’re not going to know everything, that is something I wish we knew.
But, just in case you want to dive a little deeper into the RV camping research today, take a look at our HUGE playlist of Q&A sessions where we answer questions from other RV newbies!
RV Newbies Camping 4 – Don’t Live That Vacay Life
RV camping (in terms of extended trips) is still life. It’s not a permanent vacation. This is a lesson that SO MANY newbies have to learn.
During our first two months on the road we fell into the vacation-mode trap and quickly became exhausted and poor!
We were glad to hear that we weren’t the only RVers learning this lesson. Jeff from Little Trailer Big Adventures shares the same challenge. He says, “you gotta remember to take your weekends, have your downtime, and just relax…have fun with it, take your time…see things.”
For us, creating a budget was key to finding balance. You can watch one of our early monthly expense reports below!
RV Camping Lesson 5 – Maintenance
When your home has wheels and it rolls across the USA, maintenance is is must.
Sure, preventative maintenance is great – but unexpected maintenance is bound to come knocking. When it shows up on your door, being prepared is much better than being caught off guard.
Make sure you have a fund set aside for these repairs.
Julie from Chickery’s Travels recommends The Mobile RV Repair Tech. The service sent a technician to their RV and completed warranty repairs on site!
RV Camping Lesson 6 – Free Camping
S&S and the RV Cats wish they knew how to boondock before they hit the road.
In case you’re wondering what boondocking is…it’s RV camping for free (without electrical or water hook ups). Boondocking can happen in a Walmart parking lot, a beautiful National Forest, a vineyard (thanks to Harvest Hosts) or a highway rest stop.
Personally, we love boondocking. We’ve camped at some of the most epic sites after learning to boondock. Here’s an article we wrote about the Boondocking Essentials.
And, for proper boondocking inspiration, here are the Top 10 Epic Boondocking Sites we’ve camped:
RV Camping Lesson 7 – Downsize, Don’t Delay
Downsizing can take a long time…but, it can also be pretty satisfying. Our downsizing process was full of procrastination – which made for a chaotic month leading up to our RV launch date.
Danielle from Tumbleweeds in the Wind had similar challenges with downsizing.
I wish I would have know how freeing it would feel to get rid of all my stuff that I’ve been holding on to for way too long. -Danielle
Last month we wrote the article, 10 Tips for Downsizing. It’s full of essential info for anyone going through the downsizing process. It’s especially helpful for RV Camping newbies.
RV Camping Lesson 8 – Set Up Automations
Once you hit the road, you’ll very well loose access to your physical mailbox and your physical bank. It is very important to set up automations for these services.
Escapees has a mail forwarding service that many of our RV friends use for receiving mail on the road.
Angie also recommends setting up automated bill-pay when do extended RV Camping. This is great advice. We’ve used online banking almost everyday since hitting the road.
RV Camping Lesson 9 – Towing Can Be Easy
Mike & Ann share a nugget of hope; towing was much easier than expected. While this might not be the norm, if you have a vehicle that can handle your rig’s weight, towing might not be so hard for you.
Keep this in mind: don’t skimp on power when buying a tow vehicle for RV camping.
It took us almost a year before we felt good with towing…but, our truck doesn’t have an excess of power.
RV Camping Lesson 10 – Tools for the Road
Tryin’ to guess what tools you’ll be using once you hit the road is quite challenging. It’s also unique to the rig and individual.
I’d go so far to say that – this is a lesson you’ll have to learn ON YOUR OWN – sad but true.
Tools are heavy, so you can’t bring them all. I’d recommend a high quality drill, a wrench & socket set and a crow bar. But, depending on your skill set and your RV camping style, you’ll have to figure the rest out yourself!
RV Camping Lesson 11 – Have a Blast
RV Camping is all about having a good time, connecting to nature and learning a little bit more about yourself and your loved ones!
If you want to maximize your fun – bring a foldable kayak or a guitar for campfire songs!
Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).
You should give it a try!
As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers who love to score the best site!
We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below: