Having an RV makes it affordable and convenient to travel since you don’t have to pay for meals, hotel rooms, and flights. For this reason, this is a great investment if you’re a full-time traveler or are into nature excursions but want the convenience of bringing a small, compact home with you.
If you are thinking about making this huge investment (and lifestyle change), make sure that you read the list of the top 10 most important things new RV owners should know.
You should be ready to embrace a more minimalist lifestyle.
Since you have limited space, RV living means you have to lean more towards a minimalist lifestyle. This might work for some, especially those who want to live a simpler, less materialistic life, while for others, it might be a constant battle amidst this highly consumerist world.
Driving is a bit different with an RV.
Compared to cars, RVs brake and accelerate slower and come with larger blind spots. Additionally, their bigger surface area means they are more susceptible to vehicle-sway during heavy winds.
It is also advisable to avoid driving at night until you get the hang of operating a bigger, heavier vehicle.
Take things slow.
When we say take things slow, we’re not just talking about your driving speed, but also the temptation to visit as many places as you can. Just like in almost any aspect of life, opt for quality over quantity.
If your main goal is to visit as many places as you travel, you’ll never truly immerse yourself in the experience and end up wearing yourself out.
Set a realistic budget.
Contrary to popular belief, an RV lifestyle is not a dirt-cheap lifestyle. While there is no monthly mortgage and rent you have to think of, you need to set a budget for gas, insurance, repair and maintenance, food, registration, and parking.
Whether you choose an RV lifestyle or a traditional, “fixed” way of living, most financial experts recommend that you should stash an emergency fund that is worth a minimum of six months of your expenses. This cash will serve as your contingency fund should you lose your source of income, need emergency engine repair, get sick, etc.
RV lifestyle still requires planning.
While a little bit of spontaneity is good, too much of it can lead to a stressful experience especially if you decide to take the proverbial unconventional route–like traveling and living in an RV full time.
- Call the campground about their schedule and availability. You wouldn’t want to travel long distances only to find out that there is no available hookup spot for you.
- Again, set a realistic budget and a buffer fund that you can use in case of emergency.
- Plan your meal and grocery shopping.
- It’s nice to have a routine–e.g., 30-minute walk/exercise every day, deep cleaning every week, grocery shopping twice a month, etc.
- Always check the weather so you can plan for your trip.
It’s nice to train yourself to be handy.
Whether you own a fixed house or an RV, being handy can help you save a lot of money. Also, knowing some basic maintenance work can save you time and even extend the life of your engine, appliances, and other components.
Remember, always have the basic tools and supplies for light maintenance and repair when traveling.
If possible, choose a dealer close to home.
One of the benefits of buying from a reputable dealer that is relatively close to your home (if you have one) is that you can bring it in for service or “winterize storage.”
Know the pros and cons of private and public campgrounds.
Public campgrounds are owned by the state or county and often come with limited amenities and hookups, although this minor downside is compensated by the breathtaking natural landscape.
By contrast, private campgrounds are owned by corporations and families and often provide better [or more] amenities and hookups than most public campers.
Pay close attention to your tires.
Under normal use and circumstances, most RV tires are expected to last between five and seven years. However, you still need to replace them when you see there’s less than a 6.32-inch tread depth or there is a 2.32-inch deep crack.
You can check the date on your tires, which is a four-digit number you can find on their back.
Join RV groups and forums.
There are online RV groups and forums that can answer your questions about maintenance and repair, dealers, campgrounds, specific brands, etc.