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As you know we went on our first big RV trip last year, but we aren’t new to RVing! In fact, we own a Folding Camping Trailer. That said, last year’s trip was our first big one. We researched and got a TON on information and inspiration from the Go RVing community. Their website has so much to offer and I love getting their updates in my Facebook feed. Since our big trip, we’ve had a couple of close friends, and some of our readers, ask us for any tips and tricks we might have to offer them. First of all, if you haven’t considered RVing yet, you should! It’s SUCH and awesome way to adventure. You have more freedom, comfort, togetherness (dogs included) and less travel stress (no tiny bottles of liquids, time restraints, missed flights etc.). We absolutely loved seeing California this way and definitely finished off our trip with the feeling that it was one of the best we’ve ever had! So if you’re planning or thinking about your first RVing trip, here are my tips and tricks:
- Get to know your RV. Whether you rent or buy, take the time to have someone show you around. What all the buttons do, where the water level indicators are, how to work the generator, etc. Don’t worry if you don’t remember everything, I’m sure you can look up the answer to your question online, but it’s good to have a thorough walk through before you launch!
- Have an idea about what’s available where you’re planning to camp. Are you going to an RV park with full hookups? A campsite with just electric and water? Or will you be “dry camping” with no hookups whatsoever? All of these things will have an affect on how much water you’ll need and how much you’ll need to run the generator.
- If you plan on going to a more primitive campsite, get to know what type of leveling system your RV uses. Will you need leveling blocks, does it have a hydraulic leveling system? If you’re making a campsite reservation online, many will tell you if your site is at an angle or if it’s fairly level. Most RV parks have nice level spots already!
- Bringing your pets? Research the sites you’re planning to visit ahead of time. Most private RV parks will have some pet size/breed restrictions but the state parks have very few. We have pitbulls, which are restricted at most private parks due to insurance liability, but are more than welcome in state parks (Kona and Chance appreciate that VERY much)!
- Plan your meals. I like to plan meals around similar foods that we all love to eat. For example, for our last trip I made a double batch of chili ahead of time. We stored the chili in gallon freezer bags (easier storage) and used it for Frito pie, chili dogs and straight up chili! Have fun with your food, it’s one of the best parts of RVing and can be modified to whatever allergies or health needs your family has. Go RVing even has some recipe ideas on their site!
- Save extra condiment packets ahead of time. You know those extra ketchup, mustard and especially mayonnaise packets? Those are PERFECT for RVing. Those little packets are much easier to store and use that the big bulky containers.
- Use the biggest items in your refrigerator first. If you wanted to pack some nice juicy steaks, but they take up a lot of room, that’s ok, just cook them early on!
- Emptying the black (the toilet) tank is NOT as bad as you think. It’s really not bad at all, just don’t wait until the last minute to do it. That’s one of those things you don’t want sloshing around in the tanks as you’re driving around on a bumpy road. But seriously, it’s SO simple to empty and well worth the benefits!
- Be flexible. Some of the best moments on our trips were the little sidetrack adventures we took to see road side attractions or to watch whales off the coast in Big Sur.
- Have FUN! Bring some games, comforts of home (I took my pillows and comforter off my bed) your hammock and your good attitude.
I think that’s a great place to start. Just be warned, once you take that first big trip, you will be hooked! Even just a quick trip away feels like a totally refreshing vacation but in your own space. What better way to rejuvenate or see the world?! Do you have an RV? Have you taken a big RV trip like we did? Looking for some more ideas or inspiration? Take a look at GoRVing.com. We love watching the videos and looking at their tips and tricks. Plus, you can check out all the different types of RVs there are. There is a good range of prices, types of RVs and layouts to meet every family’s needs.