The world is full of adventure. There are wide open spaces to explore and different cultures to experience. How you get from one amazing place to the next is just as varied.
Some travelers take to the sky, finding a flight to their next destination. Others want a more immersive experience, a way to meander through cities and countryside but still have the freedom to make unplanned stops. If you find yourself in the latter group, it might be time to explore a specific kind of road trip adventure.
Suppose you love to travel but want to trade in being a frequent flier for a road-tripper. In that case, it’s time to look into a house on wheels. But since RV travel involves much more than car travel, we want to set you on the right path, providing expert advice on everything from how to travel safely in an RV to the best RV insurance.
Benefits of Road Trips
Road trips are an iconic tradition. There are songs, movies, and iconic T.V. shows that highlight the grandeur and wonder of a long family road trip. It’s one of the best ways to see a large portion of any country and still make it to your ultimate destination.
Just about any road trip – whether it’s a small car, a large car, or an RV – offers some amazing benefits:
- A very relaxed schedule
- The option to explore unknown areas
- A flexible travel pace
- Some financial freedom
- Unparalleled memories
But these benefits are multiplied when your travel vehicle is an RV. Think about it. You can travel from coast to coast, border to border and experience so much more of what a city, state, or country has to offer. Imagine driving the great ocean road without a time crunch or a hotel check-in deadline.
Benefits of RV Road Trips
While a more standard road trip, one in a car, truck, or van, offers travelers some financial and time freedom, RV road trips offer so much more.
Because an RV is outfitted with more amenities – a bathroom, a kitchenette, a place to sleep – RV road trips are much less expensive. RV travelers don’t have to be as worried about their travel budget because there isn’t a huge cost for dining out or staying in a hotel.
RV road trips are a great way to disconnect from the world around you. Rather than stay shut up in a hotel, you can find just about any place to park your RV and settle in for a night or two. There are easily accessible RV parks all over, but you can just as easily boondock it for the night.
These types of road trips also offer a level of family connection that is unmatched. RVs are usually pretty tight quarters, but you can always step outside for some family fun. Many RV parks are fully equipped with walking trails and playgrounds. You can even bring the family pet!
Another great benefit is becoming part of the RV community. You’ll be able to find new friends to share experiences with and swap a story or two. If you’re still new to the RV lifestyle though, there are some of the best travel apps to help point you in the right direction for a spot to set up for the night or a great restaurant nearby.
Tips for (Easy and Safe) RV Road Trips
So it’s that easy, right? Find any old RV to rent or buy, pick a route, and get going! Not exactly. RVs come in many different shapes and sizes. Some can be driven themselves, but others need to be towed with an appropriately rated vehicle.
Even after that, RVs drive just a little differently than your everyday driver. So it’s important to practice a few safety measures so your RV road trip goes smoothly.
#1 – Follow a Safety Checklist
An RV is a lot like any other vehicle. It has tires that can get worn down. It has lights and signals that can malfunction. Any one of these things misfiring on even a short distance drive can spell trouble.
It’s important to create and follow an RV safety checklist each and every time you drive your RV. The checklist should include looking over the outside of the RV, examining the tire pressure and condition, checking under the hood (if you have one), and making sure the brake lights and turn signals are working.
It may seem tiresome, but it’s so important to review that safety checklist at the beginning of every trip and after each overnight stop. You’ll be able to spot issues before they happen and keep your trip on time and everyone safe.
#2 – Practice Proactive RV Maintenance
RVs need regular maintenance, just like other vehicles. In fact, regular maintenance is even more important for a vehicle like an RV. These aren’t daily drivers. They are used to move over long distances but can stay in one place for a long period of time.
That kind of use can do some strange things to an RVs operation. Make sure you keep you with any and all recommended maintenance, especially before a big trip.
This also includes replacing older tires. It’s best to double check the manufacturer’s recommendation for your specific brand of tires, but most experts recommend replacing RV tires every 10 years. RV tires are used often and with heavy loads, so old or worn tires can be a big problem.
#3 – Find the Balance
When you are traveling, you need to make sure your RV is balanced correctly. RVs are carrying a lot of weight. If it’s not balanced properly, you can do some damage to the engine and tires. Remember to account for any towed vehicles, stored items, and onboard water.
Each RV comes equipped with an owner’s manual which outlines the weight capacity and mechanical needs of the vehicle, so check there for more specific details.
#4 – Batten Down the Hatches
RVs are great because you can bring just about anything you need on your trips, but that can also be a safety issue. Whatever you choose to pack and bring along, you want to make sure it’s all safely stored away and secure before moving your RV.
Things that aren’t secured can and will move around while traveling. That can be a big problem when you settle in your next spot. Dishes can get broken, or things hidden behind cabinets can fall out once you open the door. Nobody wants to start off in a new place with a broken bowl or broken limb.
#5 – Be a Student Driver
It’s best to practice driving your vehicle before setting off on that inaugural trip. Driving an RV isn’t like riding a bike. You don’t automatically know how just because you’ve been driving for most of your life.
Take your RV for a short spin before your road trip. You’ll want time to learn how it takes corners or handles at different speeds. It doesn’t need to be a long test drive, but it does need to give you a feel for the vehicle.
You might also want to look into a backup camera. These will be a lifesaver when you’re moving from one RV park to the next. Plus it keeps you and everyone around you safe.
A lot of RVs come equipped with them now, but it’s not a guarantee. There are a lot of after-market options that can be installed before your next trip.
RVs are an amazing option for road trips. It offers you an experience unlike anything else, but you still want to be as prepared as possible before setting off. Making an RV trip safe is the first step to making it easy, fun, and something you’ll want to do again and again.
Laura Gunn writes and researches for the car insurance comparison site, ExpertInsuranceReviews.com. She is an avid road tripper and often chooses an RV over other travel and accommodation options.