After thinking about it for years, you’ve decided to take the plunge and move into a house on wheels. Yes, it’s official — you’re joining the ranks of full time (or almost full time) RV ownership and see the USA from behind the wheel.
To make sure your new journey is as comfortable and safe as possible, it’s important to do some initial research and planning. Check out the following tips that will make your new life as fun and doable as possible.
RVs come in all different sizes and price points — and knowing which one is best suited for you will depend in a large part on how you intend to live in it. As RV Roadtrips notes, if you plan on being on the road more than being parked at a campground or RV park, a large motorhome is definitely the most comfy way to travel. However, if you plan on parking your RV for longer periods of time, a travel trailer is a nice option that will feel like a tiny apartment.
One way to gauge your needs is to first rent different RVs and assessing each one’s benefits before making a purchase. In addition to the RV’s size, you may also want to consider some other issues, like stair climbing; for example, fifth-wheel trailers usually include steps to the bedroom and bathroom areas.
If you choose a regular, full-size RV, bear in mind that every time you run out of milk, want to grab a latte from Starbucks, or head to the mall, you will have to fire up the RV and drive the large vehicle into town. Not only is this costly in terms of extra gasoline, it’s also cumbersome. Consider purchasing a rugged truck that can be flat towed behind the RV; this will give you a second form of transportation once you reach your destination.
Before buying the vehicle, ensure it can be flat towed, and then equip it with off-road tires from a reputable company like BF Goodrich. In fact, the company’s mud terrain tires, as showcased on tirebuyer.com, are a great and affordable option for flat towing a truck.
Your new RV will come with an owner’s manual. But before heading out on your first trip, spend some quality time reviewing the manual and familiarizing yourself with the basics of how your new home on wheels works. Check out the fuse box and the electrical system, and watch some YouTube videos to understand the basic plumbing system and how to fix common and minor issues.
Additionally, learn how to caulk leaky windows and what to do in case you drive through a rainstorm and start feeling drops on your head. While you’ll still want to bring your RV in for routine maintenance, it will be important to learn how to fix and deal with day-to-day issues on your own.
RVers who spend months at a time on the road quickly learn all sorts of ways to save money. If there’s a local RV club in your area — or you know someone who has embarked on this new lifestyle — pick their brains for advice on how to get by on as little money as possible.
When you head out on your first journey, track your spending to see where your money is going, and research discount cards and passes for various necessities. One great deal is the USGS’ America the Beautiful Pass, which for $10 gives seniors age 62 and older free lifetime admission to all national parks and a couple thousand recreational sites.