If you are not quite ready to go full-time and are just getting your feet wet but want to take the rig out for a few days, here are some good pointers on planning that epic first trip.
I researched several sites for my own trip in the future and these are what I came up with that looked like a good idea to me.
Know where you are going! Easy enough…where do you want to go? I don’t know! Ok, let’s narrow it down some. How much time do you have? Are there certain areas you want to see? How much money do you want to spend? Are you going in the cooler or warmer times of the year?
For my trip, I’d like to head west young man! North west actually. My first trip, I’d like to take about 2 weeks or so for the entire trip. If you’ve read my previous blogs, I plan to have a pop-up camper to start out in. My first thought is Yellowstone. What a beautiful place that would be! I’ve never been there, and I won’t venture on my own – yet! My son would love the adventure and that way we can at least take turns driving. Plus, he’s good for the safety factor too! Although, in Yellowstone – they have some big wildlife you have to watch out for. Safety first!
As I started searching this trip out, I found a neat website called RoadTrippers. You can plan your trip from start to finish and back again. It will even find tourist traps, I mean attractions you may want to stop at along the way. I love to see weird stuff and usually the weirder, the more fun they are!
I like www.roadtrippers.com because you can find RV Parks or Campgrounds along the way as well. On my trip, we will only need to spend one night on the way and back. There’s a possibility we might stay two nights each way, so I will definitely factor that in.
Create a Timeline. After you know what route you are taking, this is a great next step. Plan how far you will drive each day and what attractions you want to stop to see. Be sure to plan the time of day you want to arrive at your destination. I always allow room for last minute stops at places I see along the way as well.
RV Insurance. This is a no brainer. Call your insurance company to make sure your rig and everything in it is covered. Life happens, be prepared.
Budget! If you’re traveling on a budget, which I will be for sure, this is a must for your trips! You can plan on how much you’ll eat out, what groceries to have on hand, and plan an emergency fund in case of repairs. Add in the campgrounds you plan to stay at as well. Then have a bit extra for gifts for the family.
What is your electrical load? When I came across this step as newbie, I thought, what a fantastic idea. You realize you can’t run all your appliances in an RV at the same time, right? So if you have only 30 amps, then label your appliances with how many amps they use. For example – a toaster might be 14 amps, an egg cooker is 5 amps, so you can’t run the AC unit that is 15 amps while making breakfast. Educate yourself on your RV. It’s the best investment you will make for this lifestyle.
Lists and More Lists! Make a list for the food you need, spare parts, clothes, etc. I always make a list of items I’m taking on a trip and I tend to over list and then mark several items off so that I don’t over pack. When I take my mom on trips, she has pages of things to take down to how many pairs of socks she’s bringing. By golly, she sticks to it too! We may have to narrow down those lists when she goes on a trip with me.
Pack in Stages. Once you have your checklists finalized, take a few days to pack. This is a fantastic idea. Unless you’re a procrastinator. I did a paper in college on procrastination, because I didn’t want to write another paper and I procrastinated. I got an A.
So, if you are big planner and have all your ducks in a row – pack a little at a time. One day pack games, then the next pack items for the kitchen. This way you won’t forget as much. If you’re not a big planner, it’s a good time to start!
Secure Your Stuff! There are all kinds of ways to secure cabinets and everything in your RV. Most commonly used are bungee cords, curtain rods, or childproof cabinet locks. You don’t want to hit a bump, and everything just spill out all over or break your favorite coffee mug.
Manage RV Weight. Once you pack your RV, take it to get it weighed. If you’re over the limit, take out non-essentials. Another tip is to plan on getting water and fuel at each stop instead of storing it. It could take longer to get there but will reduce excess weight.
Check the weather. Before you leave, make sure you aren’t heading into a downpour or blizzard. We all know mother nature can change in a heart beat in this beautiful country of ours! You may need to make some changes in your route or delay by a few hours or a day or so. It will be okay to leave a bit later, don’t worry. You’re about to head out on the trip of a lifetime. Make memories and enjoy the scenery.
These are all great ways to help make your first trip or maybe even your 50th trip a successful one! Sounds like I have a lot of planning to do before we hit the road!