So you wanna pull the plug on the daily grind and hit the open road? Sure, the idea of loading up the family in an RV, exploring new places from sunrise to sunset, and camping closer to nature is a dream on many people’s bucket lists. As exciting as it seems, life on the road has its challenges, and it takes time before you learn all RVing skills. Below, we've put together some tips and tricks to give you a head start and help you adventure like a pro.
Use Vertical Space
Space in an RV isn’t exactly abundant. To maximize the little room you have, you need to get creative. One of the best hacks is to store your items upwards. Vertical spaces help reduce cluttering in the counters and floors. You can invest in plastic drawer sets that can be stacked to the height you need. Use them to store cosmetics, pet food cans, cleaning supplies, and even clothing. Hooks, custom shelves, and hanging storage units are also excellent for utilizing wall space.
Move-Proof Your RV
Putting away every single item before you hit the road and having to unpack them when you reach the destination can be tedious. One simple tip is to create a move-proof environment inside your home on wheels. Use magnets, velcro, and command strips to mount artwork, keep tables and chairs in place, secure your laptop, and mount bathroom accessories, so they don’t move around when you’re driving.
Organize and Store Cables & Tools
Tired of loose cords and cables littering your RV? These items are not only a nuisance but can also be a hazard. One inexpensive way to keep all wires secure and organized is to use cord wraps. For your tools you can get storage bags that roll up and have carrying handles to keep your items all in one location.
Pack Roadside Emergencies Supplies
Before you start thinking of which cardigan will be cozier when relaxing by the campfire, make sure you've already packed all emergency equipment. You wouldn't want to be stuck on the roadside for hours because you forgot to bring a lug wrench. Pack a properly inflated spare wheel, wrench, jack, lever, jumper cables, triangle reflectors, flashlight, water, and motor oil. Keep in mind that the equipment you bring should be tailored to the age, condition, and type of RV you're driving. Also, consider the weather and road conditions of where you're visiting.
Bring Multipurpose Items
Another smart way to save space and reduce the weight of your rig is to choose multipurpose items. By serving multiple functions, these items rightfully earn their place in your RV. For instance, you can use mason jars as drinking cups, storage containers, spices jars, or even to hold flowers. Picnic hampers can store food items and double as a table, while a multi-tool can be used as a knife, screwdriver, pliers, wire stripper, or bottle opener.
Shop at Your Local Store
Even if you want to minimize your RV's weight, always shop for groceries in your local stores. That's because it's nearly impossible to predict the cost or availability of food items where you're going. Different regions have different prices, and you wouldn't want to find the cost is double that of what you expected. Again, when shopping, buy groceries that will only last a week and use a meal plan to make sure you consume them before they go bad.
Prepare Meals Ahead of Time
If you're serious about saving money, you can’t afford to eat out every meal. Today, the average cost of a commercially prepared meal is $13, so you’ll end up spending $195 a day on food alone each day if you are five people eating three meals a day. You can avoid these costs and save time by preparing ready-to-eat meals and storing them in the freezer. And if you want a fast and cheap way to brew coffee on the road, pack a portable coffee maker.
Familiarize Yourself with the RV
If you've just bought or rented a motorhome, make sure you familiarize yourself with all its features before the road trip. Look for a spacious area and practice turning, backing, and parking. Next, learn how to operate the various components, from safety systems to hookups. Every RVer should know how to hook up to water, electricity, and sewer, plus how to clean the holding tanks.
Schedule a Pre-Trip Check
Whether you're just going for a weekend adventure or a month-long expedition, you need to ensure your vehicle is in trip-ready shape. Before you pull out, have a professional check the engine and electrical connections. Also, test the smoke, carbon monoxide, and propane detector and examine your fire extinguisher. A complete check-up will help you avoid headaches on the road, keep everyone safe, and save you money in the long run.
Check Your Tires
Under-inflated tires reduce your RV's fuel economy, while proper tire pressure improves your gas mileage by up to 3%. Before the trip, take some time to inspect the tires. Measure and top off the tire pressure, inspect the treads, and look for signs of wear and damage. All these issues can increase your RV’s fuel intake. Even better, invest in a tire pressure monitoring system to get real-time readings of your tire pressure. Remember to tighten the wheel lug nuts before the trip and rotate the tires often.
Slow Down and Stay Longer
When you plan to stay longer in one campground, you get to save more. You reduce the fuel costs of traveling from one RV park to the other, cut RV maintenance expenses, and increase your chances of getting a better campground rate. Many campgrounds provide special offers to RVers who stay longer. So book an RV park that is in the middle of the places you plan to explore.
Take Advantage of RVing Apps
Planning an RV road trip can be pretty stressful. You need to find routes without low clearances or propane restrictions and still visit the top attractions when traveling through a particular area. An RV-specific trip planner will help you identify the smoothest, most scenic, and gas-friendly routes. There are also apps you can use to get weather updates or locate the cheapest places to top off your tank. Other tools will reveal affordable campgrounds, tell you about the amenities available on each site, and even let you see other people’s reviews.
Keep the Fun Going
Kids tend to get bored fast on long journeys. To avoid being bombarded with “are we there yet” every five minutes, you need to be creative to make the time fly by. You can listen to a hilarious podcast for kids, play the license plate game, enjoy board games, sing-along, or watch a movie. Or try a scavenger hunt where you make a list of things to point out in the journey. Don’t forget to stop for rests, a little bit of stretching, and a snack.
Whether you're adventuring as a family, couple, or solo, the hacks and tips above will make your life on the road more simple, more fun, and less expensive. To get more helpful advice, connect with other seasoned RVers and be sure to read plenty of online guides for beginners.
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