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A Few Things to Know for First-Time RV Owners
Over the past six years, Americans have been buying more and more recreational vehicles (RVs). The RV has become the new way to travel, and industry leaders cite the number of baby boomers retiring and setting their sights on the road in these vehicles being very high. A vacation in an RV can be a life-changing experience for many. As summer is fast approaching, many families will be planning cross-country vacations in their recently purchased RV. If you’re in the market for a new or used RV, here are a few tips for your first big road trip.
Traveling with Options
The benefits of owning and/or traveling in an RV are endless. Not having to stop to eat overpriced junk foods when you can instead travel with a full kitchen prepared with a refrigerator, stove and microwave is just one perk.
RV vacationing also means every family member can travel along in comfort, even the four-legged ones! More and more RV parks are becoming pet-friendly, so having to choose a kennel is not a requirement. Of course, a few test runs with your pet is recommended so you can know whether or not they’ll enjoy the open road.
Licensed to Drive
Like so many things in life, practice makes perfect. The same goes for driving an RV. This does not require a special certificate, but a Class-C license can let you take most RVs off the lot. Be sure that when you are driving an RV, be mindful of how tall it is when approaching low-height bridges.
Watch out when entering gas stations or rest stops with dips, as a longer vehicle tends to drag against the ground. And, always be careful when reversing. Most new models have a rear camera that displays to your dashboard, so utilize it to your advantage.
Taking it Out
You’ve purchased an RV and are ready to go. Take a few minutes to do the following:
- Walk around the vehicle to take a glance at everything. Check your tires’ air pressure and open and close all doors to see if they lock. Make sure everything is fastened down and be sure that no power cords are hanging loosely from compartments.
- Have an emergency kit for both first aid and roadside assistance. Make sure it includes flairs, a jack, basic tools, etc. A fully stocked toolbox could save you minor repair fees and get you more acclimated with your vacation vehicle.
After purchasing your vehicle, consider joining an auto service club. Clubs like The Good Sam Club offer members many benefits, including roadside assistance.
When you finally take the RV out on the road, electricity might be lacking at camping sites. Being out in the wilderness with no power is known as dry camping. If you are not connected to a power source, you will not want to drain batteries or your generator. Here’s a quick checklist with a few hints mixed in for you to consider:
- Turn off all electrical appliances, lights, radios, TVs and anything else not in use.
- Schedule your generator usage with shower, cooking and microwaving times.
- If cold weather is coming, dress appropriately. A heater will use up a lot of power from a generator. If possible, try building a campfire.
- Rise and shine when the roosters call, or at least wake when the sun rises and go to bed when it sets.
- Try using rechargeable batteries when possible. If you are recharging them, use a voltmeter to see how much power they have left. Deep cycle batteries are considered charged at 12.6 volts and discharge at 10.6 volts. Recharge before they fall below 60%.
Meet and Greet
At campsites, take a few minutes to say hello to other campers. You might need something later on during your stay and your neighbors may be able to help. This will also submerse you in the campground/RV experience. And, a few friends in a new place could also help keep an eye out for your valuables.
Pick Up After Yourself
This part should go without saying but clean up after yourself. Leaving trash behind is not only a bad habit, it can also result in a fine. Keeping a clean area around your RV includes picking up after your pets as well.
Setting Up Correctly
After finding that perfect spot at the campground, make sure to set up everything correctly. Place blocks in front and behind your wheels after parking to prevent accidents. Look around at other campers and see how they are positioned. And last but not least, make sure sewage lines are appropriately set up.
Here When You Need Us
Before heading down the open highway, make sure your RV has proper coverage. At Shepard Walton King, we can help you find various insurance options for RVs to give you the peace of mind you need. Because a road trip in an RV can make a lifetime of memories, take the time to find a great insurance policy for a worry-free vacation.