OUR FIRST RV TRIP
5 Things You Need To Know Before Your First RV Trip
We are brand new to RVing and, if we're honest, it can be intimidating if you've never done it. It's that reason alone that RVing has never really been on our “must do” radar but when Stone's RV reached out to see if we were up for an RV adventure, we were all in! Now that we're back from our first RV trip, we're totally converted and already planning our next trip. Today we're breaking down 5 things you need to know when you're getting started with RVing.
1. Finding The Right Fit
RVing has a ton of advantages. First, you get all the joy of camping & road tripping while still enjoying most of the comforts of home. That said, if you're considering buying a travel trailer and you've never done it before, I would highly recommend taking your time and exploring all of the different options available to you. Tour the different rigs and discuss your needs at length with your RV dealer. Some things to consider:
- What kind of RVing will you be doing? Are you travelling solo, as a couple, with a family, with pets? Will you be parking it and leaving it for long periods of time or on the go very frequently. What kind of terrain are you planning to cover? These are all important questions to ask yourself!
- Choosing the right rig: An RV is a big commitment and if you're going to make a purchase like that you want to make sure you're getting into the right kind of rig for your lifestyle. Without having spent any time in an RV, it'll be difficult to know what features matter most to you but what we loved about the process at Stone's RV was that their first step is to sit down with you and discuss what type of trailer is going to be best suited to your needs. A travel trailer, fifth wheel, motorhome, park model? Take your time and get it right!
2. RV Parks & Campgrounds
Full disclosure, this was our first time actually staying in an RV but we've stayed in countless campgrounds over the years so we've got some insights. Here are some things to consider before you book your first RV trip.
- Do you need wifi? We do! Many campgrounds offer free wifi but some still don't so check before you park and make sure you've got what you need (especially if you're working on the road).
- Space & Conditions. Depending on the type of RV you're traveling with, it's wise to do a little due diligence and make sure the park or campground you're staying in is sufficient for the size and weight of your trailer.
- What kind of RVer are you? Do you prefer RV parks that are more like big communities where everyone knows each other or are you keen on more privacy? Both exist and I think this is a really important consideration in order to make the most out of your trip.
- Do you prefer to be in the woods, mountains, on the ocean, by a lake? Set yourself up for success by choosing a destination that you know you'll love (especially in the beginning).
3. RV's are Perfect for Foodies
This was one of our favorite parts because we LOVE cooking and eating outdoors. One of our favorite things about camping is the food! We spend a good amount of time eating in restaurants and that's great (hey, no complaints) but that part of our life makes us really appreciate the opportunity to cook for ourselves. We loved that we got to eat “camp food” but had all the amenities of a proper kitchen. Depending on your food style, consider the following:
- What kind of meals do you want? Be honest. Don't tell yourself that you're good with the bare basics when really you love gourmet cooking. One of our favorite features of the RV we stayed in was the kitchen! The gas stove had 3 burners AND an outside kitchen plus plenty of kitchen storage.
- Does the RV you're buying have an outdoor kitchen: These vary greatly so really take a look at the size and function of the outdoor kitchen space of the trailers you're considering.
- Research the local area. Plenty of RV parks are in remote locations and if you're not keen on cooking for yourself, make sure there are restaurants handy.
4. Pack Smart
If you've been following along with us, you already know that we're making big bold moves towards the minimalist movement. We've been busy shedding our “things” in exchange for more experiences so this part was easy for us. Being an efficient packer (both for personal items and food) is important if you're going to be spending time in a tiny home (like an RV). When you're heading out on your first RV trip, here are our tips for packing smart:
- Plan your meals ahead of time (no brainer right). The fridge and storage capacity in each RV can vary greatly and ours had tons of space but the last thing you need is for condiments to be falling out of the fridge every time you open the door.
- Consider a high-quality capsule wardrobe that is very versatile and long-lasting.
- Bring the basics: Rain gear, warm clothing, etc. Depending on the time of year you'll want to make sure you have what you need to stay dry and comfortable. You're in an RV, yes, but you'll still need to be outdoors a lot for set-up and take-down. If it happens to be raining, you'll be happy you've got the gear.
- Bring essential tools. This is where your RV dealer comes in! They are the experts and when they tell you “you should have a ____”, trust them. They're not just going for the upsell, they're trying to set you up to have the best experience possible. Some essentials that we learned are well worth the investment:
- RV appropriate toilet paper. You can't flush just anything into your tank (unless you're up for a world of hurt later)
- Wrenches, jacks, hoses, etc (they'll give you a list)
- Full propane tanks (I'd suggest upgrading the size if you're going to be serious about your RVing lifestyle)
- Surge protectors! Campground electrical can be unpredictable and the last thing you need is a surge to fry your gear.
- Water Pressure Regulator.
- Extra Fuses – just like your car, they can go occasionally so keeping a collection on hand is, well, handy!
5. Take Advantage of Your RV Resources
Heading out on your first RV trip and, even more so, purchasing your first RV inducts you into the “RV club”. Overnight you become part of a global community of travelers which is pretty damn cool. These are all people who have been where you are and understand the challenges and the joys of RVing. Here's what to do if things go sideways while you're RVing.
- Know that something will go wrong! This is a brand new experience and you can't possibly know everything. Be prepared by knowing that something will go off-plan at some point and be OK with that.
- Enlist the help of your neighbors. Wherever you're parked, there will most likely be other RVers around you and many of them have a lot more experience than you do. Most people are more than willing to help a fellow traveler so make friends with your neighbors!
- Take advantage of the RV Pros. At Stone's RV, they take the customer experience extremely seriously and your purchase of an RV is just the first step. They provide full support to their clients so if you have a question, just ask. Here are a few extra pro tips:
- Video your orientation! There's a lot to learn during your orientation and rather than trying to absorb everything, just tape it so you can reference it later!
- Take advantage of the video tutorials at Stone's RV. Their website is full of step-by-step tutorials and how-to's.
6. BONUS: START BEFORE YOU'RE READY
You've heard this from us before but we'll say it again. If you're dreaming of a life full of travel and adventure and you've been considering an RV. GO FOR IT! We spend too much time wishing and hoping and not enough time taking action and doing! I would also say that we were pleasantly surprised by the financing options available which makes getting into an RV very accessible for most of us.
So if you've been thinking about (even just a little), give Stone's a call and book an appointment to chat. They'll walk you through everything you need to know about selecting an RV, if RVing is even right for you, and how to get started if that's on your heart. Personally, I've been trying to convince Brent for years that we should go on the road full time and after this trip, he's a lot closer to saying yes to that dream!
Leave us a comment and let us know if you've ever done any RVing or if it's something you'd consider.
*this post was sponsored by Stone's RV in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia but, as always, all opinions, photos and ideas are solely our own.