RVing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Trip

RV travel is tons of fun. That said, there are a number of things that can go wrong to ruin an RV trip entirely. Fortunately, by avoiding common RVing mistakes, you can ensure most of these problems never even come up.

Of course, it’s pretty difficult to avoid making mistakes if you don’t know what those mistakes might be. That’s where this article comes into play. Here, we will discuss thirteen common RVing mistakes so you can learn what not to do right here and now, rather than when you’re already out on the road.

By using this information, you should be able to travel safely and without issue, wherever you happen to roam.

Mistake #1: Not Planning Your Route

When driving an RV, route planning is crucial. Far too many roads have low-clearance bridges, steep grades, and other unexpected challenges. In order to ensure you have a safe and easygoing drive, be sure to use a program such as RV Trip Wizard—as well as a trucker’s atlas—to plan every route.

Mistake #2: Forgetting Your Height and Weight

Sometimes you plan the perfect route but an unexpected detour comes up along the way, or you simply end up missing a turn. In these cases, it is incredibly important to know your rig’s height and weight. This comes in handy in case you come across a low bridge or a bridge with a weight limit, as you’ll be able to avoid those spots where your RV just won’t fit.

Mistake #3: Overpacking or Underpacking

Packing an RV is both a science and an art. You want to make sure you have everything you need, as getting to a remote campsite and realizing you forgot something is never fun.

That said, it’s also important that you don’t pack so much you end up over your cargo carrying capacity. You also want to be sure you evenly spread the weight of the things you pack in order to avoid swaying as you drive.

Create a packing list based on lists found online to ensure you have what you need—and only what you need—to enjoy your camping trip.

Making sure your route is clear of road construction or other obstructions is a must before you leave!

Mistake #4: Planning Long Travel Days

You might be able to drive for a full 12 hours a day in a small car, but this is not something we recommend trying in an RV. For one thing, driving an RV requires a lot of focus, and when you’re driving for a long time it’s hard to maintain that focus. On top of that, you really shouldn’t drive an RV more than 55-60 mph.

Couple those facts with longer fuel stops as you try to navigate the gas stations with a big rig, and that 4-hour drive your GPS predicted at the start suddenly becomes a 6-hour drive (or longer).

A reservation beforehand can save you a alot of heartache while out on the road.

Mistake #5: Winging It Without Reservations

Some people feel that the magic of RV travel is the spontaneity of it. This used to be just fine, and still is if you’ll be boondocking or visiting a remote location. That said, with RV travel becoming more and more popular, it is key to make reservations in advance when visiting national parks and other popular spots.

Mistake #6: Not Making a List

That packing list we mentioned above? That isn’t the only list you should make. Every RVer should also have a list of things to do before each and every drive. This should include things like ensuring the awning is pulled in, checking that storage bays are secure, unplugging the electricity and unhooking the water hose, securing items in the RV, etc.

Make this list and check it every time you drive to ensure nothing goes forgotten. As you think of more tasks down the line, add them to the list right away so you can’t forget later.

Mistake #7: Skipping the Walkaround and Tire Check

One of the most important things to include on your RV checklist is a walkaround. This involves walking around your RV to check for anything you might have missed.

During your walkaround, we recommend checking your tires. Ensure they are at the right pressure and aren’t worn or showing signs of other issues.

Mistake #8: Going Without Proper Insurance and Roadside Assistance

Proper RV insurance is an incredibly important thing to have as an RV owner. After all, you never know when an accident may happen, and insurance will protect you in case of such an event.

You’ll also want to invest in quality RV-specific roadside assistance. This is offered by multiple companies, but the two most popular are Good Sam and Coach-Net. This service sends help should you find yourself needing a tow, a tire change, or a battery jump while driving your rig.

Mistake #9: Driving in Poor Conditions

Driving an RV is difficult enough. Add in heavy rain, snow, or wind and you’ve got yourself a scary and dangerous situation. For this reason, it’s best to avoid driving your rig in poor weather conditions if at all possible. Watch the weather before every trip. If it looks like a storm is headed your way, consider rescheduling.

Mistake #10: Backing Up Without a Spotter (or Camera)

You might be the best driver in the world, but that doesn’t make you immune to backing into things. Even the most experienced RVers still employ the help of a spotter to ensure they don’t accidentally run into a tree or electric box. Tend to travel sans passengers? Install a backup camera to do the same job!

Mistake #11: Going Without a Surge Protector and Pressure Regulator

Once you get to your campsite, it can be tempting to throw caution to the wild and start having fun. That said, there are still steps you should take to ensure you keep your RV in tip-top shape.

Two of the most important steps you can take are actually quite easy:

  1. Plug in a surge protector.
  2. Install a pressure regulator.

These two simple things protect your RV from high water pressure and electrical issues, and they might just save you a whole lot of time, money, and headaches.

About Chelsea Gonzales

Chelsea Gonzales has been living in an RV and traveling with her family for 7 years now. She road schools her two children, using various travel experiences as lessons in history, science, geography, and more. During their time on the road, the Gonzales family has had the pleasure of touring the 48 contiguous United States as well as parts of Canada. They have learned a lot along the way and Chelsea is happy to share some of that knowledge through her writing.