10 Things You Need To Know Before Your First RV Trip

I love cruising. And RVing is like cruising on land. Never needing to pack or unpack, working as you travel, and sleeping wherever and whenever. The idea of unrestrained liberty to go wherever the wind blows. Being comfortable in your own home in an unacquainted territory.

In Australia, RV trips are usually reserved for the great grey-nomad dream. One I definitely intend on fulfilling. But RVing the US is one of the easiest ways to see some of the best natural sites.

The kids and I did 2 RV Trips during our years travelling the US. Our RV rental took us for 7 days through Pacific Northwest and for 7 days through Utah, Arizona, and Nevada to see the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley.

If you want to know whether you should take your family in an RV or just take the car, this article is for you. Below I’ve covered 10 pros and cons on what I learned from RVing. May it help you be better prepared for when you embark on your own expedition in a home on wheels.

Pro’s

1. You only need to unpack once

My favourite part of an RV trip is that you only have to unpack once. Similarly, to being on a cruise ship where you unpack once and still get to visit multiple destinations. Once you unpack that very first day and have everything in place, you can hit the open road and never worry about having to pack or unpack your suitcase again.

2. It’s possible to sleep & pee anywhere

As you drive down long, seemingly endless roads, your eyes can get heavy, your mind dull and you will long for a rest. In the US an RV can stop at most Walmart’s, some Casinos and hundreds of campsites for that very purpose. Plus, you don’t have to get used to a new hotel bed each night, because you keep the same one. The same pillow, the same blanket, the same perfect body indentation.

Comparably, when my kids have to go to the toilet, they have to go now. So in an RV, we didn’t have to find the nearest, dirty gas station, we had a toilet with us wherever we went.

3. Mum, I’m hungry

Ever been on a road trip and all you hear from the back is how hungry the kids are? We absolutely loved having a kitchen when travelling long distances. Grocery shopping is much more cost effective than eating at a restaurant, so it was cheaper. Plus it is healthier, you know what’s going in your food and how much you are eating. And lastly, you don’t have to wait. When the kids say they are hungry, pull over, grab something from the cupboard or whip up a quick lunch and boom, problem solved.

4. It’s an easy ride & super easy to set up

You would think something this size would be hard to drive, astonishingly, the RV was actually very easy to drive.

And setting up camp was also super easy. Camping can be so tiring when there’s a tent to set up after 8 hours of driving. But in an RV everything is ready. Pull into the lot, roll out the awning (in our case, push a button), plug in the water and electricity, and relish your same home in a new location.

I’m gonna pause here and also add in a slight con because while it’s easy to set up, it’s also time-consuming to pack down. The best alternative I can think of is having a small car or motorcycle for day trips so that you can leave the RV in the campsite.

5. Campsites are fun

Usually, on a road trip, we would pull into a small hotel/motel on the side of the road, go to our room and sleep. Campsites are so much more than that. You have playgrounds for the kids, mini-golf, go-karts and swimming pools. Plus, it’s so easy to make friends with your neighbours and share the joys of life on the road.

6. Pack the kitchen sink

I was pleasantly surprised by how much storage was available in an RV. The kid’s and I easily fit all our suitcases, my sister’s bags, and even my daughter’s bike. Compared to a car, getting luggage in and out is much easier too.

Possibly one of my favourite parts was the electrical outlets in an RV. We could charge everything and we didn’t need to unplug every morning. Laptops, external battery packs, Kindles, phones, you name it. Very handy for those long trips.

 

Con’s

Ok, so it can’t all be sunshine and lollypops. There are a few things that might not make your first RV trip so positive.

7. Crappy Wi-Fi

Campground Wi-Fi is worse than hotels (and I thought they were bad). Many campsites have just 1 router so if your lot is far away from the main building/office, you may very well be out of range and out of luck.

Tip: Purchase a sim card or hotspot provider to have your own source of internet at all times.

8. Parking is limited

Parking options are more limited for an RV. You probably will not be parallel parking in front of quaint little coffee shops, stopping for mini-golf, or zipping through drive-thru restaurants without big problems. Don’t forget your roof height, because the last thing you want to do is get caught in a McDonald’s drive-thru with mustard on your shirt or blocking the only entry to an underground parking garage.

Tip: Look for large parking lots, such as Walmart. The respectful thing to do is park further away from the building entrance to avoid obstruction and accidental car damage.

9. Fuel burn

Obviously with an RV weighing 3 times more than the average family car worse gas mileage is to be expected. Thankfully large fuel tanks do mean less filling up, but it also means more expense.

Tip: Petrol fumes and open flames don’t play well together. Remember to turn off the propane valve (to automatically extinguish the pilot light) before entering a gas station.

10. The gross part

RV’s can be, well kind of gross. Learning to drain sewerage, remembering to fill up the fresh water reserve can take some getting use to. The moment the shower started sputtering is usually when I remembered oh, now’s a good time to check the water levels.

 

Explore With Erin Conclusion

For me, the pros of RVing far outweigh the cons and I would do it all again without a second thought. How about you? Where is a must RV Trip destination? Tell me below.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer
    Reply

    I’ve been toying with the idea of road tripping for a couple of months and I was considering doing it in an RV. I never considered the part about emptying out the toilet remains (yikes) but the pros do seem to outweigh the cons. Have you ever done a trip an RV longer than a week? Would you recommend it for longer trips if so?

    • Erin
      Reply

      We did a 2 week RV trip in a Jucy van across the Pacific Northwest. I would definitely recommend it for long-term travel. Although a car would have been handy so you don’t have to pack up the trailer just to visit local scenes. But yes, I’d do it again and for longer.

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