If you are new to RVing there are a ton of things you need to know. I’m not gonna lie, but I’m going to share some practical things you need to know to help make your RV journey an amazing one.
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This is not a Simpler Life
The first piece of advice for new RVers is that RV Life is not easier.
If you think you will be spending all your time sitting around a campfire with a cocktail in your hand surrounded by amazing friends, you will be wrong. You might be able to do that a lot, but you will also spend more time than you ever thought possible on RV maintenance and RV repairs. If you have a lot of money, that means your rig will go somewhere to get serviced for weeks or months at a time if you are on a tight budget, this means you will be spending a lot of time working on your rig and less time traveling and having fun.
Houses also require maintenance and repairs, but not at the rate that RVs do.
Even though it is not simpler, it is a lot more satisfying. The number of opportunities we have had to learn new systems and repairs has been amazing. RV life equals growth. You learn about RVs and mechanical things, but you also learn about yourself and those on the journey with you.
Need WiFi? Don’t Rely on the Campground!
Nearly every campground out there offers free WiFi. However, when you actually get there, you realize that the free WiFi is in the front office, not at your campsite.
If you are new to RVing and you need reliable internet for work, play, and/or rainy days, you better bring your own.
How much you need depends on how much you plan on using. Since we are working-aged RVers with homeschooled kids and we run an online business, reliable internet is essential. We ended up with 2 unlimited hotspots from Verizon and AT&T.
Getting Your Mail & Packages isn’t Too Hard
There are several ways to handle your mail. You can pay for a mail forwarding service or you can have your friends/family members to handle it for you. With the mail forwarding service, the mail is received, opened, scanned, and forwarded to you. They often offer other services if you prefer to get your mail less frequency or not all, they can simply hold it for you. The same goes for your friends and family.
All of our mail goes to my parents’ house. They hold it for us unless we receive an important letter or unexpected package.
Some campgrounds will allow mail and packages to be received in the campground office.
If you are planning on moving often and boondocking, you might want to look into general delivery at the post office.
Keep it Simple
If you are new to RVing, you might be a little scared of downsizing from your home to this small rig. As you are shopping, that RV with multiple slides might really appeal to you, but here’s a little advice. Each of those slides adds a little more weight and a little more complexity – slide motors, extra corners, cost, additional maintenance, and so much more.
I recommend that you keep your first RV as simple as possible. You can always upgrade later if needed.
Think Like a Minimalist
OK, you have your new RV and it’s totally empty. What do you need to make it liveable? Here’s a little piece of advice for you, you don’t need as much stuff as you think. I’m not saying you have to be a minimalist, just to think like one when you first get started.
Really, you only need enough for the people and animals you will be traveling with.
We are a family of 4 and we have:
- 4 large plates, 4 small plates, and 4 bowls
- 6 bedding sets – the ones on the bed and the ones we replace them with
- Enough towels for each of us
Take the minimum that you need. It is a lot easier to travel with less stuff that you have to pack and stow each time you move. Also, the more you put in your RV, the heavier your rig will be. You want to keep it light. If you find yourself needing more stuff, you can slowly add items along the way.
Join RV Social Clubs
As someone that is new to RVing, you might be thinking that you don’t need social clubs because you will find tons of RVers along your travels. I’m here to tell you that social clubs are the best way to meet RVers and learn the ropes. Yes, of course, RV parks and campgrounds are full of other RVers, but not all of them are full-timing and not all of them are interested in making friends with their fellow campers. We spent quite of few lonely years trying to find friends on the road. You really have to make an effort.
So, which ones should you join?
- Fulltime Families
- The Road Life Project (RLP)
- RLP is really special to us. It was started by Hippie & the Tech, You, Me, & The RV, Two Beards and a Babe, and yours truly.
- The RLP will serve all communities – retirees, working-aged folks, couples, solo RVers, and families.
- This is the group to join if you need healthcare while on the road.
Stay in Cool and Unique Places
RVing is more than just going from campground to RV park to campground to RV park. There are a ton of options out there for you to RV camp. Maybe you want to stay on private property owned by RVers or maybe you want to stay on a farm or at a brewery.
So, where do you find these unique opportunities? Sure you can search “Cool Places to RV”, but I have a few sites you can go to and search that we have used (or can’t wait to use):
Ok, this might be the most obvious piece of advice to anyone new to RVing, but… I’m being serious.
- People don’t clean up after their dogs.
- Kids run through your campsites.
- Quiet hours aren’t observed.
- RV park reservations get lost.
And that’s just the shortlist. If you are RVing anywhere near other humans, you will experience some rough moments.
So you have to decide how you will handle it. Will it ruin your trip or will you make lemonade out of those huge lemons you’ve been given. It is up to you and I recommend that you find the silver lining. If nothing else, a terrible camping trip will make for a great story someday.