Whether you’re a weekend camper or a full-time RVer, you know travel days can feel stressful. From packing up the rig to navigating potential problems on the road, there’s a lot to consider. But there are ways to make travel days easier, and even fun. Here are 5 Ways to Improve Travel Days:
I know. It seems obvious. But this is the first rule to go out the window when things go sideways. How many RVers have planned to take their time packing up, only to rush to beat incoming rain or because of a last-minute destination change?
This trap is especially easy to fall into when you’re more experienced. Why? Because you may have grown a little too confident in your ability to rush through hooking up and hitting the road. It’s easy to forget something small, like securing the lock on your fridge. Before you know it, you arrive at your destination to find condiments and leftovers all over your floor, and your RV smells like BBQ for a week because the liquid smoke spilled everywhere. You know - hypothetically speaking.
Have a Game Plan
One way to avoid rushing is to have a game plan. Create checklists for your departure. Each person traveling in the RV should have a job to do. Travel days are more fun if your departure and arrival operate like a well-oiled machine.
The less you have to do, the more you can enjoy your trip. Permanently secure any belongings inside the RV you can using hooks, putty, nets, etc. By doing this, you’ll reduce the amount of time it takes to pack and unpack your belongings.
You can also simplify your driving days by taking care of some tasks the night before. Secure any belongings or exterior equipment you can. Use this time to fill your freshwater tank if you need to. This way, you can sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee the next morning without having to race through your routine.
Keep Up with Maintenance
Travel days are not the best time to discover you need an oil change. Or new tires. Use a vehicle maintenance app if you prefer to organize your life on your phone. You could also place reminders on the fridge, or keep a checklist with your travel day preparation list.
Check your RV manual and other travel vehicle manual for all necessary maintenance information regarding things like oil changes, filter changes, transmission checks, etc. That way, you won’t end up stranded on the side of the road for a problem you could have easily prevented.
Additionally, conducting regular checks under your RV, towing vehicle, and/or tow behind vehicle for rust, loose bolts, and other issues will go a long way in ensuring safer, hassle-free travel.
Leave Early/Arrive Early
Arriving late at a campground is annoying for all parties involved. First, why drive an RV in the dark if you don’t have to? And for that matter, who wants to get set-up in the dark? As for your campground neighbors, I bet you’ll never hear them say, “Wow. I’m so glad this RV next to me pulled into the campground late last night and made a bunch of noise while I was trying to sleep.”
Things happen. Plans fail. Traffic jams slow travel. Though you can’t prevent mishaps, you can mitigate them by traveling with wiggle room. Some of the best advice I’ve heard for travelers is to plan to arrive at your location by 3pm. Then, even with slowdowns and setbacks, you will usually arrive at your destination at a decent time.
There are several ways to do this. Though we rarely travel over 300 miles in a day, there have been a few exceptions. When this happens, we pack up everything we can the evening before, so there’s little to do the next morning. Then we leave the campground as the soon as the sun comes up. If you’re not an early riser, try putting in less miles, and enjoying the Zen feels of slow travel.
Bonus Tip: Don’t wait until the last minute to leave. As a certified RV tech, my husband has received many calls from people who struggled with a slide while trying to leave the campground. Some people waited until the last minute, and by the time he fixed their slides, they left well past the check-out time. When customers called several hours before check-out, he had no problem getting them on the road prior to check-out.
Ready Your Toolkit
Long before you get behind the wheel and kick your vehicle into drive, there are a few important tasks you’ll want to take care of. First, add the phone number for your auto/RV insurance into your phone, along with the policy number, so you’re not scrambling to find important information during an emergency.
If you’re handy, keep a set of tools for basic repairs where you can easily access them. And whether you can change a tire or not, you want to have a spare for each of your vehicles (tow vehicle, RV, or toad).
When we bought our RV, it came with cheap tires with a brand name even Google didn’t recognize. We immediately replaced them with Good Year tires, purchasing a fifth one just in case. Why? Because cheap or worn tires are dangerous to drive on.
When we pulled into the second campground on our full-time RV journey, our Tire Pressure Monitoring System alerted us to a quickly deflating tire. We got into our spot, replaced it in minutes, and ordered another one from a nearby tire shop. Having a spare tire turned a potentially frustrating situation into a simple one that we managed without issue.
Pro Tip: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends replacing your tires approximately every six years. You can find the manufacturing date on your tires by looking for a four-digit number. The first two digits indicate the week the tires were produced, and the last two digits show the year.
Though traveling is simultaneously fun and overwhelming, there are ways to take the stress out of it, like implementing these 5 Ways to Improve Travel Days in Your RV. If it’s still too tough, consider whether your RV is the right one for you, or if you might be traveling with too many or too few vehicles. Regardless of your travel frequency, you can use these tips to make for a smoother and more enjoyable trip experience.
Do you love travel days? Have any tips to share with others to make their trips smoother? Leave a comment below! We’d love to hear from you.