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7 Simple Tips for Using a Small RV as an Everyday Vehicle

| Updated Jan 10, 2024

A Class B RV or Class C RV can double as an everyday vehicle for running errands and making day trips. Here's how..

 One of the great things about having a small RV – A Class B or Class C –  is that it also can function as an everyday vehicle. Or a second vehicle, if you'd rather call it that.

Whether you're tailgating or want a place to escape to on your lunch hour, you may find yourself using your small RV for much more than camping trips. We'll share some ideas on how to use it as an everyday vehicle, then give tips to make it easy for you.

How You Can Use a Class B or C RV as an Everyday Vehicle

photo illustrating how to use an RV as an everyday vehicle
We've used a previous Class B RV we had as a moving van.

Over the years I’ve used our various small RVs to run errands, drive to and from meetings and work-related activities, church, and – while Jennifer is shopping – a comfortable place to chill out while in the parking lot of the mall.

I’ve also used them for what I call mini-vacations, short day trip respites of a few hours to visit parks, lakeshores, and the like. Sometimes, I’ve put the bike rack on, drove to a big Metropark near my house, done a long bike ride, and then just chilled out for a few hours.

Traveling around with a refrigerator stocked with cold refreshments, some snacks, and food in the pantry, a TV, and, of course, a full bathroom, is surely something we can’t do in the family SUV.

  • Tailgating before a football game
  • A portable dressing room at weddings and funerals
  • A guest room in the driveway
  • A mobile production van for my video and photographic projects
  • My own man cave
  • A warming room in the winter when cross country skiing or snowshoeing
  • A deer blind when photographing nature
  • A comfortable bedroom for rest area naps while traveling
  • Emergency power when a storm knocks out electricity to the neighborhood
  • Extra refrigerator space for keeping things cold during family gatherings or parties
  • A place for the grandkids to hang out watching DVDs between baseball and soccer games
  • Our own private en suite bedroom in the driveway when visiting relatives

Tips for Using Your RV as an Everyday Vehicle

rvparking
This is one of the various small RVs we've used over the years. Like all smaller RVs, they park pretty much everywhere and you can use the RV as an everyday vehicle

If you’ve been thinking about using your RV as an everyday vehicle, here are my top seven tips to make it easy.

1. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Your RV is not only longer than most other vehicles, but it’s also taller. Look for low hanging limbs, utility wires, signs, and the like. Don’t even think about parking garages.

Yes, it can go just about anywhere. But it is not a car.

I was using an alley that paralleled the main street of a downtown near my home the other day and would have taken out a whole string of overhead wires that were sagging low over the alley. Cars easily passed beneath them. My 10-foot high RV would have not been able to Limbo underneath them.

photo of the Class C RV that Jennifer is using as everyday vehicle
This is our current Class C RV, a 2021 Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RTB. And yes, she is using the RV as an everyday vehicle!

2. Park at the End of the Parking Lot

With nothing behind them except maybe a curb or six-inch parking barrier, I always prefer end spaces to back in. The rear wheels of my RV chassis are set back from the actual end of the coach. So, I can back in a long way until the wheels hit the barrier. I only stick out a little longer than the other vehicles next to me.

3. Watch Out for Very Steep Driveways

Most Class B and Class C RVs have a lot of stuff hanging off the rear. They are also longer. Thus, steep driveways pose the risk of bumping or scraping your rear bumper hitch, generator, hot water heater, or battery holders.

4. Don't Squeeze in Too Tight

I seldom parallel park on city streets.  Yes, maybe, in some spots, I really can squeeze between the lines. But for those in front or behind me, it will be very challenging for them to get out. Or me, too, for that matter, should you be hemmed in at both ends.

If a parking space won't comfortably fit your RV, keep going until you find a space that will. But don't forget that parking garage height limits are usually much too small!

photo about how to beusing
Another way you can use your RV as an everyday vehicle is to take it to parks for day-trips.

5. Watch Out for Potholes and Broken Pavement 

City streets can be pretty messed up. And those streets can mess up your RV. A car can rattle over them pretty fast. A Class B RV or Class C RV sways and porpoises.

Cabinets can pop open (don’t ask Jennifer about the stack of plates I broke on one such urban adventure).  Bad roads are particularly bad for RVs when making sharp turns. Always take turns slowly at corners.

6. Lock your RV

That seems pretty obvious, I know. But thieves know motorhomes are very expensive and thus, chances are they have expensive things inside them, too.  Just as you probably have a security system for your family car, get one for your RV.

Don’t leave your GPS suction-cupped to your windshield. If you’re charging computers, cameras or cell phones inside the RV, hide them so no one can see them by peering into a window.

Think the inside is invisible because of window tinting? Think again. Put your face up to the glass and put a hand over your eyebrows to block the reflection. You’ll learn that you can see pretty well.

7. Be Polite

You are an ambassador for the RV Lifestyle. The public is very curious about small motorhomes. It’s a very rare day that I am not asked about mine when I am in the city or a big parking lot. We gladly answer questions (as long as the people don't seem shady). You don’t have to do that. But don’t be a snob, either.

Similarly, don’t run your generator in crowded areas where the noise can really irritate folks.

Full Tour of Our Wonder RTB

If you're curious about our current RV, a 2021 Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RTB, here's a complete video walkthrough tour:

Like what you see in these videos? We'd appreciate it if you would Subscribe to our YouTube Channel (easy to do right here) and consider “ringing the bell icon” to be notified of any new video from us. 🙂 Thanks!

You can see why we like small motorhomes – a Class B RV or a Class B RV – so much. They are small and maneuverable and thus a perfectly suited RV as an everyday vehicle. 

Most of this conversation has been about the Class B RV or Class C RV. But you may have heard about another type of small motorhome – the Class B+ If you're curious about that CLICK HERE for an article that explains the Class B+ RV

Our RV Buying Secrets

7 Simple Tips for Using a Small RV as an Everyday Vehicle 1

Next to your home, an RV is most likely the 2nd most expensive thing you'll ever purchase.

We get questions every day of other RVers wondering. “How do you buy a new or used RV?”

So we created a 75+-page downloadable digital guide to help you understand the nuances that come with purchasing an RV, where you can save thousands of dollars in the buying process, what the right questions are to ask dealers, what things to look out for, how to select the right unit, amenities, warranties, and so much more!

This ebook is designed to help make your purchase process as smooth as possible. And to teach you step-by-step exactly what to do so you can start your RV Lifestyle today!


Mike Wendland

Published on 2020-11-08

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

8 Responses to “7 Simple Tips for Using a Small RV as an Everyday Vehicle”

September 04, 2017at7:59 am, Fred said:

It is nice to have the bathroom near when you get older.

September 13, 2013at9:34 am, Mike Jackson said:

I’m soaking this all in. While I’m not at retirement age yet, when I do get close I plan to purchase a Roadtrek and use it as my 2nd vehicle at times. These tips I will remember! Good article and great tips! Thanks Mike!

July 22, 2013at8:40 pm, Vernon Rice said:

There is one more (at least) very important use for the class “B” motorhome that you keep advertising. If, God forbid, you have a friend or a loved one that is in the hospital for any length of time, most modern up to date hospitals have areas where friends and family can park a RV instead of trying to find a close by motel for a reasonable price or attempting to stay in the hospital room with the patient where sometimes the hospital allows it and sometimes not.

July 22, 2013at9:37 pm, Karsten Askeland said:

Been there, done that last month. I spent a week at the London Uninversity Hospital for a week when a friend had surgery. It was great and convenient. Cost $45.00 for parking for the week.

July 20, 2013at12:11 pm, Gail said:

We live in Southern California so our favorite day trip is to the beach. My husband is a surfer and he likes to get to the beach in the early morning, and early morning is the best time to get a parking spot with the best ocean view that will be easy for us to get out of later in the day. Does anyone know of a good surfboard rack for the class b? Right now we are laying his 10′ board in the aisle and it sure gets in the way, especially when we spend the night at the beach.

July 22, 2013at12:24 pm, Gary Hennes said:

I kayak a lot, so I got Yakima tracks installed on top of my RT so I could use the cross bars, etc. I already had from previous Class B’s. Then I added a Thule “Hull-a-Vator” which brings the boat down to about shoulder height. Springs in the arms help lift everything back up. I still need a 3-step ladder to finish securing every thing, but that’s easy to carry across the back.

July 20, 2013at10:47 am, Karsten Askeland said:

Excellent tips … thanks for sharing. I use my Class B as well for similar day trips and adventures …
If I had a $1.00 for every tour of my RV I’ve given I’d be able to purchase a new one by now. LOL 🙂

March 31, 2016at8:55 pm, Martine Knopf said:

thanks for the tip Karsten, I will start that on my next trip!

Comments are closed.

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