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7 Super Simple Tips for using an RV as an everyday vehicle

Lots of people like us have been using their RV as an everyday vehicle. A Class B RV or Class C RV is perfect 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,

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.

CLICK HERE if you are curious about the difference between a Class B RV and a Class C RV

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.

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

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

Using Your 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-    In parking lots, choose the spaces that are at the ends of the lot

 With nothing behind them except maybe a curb or six-inch parking barrier, I always prefer end spaces to back in. Because the rear wheels of my RV chassis are set back from the actual end of the coach 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. And thus steep driveways pose the risk of bumping or scraping your rear bumper hitch, generator, hot water heater or battery holders.

4-    Be considerate

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

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 be 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 good.

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 give tours. You don’t have to do that. But don’t be a snob, either. If you don’t want to talk about it, don’t drive it where people will naturally be attracted to it.

We love all the small RVs we’ve had over the year. We’ve used a Class B RV and a Class C RV for lots of traveling but lots of everyday use, too. Here’s a video that we did on a trip from Michigan to the South where we used the RV to discover and try various regional foods:

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

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. 

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.

Just in case you need some inspiration, I got to thinking in writing this article about all the ways we have used our RV as an everyday vehicle. I came up with a list of 12:

More ways to use a Class B RV or Class C RV as an everyday vehicle

  • 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

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

And if you are brand new to RVing, here’s a helpful beginner’s Guide to small Mororhomes from Consumers Reports.

Curious about the gear, gadgets, accessories, and RV products Mike & Jennifer use and recommend?

On this RV Lifestyle Travel blog, our RV Podcast and our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel, we mention all sorts of RV-related products and gear that we use, So we created a special page links to them. We update this all the time.  CLICK HERE to go to it directly. 

8 Responses to “7 Super Simple Tips for using an RV as an everyday vehicle”

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

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

Reply

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!

Reply

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.

Reply

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.

Reply

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.

Reply

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.

Reply

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 🙂

Reply

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

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

Reply

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