Time for some Essential Newbie RV Advice For Men aimed at smoothing out the bumps of RV travel and getting along with your wife or significant other in your RV
This is Mike, writing some newbie RV advice just for men.
Jennifer offered her newbie RV advice for women in a previous post. Now it’s my turn. I’ve got some newbie RV advice for RV husbands. or men who travel with a significant other.
I hope this is helpful for all men but this is primarily aimed at RV husbands who are starting out.
Maybe this is going to be the first year you’ll really be doing a lot of traveling in an RV and you want to make sure that you and your wife or significant other get along.
Please know this is not meant to be sexist in any way. I’m answering these questions and talking about these issues because they’re commonly raised to Jennifer and me all the time by email or when we’re out there traveling.
Jennifer had in her article some advice to RV wives who maybe were about to go on their first trips and weren’t sure what that all involved.
Well, it’s the same thing here.
I’m answering a lot of the questions I get from RV husbands about how to make sure their wife enjoys the trip as much as they do. How to avoid any conflicts.
Before we get started let me note that I am not going to give a review of all the different RV products and supplies we use in this article. I may link to a couple of things that apply to the specific advice I am offering up, but if you want to see a very complete list of the products we use and recommend ourselves, we maintain an updated web page that lists EVERYTHING. You can find that at https://rvlifestyle.com/gear
First of all, RVs are small
Let’s face it, two people sharing a confined space in an RV can strain even the best relationships from time to time.
If you’ve been an RVer for a long time, I think there still might be a lot here that you can enjoy.
So let’s start with the very first thing I’m asked all the time by guys out there and that is about maintaining your vehicle and carrying tools and gear.
To that end, let me say the most important thing you can do is find a good RV mechanic.
Newbie RV Advice: Maintenance & Repairs
Your RV, whether it’s a travel trailer, a towable fifth wheel, a camper, or a motorhome, is made up of two essential components. The engine and the living area.
So in our case, I have a Class C motorhome on the Sprinter chassis. And I have a really good Sprinter mechanic not far from our home in Michigan and he does most of the work on this. I can find other authorized Sprinter dealers all across the country and since I am not the least bit mechanically inclined- just ask Jennifer – I leave all that stuff to them.
The trickier part for us are the RV parts of our rigs. I’m talking about the fan in the ceiling, the air conditioner, the refrigerator, the plumbing, the electrical system. Those tend to be serviced by RV dealers.
You need to find a good one near wherever you spend most of your time. Find one, cultivate a great relationship with them, bring them donuts when they do your work, and get to know them and trust them for that. This newbie RV advice will save you time and money.
So just like with your personal car or truck, follow the factory-suggested maintenance schedule, stick to it. These vehicles will run for hundreds of thousands of miles if you maintain them and follow-through that.
Newbie RV Advice: RV Tools
I’m always asked about tools. What do you need to carry in tools?
Listen up RV newbies – not as much as a lot of guys think.
Now, I’m coming to you here freely confessing that I am not a handyman. I am not an auto mechanic. I don’t know how to do much of anything mechanically. I can operate all the technology on it, but I’m not good at doing maintenance. You – and bless you if you are- may be that way. But still, I want to tell you, you don’t need to carry your great big huge toolbox.
You need some basic wrenches and hammers, some screwdrivers, the right lubricants, some duct tape, and electrical tape and not a whole lot more.
I also advise that you carry some spare belts.
I do carry spare serpentine belts. If you don’t know what that is look in your service manual. Sometimes a lot of hard driving in hot weather can wear them out. I’ve had to replace mine twice in almost nine years of driving different RVs. But I always carry a serpentine belt.
The last time one went out was when I was at Yellowstone National Park. I was in the mountains just outside Yellowstone’s Northeastern entrance, and it went out while I was on a steep uphill grade.
I found a guy in this little tiny town, Silver City, Montana, who was able to replace it. But if I hadn’t had that serpentine belt with me, he would have had to order it. It would have taken several days.
Instead, it took an hour and a half and he had it on my unit. So carry a spare serpentine belt.
Here’s a link to a previous article we write about the serpentine belt – https://rvlifestyle.com/count-on-it-your-rv-will-need-major-repairs/
Manufacturer Contact & Roadside Assistance
Whatever RV manufacturer you have, get to know their website. If you don’t have one in the glove compartment, usually you can find the updated manuals online.
Write down and carry your RV manufacturer’s service number. Again, I promise that if you take this newbie RV advice, you’ll be prepared when problems arise. Trust me, someday you will need RV service
Most areas have an RV repair mobile service. This is typically a guy who has probably worked in an RV shop for a while and starts his own business with his own van. He sees these RV problems all the time, whether it’s air conditioning problems, plumbing problems, electrical problems. Chances are these RV mobile mechanics will come right to your campsite.
And it’s been my experience that they can do as good or a better job than many RV dealers. This is important newbie RV advice!
Usually you’ll find their cars or flyers posted on a bulletin board in the campground office. Don’t be hesitant to try them. I’ve had great luck with them. They’re very responsive. They come right to your campsite. Can’t be any more convenient.
So obsess with it what could go wrong with your RV. Today’s RVs are pretty reliable.
Newbie RV Advice: Clothing in your RV
That takes us to another area: Clothing.
It’s a sensitive issue and involves getting along with your wife.
Don’t over-pack, particularly as you’re starting off. You (or your wife) may think you need to have a new outfit every day.
Now guys, I’m not saying you should wear your underwear inside out so you can get a couple more days use of it. I’m not talking about that.
You need a minimum of three days worth of clothes – underwear, shirts, socks shorts, pants, That’s your minimum. Your maximum is five days. You do not need to take wardrobes for 10 days. This newbie RV advice may seem hard to grasp at first, but you’ll get used to it.
On loner trips, I usually do carry s sports blazer in my little wardrobe on the RV. I also bring a pair of dress khakis. They’re not real dress slacks, but they look appropriate to go to church or attend an event you’re invited to where you are expected to dress a little better, and I have a tie.
Yes, I wear a tie. Maybe three times a year. That’s it. But I have one in the RV.
I always have a pair of jeans and a couple of pairs of shorts, a bathing suit, some t-shirts, and short sleeve shirts, because most of the travel we do is in warm weather. We both also pack a windbreaker and a sweatshirt for those cooler nights and mornings. That’s about it.
Your wife may want to bring more clothes, but you’ll work that out after a couple of trips. So don’t come down on your her and say, “You can’t take any more than five days.” Let her take what she wants. Sometimes we men are a little more enthusiastic about this lifestyle than our wives are, as we start off. So, go easy on her.
But summing up on what you need for clothing.clothing – bring outfits for a minimum of three days, but no more than five. You’ll do laundry on the road or you’ll find different ways to handle it.
Now I want to take you to something else on the road that’s important.
Don’t buy a bunch of stuff, RV newbies
You don’t have a lot of room in an RV. I don’t care if you’ve got a Class A, or a camper van, or a popup, teardrop, or a tow-behind, you don’t have a lot of room. You need to be disciplined when you’re out there on the road buying stuff.
That said, don’t think you can’t buy something special that you come across. Almost anything you want to buy, you can ship back to your home. We ship stuff home all the time if we find souvenirs.
We recently found a great place in Wewahitchka, Florida, in the lower panhandle towards the middle of the state. They make the best honey I’ve ever had, Tupelo Honey, which is absolutely the best. And we bought big jugs of that stuff right from these guys. But I didn’t want to carry it around, so we had it shipped to our home. It was not a problem.
So you can buy stuff, but remember that you have limited space, and on a long trip, if you start buying a lot of souvenirs and stuff, there’s no place to put it. So if you really want it and you really need it, it’s a good deal, buy it, ship it home, or ship it to an address where somebody can hold it for you until you get home.
Newbie RV Advice: Relationship on the Road
Now let’s go on to some critical newbie RV advice for relationship building. This is a question men will come up to ask me when their wife is not within earshot. They’ll quietly ask me, “I’m not sure my wife really likes this RV Lifestyle. How do I ease her into it?”
The first thing I suggest is to start slow. Just like when you first started dating her. You wooed her. You took your time.
Do the same thing with RVing. Don’t plan a six week trip for your first trip. Try a couple of nice little weekend outings.
What does your wife like to do? Is she an antiquer? Does she like to look around for art? Does she just like to explore little towns? What are her hobbies and special interests? Plan your trips to meet those needs.
One of the things I suggest for brand new RVers before they set off on their first trip is to sleep in your driveway one night. Learn how the bed works, what’s comfortable, how you get the RV level and all that. Help her ease into it that way.
Don’t take her out boondocking 50 miles from the nearest civilization on your first trip. I guarantee you’ll want to work up to that because that’s really fun out there. But don’t do that the first few times you go camping. And don’t take her on your first trip to a Walmart parking lot, either.
I’m sorry. There’s nothing remotely fun about camping in a Walmart parking lot.
First of all, you can’t really camp there, meaning don’t take out your chairs and all that camping stuff. It’s only to be used for overnight stays. , Walmart parking lots are noisy. There’s a lot of cars. There’s a lot of light. Why would anybody want to stay there?
That’s not to say you won’t as you get more experienced, because you may be going from a destination to a destination, had a long day of driving and you just want to stop for a few hours and get some sleep before on. But don’t make a Walmart your destination. Not if you ant your wife to enjoy the RV Lifestyle.
And that takes me to maybe the most important thing at all, and that’s what regular listeners of the podcast, or the blog, or on YouTube will know, and that is really important: My 330 rule. Don’t be so competitive with yourself that you drive 800 miles on your first trip, or 700 miles a day, or get competitive with yourself, saying I did 520 miles yesterday and I want to do 600 today.
Guys, that’s not what this lifestyle is all about. There are times when maybe you’ll have a great time someplace and you’ll spend a little more time and you got to get home for work or for a commitment, and you do have to drive long and hard, but those should be very rare, especially if you want your wife to enjoy this lifestyle.
Keep travel days reasonably short
We try and plan our trips so that we drive no more than 330 miles in a single day, or we stop by 3:30 in the afternoon. That way we’ve got time to relax, to sit around, to do some exploring, to see the area that we’re spending the night in.
Take your time. Try to get off the interstates as much as you can. Take two-lane roads. Ask your wife or your traveling companion, what do you want to… You see anything you want to stop at? Share the journey. Enjoy serendipity!
Be sure and take regular breaks. Try and get out and walk around at least every hour and a half. If you want your partner to drive while you’re driving, set up a rule that we’ll drive 100 miles each, or 150 miles each, and then we’ll switch. That’s a great way.
Newbie RV Advice: Take Care of Yourself
Last area, a very sensitive area (but super important newbie RV advice). I’m saying this because a lot of women have raised this to me, and that is, guys, take care of yourself. Stay clean, shave, wash your hair. I know you’re on vacation and many of us are roughing it, we think we’re roughing it out there, but you’re traveling with somebody else, so practice personal hygiene.
I had one woman come up to me at an RV show and says the thing she hates most about RVing is how bad her husband smells. And I said, “Well, have you ever told him that?” And she said, “No, I’ve never told him that.” And I said, “Well, tell him.” You want to enjoy this trip, and so take care of yourself. Take a shower. Don’t wear the same clothes three and four days in a row.
And that leads me to this last part of this, which is still pretty sensitive and that is, okay, you’re on a vacation, I get that, but you can’t live every day as if you’re on a vacation. If you’re on a long RV trip, you got to have some common sense about what you put in your body, what you eat, and what you drink. I think some of the saddest things I have seen out there are people who become much too partying.
They think that this is a three-week party. And I’ve had women come up to me often and say, “My husband doesn’t drink much at home, but on the road, he’s always drinking and I don’t like that.” As well she shouldn’t.
You want this to be a fun lifestyle, so make it somewhat healthy. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have a beer at the end of the day or a glass of wine. I’m not talking to that. You know what I’m talking about. It’s not every one of you, it’s a few of you, don’t overindulge in food or alcohol. You want this to be fun and that isn’t fun. And don’t tell me you think that it’s fun. It’s not.
So there you go. I guess in terms of getting along with your spouse, I heard a marriage counselor at our church once speak and he had a phrase, I guess in these days, it’s probably a sexist phrase, but I think he’s right, and in what he meant by it certainly is commendable. His phrase was to guys, “Just be nice to the girl.” And that’s the way to be.
Be nice to the girl.
Don’t get frustrated.
Take things as they come. There will be setbacks. There’ll be mechanical breakdowns. There’ll be rainstorms. You won’t be able to do everything you want to do. That’s just life. But you’re on the road, you’ve got some control, you’re in your RV, you’re going to have a great time.
RV Lifestyle is here for you!
All right, that’s a lot of ground that we just covered. I hope that it’s helpful to some of you. A number of women have asked me to say these things to men, so I have just done so. Guys don’t get mad at me. I’ve made many of these mistakes I’m trying to get you not to make. But the whole point of this is, this is supposed to be a great lifestyle. So go out there and make it fun.
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