You learn as much as you can before buying an RV, but some things you can only learn by experience. Or, by reading this article…
- 1 You learn as much as you can before buying an RV, but some things you can only learn by experience. Or, by reading this article…
What RVers Wish They Had Known
- 2.1 1. Fluctuating Gas Prices
- 2.2 2. Tires
- 2.3 3. Unpredictable Expenses
- 2.4 4. Do Not Overpack
- 2.5 5. Know Your Water System!
- 2.6 6. When and Where to Purchase Liquor
- 2.7 7. Rent It Out
- 2.8 8. The Value of Airtight Containers
- 2.9 9. The Miracle of Happy Camper Tank Treatment
- 2.10 10. The Many Benefits of Tinted Windows
- 2.11 11. Auto Levelers Are Worth the Investment
- 2.12 12. The 330 Rule
- 2.13 13. RVing with Pets is Grrrreat!
- 2.14 14. Don’t Think Emergencies Won’t Happen to You
- 2.15 15. RVing Will Test Your Relationship
- 3 More Things RVers Wish They Had Known…
- 4 Our RV Buying Secrets
- 5 RV Tech Course
There was a question posed recently about what our RV Lifestyle members wish they had known about RVing before hitting the road!
And, guess what? There was a LOT RVers wish they had known. The post received nearly 300 comments sharing the wisdom RVers gained from the road.
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What RVers Wish They Had Known
The following are all the things our RV Lifestyle members wish they had known about RVing before getting on the road. Their mistakes and discoveries can help you be prepared if RVing is new to you!
1. Fluctuating Gas Prices
The first item on our list is the fluctuating gas prices. Of course, this should no longer come as a surprise to most since we have all been hit hard by the soaring gas prices these past few months.
Many RVers wished they had known How to Get Better Gas Mileage in Your RV.
Our RV Lifestyle member, Kari, was the first to comment on the thread. It was not that she mentioned fluctuating gas prices that stood out, but the large red exclamation point at the end.
Gas is one of the largest ongoing RVing expenses you can incur depending on how far you are traveling and the type of rig you own.
It can absolutely influence your travel plans because what once was an affordable destination for you may not be any longer. Many people will end up staying closer to home.
Consider the size and gas mileage of any rig that you are looking to purchase.
Another RVer, Connie, also shared how she learned that fuel treatment can help battle this challenge. She said it’s “getting me 7 more miles to the gallon.”
Tires, tires, tires. This is another very important part of RVing. That’s because tires are the only thing separating your rig from the road you are traveling on.
Many of our members mentioned tires as an important thing to understand before becoming an RVer.
John L. commented simply, “Chinese tire bombs.” He later explained this to mean that cheap tires made in China can burst on you and to be careful with what you purchase.
Another member agreed since he had experienced a major tire blowout himself.
Be sure that you always have solid tires on your rig, but be prepared for the cost. Getting good tires is not cheap in the short run but can save you money (and a lot of hassle) in the long run.
Having good tires also falls under the Preventative Maintenance Every RVer Should Do.
3. Unpredictable Expenses
Another member, Caroyln, commented on rising overall expenses. She cited the rising gas prices and the cost of RV parks.
Just like all of us, RV park owners are experiencing the pinch of inflation. That means they are passing on those costs to you.
Carolyn said that they became full-time RVers to be able to save one-third of their income. They found that rising RV park costs prevented them from saving what they wanted to.
In addition, she said that the places she stayed in Florida cost about $1,200 per month last year, but that’s jumping to $2,000 per month next year. That is a roughly 66% increase in pricing over the course of one year. Ouch! Plus, many sites were damaged during Hurricane Ian, so they might not be available at all!
4. Do Not Overpack
Hank commented, “Leave all that STUFF at home!!” He was not alone in this sentiment.
Susan M. went further to say, “Take half of what you think you will use (stuff wise).”
Both of our members make a great point. Most of us overpack our RVs. Yes, there is good reason to have some items you may need but won’t always use.
But pack carefully. Ask yourself if you think you will truly use something. And don’t forget these Little Things to Remember to Pack for Your Big RV Trip
If you discover that you do not use an item after several trips, consider taking it out of your RV. That can free up valuable room in the rig.
It can also make the vehicle lighter overall, which can save you gas money in the long run!
5. Know Your Water System!
Another important item mentioned by Julia is to understand how your valve system works. She said that understanding the grey and black tanks is valuable info, and she is right!
It is a good idea to go through a trial run of these systems before your first trip. That way, you don’t get to your destination and waste valuable water or damage your delicate system.
You may want to read the following:
- How to Sanitize Camper Water Tank Systems (6 Easy Steps)
- How to Refill Fresh Water Tank During Camping? 3 Easy Ways
- How to Sanitize Your RV Fresh Water System (Safe and Super Easy)
6. When and Where to Purchase Liquor
This was a funny message that came through, but might be important for some of you.
Not all states sell liquor in regular grocery stores. Some states sell beer and wine at the grocery store, but not hard liquor.
Furthermore, many states do not allow liquor sales on Sundays, and sometimes it’s on a county-by-county basis.
If you plan on picking up any alcohol on the road, be sure to pay attention to the state and county laws around liquor.
7. Rent It Out
Another idea that popped up in the comment thread is an idea to make money when not using your RV by renting it out!
Renting out your Rv may not be for everyone. It takes work to clean and deliver it between rentals. It can also cost you money for repairs and wear and tear in the long run. So, you may want to read 5 Things to Know Before Renting Out Your RV first.
But some people love renting their rigs out and make good money doing it!
RV Lifestyle member, Kelly, says that they “are using ours as a rental so we always have a fallback and we stay diversified in our investments.”
8. The Value of Airtight Containers
I don’t think I’ve ever met an RVer that doesn’t use multiple plastic storage containers. From small items in cabinets to big items in the RV basement storage, airtight containers really come in handy.
One RVer mentioned a specific purpose for these that is worth repeating. He said that he recommends using airtight storage containers for trash and dirty clothes. Otherwise, he says, the smell can become overwhelming.
Putting your dirty clothes in them also makes transporting them to the laundry room that much easier. Speaking of which, check out the 10 Best Campground Etiquette Tips & Tricks.
9. The Miracle of Happy Camper Tank Treatment
Another RVer said she wished someone had told her about Happy Camper Holding Tank Treatment. It would have saved her months of battling the lingering smell that comes with RV toilets.
Jennifer and I highly recommend Happy Camper, too. We’ve tried other options, including a homemade RV holding tank treatment, and Happy Camper always comes out ahead.
But recently, we’ve been impressed with The Thank Tank – worth a look.
10. The Many Benefits of Tinted Windows
Plus, this tint blocks the heat while still letting in natural sunlight. It’s a win-win for privacy and functionality!
11. Auto Levelers Are Worth the Investment
A couple of RV members mentioned that auto levelers are well worth the investment. Leveling seems like an easy enough task until all your tires on a different elevation, however slight.
An unlevel RV presents more problems than you’d expect, too. Just ask anyone who’s woken up with a headache from sleeping at a bad angle.
“This Camco T Level 25543 is fantastic!! I use it on our 5th wheel. You just need to know where the center of your camper is. I put it on the floor and turned it on, and it will let you know which side is not level.
It’s compact and can be installed anywhere, and it allows for front-to-back and side-to-side leveling systems in one unit. Another incredible thing about this product is its price tag. I didn’t even need to allot a special budget just to have this RV level in my possession.”
12. The 330 Rule
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This is a tip that Jennifer and I always give new RVers. We call it the “330 Rule” and it’s our guaranteed formula for arriving at your destination fresh and ready to explore, instead of being of fatigued and worn out from a long, overly-hard drive.
It means going no further than 330 miles in a day or stopping by 3:30 PM local time, wherever you happen to be. We admit, for those of us eager to just “get there,” this rule can be hard to follow.
You can watch the above video to see how it works out on a real trip.
13. RVing with Pets is Grrrreat!
When people consider the RV lifestyle, they often wonder if they should bring their pet along for the ride. Is it worth the trouble? Is it safe for their pet? How do you keep your RV clean?
Well, the resounding answer from the RV community is that bringing your pet along on your camping trips is well worth any hassle they might present.
Jennifer and I wholeheartedly agree and take our big, hairy dog everywhere we go. We even have an article on the 5 Best Perks of Traveling with a Dog.
We also have LOTS of resources for RVers wanting to travel with pets. Here are just a few:
- 10 Best Pet Accessories for Camping with Your Dog
- 10 Purrfect Cat Travel Accessories for your RV Lifestyle
- How to Keep Ticks Off Dogs & Out of Your RV
- How to Keep Your RV Clean with Dogs (5 Tips)
14. Don’t Think Emergencies Won’t Happen to You
It’s easy to adopt the “it won’t happen to me” mentality when traveling. After all, you’re escaping the daily grind and headed to your “happy place.”
Unfortunately, that mentality can leave you stranded and even in mortal danger. You must be prepared for an emergency BEFORE you leave on any camping trip.
Here are some valuable resources:
- 5 Emergency Roadside Kit & Products for Your RV
- 5 Best Fire Extinguishers for Your RV (2022)
- What to Know: RV Fire Safety
- RV Pro Tip: The Best RV Roadside Assistance
15. RVing Will Test Your Relationship
I’m going to end this list on an emotional note, because the RV lifestyle is a big adjustment for couples. I usually share the wisdom that RVing will expand on whatever relationship you currently have (good or bad).
If you have a good relationship, it can get even better. If you have a bad relationship, RVing can bring the worst out of it.
Traveling around the country with your significant other is a romantic notion. Parking beneath the stars every night. Viewing God’s wonders every day. Spending more time together than ever before.
But that last benefit is a double-edged sword. The sheer quantity of time together in a small space can lead to small frustrations building up into big fights. Or perhaps worse, being together all the time makes you numb to each other.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are several ways to keep the romance alive while RVing.
More Things RVers Wish They Had Known…
You can read even more responses from the Facebook post. Trust me, there are plenty of things RVers wish they had known and I bet the FB thread is still growing. You can share your wisdom, too!
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