After living the full-time RV lifestyle for a while, you will learn a few things. These are a few RV lessons you may want to learn before you hit the road.
Take it Leisurely
Sometimes you need to be somewhere at a specific time, but generally, your travel should be leisurely. To really enjoy RVing, you need to be able to stop when you want, where you want; driving should be stress-free. You can follow the 330 rule; stop when you have driven 330 miles or it’s 3:30 in the afternoon. (You can also adjust that to the 2:30 rule, or 1:30 rule) The idea is to arrive while it’s still early enough to get set up, settled and explore, before you are too tired, and before it gets too dark. Don’t look at your driving mileage as a challenge, the farther, the better. Pulling into a campsite after dark, especially a boondocking spot, with no light, is not only inconvenient, it can be dangerous. So slow down enjoy the ride, and stop in time to enjoy the scenery!
Don’t Always Believe Your GPS
Your RV GPS unit or smartphone app can, at times, seem bent on destroying you; it will tell you to exit on non-existent off ramps, go down roads that don’t exist, etc. While a paper map may seem very old fashioned, it often pays to get one out. Before leaving, get an idea of the route you want to take, and keep that in mind while listening to your GPS. Also, pay attention to the road signs, they may be more accurate than your navigation unit.
Avoid the Interstates
Traveling through and around the big cities, the interstates may get you out of the congestion of the city streets. But for the most part, the major interstates are boring; you may be in a tunnel of concrete, buffeted by trucks, and forced to drive at ridiculous speeds. But outside the major metro areas, or whenever you can, take the state highways. These are often two-lane roads, but are always more relaxed, slower-paced and more scenic. State highways can get you closer to the places and people that make RVing so interesting.
Take Less Stuff
You can leave most of your “stuff” behind. All you really may need are your laptop, smartphone or tablet, some maps, a GPS, tools to make small repairs, food, water, maybe a small BBQ and few books. Depending on your lifestyle, take 1-3 weeks’ worth of clean clothes. Think about what you really need, and don’t pack any more.
Make Your Bed
Especially if you have a small RV, like a Class B with a sofa/bed combo, making your bed every morning will reduce the clutter. A made-up bed will make your small space more livable. It’s neater, and will give you more room to move around and not feel cramped.
Learn to Cook in Your RV
Eating out across the country, trying all the different regional foods, is something you should do; it’s part of the joy of travel. But if you want to save money and eat healthily, planning meals that are easy to cook and store in your RV is a must. Consider the types of food you like to eat, vs how much room you have in your refrigerator and cabinets. Keep your meals simple, and easy to do on a stovetop. Also, if you have special dietary needs, such as sugar-free, lactose-free, gluten-free or organic, you may need to stock up before you hit the “boonies”. Many small rural towns have little more than gas station food.
Don’t Make Impulse Purchases
Your RV has limited space, and most of us are on a tight budget. While you may want to buy souvenirs of your travels, don’t. Take pictures instead. But if you must buy “stuff”, make it useful; a souvenir coffee cup, a warm blanket, a tee shirt. You don’t need lots of little “things” cluttering up the RV. And unless you are in the business of mineralogy, and selling at swap meets, resist the urge to collect rocks, they’re heavy.
There were a lot of other things you’ll learn along the way, as you settle into the RV lifestyle!