Chugging along the rugged and beautiful US is a dream to some. Even more so if done in an RV. A year’s worth of experiences can be done in 30 days when your car and your house come with you all the time.
Whether you already are an owner of a RV or thinking of getting one, there are some common myths as well as checklist items you should consider before taking on the big open roads.
Let’s start with some of the myths and fears:
We can’t afford it. Maybe, maybe not. As with anything in life, a budget is going to be key. Know what you can spend and do your research. It might be cheaper than you think to overnight in the RV park and if you are on a budget, you don’t have to buy a $350,000 RV. Why not start out with something priced similar to a car. Just spend some time thinking of what you want to do and see and how much you have to do and see with. Be sure to build yourself a cushion and think about perhaps working from the road—photography, travel writer, etc.—to bring in extra income.
I am going to be claustrophobic. Regardless of the size, you have to think about how often you will be in it. Or will you be spending most of your time outside enjoying the places you are visiting and meeting new people? You are definitely downsizing, but don’t let that scare you.
Navigating and parking are going to be so hard. Like anything, practice makes perfect! It is different and there are other things to consider, but it isn’t impossible. Otherwise there wouldn’t be so many people doing it.
I can’t take my pets with me? Why not? Your dogs and cat usually sleep during the day anyway when you are at work so why can’t they sleep while you drive? And all the great exploration time they are going to have as you hike through mountains and chase balls on the beach will ensure they sleep well at night when you need them to.
I can’t eat healthy unless I have a full kitchen to cook. What about a crockpot for indoor meals and the American favorite of grilling for all of your meats and vegetables? Perhaps it will be much easier to eat healthier because you have to give it some thought rather than just reaching for a fully loaded fridge or swinging by a fast food joint on the way home. And don’t forget to note how much exercise you are getting with your pets above!
How will I get consistent internet? This can be challenging and if you need it up and running for a business, you should investigate hot spots from various companies. This is probably one area you should not be cheap.
Now that you are past those irrational fears, let’s review the checklist for safe travel:
Batteries—you will need to ensure your RV battery is charged and services as well as keeping various smaller types of batteries handy for flashlights, etc.
Water System and Pump—the RV water system should be regularly checked for leaks and sanitized.
Plumbing—check for leaks as well and get it repaired at an authorized RV service facility.
Appliances—check the operation of all LP gas cylinders and appliances. A gas system leak test and pressure test is needed annually.
Tires—just like your car tires, RV tires lose pressure over time. Keep a tire gauge handy and adjust the pressure to manufacturers recommendation based on the load.
Oil—check the levels in the generator and validate load ratings.
Seams and sealants—inspect for potential leaks prior to storage or if stored outdoors for some time. Inspect the roof and the body for any signs of cracking or damage. Have resealing maintenance performed at an authorized facility if you are not comfortable doing it yourself.
General—test the safety devices (carbon monoxide detector, smoke alarms, etc). Review how to properly use a fire extinguisher and ensure you have one handy.
After all of the above, the next step is to get out there and see it! Don’t let irrational fear or the assumption of difficulty ruin your dream to travel the roads seeing what this great country has to offer.