10 Things You Should Never Do While RVing Across the Country

4 shares Few things are more exciting and liberating than a cross-country RV trip. Whether you’re preparing to embark on your first journey or your…

Few things are more exciting and liberating than a cross-country RV trip. Whether you’re preparing to embark on your first journey or your twentieth, the feeling of freedom and adventure you get when RVing is tough to beat.

Unfortunately, people new to the RV life can make plenty of mistakes while traveling across the country. If you want to know what these mistakes are to avoid them and make the most of your journeys, you’ve come to the right place.

1. Text and Drive

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We’ll start our list of no-nos with the most obvious one—texting and driving. It should go without saying by now that texting and driving is never okay. According to the National Safety Council, upwards of 1.5 million car accidents happen each year due to texting and driving.

Texting and driving are dangerous enough in cars, vans, and SUVs. However, the danger increases dramatically when you do it while driving an RV or towing one down the highway. It takes longer to slow down and is much more difficult to swerve away from danger, making accidents much more likely.

2. Travel Without a Spare Tire

Another thing you never want to do is travel for any length of time without a spare tire. Whether you have a travel trailer, a motorhome, or a fifth-wheel camper, all RVs are more prone to blowing a tire than a typical vehicle.

For example, I have blown a travel trailer tire four times in the past three years. On every one of those occasions, we were isolated enough that roadside assistance wasn’t an option. Luckily, I always travel with at least one spare tire and sometimes two, depending on how far we’re traveling.

3. Forget to Check Your Tire Pressure

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Along with never traveling without a spare tire, you shouldn’t start any road trip without checking your tire pressure. Low tire pressure increases the risk of a blowout and makes your RV more prone to swaying.

As any experienced RVer knows, swaying is one of the most dangerous and unsettling things that can happen to your rig while traveling at high speeds. While proper tire pressures won’t eliminate all the threat of RV sway, they will reduce the risk.

4. Travel Without a Weight Distribution Hitch

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If you travel with a motorhome or fifth wheel, you can skip this section as it doesn’t apply to you. If you tow a travel trailer, however, investing in a good weight distribution hitch is one of the smartest things you can do.

Weight distribution hitches distribute the weight of a travel trailer evenly throughout the tow vehicle rather than having all the weight sit on the bumper and rear axle. Additionally, the sway bars accompanying a weight distribution hitch significantly reduce the risk of trailer sway. Whether you’re worried about high winds, swerving unexpectedly, or tire pressure problems, a weight distribution hitch is a must-have.

5. Use a Standard GPS

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Google Maps, Apple Maps, and other standard GPS systems are great for cars and smaller vehicles. However, they fail to take into account certain potential problems that are specific to RVs. For instance, smaller roads and highways may have vehicle size restrictions because of low-clearance bridges and other obstacles.

Investing in an RV GPS is the only way to know about these obstacles in advance. In addition to helping you reach your destination as safely as possible, RV GPSs will also recommend RV-friendly rest stops, truck stops, and gas stations.

6. Wait Until the Last Minute to Reserve a Camping Spot

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While you don’t have to plan your RV trip out to the finest detail, there’s a fine line between overplanning and underplanning. For instance, it’s a good idea to make reservations at RV parks at least a day or two in advance if you plan on staying there.

Booking your stay in advance is especially important if you have a large RV, as many campgrounds have size restrictions. It’s also important if you’re traveling during peak RV season (early summer to early fall) because spots fill up quickly!

7. Forget to Service Your Air Conditioner

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Anytime before you hit the road for an extended trip, it’s important to service every aspect of your RV, including your air conditioner. The last thing you want is to arrive at your RV park in the middle of the summer only to discover your AC isn’t working. Talk about a bad way to start your adventure!

8. Run Out of Fuel

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While you might think this goes without saying, running out of fuel is surprisingly easy, especially with new RVers. Many newbies overestimate their fuel tank capacity or think their fuel supply will last longer than it actually will.

As a result, it’s possible to end up in a small town without a gas station or on the highway between exits and suddenly run out of fuel. Therefore, I always kept an extra five-gallon gas tank in the back of our tow vehicle to give myself a little extra wiggle room.

9. Travel During Bad Weather

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Whether you’re traveling along the East Coast during hurricane season, the Midwest during tornado season, or up north during winter, you should be extremely wary of driving an RV in foul weather. From swaying to hydroplaning to slippery roads, foul weather calamities are everywhere and are harder to navigate with RVs than smaller vehicles.

10. Forget to Plan Your Route

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This travel tip goes hand in hand with using an RV GPS rather than a standard GPS. Careful and meticulous route planning is central to any successful RV trip. Not only does planning your route in advance increase your safety, but it will also help you avoid unpleasant experiences.

As I said before, you don’t have to plan every second of your trip. It’s always good to leave room for unexpected stops or to pull off the side of the road to take in the sights. The purpose of planning your route in advance is to avoid areas with low-clearance bridges, overly sharp corners, bridge outages, heavy traffic, inadequate gas stations, and more. 

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