Sponsored by Camping World/Good Sam
When I first got into RVing my veteran RV friend leaned over and said, “You'll never really know what it's like, until you've done your first trip.” And she was so right. Looking at photos and videos on social media RVing is often painted to be a glamorous and easy way to travel.
While I absolutely love that I get to bring my dogs (and all my stuff!) on the road, I've certainly learned a lot over the past 3 years. I'm here to tell you the most important lessons I've learned about RVing. From the lifestyle, the tools, and tricks that we've learned.
A bit about us: we are not full time RVers. We travel with our RV often and even for weeks or months at a time. We've traveled extensively across the USA with our RV and have learned so much after spending countless hours in our RV.
Know What You Want in An RV
This is so important! There are so many RVs, how can you find which one is best for you? I recommend making a list of everything you want in an RV, then renting the one you want first.
The easiest and most affordable way to rent an RV in my opinion is to use Good Sam for your RV Rental. Good Sam is a platform where thousands of RV Owners can rent their RVs to people like you and me when they aren’t in use! Think of it like AirBnb for your RV!
I love renting with Good Sam because there are so many options in so many locations that fit your needs.
My travel style might be very different than yours. For example, we tend to be go-go-go travelers. We often don't stay long in one place. This means we need an RV that we can easily hitch and unhitch, that doesn't weigh too much and we don't need a lot of storage space.
On the other hand, if you are someone who likes to stay in one place for an extended period of time, you might want an RV with more storage and features that make it easier to live in one spot for awhile.
Also, it's just my husband, myself and our two dogs. On trips we tend to pack light. So we don't need a huge RV. You might want one that has more amenities, is more spacious, or can sleep more. The RV we bought has a Murphy bed which we love to save on space when we aren't sleeping.
This is tough since this isn't my forte! I like to have a plan and stick with it. But with RVing things can and will happen. RV campgrounds are full, weather changes, and life happens.
For example, on a 6 week RV trip we planned to go to Colorado, North and South Dakota, and Idaho. We ended up spending more time in Colorado and Idaho and skipped over the Dakotas.
I've also had to get used to not being able to do things last minute. If you want to stay somewhere on a Saturday night, you need to make reservations. Often times these are made months in advance!
The key is to be flexible and go with the flow. The RV lifestyle is all about enjoying the journey, not just the destination.
Have a backup plan
This is critical. You can plan and plan but things will happen. I've had flat tires, broken down RV toilets, you name it. Things can and will happen when you travel.
I cannot stress this enough, always have a backup plan! This includes having an emergency fund for when things go wrong and making sure you have good insurance.
We use Good Sam road side TravelAssist program! With plans starting at $45 for the year, you can get medical emergency assistance anywhere – even abroad! This is great, not just for RVers!
TravelAssist also helps with out-of-pocket expenses for many medical services. So, you can take the trip without the stress.
Good Sam Roadside Assistance offers RVs a comprehensive list of services in case of a breakdown, including tow trucks and on-site technicians. This gives you so much more peace of mind on your trip.
I know that when we had a problem with our RV fridge, we used our Good Sam membership to get it back up and running in no time when we were in Salt Lake City. We were so grateful to have it!
Know your limits
When we go RVing our preference is to boondock. But finding the “perfect” campsite isn't always the case.
We had an incredible day on the Oregon coast. The gargantuan trees, the rugged coast, the forest and rocks that melted into the water was stunning. But after a long day of traveling it was time to camp for the night.
We tried one camping spot but it was full. Then we tried a state park. Full again! We used the RV parky app to find yet another full campsite. Luckily, we found a Good Sam campground a few miles away that was a great place to spend the night.
The point is, we had to know our limits. We were tired and didn't want to drive too much further. So we decided to just stay at an RV park. This was not part of the plan but it worked out great in the end!
Have a Good Sam Membership
The Good Sam Membership provides RVers with a discount club for camping-related products and services. The savings definitely add up over time – we've saved money every year for the past 3 years. Plus, the membership is very inexpensive!
There are tons of benefits but here are some of my favorites:
- Save 10% on over 2,000 Good Sam Parks and Campgrounds
- Save money at Camping World – this is where we get all our gear for our RV
- Save on fuel! Save 5¢ off gas and 8¢ off diesel at select Pilot Flying J locations
- Save 15% off propane at all Camping World and Gander RV locations.
You can find the full list of benefits here!
Bring What You Really Need
When we first started RVing I'd pack a full wardrobe. I ended up wearing about 1/4th of it! I've learned to only bring what I really need.
Now, I make a list of the clothes I need for the trip and pack accordingly. This has saved so much space in our RV!
I also don't bring as many “knick-knacks”. Sure it's nice to have some decorations but they just take up space. I'd rather have the extra room to bring things we'll actually use. I first brought tons of throw pillows (much to Michael's dismay!) that seemingly took up space and we had to move every time we wanted to sit on the couch. Now, I skip that!
Instead, we bring things that we need. We get all of our necessities from Camping World! Camping World has some of the best prices I've found for all our RV needs. Better still, you can go in store or online to find what you're looking for.
Here are some things we use from Camping World:
- Camping chairs
- Reversible Outdoor Patio Mat
- Outdoor Cooking
- Dog tie outs
- Large outdoor speaker
- Picnic table
- Outdoor chairs
- Fire pit
- Stainless steel water bottle
- Coffee mugs
- RV cover
Take your time
Rushing around is not what RVing is all about. It's important to take your time and enjoy the journey. This means making sure you have plenty of time to set up camp, explore your surroundings and relax!
I always make sure to give myself plenty of time when we're driving to our destination. This way, if we hit traffic or have any unexpected delays, we won't be stressed about making it to our campsite on time.
The most important part is to enjoy the journey! With Good Sam and Camping World RV life is a lot more enjoyable!
RVing can be a lot of fun, but it's important to know your limits and have a plan. It's also important to bring only what you need so you don't have to worry about packing and unpacking every time you want to go somewhere. And finally, make sure to take your time and enjoy the journey!