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What Beginners Need to Know About RV Travel

Updated on October 31, 2016
TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

I am an avid RV enthusiast who has traveled, lived, workcamped and volunteered nationwide for more than 50 years and still am going strong!

Joined: 5 years agoFollowers: 597Articles: 107

You may be thinking of buying a recreational vehicle or already own one that you have yet to use.

Because this type of travel is much different than any other it is important that you understand a few things about taking vacations in an RV that can help you to know what to expect and plan for before you ever leave home.

Your salesman probably told you all of the great things about RVing, but it is doubtful that he informed you about all of the problems and work you will have to deal with once you’re on the road.

So, to give you a heads up, this article will share a few of them with you so that you will know what to expect.

The bottom line is that although this type of travel can be wonderful, it isn’t perfect, nor should you think it will be trouble or work free.

RV trips are fun, but they also have caveats.
RV trips are fun, but they also have caveats. | Source

Tank Care Is a Constant Chore

Caring for your black, fresh and gray water tanks is an important chore that you cannot ignore because doing so can create big and expensive problems for you.

How to Keep Your RV's Sewer Tank Clean and Trouble Free
How to Care for Your RV's Fresh Water Tank Care and
How to Clear an RV Toilet Clog

are articles that will show you what needs to be done.

Sewer tank dumping and cleaning must be done every day or two while you are traveling, and is one that most people dread doing.

Driving Can Be Stressful

The US is a beautiful country, but the truth is that driving across it can be very stressful both physically and mentally.

  1. The monotony of driving mile after mile across virtually empty terrain gets to people after while.
  2. Sitting for long periods of time in a vehicle that is constantly vibrating is hard on the neck and back.
  3. Maneuvering a heavy vehicle across highways in bad weather and through construction areas and heavy traffic is not fun. It can also be dangerous.
  4. Most people do not have the ability to drive travel units, let alone back them into camping spots or maneuver in gas stations.
  5. Even when drivers are skilled, they still have to beware of others on the road who are not.

Also, when you are overly tired, it's easy to make mistakes such as the one shown in the video below where a man driving a fifth wheel misjudged his unit's height and ran right into the overhang of a building!

Always remember that accidents can happen quickly, even on a clear, dry day with traffic moving along at a normal pace.

Driving long distances can be physically and emotionally stressful.
Driving long distances can be physically and emotionally stressful. | Source

Loading and Unloading RVs Is Tiring

One of the most tiring and labor intensive jobs is loading and unloading an RV, regardless of its size..

Lugging everything you want to take with you on your vacation from the house to the recreational vehicle is hard, time consuming work.

There is a great deal of stress involved because you must make sure you don't forget anything.

  • The bad news is that when you get back home, you have to take everything back into your house.
  • Worse yet is the fact that the older you get, the more difficult this chore becomes.

Setting Up and Breaking Down Campsites Is Difficult

Every time you enter a campsite, you have to park and level your coach and then connect it to utilities.

This requires lugging heavy, awkward (and sometimes dirty and smelly) hoses and wires out from the areas beneath your coach and connecting them to electric, water and sewer, and then reversing the process whenever you get ready to move on.

  • There's a lot of bending and lifting,
  • sometimes the connections don't work well, and
  • you often are doing all of this when the weather is too hot, cold or wet and

Worse yet is that you have to reverse the process when departing.

Sometimes you have to move from one site to another within the same facility. When this happens, you get to do these chores again even though you're still in the same campground!

RV travel is fun, but it also has many caveats.

Maintaining, Repairing and Cleaning Are Endless Tasks

In addition to dealing with tank care, there is a great deal of work involved in keeping coaches clean and in good working condition. Travelers must

  • check oil levels and pressures in engines and generators and seek out and fix leaks of various types,
  • constantly dust, wipe vacuum and wash interior walls, upholstery, window treatments and even ceilings due to the dirty nature of recreational vehicle travel and
  • wash and/or wipe units regularly to eliminate road grime build up and get rid of the residue from dead bugs.

Although coaches are much smaller than houses, maintaining them during vacations still takes time and the work involved can be very difficult.

At home people can hire this work out, but while on the road, it is up to RV owners to take care of it.

Taking care of mechanical items is a constant and important task.
Taking care of mechanical items is a constant and important task. | Source

Dealing With Mechanical Problems Can Become a Nightmare

It is fairly common for motor homes, travel trailers and campers to have mechanical problems when they are being driven.

  • Sometimes people get lucky and breakdowns happen where repair facilities are available.
  • Other times, they happen where help is not readily available.

No matter the location, a mechanical failure is never fun, can waste a great deal of travel time and can be very expensive to fix.

This type of problem is frustrating, but it is one for which people need to prepare themselves.

Discomforts Are Common

Aside from facing road dangers, stress and a plethora of chores, there are also numerous types of discomforts and sacrifices to consider.

For example, when you are away from home

  • sleeping may be difficult
  • parks may be run down, rather than being the luxury camping spots you had envisioned,
  • facilities may be located in unsafe areas,
  • unexpectedly high prices may stop you from enjoying certain attractions and venues or
  • water in certain spots may not be safe to drink and/or may harm your health.

You Have to Accept the Bad to Be Able to Enjoy the Good!

Clearly, there are many problems and discomforts that RV owners must deal with when they are on the road.

Some people are willing to put up with them, while others feel the issues are not worth the benefits.

At least now you have some idea about the negatives of vacationing in an RV. Hopefully you'll find positive ways to deal with them so that you can enjoy this form of travel.

Before reading this article, were you fully aware of the negative side of traveling in an RV?

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