I am an RV enthusiast with more than 50 years of experience owning, driving, traveling and living in recreational vehicles.
I polled a group of experienced RV owners to ask them about the things that make them uncomfortable when they're traveling in their coaches.
All agreed that travel discomfort was something that they never expected to deal with when they bought their coaches.
Furthermore, they thought it would be a good idea to inform potential buyers about these issues before they made the decision to purchase a unit.
The items discussed in this article are the ones about which all of those polled agreed were problematic.
Sewer Tank Care
Number one on everybody's discomfort list was cleaning, dumping and maintaining their RV sewer tanks.
This is a job that must be taken care of daily while traveling, because to do otherwise is to create serious and sometimes expensive problems.
It is an uncomfortable issue because it means
- dealing with messy waste,
- putting up with horrible smells and
- constantly worrying about clogging and similar issues.
How to Dump,Clean and Protect Your RV's Black Water Tank provides tips that make sewer tank cleaning easier and faster.
For example, it explains that using a biodegradable enzyme based tank treatment such as Walex (which is what my husband and I have used for years) reduces tank waste to liquid and deodorizes the tank.
This product comes in tablets that you simply drop into the tank along with some water following a dump or cleaning.
While tank care will always be somewhat uncomfortable for RVers, they do need to know that there are things they can do to make it more bearable.
Loading and Unloading
Just about everybody hates the job of loading or unloading a coach because it is both tiring and labor intensive.
Lugging your belongings from the house to the recreational vehicle is physically taxing and time consuming, and knowing that you have to do it all again when you get home is really irritating.
Worse yet is the fact that the older you get, the more difficult this chore becomes.
The discomfort comes from aching backs and exhaustion, but if you want to RV, you tolerate all of it.
The US is a beautiful country, but the truth is that driving across it can be very stressful both physically and mentally.
- The monotony of driving mile after mile across virtually empty terrain gets to people after while.
- Sitting for long periods of time in a vehicle that is constantly vibrating is hard on the neck and back.
- Maneuvering a heavy vehicle across highways in bad weather and through construction areas and heavy traffic is not fun. It can also be dangerous.
Accidents can happen quickly, even on a clear, dry day with traffic moving along at a normal pace. Therefore drivers must always be alert, a fact which also adds stress.
While it's nice to dream about the things you'll see along the way, what you have to go through to get there can create miserable situations.
Setting Up and Breaking Down Campsites
Every time you enter a campsite, you have to park and level your coach and then connect it to utilities.
It is a huge amount of work which 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,
- hookups may not work well or at all, and
- you often find yourself doing this job in overly hot, freezing cold or wet weather conditions.
Worse yet is that you have to reverse the process when departing.
Once in awhile you may 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!
People who go on extended RV vacations find themselves dealing with this issues often. It makes them wonder if they might not have been better off just driving and staying in hotels!
Maintaining, Repairing and Cleaning
There is also 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,
- 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 recreational vehicles are much smaller than houses, maintaining them during vacations still takes time and the work involved can be difficult and tiring.
At home people can hire this work out, but while on the road, it is up to RV owners to take care of it.
Dealing with Mechanical Problems
It is fairly common for motor homes, travel trailers and campers to have mechanical problems, especially when they are being driven from one place to another.
- Sometimes people get lucky and breakdowns happen where repair facilities are available.
- Other times, they happen where there is no help close by.
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.
If you are handy and have tools with you, this is less of a problem, but even so, it will be you doing the hard, sweaty work, and not some mechanic!
Dealing with Bugs
When you stay in forested facilities, you have to deal with bugs.
You expect to deal with them when you're outside, but when they get into your coach, they can become a big problem.
Ants, roaches, wasps and bees can make life mighty uncomfortable for campers, but avoiding them can be difficult.
RVing Can Be Uncomfortable
Clearly, there are many problems that RV owners must deal with which give them good reason to dislike certain aspects of this form of travel.
It certainly is not for everybody!
If your idea of roughing it is renting a suite at the Hilton, RVing definitely would not be a comfortable thing for you to do!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: Are there places to rent RVs for a trip before deciding if buying one is really what I want?
Answer: Yes. There are many. Some allow you to rent and travel in a unit, while others have units already set up in parks that you can rent. To find them, simply do a google search for "Rent RV". I suggest you rent one for the first time, and take a one week trip in it.
© 2017 Sondra Rochelle
Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on March 21, 2017:
Mary Wickison: There is no question that there are many great things about traveling in an RV, but I do feel that people who buy them should be made aware of what it takes to be able to use this mode of transportation. It definitely is not all fun !! Nice to see you again and thanks for stopping by.
Mary Wickison from Brazil on March 21, 2017:
We briefly had an RV and drove coast to coast with 2 small children. For me, it was a fantastic trip but thankfully we had no mechanical failures.
You've listed many potential problems and I am sure these are things most people don't consider before purchasing.
It's good to get a slice of the reality of RVing.