5 Things Every New RVer Will Need To Learn How To Do

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Last Updated on September 15, 2021 by Lori

What are the first things you will need to learn as a new RV Owner? As a beginning RVer, there are a few things you just can’t be expected to know about RVing.  You will need to take a few camping trips before you feel comfortable handling your new RV. 

Here’s a list of 5 things every new RV owner will need to learn how to do as they start their RV Travel adventures!

RV Tips For Beginning RV Owners

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5 Things RV Beginners Will Need To Learn How To Do



When you pull onto the highway for the very first time in your new RV, you will most likely feel a little stressed.


We live on Long Island in New York (outside of New York City).  The traffic on Long Island is so crazy that the person who pulled our travel trailer from the Jayco plant in Indiana to Long Island said, “I am never coming here again!” 


Traveling during rush hour to Long Island was probably a pretty traumatic experience for someone driving from the mid-west to New York.


Crossing the George Washington Bridge NY


Here’s a photo of us crossing the George Washington Bridge pulling our travel trailer.  If you time the bridge wrong – as you can see, it’s not fun.  Patience is Key! 


For the most part, we New Yorkers have come to realize that it is a part of traveling in New York and learn to deal with it! 


The day we left the RV dealer with our new Jayco travel trailer, my husband was so nervous – and he had been driving trucks for many years! 


Luckily, as we pulled onto the Long Island Expressway and into traffic, a tractor-trailer let us in and soon we were on our way!


Here’s a photo of my husband backing our Jayco into our driveway.  He knows exactly how close he wants to be to the house so he can get the slide-out. 


How many times did it take to back it into the exact location he wanted?  It took quite a few tries in the beginning!  


5 Things New RVers Need To Learn How To Do  


But…Don’t Worry! 


Soon, you’ll get the hang of backing into the campsite, pulling onto the highway, making tight turns, and judging the distance of the car next to you. 


It will become second nature to you and you’ll forget all about the things you didn’t know as a beginning RVer.


Your RV Travel Adventures Are Just Beginning!


I’ve put together a shortlist of 5 things that we had to learn when we were just starting with our new RV.


These things may come easily to you, or you may have to try them a few times until you feel confident.

Relax…You’ve Got This!  


5 Things Beginning RVers Will Need To Learn How To Do



RV Basics You Will Need To Learn With Your RV and Camper Trailer


#1 – RV Campsites

You Will Need to Back Into Campsites MORE Than “A Few Times” Before You Can Do It Easily!  (And even then you may have some trouble!)


Sleepy Hollow Campgrounds


This is one of our very favorite campgrounds in the Catskills of New York – Sleepy Hollow Campgrounds in Phonecia, New York.


Related Reading: Read more about  Sleepy Hollow Campgrounds and camping in the Catskill Mountains of New York!


The campsites along the river are all parallel to each other.  We know from experience that it can get pretty tight trying to back into your site if you are the last trailer to arrive. 


However, Wyatt, the campground owner, will be there to help guide you in; and, if it’s too tight, he will get his tractor to put the trailer in place for you!


Many of the campgrounds will have someone to help guide you into your site.  While some people may get annoyed by this, many, like us, appreciate the help after a full day of traveling. 


This is another campsite that we barely made it into! 


There was a lamp-post opposite the site, a curve in the roadway, and a stationary deck on the site!


Of course, everyone from neighboring campsites came out to watch us try to get into the site!


But, after just a couple of “forward/backward” maneuvers, my husband got us in!


Red Apple Campground Kennebunkport ME



Not all campgrounds escort you to your site. 


Many campgrounds will give you a campground map, draw the direction you need to go from the camp office to your site, and say, “Happy Camping!”


I truly believe that having the owner or someone from the campground office direct you to your site is a plus!


If there’s a problem with the site, they are there to see it firsthand and you don’t have to drive back to the office to get someone.


It also means that if you need a longer extension cord, or an extra water hose to reach the spigot they most likely will have one that they will lend to you.





#2 – How To Judge Turns & Curbs With Your RV


You Will Need to Learn How to Judge the Distance Between Your RV and the curb/other cars


Whether it is turning onto the street, or changing lanes on the highway, you’ll have to learn to judge the distance between your RV and the curb or another car.


If you’re heading towards New York City in your RV, just remember this one thing…


Make SURE you have gas in your tank BEFORE you get on the bridge! 


My daughter was stuck on the George Washington Bridge for five (5) hours due to an accident. (Remember the photo above?)


Luckily, she had pulled off to get gas before merging onto the bridge.  The last thing you want to happen is to run out of gas on a bridge in New York!  


#3 – Maneuvering Gas Stations With Your RV

You Will Need to Pull your RV/Travel Trailer into a Gas Station a few times before you feel Confident. 


First gas station


I‘m not just talking about pulling into gas stations on the interstate!  We try to avoid leaving the interstate to drive into small towns to fuel. 


We love the “easy on/easy off” type of gas station.


Depending on the state, we have learned that “travel plazas” are non-existent!


One day, there were no “easy on/easy off” travel plazas for miles.  There was no way we were going to make it to the campground with the gas we had left in the tank. We decided the next GAS sign we saw, we were going to have to pull into a small town. 


After exiting the interstate, we saw the sign pointing to GAS and made the turn.  Of course, the GAS station was not right at the end of the exit, but another five (5) miles towards a small town.  


Have you ever had that happen?  The last thing you want to do is to drive your RV or travel trailer five miles for gas away from the highway!


To make matters worse, THIS gas station was located on a roundabout!


For those of you who don’t know what a roundabout is, the highway engineers decided that cars making left turns on a road posed a hazard to oncoming traffic. 


So, they created a “roundabout” so that instead of just turning left across oncoming traffic you drive “around” in a circle until you turn onto the street you want.





As we were nearing the gas station, we somehow got in the wrong lane. 


There we were pulling our Jayco travel trailer around the roundabout which headed us back to the highway missing the gas station entirely!


We had to find a large parking lot, turn around and head back to the gas station – making SURE we were in the correct lane this time to turn into the gas station! 


Since this was our first time pulling into a small gas station, we waited for a car to leave so that we could pull into the outer gas pump.


If you know anything about small towns, people leave their cars at the pump to go inside to shop and get coffee!!  


That’s right. 


The car in front of us had gone inside to get coffee after filling up. 


Finally, they came out – all carrying their cups of coffee looking sheepishly at us and our trailer almost hanging in the street as we waited for them. 


It’s funny now…but we were so anxious that day that all we wanted to do was get to the campground!


Campsite at Nickerson Park Campground


#4 – RV Dump Stations

You will need to practice driving your RV to the dump station and learn how to dump your RV tanks.


Going to the dump station can be stressful – especially when there is a line to leave the campground.


But – even though it seems like they are watching you…no one is really looking at you to see if you’re doing something wrong.


Be sure to have your RV hoses readily available so you don’t have to unpack the storage area of the RV or travel trailer or dig through the back of the truck to find them!

  RV Must Have for RV hoses  

Don’t rush!


You want to make sure you’ve emptied the tank, put your hoses and gloves neatly into the storage container, and put the storage container away. Don’t forget to close the truck bed cover! 


Yes, this happened to us.  We were driving down the highway and happened to look back to see the truck bed open.  We had forgotten to close the truck bed cover.


Related Reading: You might enjoy reading my post How To Organize Your RV Camping Items In The Back Of The Truck


10 RV Things To Put In The Back Of The Truck


Just remember – everyone had to have their

“First time to the dump station”!


#5 – Camping Menu Planning

You Will Need To Learn How Much Food and Other “Stuff” You Really Need!


This is different for everyone and I guarantee that the first few trips you’ll be saying “Next time we don’t need this much food!”


When we started RVing, I would bring enough food for our entire family – except that it was only Tom & me going camping that weekend.


Related Reading: You may enjoy reading my article

Quick and Easy RV Camping Meals


 6 Quick and Easy Meals To Make When You Are RV Camping HERE


The same with clothes & shoes.  In the beginning, we brought WAY TOO MANY clothes and shoes!


You don’t need that many pairs of sneakers, flip-flops, or hiking boots/winter boots…rain boots…fuzzy slippers…fuzzy shoes!  


You will soon learn that you ONLY need to take one (1) pair of sneakers and not a pair in every color (like my daughter brings when she goes camping with us)!


We quickly learned just how many clothing items we didn’t need—and what were the items we absolutely needed!


Plus, you have to find space for all the things you take in your RV and camper trailer. 

More stuff = More weight.


I finally put together an article on Top Five Clothing Must Haves For RV Camping





If you’re a beginning RVer, don’t forget to check out my list of The Best 10 RV Essentials New RVers Must Have for beginning RVers.

This will give you the first 10 RV Essentials you need to purchase before heading to your campground!



5 Things Beginning RVers Must Learn How To Do

I hope these 5 Things Every RVer Will Need To Learn How To Do helps ease your mind a little before taking your first trip in your new RV or camper trailer!


Soon, you won’t have to even think about doing them! I Promise!


Let me know some things YOU had to learn as a new RVer!  I would love to hear them!


More RV Camping Articles You May Enjoy

* How To Choose The Best RV Campground

* 13 Top Rules Of RV Camping Etiquette

* 8 Best Coolers For Camping

* Best Tools You’ll Need In An RV Tool Kit 

* Guide To The Best RV Mattress & Mattress Toppers

* 15 RV Camping Must-Haves That Will Make You A Happy Camper

* 25 RV Kitchen Accessories & Gadgets For Your RV

*9 Important Things To Know Before Booking A Campground

* How To Easily Set Up Your RV Campsite

* The Best RV Departure Checklist For New RVers


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  1. All of this is VERY good to know! We haven’t pulled out to camp, yet. The hubs hooked it up while I was away last week and pulled it down the road about 2 miles and back. Just wanted to give it a test run(without an audience)😉.

    1. Hi Trina! Yep! I can relate to that! We had the entire neighborhood come out to watch us but my husband did great backing it in. Let me know where you all are heading! Happy Camping and Safe Travels!

  2. This is great info, and VERY true! 🙂 I just did a post on pretty much the same thing. I hate the feeling that everyone is watching you park when you’re still learning…#alleyesonme LOL! The consolation is that you do finally get it all down at some point.

    1. Hi Becky! Thanks for stopping by! Yes, pretty soon it becomes second nature but I know the first few outings are pretty nervewracking! Then you begin to think everyone is ALWAYS watching you! Happy Camping & Safe Travels!

  3. Interesting that you’re in Long Island. I pick up my new-to-me T@B 320 S on Monday and will be going to see my dad and stepmom on Lloyd Neck. I’ve been picturing myself making that trip, and it makes me a little nervous. I’m brand-new to RVing, and I’m pretty happy I picked a small one to start with! Thank you for the tips!

    1. Congrats on your new RV! You’ll love it. Glad the tips were helpful. Just remember to stay off the parkways in New York and you’ll be fine! Just take it slow. Best of luck and Happy Camping!

  4. Thanks Lori, great tips, all pertained to us, we live in Idaho, yes it really exists, we are retired we bought a travel trailer used it 3 times then traded for a class A. first time out my Husband backing into the site hit the water post. but we managed finally, had a great time. But we have only gone to one camp grounds which is only 1 hour from our house right off the freeway, now we are ready to venture further, 2 hours off the free way, baby steps. Happy Trails to you and Tom.

    1. Thanks for writing in! I’m sure we ALL have a story or two about backing into a site! Thanks for sharing! I hope you and your husband have a great camping season!

  5. It’s really helpful to learn about different things like RV parking and dumping as courteous things you need to remember when camping. If I hadn’t known these kinds of things, it might be extremely difficult for me to be welcome at a park sometime and become a regular there. I’ll keep this in mind during my first tips to locals RV park in the area.

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