Last Updated on March 17, 2020 by Lori
If you’re a beginning RVer, there are a few things you just can’t be expected to know about RVing. You may need to do things a few times before you feel comfortable handling your new RV.
Soon, however, it will become second nature to you and you will forget all about how nervous you were to drive your new RV down the highway! 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 RVers
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When you pull onto the highway for the very first time in your new RV, you will most likely feel a little stressed.
As many of you know from following this blog, 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 traffic, across two bridges to get to Long Island was probably a pretty traumatic experience for someone driving from the mid-west to New York.
Here’s a photo of us crossing the George Washington Bridge pulling out camper trailer. If you time the bridge wrong – as you can see, it’s not fun. Patience is Key!
We New Yorkers, for the most part, have come to realize that it is a part of traveling in New York and learn to deal with it!
I remember as 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!
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 out with our new RV. These things may come easily to you, or they may take trying them a few times until you feel confident. Relax…You’ve Got This!
RV Basics You Will Need To Learn With Your RV and Camper Trailer
#1 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!)
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!
As you can see, the sites 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, there are many, like us, who appreciate the help.
This is another campsite that we barely made it into! We would have had no trouble backing into the site if it wasn’t for the lamp-post opposite the site, the curve of the roadway, and the 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!
Not all campgrounds escort you to your site. Many campgrounds, such as the one above, give you a campground map, draw the direction you need to go from the camp office to your site, and say, “Happy Camping!”
Well, maybe not quite those words every time, but 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 they will have one that they will lend to you.
CHECK OUT MY RV CAMPSITE SET UP CHECKLIST!
#2 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 You Will Need to Pull your RV/Travel Trailer into a Gas Station a few times before you feel Confident.
I‘m not just talking about pulling into gas stations on the interstate! We tried to avoid leaving the interstate to drive into small towns to fuel.
We always managed to find a gas station along the interstate that was an “easy on/easy off” type of station.
As we began traveling further away from home, the “travel plazas” became fewer and fewer. Soon, it was inevitable that we had to pull into a small town because there was no way we would make it to the campground with the gas we had.
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!!
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!
#4 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!
Don’t rush…you want to make sure you’ve emptied, put your hoses back and gloves neatly into the storage container, put the storage container away, and 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
Just remember – everyone had to have their
“First time to the dump station”!
#5 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
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!
BEGINNING RVER? HERE’S A LIST OF RV ESSENTIALS FOR NEW RVERS
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 to 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!
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