How To Get Started RVing – Best Tips For Beginning RVers

Jayco Jay Feather travel trailer

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Last Updated on January 24, 2023 by Lori

There are many things for RV beginners to learn before hitting the road in their new RV. In fact, it can be downright overwhelming at times! If you’re thinking about joining the thousands of people enjoying the RV Life, here’s how you can get started RVing along with some best tips for beginning RVers.

Family campers
My family Enjoying the RV Life

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Best Tips For New RVers

One of the first questions we are often asked is, “How do I get started with the RV Lifestyle if I’ve never camped before?”

It’s a valid question and one that I can easily answer because that was my husband and me! We didn’t have years of experience camping.

My husband had always wanted an RV. More specifically, he wanted a Winnebago like the one he had played with growing up.

My family had taken a vacation one summer in a rented truck camper when I was in fourth grade – so technically, I HAD camped before.

But beyond remembering that we had left the door to the camper open driving down the highway and a kind motorist flagging us down to tell us, I don’t remember my camping days.

When my husband turned 50 and said, “Let’s get an RV!” At first, I kind of chuckled thinking he was kidding. When I saw that he was serious, I said to him, “OK! Let’s go look at them!” And off the RV dealership, we went!

It was the best decision we’ve ever made.

RVing gives us something to do – together.

Acadia National Park
RV Travel took us to Acadia National Park

As couples get older, many find themselves doing activities with friends instead of each other.

For us, traveling together, deciding which states we want to visit next, and “strongly discussing” the best snacks to eat on our road trips have definitely made our life anything but boring!

How can YOU get started on this RV Adventure?

One of the first rving tips I give to beginners is to figure out how you will be using your RV. It’s very important to find the right RV that will fit your style and needs to have the best camping experience.

Will you be living and traveling by RV as a full-time RVer? Or, will you be camping on the weekends and week-long camping trips?

Do you want to be traveling in a motorhome or will you be pulling a travel trailer with a truck or SUV?

The typical RV consumer will upgrade or downgrade their RV several times during their camping adventures. It’s a good idea to think about what you want most in an RV, consider different floor plans, and watch RV videos to know what you like and don’t like about certain brands to get as much RV information as you can.

Once you have decided what type of RV, and a few of the RV basics, you have taken the first steps to begin enjoying RV Life!

Here are more RV camping tips for beginners to help you get started RVing!

Tom and Buddy our Golden Retriever camping in the Catskills
Enjoying the RV Life!

What’s So Great About The RV Life?

One reason people love RV Life is the ability to travel where and when they want to.

You don’t need to be a full-time RVer to enjoy RV Life!

Taking RV vacations might mean you camp on the weekend or take week-long trips.

And it doesn’t matter if you have a smaller RV or a toy hauler, the RV industry has designed all types and sizes of RVs to fit your style.

In the beginning, you may be feeling a little apprehensive about this whole RV Life thing.

RV Rentals

One solution is to rent an RV for your first time so you don’t find yourself spending thousands of dollars in the great outdoors only to find it’s just something that you just don’t enjoy.

Thousands of people take advantage of RV rentals each year to take their first RV trip!

Here are some great tips about renting an RV for the first time so you can decide if the RV Life is for you!

Golden Rules of Camping – Camping Etiquette You Need To Know

Are there rules for camping?

Well, yes, there are basic campground rules, but I’m talking about the rules that I’m not even sure are written down!

Basic Rules Of Camping

All new RV owners need to take the time to learn basic camping etiquette.

One of the first rules of campground etiquette you need to learn:

Do not walk through your neighbor’s campsite.

Another golden rule to follow is to not be one of those campers who park right on the line of your neighbor’s site.

Campsites are small enough as it is and while everyone would love to have a large area to set out their chairs, grills, and play cornhole, respect your camping neighbors and park where you’re supposed to park.

Being a good camping neighbor is what makes camping so special.

Know the basic rules of camping before you get started!

How To Choose An RV

There are many types of Recreation Vehicles to consider when searching for the perfect camper.

So how do you know the kind of RV that’s right for you and your family?

If you plan to live full time in your RV, you may want a larger living and storage space to accommodate all your things.

Traveling by motorhome can sometimes be challenging once you arrive at your destination.

One question you need to ask yourself is, “Do you want to drive your RV through the mountains and around town?”

If not, you may want to consider towing a car behind your motorhome so you have a vehicle to drive around to all the attractions you want to visit.

Travel Trailer Camping

Another type of Recreational Vehicle many beginners start with is a travel trailer. Travel trailers range in size from 12 ft up to 35 ft (some even larger!) with an average size of around 30 feet.

If you are thinking about purchasing a travel trailer, does your vehicle have the capacity to tow the size of trailer you want to purchase?

Jayco Jay Feather travel trailer
Our Jayco Jay Feather Travel Trailer

You may need to purchase a new tow vehicle which will need to be added to your overall RV budget.

A fifth-wheel trailer is a very popular type of trailer with large living and storage areas but will require a hitch that connects to the bed of your truck.

RV Camping with Fifth wheel travel trailer
My Parents Fifth Wheel Travel Trailer

Finding your perfect RV might not be easy, but with these simple RV tips for newbies on How to Choose the Best RV, I know you will find your perfect camper!

Sleepy Hollow Campground
RV Campground Tips

How To Choose An RV Campground

Once you’ve chosen your RV, and know the basic campground rules, it’s time to start searching for the best RV parks to camp in!

But, how do you choose the best campground?

One of the first questions you might be asking is What’s the average cost of an RV campground?

That will depend on the type of campground you want to camp in.

There are free campgrounds (those that are areas where you will be boondocking with no electricity, and no hookups), state and National Parks, membership campgrounds, private campgrounds, and resort-type campgrounds.

Campgrounds can range in price from $20 per night to $170 per night depending on the types of hookups and amenities you are looking for.

Other than cost, what are some important things to know before booking a campground?

Tips For Planning Your RV Camping Trip

One of the best RV trips for beginners is to camp close to home a few times before heading out on a long road trip!

By taking shorter camping trips, you can practice setting up your campsite without the stress of driving for hours, arriving tired at the campground, then having to remember what you need to do first!

You can also use the time to learn how to properly use and store your essential items such as the freshwater hose, black tank, and grey water tank.

Just remember to be flexible and take your time when planning your road trips.

Don’t try to drive for miles without stopping for a few days to rest.

Know the 3:30 Rule

RV Camping Tip
RV Travel – 330 Rule

Pro Tip: Drive 330 miles per day or arrive at the campground by 3:30 p.m.

Following the 3:30 Rule assures you will not arrive at the campground after dark, so you can take your time setting up your campsite and relax.

You can easily plan a stress-free RV camping trip if you take the time to plan ahead.

One thing that I have found very helpful in planning our RV trips is to use this RV Travel Planner.

RV Travel Planner Printable

With an RV Travel Planner, you can plan your:

  • Travel Budget
  • Travel Bucket List
  • Travel Itinerary
  • Keep track of your campground reservations

Plus, you will want to keep a camping journal for all your trips!

Planning your trip is the fun part of RV Travel!

Tips For Setting Up Your RV Campsite

It is important to remember to keep your RV Accessories organized.

Remember this saying:

First in – Last Out

The first items you pack, whether it’s in the RV basement or the back of the truck, will be the last items you will be taking out.

organize your camping cooler and accessories in back of the truck
Organize Your RV Accessories

You will need easy access to your sewer hoses, water hoses, and electrical cords.

These items should be packed in their containers last because these are some of the first items you will need when you arrive at the campground.

Here are more camping tips on how you can easily set up your RV campsite.

RV Departure

One of the more stressful times, in my opinion, is the RV Departure from the campground.

Even after six years of RVing, my husband will tell me, “How many times do I have to tell you NOT to distract me when I’m packing up?”

Why does he tell me this?

Well, let me see. We have:

  • Left our water pressure gauge on the spigot because a camping neighbor came over to say, “Have a safe trip!”
  • After leaving the dump station, we left our truck cap open only to notice it while driving down the highway. It’s not fun to pull over on the side of the highway pulling a travel trailer!
  • We have forgotten to close the bathroom vent only to realize it was open when we arrived home and had just driven six solid hours of rain!

Well, you get the idea. And I’m SURE what I was saying to my husband was nothing important. It was probably something like, “Did you see the big Class A that came in last night!”

Having a first-time RV owner checklist is a good idea to have as a new RVer. We now use one every time we leave the campground to have a little peace of mind.

RV Must-Have Essentials

One of the first things you need to realize as a beginning RVer is that you will continually be making lists.

Lists of things you need for your next camping trip, lists of places you want to go, campgrounds to research, and the many, many RV Wish List items!

But there are specific RV items you will need right away. You might think these must-haves would automatically come with your new RV – but they don’t.

Here’s a list of the first 20 RV Must Haves you will need to purchase once you have your RV.

Once you have these RV essentials, it’s time to get those extra camping items that are oh so nice to have at the campground!

RV Tool Kit

Whether you’re handy with tools or not – don’t leave home without an RV Tool Kit!

You will need to pack at least some basic tools in your RV. You will find that you can learn to fix a lot of things once you have your own RV.

We love this handy tool for our travel trailer! It’s a tool we saw another camper using and my husband said, “Why don’t I have that?”

You can bet he had it for our next camping trip and boy does he LOVE it!

Here’s a list of the best tools you will need in your RV Tool Kit!

RV Tool Kit Must Have Tools

What To Wear Camping

You’ll want to be ready for all kinds of weather when camping! Pack camping outfits for not only the summer, but also pack rain jackets, boots, and warm hats.

Fleece jackets are very versatile and come in both lightweight and heavy fleece. They are my most used article of clothing for camping!

Camping in the fall is a bit different than camping where it’s warm. Here’s what to pack for the best camping outfits for fall!

Camp Cooking – What Are The Best Camping Meals?

One of my best tips for beginning RVers is to create make-ahead camping meals to take with you!

I don’t know about you, but I want to be sitting by the campfire, not trying to figure out what’s for lunch or dinner; or, worse, be cooking in the RV while everyone else is outside having fun!

This Make-Ahead Camping Meal Planner will give you camping meals and side ideas as well as tips to plan all your meals!

I find by making many of the meals at home, then freezing them, I can whip up my family’s favorite meals at the campground in no time!

RV Tips 101

It’s not easy being a newbie RVer. Especially if you’ve never been camping before!

But, you know what?

Everyone else has been in your shoes at one time or another! Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

RVers love to help!

Use these RV tips for beginners to learn a few easy tips to help you get started RVing.

There has never been a better time to get out and explore the world traveling in an RV!

Buddy Golden Retriever at Site #31 Broadway Virginia KOA
Buddy, our Golden Retriever RV travels with us!

I hope these RV Tips have helped you determine if RV Life is right for you!

Happy Camping & Safe Travels!

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    1. Hi Claire! Most of the photos in this article were taken in the Catskill Mountains in New York. A few were in Virginia and the one of my parents fifth-wheel trailer was in the mid-west.
      Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the photos!

  1. Thanks for pointing out that we need a basic tool kit while using the RV to ensure that issues can be fixed. I will look for an RV rental that will include that with the vehicle we plan to borrow. It will be our first time that is why we wanted to know that basics for a successful and safe trip with the kids as well.

  2. Wow, it’s really impressive to read how affordable campgrounds can be. We’ve been trying to plan out a vacation that doesn’t involve crowded cities, so I can really see this being a good idea for my family this year. Since it’s a lot more affordable than I thought, I’ll go and ask around for any RV campgrounds we can pay a visit to as early as now.

  3. I appreciate it when you explained that we should respect our camping neighbors and the park and not try to take over a huge area. Since is going to be our first time experiencing and activity like that once we find an RV campsite to go to in Allegheny National Forest, being aware of these things will save us from having any conflict or issues with other campers who are already doing it for a long time. And we still need to do a research on many author different things just to be prepared, since we plan to go on a trip like that in the summer.

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