Whether it’s a quick trip across town or a multi-week excursion across the country, when you drive an RV, the country is yours to explore. Having a great RV trip isn’t about simply picking a road and driving, it takes a little planning, both to make sure your RV is in good repair, and also selecting a trip worth taking.
Basic RV Maintenance
Before you hit the road, follow these seven tips to make sure your RV is ready to roll.
- Change Your Oil
- Check Your Generation and Batteries
- Keep It Covered
- Inspect the Seams and Seals
- Maintain Your Brakes
- Plan Ahead
- Join a Caravan
1. Change Your Oil
RVs need their oil and filters changed at regular intervals to keep your engine running properly. If left undone for too long, it could eventually cause your engine to seize costing you as much as $10,000.
Most manufacturers suggest an oil change every 3,000 to 4,500 miles, but you should check your owner’s manual for advice on your specific vehicle.
2. Check Your Generator and Batteries
One of the great things about RVing is having electricity for appliances and entertainment while you’re on the road. That’s why servicing your RV generator after a long trip and replacing your batteries every 3-5 years is important.
Remember to run your generator regularly when your RV is stored. Otherwise the build-up on the unit’s carburetor can easily cost you $400.
Also, store your battery in a warm place during the winter months. This keeps it from freezing and breaking and voiding the warranty. Otherwise, you’re on the hook for a new battery.
3. Keep It Covered
Properly storing your RV during the winter or off-season months is critical, especially if your RV will be stored outside. Rain, snow, wind, sun, bird droppings, dirt and other debris can be a heavy burden on your RV and a costly fix. An RV cover is the most cost-effective way to ensure that your mobile home stays in the best possible shape, so it will be ready to use the next time you want to take a road trip.
4. Inspect the Seals and Seams
Water damage can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to repair if it’s not taken care of immediately, so inspect the roof seals and seams of your RV every six months.
If you have a rubber roof, make sure to have the roof treated at least once per year. This prevents the sun from doing damage. You should also have a roof inspection at least twice a year.
5. Maintain Your Brakes
Brake damage could cost as much as $2,000, so keep your brakes maintained for your safety and the safety of everyone else on the road.
6. Plan Ahead
Planning a route isn’t simply about knowing your destination, it’s about being able to access the resources you and your RV need to get there.
Planning a route means knowing that you’ll be able to access RV Friendly Gas Stations and Campgrounds.
Don’t overestimate how long you can drive during a single shift behind the wheel. Food breaks, calls of nature and a desire to stop and see the sights can easily throw off your schedule.
Also, don’t forget to make reservations. Too many RV trips have ended in disappointment when a preferred campsite, concert, sporting event or attraction sells out just before you arrive.
One great way to plan your trip is to use software designed with RVing in mind. One of the most popular is RV Trip Wizard [https://www.rvtripwizard.com]. The software helps you pinpoint campsite locations, attractions, track distances and analyze the cost of your trip in advance. Best of all, there’s nothing to download, it’s web-based and easy to use.
7. Join a Caravan
Don’t want to RV alone? You don’t have to. Many tour companies offer the opportunity to caravan with other RVers on specialized trips. The company provides detailed itineraries, reservations at campsites, tickets to events and attractions, meals and even a travelling mechanic who can provide support in case of emergencies. All you need to do is drive, they take care of everything else. Best of all, you get to travel along with fellow RVers who can appreciate the joy of the open road.
Hit the Open Road
Now that you’re ready to go, where do you want to go? The following are 17 ideas for road trips that you can do over the course of weeks, months or days and can appeal to a wide range of interests.
Best Multi-Week RV Vacations
1. Deep South
From South Carolina to Louisiana, the American Deep South is a fascinating part of the USA, and land with its own culture and history. Friendly people, home cooking (and portion sizes!). A rich trove of American history and culture from the Civil War to the civil rights movement and gospel to gumbo make this a fascinating place to visit.
2. Gulf Coast
From Florida to Mississippi, the Gulf Coast is not only a beautiful spot for a beach vacation but an important ecosystem that thousands of sea turtles, birds and other wild creatures call home. The Florida panhandle has beaches welcoming visitors to appreciate the beauty of this beautiful but delicate ecosystem.
3. New England
Driving your RV around the six states that make up New England – Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Rhode Island – can take you to some breathtaking mountain views and serene lakeside accommodations. Pack up the cooler, fold up the lawn chairs and head for the great outdoors and its many wonderful campgrounds.
4. Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest has much to offer to anyone traveling by RV. Whether it’s the Sequoia Forests of San Francisco, Mt. Rainer in Seattle or Voodoo Donuts in Portland. Mountain ranges, vast pine forests, hiking camping and fishing await, along with some of America’s most vibrant cities.
5. Rocky Mountains
Play some John Denver and experience the breathtaking beauty of America’s continental divide. Cities, towns, wildlife and natural wonders await as you traverse mountains, cities, towns and Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Parks.
6. Route 66
One of America’s most iconic highways, the historic Route 66 was 2,451 miles long and became the most popular road for those travelling west, or simply seeking adventure. While the historic Route 66 was replaced by the interstate highway system, it’s still possible to follow its path. Starting in Chicago the route winds through Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona coming to an end at the Santa Monica pier overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Best Weekend RV Road Trips
If you’re looking for a quick trip that you can do in a weekend and be back at your desk on Monday, these are some great areas to explore that may be in your own backyard.
7. Florida Keys
This chain of islands are connected by US Highway 1 and extends over 100 miles from the southern tip of Florida out into the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean and average temperatures in January run between 65-75 degrees.
Visit Hemmingway’s’ house, enjoy fishing, great seafood meals, the rich island culture and of course, a big slice of key lime pie.
8. Death Valley
At 282 feet below sea level, the Death Valley desert of California is the lowest point in North America. Known for its extreme summer heat, when daytime temperatures can reach 120°F, there is much more to Death Valley National Park for those who are interested in exploring its diversity. Explore the badlands its ever-changing colors, see the snow-capped mountains, and enjoy the wildflower bloom.
Visit in the winter months for pleasant temperatures and sunny days, and when you’re done, there may still be time to visit Los Angeles or Las Vegas.
Best Festival RV Trips
The United States hosts a wide range of annual festivals, events that are perfect for a weeklong RV trip with the family.
9. Albuquerque Balloon Festival
For nine days in October, the Albuquerque skies are colorfully painted as more than 500 balloons lift off from Balloon Fiesta Park. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta®, is the world’s largest balloon festival, and one of the most photographed events in the world. Fun for the whole family.1
10 . Kentucky Derby
Sip your mint julep, pin on your fascinator and giddy up for the crown jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown. Before the horses reach the gate the two weeks preceding the Derby are filled with all of the excitement of the Kentucky Derby Festival which includes the Kentucky Oaks stakes race, and the Thunder Over Louisville fireworks display is the largest annual fireworks display in the country. Of course, all of the excitement of the celebration preceding the Derby is just a warm-up for the main event.
11. Mardi Gras
New Orleans loves to celebrate before the start of lent and Mardi Gras is the ultimate street party. The city sizzles for nine days every spring as the world converges on the Crescent City for hot jazz, fabulous food, and scandalous behavior. So roll into town and ‘Laissez les bon temps roulez!’ Need a break from the party? There are lovely old towns, stunning wilderness areas, sumptuous plantation homes, and spooky old cemeteries to visit.
12. Rose Parade/ Rose Bowl
On New Year’s Day, the country focuses its attention on Pasadena, California, for the annual Rose Bowl football game and the amazing Rose Parade. Equestrian units, marching bands and floats covered in blooming flowers make their way down Colorado Boulevard to welcome in the New Year. This is an iconic event and a great trip for the end of the winter holidays.
Best Themed RV Trip Ideas
Whether you’re a sports buff, a wine buff, a history buff, a music buff, or just looking to explore a new interest, these RV trips offer opportunities to explore the country and your passions at the same time.
13. Civil War Battlefields
Whether you’re a history buff or learning about The Civil War for the first time, taking an RV trip to the sites of famous and infamous battles can help bring the history home. From Fort Sumter (South Carolina), to Antietam (Maryland), to Gettysburg (Pennsylvania) to the Appomattox Courthouse (Virginia), these national historic sites are filled with displays, living history presentations and walking tours that will fascinate and educate young and old alike.
14. Ballpark Bonanza
Take me out to the ballgame. In an RV you can celebrate the boys of summer all across the country. Follow your hometown team, or try to check some of the great historical ballfields off your bucket list. Either way, it’s a great way to enjoy America’s pastime.
15. American Music
Whether it’s Dixieland, Country and Western, Jazz, Blues, Folk or Rock and Roll, the American South and Midwest is the cradle of popular music. RV from Nashville to Memphis to New Orleans to Detroit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and experience the best of American music firsthand.
16. Wine Country
While most of us think of wine country as Napa Valley, California, there are many other areas that are home to incredible wineries, restaurants and much more. Whether you visit Willamette Valley, Oregon, Walla Walla Washington, Traverse City Michigan, Long Island’s North Fork or Loudon Country Virginia, there are plenty of vintages to experience. Just remember, no drinking and driving.
17. Roadside Attractions
From Paul Bunyan Land to the world largest Catsup Bottle, to Cadillac Ranch or Dinosaur Park, the U.S. has its fair share of weird wonders and roadside attractions. Find your favorites and plot a course for the unexpected.
Plan Ahead and Explore with These RVing Travel Tips
When you’re ready to RV, a little preparation can mean the difference between a trip you’ll always remember, and a trip you’ll want to forget. Apply these ideas and enjoy the open road.