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RV cross country trips are a fun and inexpensive way to go for a vacation and to have fun at a destination. This is because, with a nice and comfy RV, you can travel with your family across the country touring various attractions while enjoying home comforts without shelling hundreds or thousands of dollars on transport and hotels.
While cross country RV trips can be fun and affordable, they can be pretty tiresome and frustrating if you do not prepare adequately. In this article, I am going to share with you tips to help you survive and have fun during long RV trips.
Without wasting any time, here are the twenty tips to help you survive and enjoy long RV trips.
20 Tips For Cross Country RV Trips
- Buy a Backup Camera
It is very important to purchase a backup camera. Because with a backup camera, you will be able to easily park your trailer in a back-in or pull-through campsite. A backup camera is also useful on narrow highways because it allows you to see how many vehicles you are holding up so that you can pull over and let them through.
So if you want to easily park in campgrounds and to know what’s behind you when driving slowly on the highway, make sure you purchase and install a backup camera on your RV before you hit the road.
- Make Use of Yelp and Trip-Advisor When Planning Your Trip
Most people who do cross country RV trips do them to visit multiple attractions along the way and to stay at or eat at cool hotels, parks, or restaurants along the way. If you are like most people then you most probably have already marked several spots to visit or to stay along the way.
However, before you visit any place, you should use Yelp and Trip-Advisor to find out what others are saying about the place. This will save you a lot of time. It will help you know which attractions are truly worth visiting and which hotels are truly worth staying at.
- Get Internet Access in Your RV
Most RV campgrounds across the United States claim they have free Wi-Fi. While this is often true the internet speeds are often very slow. It could take a minute or two to load a single image using the Wi-Fi in most RV campgrounds.
Therefore, if you really need to use the internet while on the road, you should get a Wi-Fi booster to be able to improve Wi-Fi performance in campgrounds. Alternatively, you should get a MiFi like the Liberate Device from AT&T Mobile or Satellite Internet. These options will help you browse better wherever you are in the United States.
- Read the Fine Print before Booking Campgrounds
If you want to take a cross country RV trip then you are most probably planning to stay at several campgrounds during the trip. If this is so then you should make it a habit to read the fine print before you book a campsite in any campground. This is because while some campgrounds have cheap campsites and seem to have many amenities/ services, they usually charge extra for the amenities and services.
For instance, while an RV campground may be charging $40 a night, it may charge you to use its hookups or to use its showers and bathrooms. Some campgrounds also indicate and amount they are charging a night but the amount is only applicable if your RV has only two people. They charge extra for every extra person. So make it a habit to read the fine print before booking a campsite or you will end up spending a lot of money on things you did not expect.
- Save Money on Gas by Packing Light
If you are going to be traveling hundreds of miles, you should pack only the things you need in your camper. People are usually tempted to carry a lot of clothes and a lot of other stuff to stay comfortable during long RV trips. While packing what you need is important, you usually do not need to pack as much as you think you do. So carry only the clothes you will need and a handful of things. And buy only the food you will need every four days.
Packing a lot of things in your RV and buying a lot of food to stock your fridge and your pantry will only make your camper heavier and affect the gas mileage of your towing truck more significantly. So pack light and buy less food at a time to make your camper light and save money on gas.
If your camper is a toy hauler, considering living your toy or toys at home when going for long trips.
- Purchase Mattress Toppers
Many high-end or high-quality RVs have multiple sleeping areas in addition to the main bed. And while the main bed usually has a good mattress, the other sleeping areas e.g. the convertible sofas, dinettes, and drop-down bunk beds are usually just comfortable enough. So if you are traveling with your kids or friends, you should purchase mattress toppers.
The toppers will make the other sleeping spaces comfortable enough for everyone you are traveling/ camping with to have a good night’s sleep. If you don’t buy mattress toppers, your kids or your friends sleeping on the additional sleeping areas will start complaining of shoulder and/ or hip pain a few days into your long RV trip.
- Take Your RV and Your Truck to Get Serviced Before Leaving
Before embarking on a long road trip, you should take your RV and your towing truck to get serviced. Long road trips really put vehicles to the test. If your RV and your truck are not in tiptop shape, you will start experiencing problems several miles down the road.
So to ensure you do not experience problems and that everything in your truck and your RV is okay and ready for a long road trip, you should take both your RV and your truck to get serviced at a reputable repair shop.
- Carry an RV Toolkit and a Roadside Emergency Kit
Getting your RV and your truck serviced is all nice and good until you start experiencing small issues or inconveniences far from reputable RV or truck repair shops. And you should expect to experience small issues because long road trips usually test vehicles in significant ways. While some issues are difficult to handle, there are some you can handle yourself. So carry your RV toolkit or buy one if you do not have one and bring it along with you for the trip. An RV toolkit will help you to deal with small issues quickly.
You should also pack a roadside emergency kit to deal with roadside emergencies better.
- Carry Everything You Need To Stay Comfortable
RVs are vehicles. Some of them may be cozy and luxurious but most usually do not automatically feel like home. To make your RV feel like home, you should carry everything you need to stay cozy and comfortable. Because it is the coziness that makes RVs homely and amazing to camp in.
So may sure you carry throw pillows and throw blankets to make your RV feel homely. If you have time, decorate the interior of your RV with paintings, photos, or art that you love. This will make it feel more like home even when you are hundreds of miles away from your place of residence.
- Carry Lots of Drinking Water
Most RVs have freshwater tanks. So before living for a long road trip, you should obviously make sure the freshwater tank is filled with freshwater. Besides, you should carry several bottles of drinking water.
Carrying drinking water is important for constant hydration during long trips. It is also important because in case your freshwater tank runs out of water, you can drink the bottled water to survive. Bottled water is also important if you like hiking because you need to stay hydrated when hiking.
- Plan to Stop Every 3 to 4 Hours
Long road trips can be exhausting and dangerous if you do not plan them properly. This is because driving for long distances causes exhaustion and this can lead to drowsiness or slow reaction times while on the highway. To avoid this, you should plan to stop every three to four hours during a cross country road trip to recharge, stretch your legs, get fresh air and relax for about 20 minutes before continuing your journey.
- Gas Up Frequently
Most people do not like spending money when they feel like they do not need to. This is why we drive our vehicles until our tanks are close to empty before we fill up. However, while this is okay because there are many gas stations in the cities and towns most of us live in, it is not okay and not advisable on the highway because gas stations are many miles apart from each other. Therefore, gas up more frequently to avoid stalling in the middle of nowhere.
- Find Ways to Make Long Trips Exciting
You should find ways to make long trips exciting. If you are traveling alone, you can get an interesting audiobook to listen to along the way. However, if you are traveling with kids, you will have to do more. You should probably get them games to play during the trip. If your kids are young, you should pack their favorite toys to keep them engaged during the trip.
- Don’t Drive At Night
Many individuals assume that driving at night is great because there are usually fewer motorists on the highways. While this is true, it is also dangerous to drive at night on highways because visibility is reduced and wild animals are more active. So to stay safe, you should avoid driving at night.
- Get a GPS unit
To enjoy your trip to the maximum, you should get a nice GPS unit. With a GPS unit, it will be easy for you to find the attractions you need to visit and it will be difficult for you to get lost. The best GPS units on the market have pre-installed United States, Canada, Mexico, and South America maps.
- Acquire a Gas Card
Acquire a gas card to save cash and to get various benefits because long road trips will cost you a lot of gas money no matter how fuel-efficient your truck or SUV is.
- Make New Friends
You are going to meet many travelers/ RVers like you at RV parks and campgrounds. You are also going to meet people at tourist sites and hotels. Don’t be shy to strike up a conversation and make new friends. The new friends you make could make your stay at a campground more interesting, comfortable, or exciting. They could also end up being lifelong friends.
- Carry Cash
In some places, cards are not accepted. This may sound weird if you have been living in a big city where cards or payment apps are accepted everywhere. But it is true. So carry cash for such places e.g. small motels, tolls and so on.
- Pack Some Booze
Drinking and driving is obviously wrong and illegal. However, nobody is against you drinking a beer or unwinding with a glass of wine before sleeping at night in a secure campground.
- Enjoy It
Getting to a destination is important but sometimes it is the things you do during a long trip that makes the trip fun and memorable. So do not be shy to pull off and enjoy sceneries, views, or amazing sights.
The Last Words
You now know how to prepare for a long road trip in your RV. It is my belief that the tips will get you ready to travel across the country and to enjoy your trip as much as possible without any frustrations.