RV Camping 101 | Top 6 Tips for Beginners
Humans are born adventurers. As children, we explore, discover and wonder at the beautiful world around us.
Sadly, as we “grow up,” that adventuring spirit is often replaced with one of security and productivity. But, we know something’s not right, and we hear the great outdoors beckoning us to discover and marvel again.
There are many ways to reconnect with that primordial explorer, but one popular mode is to travel in an RV. About 40 million people in the U.S. go RV camping, and its popularity isn’t going anywhere anytime soon — about 38% of campers are millennials, and about 25% are under 18.
Perhaps you’re ready to join the chorus, but you don’t know where to start. Let’s take a look at the top six tips for beginners.
1. Get In the Mindset
This may be an easy step to overlook, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice. Camping in an RV may seem relatively straightforward — you drive to a place and sleep there. However, that is just the surface level of the experience — there’s so much more that both excursions have to offer.
Getting into the mindset before the journey is of the utmost importance. Ask yourself: why am I doing this? What am I hoping to find? What am I most excited about? What am I afraid of?
These questions will place you in a spirit of discovery — self-discovery — which will lead to vision and excitement in regards to the upcoming trip. Establishing this mindset from the get-go will spill over into every step of the experience and act as a lens through which to view the adventure.
However, remember: you can’t just answer these questions once and forget about them. Revisit your mindset throughout the trip, check in with yourself and either reinforce your initial vision or recalibrate it.
2. Buying or Renting?
RVs are wonderful vehicles, but they aren’t exactly purchased at the dollar store. It’s a significant acquisition and one that requires assessing various personal factors. After all, while there are affordable RVs for under $10,000, Class C and B motorhomes can have a price tag from $100,000 to $150,000, and Class A motorhomes can sell north of $500,000. Therefore, you have to take a look at your individual financial situation and how much discretionary income you have at your disposal.
However, another important factor is how many people will be along for the ride. Is this a solo endeavor, or is it for your family of four? The number of people involved will affect the space and, in turn, the price.
The length of the trip is also of paramount consideration. Are you transitioning your life to a permanent RV camping road trip? Or is this a three-week-long trek across a stretch of the country? If the latter, there are many rental options out there that allow you to live the RV life for a moment but not have to keep it parked on your property.
3. Plan, But Not Too Much
As the adage goes, life is all about balance. Planning a trip is no exception, and the balance lies in how much planning you do and how much you leave up to spontaneity.
An itinerary where every hour and stop is accounted for is no fun. It leaves no room for flexibility, surprises and new branches of adventure that may arise when you hit the open road — or the open waters. However, a trip without any planning can be irresponsible and dangerous.
So, what do you do? Pick out some essential destinations and stops. Find the long stretches of road and scope out where you’ll be resting. If there are any “must-sees” for anybody, make those a priority. When you get past what’s necessary, be cautious about overstuffing the itinerary.
The same thing goes for the aforementioned mindset. Having goals and intentions is a great thing for a trip, but don’t overanalyze. Prepare well for the journey, but let the adventure have its way.
4. Plot Out Sleeping Points
Can you sleep in an RV anywhere? Well, no, not anywhere, but there are many, many places that you can. If you’re in a pinch and looking for a place to catch some zzzs, many businesses allow single overnight parking in their parking lots. Walmart and Cracker Barrel are two such companies, but do some research and find other businesses, as well as verify which specific locations permit overnight parking.
You can also park in the driveway of a friend or family member on your route.
However, RV campgrounds can be the ideal stop. Often in beautiful natural landscapes, designed with those traveling in RVs in mind, these are the perfect place to put your RV in park, pitch your tent and relax. What is the average price for RV campsites? They range from $18/night to over $100/night.
You might be thinking: how do I book an RV campsite? It’s best to book RV campgrounds in advance, so take a look at your route and reserve your spots online as soon as you know you’ll be going there.
5. Prepare for the Journey
Before you hit the road, make sure you have what you need.
Now, what you need is partially up to you — not everyone will want a 90s rock playlist queued up — but let’s get the universal essentials out of the way:
- Clothes for various temperatures and terrains
- A tent
- First-aid supplies
Along the lines of sustenance and not possessions, prioritize.
Then, determine what is essential to you and pack it. For instance, a picture of a loved one, specific music, books or a laptop.
Do your best to make sure you have your essential elements with you before you’re miles from home.
6. Don’t Look Back
Once you’re in the mindset, have prepared and packed; start your journey and don’t look back. Adventure is up ahead, not in the rearview.
You’ll likely have butterflies in your stomach. However, you might also experience regret about taking the trip or start to wonder if you’re crazy. These are good signs! When you’re traveling through a little bit of fear, it means you’re growing, and something greater is on the other side.
So turn up the volume on your favorite tunes or podcast, put on those sunglasses and move forward into the rest of your life.
Cottonwood Cove Resort RV Park would love to be a camping spot on your adventure! Once you know when you’ll be rolling in, book your spot near beautiful Lake Mohave. We’re ready for you. We also offer a large selection of luxurious houseboat rentals to make your vacation an unforgettable experience. For more information, fill out the quick contact form on our website or call us directly at 855-918-5253.