You have just arrived home after a successful afternoon at the local RV show. You are now the proud owner of a brand-new fifth wheel. You and your significant other will spend the next few hours daydreaming of all of the camping trips you plan to take with family and friends. It is something you have always dreamed about. But wait. How much do you really know about the RV lifestyle?
Whether your plan is to be a seasonal camper or a full timer, owning a trailer or motorhome is a major undertaking. RVs require maintenance. They require a different set of driving skills. And once you hit the road, you will have a lot to learn about everything from campgrounds to keeping your rig in tip-top shape. The RV world is truly a world of its own.
Don’t let the scale or learning curve frighten you away. Investing the time and effort to learn the RV lifestyle pays for itself through some of the most unforgettable experiences you will ever have. To get you moving in the right direction, here are a few helpful tips for easing into the RV lifestyle:
1. Join an RV Owners Group
There are numerous RV owners groups scattered around the country. These groups are a wealth of knowledge and experience. Most of them are extremely friendly, too. Joining an owners group gives you access to tons of people more than willing to answer your questions and give you helpful advice. Most groups offer members special perks – like discounts on campsites, for example. Many offer voluntary meetups as well.
2. Practice Your Driving
Make plans to practice driving with your RV as soon as spring arrives. Being the owner of a fifth wheel, it is going to take time for you to master things like braking and cornering. You really want to be an experienced driver before you start hauling a trailer full of gear. And by the way, start your practice by driving only in good weather. As you learn, gradually ease into foul weather driving. You will have to learn to do that too.
3. Take Short Excursions
Once you are comfortable with driving, it’s time to take your first camping trip. Stick with short excursions your first few times out. In other words, don’t drive more than a couple of hours away from home. The idea is to remain close enough to home just in case something goes wrong. Short excursions will give you more time behind the wheel and open the door to weekend trips that make good practice for your longer vacations later in the year.
4. Make Friends Whenever Possible
You are going to find that other RVers make the best friends. Make as many such friends as you can. One might tell you all about AirSkirts fifth wheel skirting while another teaches you all the secrets of cooking over an open fire. Still another friend can teach you how to take good care of your gray and wastewater systems so that you have to clean them less frequently.
5. Educate Yourself
They say knowledge is power. It truly is in the RV world. The more you can educate yourself through reading, watching videos and attending seminars, the better equipped you will be to operate your RV safely. The internet is an especially rich resource of information covering everything from RV skirting to winterizing your rig.
Congratulations on your new RV. If all goes as planned, you will have a full season under your belt by this time next year. Happy camping – and be safe out there.