5 Mistakes First Time RVers Need to Avoid

People who are new to the RV lifestyle often make serious mistakes that can end up costing them a small fortune, ruining their vacations or damaging their new motor homes, campers or trailers.

They get so caught up in the excitement of finally buying the unit of their dreams and planning their first trip, that they miss learning what they need to know in order to be able to do well with their coaches and their vacations.
It's easy for beginners to make RV Travel Mistakes

It’s almost painful to watch this happen, but I’ve learned that trying to provide information to many newbies just does not seem to work.

So, in an attempt to make people aware of the things they should avoid doing when they are just starting out, I present here some of the problems people create for themselves simply because they didn’t use common sense! 

Not Taking a Test Trip

One of the biggest mistakes newbies make is to avoid taking a test run (a short trip of just a few days) in their new RV so that they can practice driving, packing and camping before they take a major vacation.

Few people realize that traveling in an RV is much more complicated than vacationing by car, plane or train because you don’t just pack a suitcase and go. 

What you really do is pack a small apartment that you will be living in for weeks or even months at a time.

Furthermore, if you have never traveled in an RV before, you can’t know the types of driving conditions you might be facing.

If you don’t spend time practicing your driving and then run into heavy rain, road construction or rough roads, you won’t be comfortable behind the wheel.

Taking time to practice gives new owners time to get to know their RV and become comfortable driving and living in it.

Doing this, you can’t possibly know what you need to have or do when you take your first real trip.

I have actually seen people buy a coach, jump into it having had no driver training whatsoever, and immediately start out on a trip!

Doing that is a recipe for disaster that newbies should always try to avoid!

Not Using Check Lists

Organization is the key to successful RVing, but in order to plan well, newbies should, but rarely do, create check lists that they can use to remind them about what they need to take and do when preparing for vacations.

Having something with you to remind you to make sure your antenna is down and your steps are in before leaving a campsite can save you many headaches and a whole bunch of money.

Newbies don’t know to do this so they travel in a completely disorganized way and often find that they have forgotten many things they wish they had with them such as

a comfortable pillow,the right kind of clothing orenough cash.

My husband and I once got caught in San Francisco thinking that in August it would be nice and warm.  We had no warm clothes with us, so had to stop into a store and buy some.  Otherwise we would have been miserable!

Underestimating RV Travel Needs

Unlike other forms of travel, RVing requires you to take appropriate clothing, cosmetics, medications, health aids, cleaning products, tools, food, cooking utensils, linens and other similar items with you.

You also have to use some common sense so that you don’t over or under pack.

On the one hand you don’t want to overload your coach, but on the other, you need to prepare for every eventuality.

For example, traveling without a first aid kit, road flares or fire extinguishers could create major problems in the event of an accident.

It’s a real balancing act that requires careful planning because you aren’t always in a place where you can buy what you need if your forget something or will be able to get rid of an item that is taking up too much space!

New RV owners often fail to recognize the importance of this issue and, as a result, can be mighty uncomfortable during their travels.

Ignoring Important Issues

There are certain issues that require the close attention of all RVers.  

For example, most people don’t realize that if they take a prescription medication and don’t have enough to last the trip, once they cross state lines no pharmacy will give them new scrip. 

They can get a refill, if the medication is not for pain, but if it is, they’ll be out of luck unless they can take the time to see a local doctor.

However, most doctors will not write pain scrips for strangers because they don’t want to risk their licenses.

So something as simple as forgetting to take enough medicine with you can ruin your vacation!

Anything having to do with your health, the condition of your coach, finances and similar issues can make or break an RV trip.

This is why people should make plans far in advance of their vacations and always use those check lists!


It is common for beginners to overload their recreational vehicles.  

When they do this, they can throw their travel unit off balance, making it dangerous to drive.

Having too many belongings on board also crowds an RV and makes traveling in it awkward and uncomfortable.

Learning how to correctly load and balance a coach takes time and planning, but is well worth the effort.

Smart Newbies Try to Avoid Travel Problems

All new coach owners owe it to themselves to make sure they know what they are doing and have what they need with them, but unfortunately, few do this.

Instead they leave home without really knowing how to drive or properly pack their units and somehow think that they magically will have a great trip.

I can tell you from personal experience that it is not fun to be a hundred miles from home only to realize that you forgot to bring cash with you or left the dog back home!

With RVing, there are a ton of things that can go wrong, and it is up to you to make sure, as much as is humanly possible, that they don’t!

If you avoid the common mistakes new RV owners often make that I discussed in this article, you’ll be off to a good start.

It takes years to learn how to create successful recreational vehicle trips, and nobody gets it right every time.

However, the more you go, the more you’ll know.