RV Travel Tips and Tricks

Traveling in your RV can be very relaxing, especially if you plan well ahead or time. This is a guide about RV travel tips and tricks.

An RV out in a mountainous area.
Filter: All Articles Sort: Relevance

An RV out in a mountainous area.Due to the price of fuel, many people may find that going on an extended trip in their RV is expensive. However, there are several things one can do to ensure that money is saved when possible. Plan ahead for the best savings results.

Obviously the first concern is the price of fuel. While there is not much one can do at the pump to lower the price per gallon, there are a few things.

First, make sure your motor home or pull vehicle is in the best possible mechanical condition. This includes clean air filter, properly inflated tires and good spark plugs among other things. Don't overload your rig, or hang items on the front or side that can increase the amount of wind resistance.

Plan your trip ahead of time, and use the Internet. There are several sites online that post current fuel prices. While on your trip, you can usually access the Internet for free in most public libraries for updated prices.

Avoid gassing up on the interstate, as you usually pay for the convenience of staying close to the highway. Often, if you drive just a block into town, fuel is several cents a gallon cheaper. Some states have higher fuel taxes. Be aware of who they are and fuel up before you cross over the state line. Be open to getting your fuel at truck stops which often offer a discount if you pay in cash. Some gas stations offer a discount if you use their gas credit card at the pump. Check out all these options BEFORE you leave home.

Also, check into joining a camping club before you leave home. Clubs such as the Good Sam club give you discounts when you park and stay in their campgrounds. You also receive a large book from them that lists and rates campgrounds all throughout the USA. Many also offer senior citizen discounts. Some also lower their camping rates during the "off season" or on weekdays.

If you belong to an auto club, use their trip route before hand. Many also offer an RV trip route, which lists things that could cause you trouble and to avoid; such as tunnels that are too low to drive through, or towns that have only 1 gas station with an awing you can't drive under. They will also list which mountain roads to take and which ones to avoid, as well as listing travel stops that have free dump stations.

Plan out your route several months in advance, then look up your destinations and write to them. Most states will send you a free state map (cheaper than an atlas). Call the chamber at towns you will be driving through and many will suggest or send you an area guide and coupons. Look for festivals and free activities. When staying in the same place for several nights get a local paper to see what else may be going on that you can attend.

While planning your route, take note of any toll roads. Most toll roads charge by the axle. This includes axles on your motor home or if in a trailer on both the pull vehicle and the trailer. Be sure to either route your trip to avoid toll roads or take along several rolls of quarters and change. Do not speed while on toll roads. Your incoming ticket is stamped with your entry time. When you exit, you may be ticketed if you went too fast.

National Parks have a free ranger club for kids. Kids take a free class while at the park and learn from it. Parents also get to attend free. A newspaper comes with the class, geared for kids.

Many state and national parks offer a program where you can camp for free in exchange for volunteer hours at the park. This is something you would want to check into probably a year in advance. Just call the park for more information and to see if they participate.

Take your food items with you, including your snack items. This helps you to avoid pulling into fast food stops along the road. Instead, pull into a park, rest stop or even a Wal-Mart parking lot or truck stop and eat. I like to take several empty plastic jugs, and just one with water. I take the powered drink mix and make our drinks, as we are ready to drink them. Having one jug of water ensures me that if we stop where there is no water, I have some. Providing there is water, we get it there; most parks have a hydrant. Using dehydrated foods and powered drink mixes helps keep the weight down and save fuel.

I also take along a crock-pot. This allows me to slow cook a meal while we are out sightseeing during the day or to cook on a rainy day when we can't cook outside, and reduces the high cost of eating out. If you are a coffee drinker, take your coffee maker to avoid buying coffee every morning.

Don't over pack your clothes. Usually it is just as easy to do a load of laundry while on the road. Remember to take a small container of laundry soap with you.

Remember to take your basics, so you don't have to buy them while on the road. This includes cell phone charger, flashlights and extra batteries, film, camera batteries and memory cards (or take your laptop with you so you can download your photos onto a CD as you go along). I happened to note the prices of batteries, film and memory cards while at Yellowstone National Park, and they were 3 times higher than at Wal-Mart.

Also don't forget rain poncho, umbrellas, extra shoe or boot laces, swimsuits, first aid kit, patch kit for bike tires if you take your bikes, and rainy day activities-such as deck of cards, board games or books. Take along water bottles you can refill that have a carry strap.

Suggested packing list for family with children:

  • Clothes for each person
  • Lightweight jacket for each person
  • Rain poncho for each person (less than a dollar at Wal-Mart)
  • Umbrella
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Powered drink mixes
  • Crock-pot
  • Coffee maker
  • 1 set of plastic dishes, bowls, silverware and cups per person, plus a few extra
  • Dish soap
  • Ice cube trays
  • Dishtowels and rags
  • Toaster if your oven doesn't have a broiler
  • Charcoal and lighter fluid
  • Bleach
  • Vinyl tablecloth and tablecloth weights or clips for picnic tables
  • Matches
  • First aid kit
  • Medications and medical history for each person
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Trash bags
  • Ziploc bags
  • Bikes and tire patch kit
  • Water bottles
  • Camera, film and batteries
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Toiletry items
  • Bath towels
  • Clothesline (for drying hand washed items, swimsuits, towels)
  • Laundry soap
  • Maps
  • Alarm clock with battery backup
  • Child sized broom, dustpan and mop for cleanups (fit great in small closets)
  • Couple of throw rugs for the doorway for sandy areas or rainy days
  • Sewing kit
  • Extra blanket or sleeping bag, especially if camping in mountains or desert
  • Books, board games, cards, coloring book and crayons
  • A few movies if you take a VCR
  • CB radio if you have one. Many RVers run on channel 15 in my area
  • Weather radio if you have one
  • Bottle of windshield cleaner
  • Paper towels
  • 2 extra quarts of oil and funnel
  • Flares
  • Jumper cables
  • Food and menu
  • Chargers for any electronic gadgets
  • RV manuals
  • If you have a pull/tow vehicle, take an ice chest or food for picnics without the RV
  • CD players with headphones are great for kids to listen to while driving
  • Extra light bulbs for RV
If space allows in your vehicle, take along another family or friend to camp with and split the cost. A few parks even allow a tent to be pitched on the same lot at no additional cost if it is for the same family. Several times my family has camped in our RV with my parents in their RV the next spot over. My brother and his family pitch a tent in the middle and take turns riding with either my family or my parents. As the kids grow, it is a good way to create memories.

If you don't have an RV, check out the rentals. Sometimes you can even find private individuals who rent theirs out, just be sure you know who is responsible for what, and have proper insurance.

If you can't afford the fuel for a long distance trip, try out the state parks in your own state, or the next state over. Last of all, have fun!

By April from NW Missouri

CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

If you own an RV or travel a lot, you know it's a constant battle to keep things secure so they don't fall or tip over in the process. If you are not using it yet, try sticky tack (also known as poster putty). It's the best invention. It is pliable putty that usually comes in a package of 2-4 strips. I have seen it in white, blue, and yellow. It is often found in the office or school supply sections in stores and is inexpensive. My favorite brand comes from a dollar store. It is repositionable and restickable. You can use it over and over, so one package lasts a long time.

RVer's can hang things on walls with sticky tack, keep cutting boards and bowls still, put it under a vase of flowers and on and on. Works great under pet bowls also.

I have found so many uses for sticky tack in my home. I use it when doing crafts and in our truck while traveling. Just grab a hunk, place it under the object you want to secure and give it a little "smoosh".

Give it a try, you'll love it and the ideas for using it are endless!

By Mary from Palm Coast, FL

CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

We took a long trip out west for 4 and 1/2 months. We'd never been out west before. We always said, when we retired we were going to do it, and we did! We were awed by all the things we saw and did.

These pictures are at Grants Point in Utah! I could stay in Utah for a month and never run out of stuff to do and see! We may move there after we RV all over the country for a while! We loved Utah!

We traveled from Georgia to the Pacific coast. In L.A., we were at the premiere of "Toy Story 3" in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater, as Hank and Tim got out of their limo. Then up to Washington state through Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, etc. and back home. We went through 23 states! I'm 62 and he's 65, and we'd do it again in a heartbeat!

Ya all look for us. We'll be like "Where are the Ellington's" as opposed to "Where's Waldo!"

Happy Trails (as they say out West).

Source: Our 23 Tapes of video we took! LOL

By Linda

CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

I am about to embark on a new adventure with my husband. We are both retired and have purchased an RV. I don't know how many RVers are on this site but does anyone have any advice for frugal RVing? Or RV tips in general? Thank You, I love the site.

Verna from Orange County.

AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

Wasn't sure if you were going full-time rv'ing or lots of trips, but I will mention a few things. Thinking about all the mistakes and things we have learned, makes me smile. First of all, do get a book about rv'ing. Also know that campers are the friendliest people in the world and will be happy to give you advice. Got a problem, ask your neighbor. We have laughed that if you put up the hood of your vehicle, there will be 5 people there to help you with your problem. Love that. Other thing-Army Corp campgrounds are inexpensive and numerous. Lastly, Golden Age/Golden access card. If you are 62 or disabled you can get this card and get in half price at Army Corp and some other places. Full-time rv'ing is the smartest thing we ever did. Good Luck and Enjoy!

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
Read More Answers...
Travel and Recreation TravelMay 8, 2012
More to Explore
ThriftyFun on Facebook
ThriftyFun on Pinterest
Enter a Contest
Free Newsletters
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Related Guides
Sky Blue Retro Travel Trailer 3
Buying a Used Travel Trailer
Hong Kong, Victoria Harbour
Hong Kong Frugal Travel Guide
Family in Car Leaving in Winter
Saving Money on Holiday Travel
Business Travel Tips, Business Woman on Laptop in Airport
Business Travel Tips
© 1997-2016 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Published by . Page generated on May 19, 2016 at 11:53:31 AM on in 998 msecs. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of ThriftyFun's Disclaimer and Privacy Policy. If you have any problems or suggestions feel free to Contact Us.
To Top
Loading Something Awesome!