UNITED STATES—Have you ever dreamed of packing up your stuff, heading out the door, and hitting the open road in search of adventure? You are certainly not alone if you answered yes to that question. The hardest part for many people is not knowing where to get started, and there are plenty of reasons why this is such a difficult decision too. Bucking the trend and going your own way can mean a lot of things, but one that is intriguing to many is the idea of owning an RV and driving across the country.

RV, or recreational vehicle, is a good blend of road trip adventure and at-home comfort. This combination of lifestyles has made it much more accessible for people, and their families, to go out for miles and miles on end in their journey on the road. RV’s have become such a popular way to travel that it is leading many people to consider living on the road, but how do you get into the RV lifestyle in the first place? 

Here are some tips on how to get into the RV life and start your journey quicker.

1. Purchasing, Leasing, or Renting an RV

In order to become an RV enthusiast, you need to have an RV. Driving an RV does not mean you need to purchase one outright either. While it is desirable to completely own the vehicle, there are other options. RVs can be expensive, no one is denying that. These vehicles can range anywhere from $10 000 to $300 000, which is quite a lot on the upper end of the scale, but you have choices. Leasing an RV is a good way to experience the ownership without having to fully commit to the cost while renting is a preferred method for people who like to travel for short periods of time during the year when they can. 

2. Picking the Type of RV You Want

Just like the financing options, you have choices for types of RV’s as well. Some people add campers onto truck beds, others spring for smaller travel trailers, and some people go all out on motor homes. There are Class A, B, and C motorhomes, hard-side trailers, tent trailers, and fifth-wheel trailers. They range in size (tent trailers being the smallest and Class A motorhomes being the biggest) as well as cost (same as the range in size, for cheapest to most expensive) so picking one comes down to preference and ability to afford it.

3. Becoming Familiar With RV Culture

The RV lifestyle is not just about owning a vehicle, which is often misunderstood. Owning an RV is just one piece of the puzzle of becoming part of the RV life. As you can see at The Wandering RV, there is a lot of specific culture around the RV lifestyle that involves meeting people who are similarly interested in traveling, meetups, campground lists, advice, and blogs that pertain to RVing. Owning the RV is the first step, but fully immersing yourself in what makes RV’s so popular will help you make the transition into this new lifestyle you want to be a part of.

4. Practicing How to Drive an RV

Starting your life on the road is much like learning to walk before you run. No one expects you to get behind the wheel of a motorhome and be good at it your first try, so it takes practice. Even driving with a travel trailer means practicing your backup, parking, and turning skills. Taking RV driving lessons is an important step in the process because you need to be safe on the road for yourself and other motorists. Some of these large motor homes can be difficult to maneuver, even for experienced drivers, so this new type of vehicle operating means new challenges. Take lessons so you can understand how to properly and safely drive your RV on the road.

5. Packing Your RV

As you get closer to finally hitting the open road you want to know what to bring. An RV, especially bigger motor home style models, allows you to bring considerably more gear than a normal vehicle would permit on a road trip. You can bring more cookware, clothing, safety gear, and entertainment, but you still have limitations. Packing the essentials is a must, like proper clothing if you plan on doing things like hiking, cycling, or fishing, not to mention weather-appropriate gear. You want to bring first-aid kits in case of any accidents or emergencies, as well as stocking up your pantry or cupboard with enough dry goods and other non-perishable food just to be safe. While you are in the comfort of a larger vehicle, problems still occur out on the road that requires you to be prepared. So doing some research on RV enthusiast’s road trip checklists of supplies will help you make your journey safe but memorable.

6. Planning Your Trip

Obviously, as part of your trip planning, you want to include that packing supplies checklist, but that is not the only part of the preparation. Knowing what destinations you want to hit along the way is going to allow you to plan your route ahead of time. Thanks to modern technology, we have maps and GPS technology in our pockets, but it is still important that you know what landmarks or sights you want to see before you get behind the wheel. Backtracking and missed exits in an RV can be costly on gas, so it is smart to be thorough with your route. Likewise, figure out the safest ways to get to your destination as well as the fastest routes. Know where RV-permitted campgrounds and parking spots are, and you should be good for your first dive into RV life.

Camper life.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Owning an RV sounds like such a foreign concept for people that they miss why it is so popular amongst so many different age groups. RVing can help you explore the open road with some of the comfortable amenities of your home, so it is a marriage of two great worlds. Becoming involved in the RV life is just a few easy steps between you and unforgettable memories.