Traveling by RV is one of the most exciting and unrestricted ways to see the country. However, without proper preparation and forethought, RV trips can quickly turn daunting. It doesn’t matter if you’re in one of the smallest, lightweight travel trailers or a massive Class A. Consider RV tips and hints before departure. Here are a few FAQs and tips concerning traveling by RV.
Do I need A Commercial Driver’s License?
In most cases, your RV’s weight class will be such that a standard non-commercial license is adequate. Larger RVs and commercial RVs may require special driver’s license requirements or endorsements if any of the following apply:
• Towing two units
• Trailer exceeds 10,000 lbs
• Total towable weight exceeds 26,000 lbs
• RV exceeds 45 feet
Are Wide-Body RVs Legal?
Depending on the state, RVs over 96” wide are generally not legal to be on public roads and RVs over 102” wide aren’t legal on interstates. While rarely enforced, this can lead to a traffic ticket. It simply depends on whether or not it is illegal in the state chosen for the trip and the decision of the law officer who sees you on the road.
Tip: Keep in mind that awning attachments add width. While some states make exceptions to awnings, others do not!
How Do I Prepare?
When traveling by RV, use a departure checklist to ensure everything is in good working order. Also check your owner’s manual to ensure any applicable departure steps have been taken as per the manufacturer’s protocol.
Tip: Backing an RV up can be perilous in certain spaces. Two-way radios are a great way to communicate with anyone helping you maneuver the RV. A cheaper option is downloading a walkie-talkie app on everyone’s smartphone in the RV.
What Do RV Parks Charge?
This is like asking how much a hotel costs. Primitive RV camping sites with no hookups usually cost less than $10 a night. Sites with water and electric hookup usually cost less than $30 a night. Full hookup and facility sites can cost upwards of $50 a night.
Tip: Ask about RV club, senior citizen, and/or weekly and monthly rate discounts.
Where Can I Find Free Parking?
• Major retailers, such as Wal-Mart
• State rest stops
• Truck stops
Tip: Be sure to check that the business allows overnight RV parking and that there are no signs at rest stops prohibiting overnight parking. Keep in mind that some municipalities may not allow any overnight parking outside licensed camps. Also, ensure that you don’t outstay your welcome or decide to setup full camp in someone’s parking lot.
What’s The Best Way To Get Road Condition Info?
The USDOT’s National Traffic and Road Closure Information page has road condition resources by state that’s handy when traveling by RV.
Tip: You may do research on specific states to see if they have traffic and travel information available, and if there are apps you can download or helpful sites to bookmark.
What’s The Best Way To Ensure Belongings Don’t Get Shifted Around During Travel?
Know that shifting items are part of the travel process, and make it a point to slowly and carefully open all storage space doors immediately after arriving. Better to catch the falling item with the door and ease it into your hand than for you to forget about the potential danger later and have it fall on your foot! If an item could spill and cause a mess, and can’t be stored securely, then take the proactive approach by putting it in the shower. It’s much easier to rinse a little plant dirt and water down the drain than to clean it from upholstery.
Can I Rely On My RV’s Generator Power At RV Sites?
Some with generators may choose cheaper RV sites without electric hookup and use the generator instead. Do remember that most sites have strict policies about everyone shutting down their generators at dusk.
Tip: Battery operated fans can help ease the sting of generator rules.
How Can I Find Out More About An Area I’m Visiting Or Going Through In My RV?
There are a number of city statistic sites, such as City-Data.com, that provide population, zip code, elevation, crime stats, climate, nearest metro area, maps and other local data for many U.S. cities. You can even get an idea of what there is to do, see, and eat in specified areas.