A Planning Guide for your First RV Trip
RV travel is such a popular way to vacation and road trip these days, but how much work is involved in learning how to RV and getting your gear together? Surprisingly, much less than you would think! My husband (Eddie) and I had the opportunity to work with Go RVing and take a trip across the state of Florida as newbie RVers. We had a blast and wanted to share with you how easy it is to learn the ropes. Check out our planning guide for your first RV trip.
Your Recreational Vehicle
For our trip, the Minnie Winnie Winnebago® was our luxury home away from home for the week. The Minnie Winnie price tag is slightly over $100,000 which in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t appear to be all that much in the RV travel world but still much more than we imagined. To find RV’s available to rent go to GoRVing.com or talk to your local RV dealership. I would definitely recommend taking several trips to different locations (beach/mountains/big city) before investing in these fancy vehicles, just to make sure you are truly RV material.
Our 31′ Minnie Winnie motorhome was fully loaded with LED lighting, a large 32″ HDTV, large trunk, 3 burner stove, shower, skylights, microwave, 2-door refrigerator/freezer, ample bedding (Queen, overhead, and sofa beds), and beautiful fabrics and flooring.
Campgrounds and Routes
For our travels, we were hosted at two different properties; one was a small, casual property and the second, a huge RV park that was mostly seasonal snowbirds to Florida. People were super friendly at both and they each had laundry facilities, a place for group events, and swimming pools. It is probably best to have reservations as the campgrounds fill up really quickly, especially in Florida or other states where snowbirds might land and that have year-round visitors.
Another recommendation is to print your directions to the campgrounds ahead of time. The cell service was horrible on our drive across the state and trying to meander a huge vehicle in small towns with bad directions was the pits. When trying to find the Myakka River RV Resort, my iPhone actually took us to Myakka State Park, about 45 minutes away. You could also screenshot the directions, too.
Things to Do Once you Park the RV
Now it is time to set up shop, so to speak. Your RV must be connected to the electrical outlet outside of the camper. Most hookups are located in one place and are super simple to manage. After connecting the power, connect the waste-out hose to the sewage connector in the ground. There should be a faucet in the same vicinity. Connect your clean drinking water hose to that faucet and turn the spigot on.
Next, stabilize the RV. First, place the jack pads behind the wheels to keep from rolling. Next, press the “stabilize” or level button inside the RV. This will take a few minutes as the recreational vehicle levels itself out. Expect some jarring and sudden movements at this time. You will also need to pop out the addition if your RV has one. Our Winnebago had a 3′ slideout addition that expanded simply by pushing a button. It gave us much more room in the living area. Lastly, make sure all levels are showing as functional inside your vehicle. Now you can turn on the AC if needed and begin setting up the outside of your campsite.
Many RV’ers have elaborate campsites with chairs, lawn decorations, small fences (for animals), and more. Don’t get RV envy because you are a temporary camper; the basics will be just fine. We brought along a couple of zero gravity chairs and a tabletop gas grill. Our Minnie Winnie had a patio awning that popped out with the touch of a button, a really cool feature.
Lastly, connect your cable to the HDTV and set up your WiFi. The TV will walk you through how to do so or you should have gotten a password from your campground at check-in.
At night, snap on the front wraparound curtain for privacy.
Is the RV Hard to Drive?
Heavens no! Though I would be lying if I didn’t say I was a bit intimated for about the first five minutes. Quick story: The luxurious Minnie Winnie was dropped off at my house in Vero Beach by a handler. We had to drive her to Fort Pierce, with no training, to “get trained”. We drove approximately 40 minutes on pins and needles with both Eddie and me watching every little move, white-knuckled, until we got a feel for I-95.
After our lesson, the driving was easy peezy. I finally got up the nerve to drive during our three-hour trip home. In a short time, I was so confident that I turned, whipped, and made my way through a few small towns. Driving the RV was really not much different than driving my Yukon Denali. You must remember though that the RV is way longer and you should swing wide when you can. There were plenty of spaces at gas stations and such to pull through for parking but backing up was easy with the aid of the Minnie Winnie’s cameras. Of course, we had to throw in one Walmart run just so we could park the RV on the lot like the rest of the world.
The swivel cab seats are one of my favorite features, along with satellite radio.
What to Bring Along on your First RV Trip
We packed very little for our trip other than our clothing and electronics. A set of sheets, blanket, pillows, and a few towels and washcloths were the majority of our necessities. This was in addition to food, foil, dishwashing liquid, toiletries, lounge chairs, paper products, spices, and cooking oil/spray.
Cooking in a Motorhome
The Minnie Winnie provided us with all of the ease and comforts of home. A refrigerator held all of our perishables and a nice size freezer was big enough for some food and a bag of ice. Ice can typically be purchased at your RV park. A 3 burner stove allowed for us to cook the same type of meals that we would have had at home, but we also brought along a tabletop grill to use at our campsite for grilled meats and veggies.
For breakfast, we mostly cooked eggs, English muffins, ham, or sausage. At lunch, we made sandwiches with homemade pasta salad and chips. We broke out the grill for dinner and prepared chicken, sausages, or veggies, and had store-bought refrigerated macaroni and cheese or hash-brown potatoes.
How Did We Sleep and Shower in the RV?
To put it simply, like a baby. The bed in the back of the RV was very comfortable. Minnie Winnie’s killer AC cooled us off far better than the one at my home, a high praise by a woman suffering from hot flashes. Small windows could also be opened weather permitting.
Eddie took showers at the bathhouse because he did not like the confined space of the small shower. It worked fine for me. The water pressure was controlled by a nozzle/hose so that made it easier to maneuver with the low overhead. The commode was in a separated area than the shower and sink for those of you wondering.
Would I RV Again?
Heck yes, I loved it! There was just enough space for everything that I wanted or needed to do. The kitchen table was a perfect workspace for blogging. Eddie and I watched TV at night from the buttery leather sofa after having a delicious dinner and a stroll through the campground. He did have a hard time adjusting to being trapped inside due to the rain, but overall, it was enjoyable for both of us.
Things to Consider Before Taking an RV trip
RVing can be either great fun or a real pain. You have to understand that you are semi-camping which means that you have to take care of business before you can reap the rewards. It also means that with inclement weather, your trip may not go as planned. Always have a backup plan and things to keep you busy indoors in the event this happens. Also, whom you are traveling with can make or break a trip.
You can rent near home and journey to your final destination, or fly and pick up your RV at the other end. You can learn more info about RV rental prices through this link.
Keep an open mind to the advantages of an RV trip; meeting new people, getting outdoors, and having the comforts of home right at your fingertips speaks high volumes to me. We watched our favorite TV shows, prepared meals, and even had the option of getting food delivered if we chose. On an RV trip, the possibilities are endless. I think everyone should take at least once in their life.
We hope you’ve learned something from our planning guide for your first RV trip. Enjoy the open road and safe travels!
If you have any additional questions, feel free to drop me a message. I’d be glad to help.
Check out how my first RV trip went here.
Headed out on your first-ever RV trip? The ever-popular method of travel is easy once you’ve got the hang of it, but what is required for you to bring along? We’ve compiled a checklist of things to pack for your RV travels to take that problem out of the equation for you. Enjoy exploring the country in your house on wheels.