Whether you’re a family of weekend campers or a retired couple looking to travel full-time, every RV owner has to know a few important things before making a voyage. Even if you’ve owned an RV for years, it pays to refresh yourself on the basics before heading out on the road.  Here are six quick tips to consider before you pile in and take off on an adventure.

Tip 1: Get to Know Your RV

With little road experience, it’s especially important that RV beginners take time to learn how the motorhome works. If something breaks, you should be able to assess the problem, and potentially fix it. This saves time and money spent at a mechanic.

When you get to know your RV, you’re less likely to make operational errors. For example, if you don’t know how many amps your main breaker can handle, there’s a good chance you’ll blow it. This is a potentially expensive error that can be avoided by getting to know your rig.

Tip 2: Take a Practice Drive

Even if you’ve driven your RV dozens of times before, it might have been stored for months before you find the time to set out in it again.  Consider the roads you plan to drive on, and take a smaller trip on similar terrain. This practice run will show your (or remind you) what will move around in the living area or how hard it will be to switch lanes, ascend hills, and park.

Tip 3: Bring Tools and Spare Parts

Pack a well-stocked tool kit, and add in the things that your RV might need, like extra fuses, light bulbs, jumper cables, nuts, bolts and connectors. In addition, be sure to bring parts that are unique to your rig. Without these, you risk having to wait for the part to be ordered and shipped.

Tip 4: Don’t Wing It

The urge to be spontaneous is tempting when your home is on wheels. It helps to have a solid plan in place if you’re planning an RV trip.

When RVing, plan:

  • The budget: How much you can allocate for food, fun and overnight stays.
  • Your food supply: To buy and eat out.
  • The route: The one you plan to take and alternate options.
  • Stops: The places you want to see along the way.
  • Campgrounds: Where along the route you plan to call it a night.

Tip 5: Create a Campground Setup Checklist

Having a checklist will ensure everything is set up as it should be. Your checklist should include:

  • Check the site for low hanging branches or obstacles on the ground.
  • Locate the electrical, water and sewage hookups.
  • Pull your RV in, close to the hookups, and level it with blocks or stabilizing jacks, if necessary.
  • Secure your rig by chocking the wheels.
  • Connect to the electrical hookup, and switch your appliances to pull from this source of power, instead of the battery or propane.
  • Attach your sewer hose to the drain hook-up—be sure to wear gloves for this process.
  • Put out your awning and set up the campsite.

RVing is a great way to travel and explore the great outdoors. However, knowing the basics is important to having a stress-free trip.