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10 Tips to Using & Enjoying your New RV

Posted by RV Education 101

So your new RV is finally home, sitting in the driveway. Now what? I would like to offer my top 10 tips for using, enjoying and protecting your new RV.

1)      The first step to enjoying your new RV is to plan the RV trips you are taking

Travel guides, magazines, state tourism boards and Internet sites offer valuable information to help you plan your RV trip. Route your trip on a map or from an Internet trip planning site. Always keep an atlas or maps in the RV or tow vehicle.  Driving a motor home or pulling a trailer can be stressful, especially if you don’t know the route you will be traveling.  Using a GPS system can make traveling much less stressful.

2)      Complete a Pre-Trip Checklist before you hit the road

Making one final walk-around the RV can prevent costly damage to items like steps and TV antennas. Simple checks like checking your tires, lights, hitch work and other items all contribute to a safer trip. You should make these pre-trip checks every day before traveling.  Be sure and check the inside and outside of the RV. We offer a “Checklists for RVers” ebook with over 40 checklists on all aspects of RVing.

3)      Take plenty of breaks when you are traveling in your RV

Stopping, stretching out and taking brief walks can revitalize you. Do not rush to get to your vacation destination. Driving too fast and for long periods of time can result in fatigue and falling asleep at the wheel. If you feel tired you should pull over and rest or change drivers. It’s a good idea to switch drivers every few hours. Keep a window cracked open to help you stay alert, and only eat light meals when you stop to eat. Remember, getting there is half the fun.

4)      Avoid traveling in bad weather

Avoid driving or pulling your RV during bad weather and high winds. Because of the size and mass of RV’s it can be extremely dangerous to travel during periods of high winds. It’s better to get to your destination one day later, than to risk traveling in bad weather conditions.

5)       Limit your driving time to 5 or 6 hours a day (300 to 350 miles)

Not only will you be more alert, but you will arrive at the campground with plenty of day light to get set up and settled in before it gets dark outside. This gives you a chance to unwind and get rested for another day of travel, and to enjoy some of the amenities the campground has to offer.

6)       Drive defensively! Stay alert and monitor what is going on around you at all times

Use your mirrors. For increased visibility, purchase some convex mirrors that you can stick on your side view mirrors. These mirrors are inexpensive and are available in auto parts stores. They come in different sizes and will improve your visibility a great deal, especially along the sides of the RV and in blind spots. If you’re pulling a trailer it may be necessary to add mirror extensions so you can see along the sides of the trailer. We offer driving and towing instructional DVD’s at www.rveducation101.com

7)      Make Campground Reservations

Making reservations in advance not only assures you there will be a campsite available when you arrive, but you can make other important arrangements too. You can request a site large enough to accommodate your RV and tow vehicle, or a pull-through site versus a site you would need to back into. You can make sure the site has the proper electrical hook up for your RV, or make sure you get a full hook-up rather than a partial hook-up. You might want a site with a telephone line or a campground with wireless internet access.  If you just cross your fingers and pull into the campground late in the afternoon, without reservations, there is a good chance you’ll be turned away or get a site you really don’t care for.

8)      Extended Service Contracts

Extended service plans are great as long as you understand a little about them and how they work. Before you agree to purchase a plan make sure you understand all of your options.  Make sure you read and understand the extent and time period of coverage before signing any agreements. If you don’t understand something, ask to have it explained to you. You will also want to make sure that the company offering the plan is reputable and will be acknowledged by other RV dealers and RV repair centers. A good plan should be transferable if you sell your RV, renewable so you can extend the coverage and it should offer a pro-rated refund if coverage is terminated during the term of the contract.

9)      Specialty RV Insurance

To protect your investment you need the proper type of insurance coverage. There are several major insurance companies that specialize in RV insurance and I strongly recommend that you use one that does specialize in RV’s. You might have a great insurance company for your home and automobiles, but an auto policy can’t begin to cover the complexities of an RV. You need specialty coverage like vacation liability, total loss replacement, personal effects and much more.

10)   Extend the life of your RV

To extend the life of your RV it is important you properly store and maintain the RV. In cold climates make sure the RV water system is winterized. Over time the roof and exterior of the RV begin to show signs of wear, caused by the constant exposure to the elements. Ozone in the air and ultraviolet, (UV) rays from the sun start to take their toll, which is first evident by signs of fading paint. The ozone in the air also causes products like rubber and vinyl to dry out, crack, and start to deteriorate. The UV rays from the sun make this aging process happen quicker. If possible, when you store the RV you should cover the RV and the RV tires. We offer a Winterizing & Storing DVD too.

A few features to look for in an RV cover include:

1)      The material the cover is made of is breathable

2)      It protects the RV against the suns UV rays

3)      It is water resistant

4)      The warranty period

These are just a few tips to help enhance your RV experiences. Now plan a trip, load up the RV and hit the road!

Happy Camping,

Mark J. Polk

RV Education 101

RV University

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