11 simple tips and tricks for motorhome travel

11 simple tips and tricks for motorhome travel

RV camping can be extremely fun and rewarding, but it comes with many challenges as well. Forgetting one key component can lead to a dangerous or costly situation, and if your belongings don’t have a safe, designated location, it’s easy to lose important things while on the go. Fortunately, there are a number of simple things you can do to ensure you’re prepared for the ultimate RV adventure.

There’s nothing worse than hitting the road and realizing you don’t have everything you need to be self-sufficient. You can pull up to a campsite only to find you’re missing a power adapter or the gray water hose is leaking. A good way to mitigate these types of problems is to test the system before you go on your trip, which gives you the opportunity to learn about kinks in your plan.

When traveling, you may find yourself in low-clearance situations that may cause you to worry about the height of your RV. Maybe you hit a bridge with a 12-foot height limit, or maybe you want to try to squeeze into a parking garage with a low ceiling. When you know the height of your RV, you can make quick decisions that prevent you from getting in over your head—and make sure you stay under any height restrictions.

Once you’ve parked, you’ll probably be eager to get the water flowing into your RV’s fresh water system. However, if you start filling before the motorhome is level, you may not want to optimize the tank space. Leveling before filling the tank allows you to top up.

Most motorhomes come with a fresh water tank, a gray water tank and a black water tank. And they tend to fill up quickly, depending on your system. Draining the water before traveling will significantly lighten the overall towing load, which can increase fuel efficiency and the vehicle’s towing ability.

A small handheld vacuum can usually run for hours on a single charge, but it’s effective against debris that quickly accumulates on the way home. Keeping a motorhome clean is much easier with a small, hand-held vacuum cleaner, which you can use on both floors and worktops.

Photographs and a basket hanging on the wall in a motor home

A few small things will help optimize your small space. / NuriaE/Getty Images

Most motorhomes come with some empty wall space that you can use to store towels, clothes and other miscellaneous items. Hardware stores usually have adhesive hooks and suction cups that are often capable of holding up to 5 pounds. You may also benefit from investing in a magnetic strip for knives and other metal devices for convenient organization.

Sometimes you may find yourself in a dry campsite (a place without power or water hookups), which can make it difficult to charge your devices. You can use both portable and permanent solar devices to power everything from your smartphone to an AC unit.

Young woman uses laptop while sitting in camper

Free camping helps make RV travel much more affordable. / Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

As more and more people are on the road, finding affordable RV parks and campsites can be challenging. Fortunately, there are usually free options – without electricity and water – if you know where to look. To find them, download an app like iOverlander or Campendium, or buy a good old-fashioned map showing Bureau of Land Management designations, since many BLM sites have free camping. Just be sure to follow the organization’s camping rules and regulations.

Most travelers struggle with the losing service at some point. This can be particularly inconvenient if you use the GPS on your phone to navigate. A signal booster can help: Because cell phones rely on a small antenna to connect to cell towers, connecting your phone to a device with a much larger antenna can allow you to find a connection even when it seems like you’re in a black zone .

Woman cooks while her husband works on a caravan

A good fridge will help ensure that you always have fresh food available. / Juliana Vilas Boas/Getty Images

Using a cooler may seem convenient at first glance, but even the most efficient coolers require a lot of ice. Try to find a hybrid refrigerator that can run on both electricity and propane. That way, if you’re off the grid but you still carry propane, you can keep your items cold without ice or electricity.

When you live in a limited space, storage is everything. Collapsible storage containers allow you to stay organized once you park, and they don’t take up a lot of space while you’re on the go. You can use collapsible bags for kitchen utensils and food, while a collapsible laundry basket can act as a rubbish bin.

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