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5 RV Mistakes Newbies Make (And How To Avoid Them)

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Harvest Hosts
August 3, 2022

TL;DR: New to RVing? Avoid common mistakes by performing a perimeter check, packing only essentials, planning RV-friendly routes, pacing your travel, and monitoring your gas gauge. These tips ensure smooth travels and a stress-free adventure!

5 RV Mistakes Newbies Make (And How To Avoid Them)

Whether you just bought an RV or are renting one for the first time, there are some important things to keep in mind before hitting the open road. Although trying to get familiar with your RV can feel overwhelming at first, it only takes a couple of trips before you start feeling more confident. By becoming aware of these common RV mistakes, you’re already ahead of the game! And don’t worry; even experienced RVers occasionally make these mistakes. All you have to do is keep these points in mind, and you’ll be traveling like a pro in no time!

  • Perform a perimeter check before leaving a site to ensure valuables are secured.
  • Avoid bringing unnecessary supplies to prevent clutter and the risk of leaving things behind.
  • Plan your route carefully, considering size and height restrictions for your RV.
  • Don't push yourself too hard in one day; follow the 3/3/3 rule for a balanced schedule.
  • Stay mindful of the gas gauge and locate nearby gas stations, especially in remote areas.

Not Doing A Perimeter Check Before Leaving A Site

No matter how eager you are to get going, it’s crucial that you take a few extra minutes to walk around your RV. Check for any valuables or supplies that might have been left out nearby. You’ll also want to make sure any slide-outs are tucked back in. While you’re at it, check the tire pressure and lower your antenna to prevent any costly damage. 

Bringing A Bunch Of Unnecessary Supplies

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be prepared, but many new RVers have a tendency to bring everything but the kitchen sink, and then some. Not only does this result in a ton of extra clutter, it also increases the likelihood of something being left behind. Learning how to stay organized is a key skill when RVing, so only take what’s absolutely essential and reasonable for your length of stay. 


Forgetting To Make Sure Your Route Is RV-Friendly

If you’re not used to driving an RV, it’s easy to forget that many routes just aren’t compatible with some motorhomes due to size and height issues. Things like tunnels, bridges, and narrow back roads can all become a major headache if not planned for ahead of time. Installing a GPS or RV trip-planning tool on your phone can relieve a lot of stress and is a great way to check that your RVs height and size won’t be a problem. 

Pushing Yourself Too Hard In One Day

It’s always exciting to know you’re getting close to your destination, but pulling an all-nighter isn’t always the best choice. Everyone has their own limit of how many miles they can handle per day, and it may take some time to find out what your limit is. If you haven’t heard of the 3/3/3 rule, it’s a good way to make sure you’re not overdoing it. To follow this rule of thumb, drive no more than 300 miles in one day, arrive no later than 3 p.m., and try to stay at your destination for a bare minimum of 3 days. This schedule makes sure you have enough time to rest up and recharge.


The last thing you want is to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with an empty gas tank. It’s critical to always be aware of the nearest gas station, especially when traveling through remote areas. If you’re hauling a camper trailer, the extra weight can significantly reduce the amount of mileage per gallon. It’s worth getting familiar with your motorhome’s capabilities and keeping your eye on the gas gauge to avoid any unpleasant surprises. 

Ready To Hit The Road? The RV lifestyle attracts people from all walks of life, and for good reason. Having a “home on wheels” provides a sense of freedom that other forms of travel just don’t have. For many first-time RVers, trying to get familiar with all the unique requirements an RV brings can feel like a steep learning curve. But by keeping these 5 common mistakes in mind, you can make sure your summer road trip goes off without a hitch. Happy travels!   

Tara Mcnabb is a digital marketing associate at NW Adventure Rentals, a luxury RV rental company with three locations in Washington State. When she’s not scheming about another trip, you can find her sipping matcha tea or watching a juicy period drama.

About Harvest Hosts
Harvest Hosts is a unique RV camping membership that offers self-contained RVers unlimited overnight stays at over 5,667 small businesses across North America with no camping fees. Boondock at farms, wineries, breweries, attractions, and other one-of-a-kind destinations throughout North America, and you’ll get peace of mind knowing that a safe place to stay is always nearby!
Harvest Hosts-profile-image
Harvest Hosts
Harvest Hosts is an RV membership program that allows self-contained travelers to overnight at unique locations around the country including farms, wineries, museums, breweries, and more!