It’s amazing how easy it is to make mistakes when you’re under pressure. Add inexperience to the mix and the mistakes are amplified.

Even though you researched, practiced and mentally went over everything “RV”, you can still make mistakes.

Some are more difficult to correct than others. But, you’ll likely not make the same mistakes twice.

Here are five mistakes we made and learned the hard way.
 

  1. Not Completely Packing The Rig The Day Before Departure
  2.  
    We had our lists. We had our piles separated by location. And we had good intentions.

    But, that wasn’t enough!

    Oh yeah, no problem, we can easily leave by 10 or 11AM. Ha!, No really Ha!!

    More like 2:30 PM and we were rushing. What happens when you rush?

    You forget things and make mistakes! And we forgot a lot.

    So, pack the rig the day before, connect the tow vehicle/toad and then pack a night bag for an overnight in the house.

    You’ll remember ten things you forgot while you’re preparing to sleep.

    And most importantly, you won’t rush to your first destination.

    Which leads me to the next point.
     

  3. Trying To Cover Too Many Miles In One Day In An RV
  4.  
    I like to drive slowly and under control. When you’re towing a heavy trailer or driving a heavy rig, bad things happen at high speed.

    As far as I’m concerned, my speed is something of which I have full control. Why increase my risk, my families risk and other drivers risk just to cover more ground?

    What’s the rush for anyway? You’re full timing.

    So, I use the following guidelines:

    1. The maximum mileage I’ll drive is 325 miles a day. That’s my personal comfort level.
    2.  

    3. I leave at a time that allows me to arrive at my destination no later than 4PM. Remember, you still have to set up before settling.
    4.  

    5. We prepare lunches, pack incidentals in the truck and clean the rig the day before leaving.
    6.  

    7. I check tire pressure and do maintenance the day before.
    8.  

    9. I check the weather and map the route the day before departure.

     

  5. Moving While Living Full Time In An RV Too Frequently
  6.  
    How often should you move while living full time in an RV? No matter how much of a hurry you are in to make it somewhere, try take every third day off. That’s a minimum.

    At some point, you have to recharge your own batteries!

    We’ve found four to five days stationary to one day of moving to be very comfortable.

    It gives enough time to explore the local attractions. There’s enough time to get school work, regular work and laundry done.

    And finally, it leaves enough time to do preventative maintenance on the rig and tow vehicle.
     
    Never disregard this part of your travels!

    In addition, it’s also frequent enough to cover a lot of ground and see more of the country.

    There’s a lot to be said for staying put a month at a time to lower your “lodging” expenses. But we’re not doing this to stay put.

    We want to experience new things and meet a lot of people. So, again, we’ve found four to five days stationary to one day of moving to be a comfortable pace.
     

  7. Draining Your Batteries
  8.  
    Yeah, I’m guilty. We don’t even have lithium batteries and I drained them on the first night out.

    We got a late start, I was exhausted and it was really cold outside. So, naturally I finished setting up and used the furnace.

    Awesome, we have 60 pounds of propane! Well, you have to have some form of electricity to run the fan. And it doesn’t take long for the heater fan to draw down the batteries.

    I knew this. But I was so exhausted and overwhelmed that I thought nothing of running the furnace fan off the batteries. It didn’t take long to drain them.

    So, on day one I shortened their lifespan and limited their capacity. Again, they’re not lithium.

    I learned very quickly (the hard way) how to balance our energy consumption.

    If you’re new to RVing full time, make it a point to learn the amperage draw from your appliances. Then make a mental note what you can and cannot run off the batteries before fully draining them.
     

  9. Running Out Of Water
  10.  
    We thought we took enough water for two nights of boondocking when we first left. And it seemed like I was filling the tank forever. Nope, not enough.

    We ran out just after dinner on our second night out. Fortunately, we were staying at a Harvest Host’s distillery. So they were kind enough to allow us to fill all of our water bottles with vodka.

    Okay, so not vodka. But we filled all of our water bottles for the drive the next day.

    Although, there was no way to fill our tank there, so we had no water for dishes or personal hygiene until our next location. Not a big deal.

    Most gauges on RV’s for the fresh, gray and black tanks are rudimentary. If you haven’t yet experienced this, you soon will.

    So, knowing how much water you and your family consume in a day is a good starting point.

    But trying to calculate your usage, storage capacity and duration without taking too much is not so easy. It will likely take months on the road before you have this system worked out.

    Taking too much water may seem like the easy way, but you’ll see the difference in your fuel consumption. And it could easily spike your total weight well above your GVWR.

    Be careful!

    I suppose you could time the fill rate into a one gallon container. And then time your fill based on the fill rate. That seems like a lot of effort as water pressure is not the same everywhere and would have to be repeated frequently.

    So, if you’re going to be full timing, learn your water consumption rate. Then roughly calculate how much to take without taking too much.

Some Things We Did Right Living Full Time In An RV [From The Start]

 

  1. I checked our tire pressure daily. Get into the habit of doing this!
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  3. We adjusted our tire pressure to different environments based on temperature.
  4.  

  5. I checked tire wear, suspension welds and axle appearance daily.
  6.  

  7. I cleaned and lubed the hitch ball intermittently.
  8.  

  9. We allotted enough hours each night for a good night sleep before driving.
  10.  

  11. We adjusted our calories down since we were doing very little activity.
  12.  

  13. I checked and tightened the bike rack at every stop.
  14.  

  15. I reviewed the route and weather the night before each move.
  16.  

  17. We stopped frequently to stretch our legs and use our “mobile facilities.”
  18.  

  19. We introduced ourselves to people and made some very cool acquaintances and friends.

 

Conclusion

When you’re new to RVing, you’re going to make mistakes. But that’s how you learn. And you can survive just about all of the newbie mistakes unscathed.

Stay patient, take your time and think rationally. You’ll be fine.

Get to know your electrical system, plumbing system and water consumption rate as early in the game as possible. You’ll be glad you did.

Plan your routes realistically. You’ll learn to love the short drives and loathe the long days on the road. Stay ahead of this and book your stays a maximum of 300 miles apart.

Planning and preparation are key to making your full time experience a pleasure. Most importantly, it allots more time to do the fun things!

If you already have an RV, what kind of mistakes have you made in the beginning?
 
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