I am Shelby, you can find me and follow along with my journey on Instagram as @shelbyadrift
“I’m sorry for what I said while we were trying to park the camper” If you have recently began your journey into RV living, chances are you read that statement and your inner-voice grumbled an, “A-MEN”. What a learning curve full-timing in an RV can be! I promise you, it does get easier with time and practice. Going from campground to campground across the U.S, we have made plenty of mistakes, but we have also learned some valuable tips and tricks along the way to make our stay in various parks and resorts as enjoyable as possible. Below are a list of some of the not-so-obvious tips and tricks you’ll need to ensure you too, are happy campers.
Tip 1: Find The Perfect Campground
Step one, is finding a campground that suits all, or most, of your wants and needs. Don’t limit your RV park search to Google. Take to apps like Campendium, RV Parky, and even Instagram geo tags in order to get a better idea of what the campground looks like, the amenities offered, and how others have reviewed their experience. Sometimes, Instagram is not as far off from reality as you might think. If there is one thing we have learned, it is that the RV park or resort website photos can be deceiving in comparison to what you will see in real life. Putting a little more time into your research will ensure there are no undesirable surprises upon pulling in to your new temporary home.
Tip 2: Stake Out The Campground Realty
View the campground map and inquire if you are allowed to request a specific site ahead of time to park your rig. It is not industry standard to allow you to choose your site, but certain parks will be accommodating if they have a lot of availability. Depending on the location and time of year, when moving to a new park, we often seek out sites with the best view, ease of parking, privacy (end spots), space, and shade if its in the summer season. If this is going to be your home for any given amount of time, you want to make sure it is as comfortable and convenient as possible.
Tip 3: Don't Ask if The Wifi Is Free, Ask If It's Reliable
If you, like many full-time travelers, work remotely, reliable WiFi can be a necessity. A lot of parks and resorts offer free WiFi, however, keep in mind that because it is free, it might not offer a fast or reliable connection. I spent our first month of RV life, teaching in my car, parked outside of a McDonalds parking lot because the free WiFi was not up to standard. Can you imagine the looks I got from strangers as I played with finger puppets, seemingly talking to myself in my car? When you call to make reservations, ask for a speed test, and also consider investing in a WiFi extender. It has saved my job on several occasions when a campgrounds WiFi was lacking, or over-saturated on holiday weekends when the campground was full.
Tip 4: Be Meticulous in your arrival checklist
Each park and campsite in general comes with its own uniqueness. There are the obvious checks to make before parking (i.e, low hanging branches, uneven ground that will require blocks etc.). Some of the not-so-obvious, but crucial checks you will want to add to your to-do list include, checking the ground for tent stakes, broken glass, or other sharp debris left behind by previous campers. We have found several tent stakes buried in the sand or dirt that the grounds maintenance team missed, and could’ve meant a flat tire. for us. Another very important check is your water spickets pressure before flushing your black tank out. We had a particular campsite with the water pressure of a fire hose.It is possible to total your RV by overfilling your tank, as it will send the overflow of sewage water into your ceiling, and can even lead to it coming out of your AC vents. This is a rookie mistake that can easily be avoided by checking your water pressure and paying close attention while flushing your tank.
Tip 5: Squirrels, ants, and rodents, OH MY!
Chances are, if you have spent any considerable time living in an RV you have experienced at least one of the above. If not, just wait, your time will come! Squirrels are a pain because they chew up your wiring, ants raid your kitchen, and mice are…well, mice. We found a wonderful preventative for all of the above is a spray bottle of one part Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar and one part water. Regularly spray around your tires, on the roof where low hanging branches may touch, and soak cotton balls to place in your walls behind drawers and food cabinets.
Thank you for taking the time to read, and I hope these tips were helpful! Follow along with our journey of full-time RV living and traveling on Instagram @shelbyadrift.