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Avoid The 8 Common RV Regrets and Mistakes By New RVers

Published on June 15th, 2023 by Chelsea Gonzales

RVing is a lot of fun, but that doesn’t mean nothing can go wrong. In fact, there are a number of RV regrets a newbie can make that will really tarnish their experience. Obviously, as a new RVer yourself, you likely want to avoid these eight RV mistakes. But how do you do that if you’re brand new to the lifestyle?

The good news? You’ve come to the right place! In this article we discuss some of the most common RV regrets and RV mistakes first-time RV owners can make.

8 Typical RV Regrets of First-Time RVers

Knowing about these potential regrets in advance will help you avoid them so you can skip the drama and have a smoother, more fun RVing experience. 

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Regret 1: Purchasing the Wrong RV

The first thing on our list of common RV regrets is also probably the most common mistake new RVers make: purchasing the wrong RV.

Unfortunately, this is a difficult RV mistake to avoid, as it’s almost impossible to know exactly what you want out of an RV before owning one. 

Our advice is to head to an RV show and actually walk through a huge number of RVs. Pretend to carry out day-to-day tasks such as showering, cooking, and sleeping in each one to see how you feel about the setup. From there, rent some of the models you are considering to see if they work well for you.

When it does come time to buy an RV, consider buying a pre-owned camper. You can recoup the money spent more easily, should you find you want something else down the line. 

Regret 2: Planning Routes Poorly

Not all roads are RV friendly. Unfortunately, many new RVers fail to realize this and use a traditional GPS to get around. Often, these folks end up on roads with steep grades, low clearance bridges, and other obstacles that are nearly impossible for big rigs to navigate. 

To avoid this problem, use RV Trip Wizard to plan your routes. This program specifically avoids obstacles that RVs can’t handle, and instead sticks to roads that are good for big rigs. 

Regret 3: Overspending on Campsites

One of the draws of RV travel is the fact that it can be a very budget-friendly alternative to staying in a hotel. Unfortunately, this only works if you find low-cost campsites, something many newbies don’t know how to seek out. 

The best way to avoid overspending on campgrounds

Use the cost filter on RV LIFE Campgrounds to weed out the unaffordable places.

Usually, this will leave you with a selection of city, county, and state parks, as well as some reasonably priced private campgrounds. Sometimes you might even get lucky and find a totally free campground, or if free camping is your thing, you can always seek out boondocking sites on BLM and Forest Service land. 

Regret 4: Paying Too Much for Sightseeing

Another thing you can end up spending a lot of money on if you aren’t careful? Sightseeing. Obviously, you want to get out and see and do things as you travel the country, but there is no reason this needs to cost a small fortune.

Instead of paying full price for admission to attractions, seek out free parks ,hiking trails, museums, and zoos.

You can also look for free events at local libraries and watch out for free festivals. Lastly, we recommend investing in reciprocal memberships to museums, zoos, theme parks, and national parks. 

mature man sightseeing at the Grand Canyon. (Image: Shutterstock)
Look for free and low-cost tourist activities before spending big money.

Regret 5: Not Researching RV Insurance Options

It’s very important that your RV insurance covers you fully. Unfortunately, many RVers are in such a hurry to get out on the road and start having fun that they don’t really research RV insurance options. 

In many cases, this means the travelers in question are not fully covered. If something happens to their rig, they will be in a bad spot. That said, there are also some cases where RVers have too much coverage for their situation, meaning they are spending way too much on their RV insurance. 

Obviously you need to find a good balance, and the best way to do this is to sit down and do your research. 

Regret 6: Putting Off RV Maintenance

Tools on a table (Image: Unsplash)
Learn to do your own RV maintenance and save money.

Owning an RV means you have to take care of that RV. A big part of this is keeping up with RV maintenance. Unfortunately, RVs require quite a lot of maintenance, something many RV owners aren’t even aware of.

How to Get Affordable RV Maintenance

Avoid this one of the most common RV regrets by learning how to care for your RV. Learn RV maintenance and lifestyle tips from experts so you can do things the right way, the first time.

If this maintenance is neglected, the RV is likely to develop leaks and other problems that could result in very problematic damages. 

Regret 7: Trying to See Too Much

Once you have your RV and are able to hit the road whenever you feel like it, it can be tempting to try to go, go, go and see everything you possibly can. The thing is, RVing is actually much more enjoyable when you take things easy and go with the flow.

Trying to see and do everything is likely to lead to burnout very quickly. In fact, this is one of the most common RV regrets out there. 

For this reason, we highly recommend taking things slow. Give yourself plenty of time to relax at your campsite in between sightseeing adventures. Schedule things in such a way that you have the freedom to wander at will, extending stays in the places you love most. 

Regret 8: Not Seeking Out Community

Last on our list of RV regrets? Not seeking out kindred spirits. The RVing community is absolutely fantastic. They are friendly, welcoming, and always happy to help you solve problems. Being a part of this community can help make your time exploring the country by RV a lot more enjoyable and even safer. 

Clearly, you will want to find your place in the RVing community as soon as possible, but many people don’t know how to go about this. Honestly, you can usually just start up conversations with those in your campground and invite your camping neighbors over for a fire to start making connections.

That said, if you want a more formal way to go about it, joining clubs such as Escapees gives you a chance to attend events and make friends within the club. From there, you can plan to meet up with those friends over and over again, strengthening your friendship as you travel. 

There you have it, the top RV regrets and the very best ways to avoid making the same mistakes new RVers make all the time. Hopefully this list helps you get on the road without a hitch (metaphorically, of course) and sailing smoothly down the road for many years to come!

This post may contain affiliate links or mention our own products, please check out our disclosure policy here.

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