Planning an RV trip out west is a great way to spend time with loved ones while seeing all that the country has to offer. If you’ve always had a dream to take a road trip in an RV or if you’re looking for a way to connect with those who mean the most to you, planning an RV trip out west is one place to begin. Before you plan your next trip out west in your RV, there are a few ways to go about preparing for your adventure to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible.
When to Begin Preparing for an RV Trip
If you are thinking of planning an RV trip out west, it’s important to begin preparing ahead of time, especially if your trip will last longer than a few days. Preparing for an RV trip ahead of time is ideal up to a month or two in advance, depending on the current condition of the RV you intend to drive. The more prepared you are, the less likely you are to encounter unexpected issues with your RV once you are out on the open road.
Inspect Your RV’s Roof
Whenever you are considering an RV trip out west, you will need to take the time to inspect your RV’s roof ahead of time. Over time, water leaks and UV rays can damage the surface of an RV’s roof, especially if it is not frequently inspected and maintained. Ongoing care and maintenance can help to extend the lifespan of an RV’s roof. You may need to reseal your RV’s roof, which can cost anywhere between $250 and $500, depending on the type of roof you have in place as well as the size of your RV. If you do need to replace your RV’s roof before heading out west, you can expect to pay upwards of approximately $300 per linear foot of new roofing required, which can quickly add up.
Check Your Tires
If you are in the process of planning an RV trip out west, you will need to take the time to check all of your RV’s tires. Your inspection should also include any spare tires you also have for your RV. Inspect your RV’s tires for traditional wear and tear as well as signs of aging. Consider the last time you replace the tires and be sure to check tire pressure as well as tire lug nuts for acceptable tightness.
Conduct a Basic Mechanical Inspection
As with any trip, it’s highly recommended to conduct a basic mechanical inspection of your RV before you head out on your trip to the west. From checking all of your RV’s windows and doors to inspecting large hose clamps, a basic mechanical inspection is a must. If you’re unsure of where to begin when it comes to your specific RV, you can refer to various handheld manuals as well as videos that are relevant to your RV’s make and model online. Becoming familiar with the basic mechanics and operations of your RV is essential whenever you are planning to spend multiple days behind the wheel and out on the road in your RV.
Prep RV Systems
Maintaining the systems that are already in your RV is essential before planning a cross-country trip out west. From installing HVAC systems to inspecting your existing water filtration solution, there are many ways to go about ensuring that your RV is ready for an extended trip. When preparing RV systems, you may need to inspect your RV for potential wear and tear, damage, corrosion, or even missing parts. You may need to seek lubricants, fluids, and even relevant conditioners to maintain your RV before it is ready for a trip with an extended duration.
Other ways to go about prepping an RV system may include opening and extending steps, toppers, decks, and awnings to complete inspections, in addition to checking all window seals. Checking the seals around doors, inspecting your water heater, and even observing the current condition of your HVAC system is imperative when prepping your RV. Sanitizing a freshwater tank, checking for batteries, inspecting for mold, and even conducting safety checks on any propane tanks or systems you have in place is also recommended.
Take Your RV to a Professional Mechanic
If you’re in need of electrician services or an auto body service, it’s best to turn to a professional mechanic before taking your RV on a long trip out west. Whether you require in-depth inspections and repairs or if you’re interested in rear view safety backup camera installation before your big trip, scheduling an appointment with a local professional mechanic who has experience in working on RVs is highly advisable. A professional mechanic who is well-versed in working on RVs will know exactly how to pinpoint potential issues that may require further inspections and/or repairs.
How to Find an RV Mechanic
Finding an RV mechanic is not always as simple as taking your RV to a local repair shop near you. In some cases, you may need to seek out a professional mechanic shop or independent mechanic in your area who specializes in working on and repairing RVs. Conducting research locally and asking those you know for recommendations can help you discover more about your options based on where you currently live. You can also search for local RV mechanics online with the use of both social media and online search engines.
Research Intended Travel Locations
Planning an RV trip out west should be exciting and filled with adventure. However, in order to make the most of any long-term trip you are planning in your RV, you will need to research and plan ahead of time. Researching the locations you intend to travel to and through will help you to learn more about your surroundings before you arrive. This will help you to better navigate with ease while also feeling comfortable in your environment. The more familiar you are with the destinations you intend to visit, the less likely you are to feel overwhelmed, anxious, or confused about where to go next.
When researching the locations you intend to travel to, take the time to discover nearby venues, activities, and destinations that are optimal for sightseeing opportunities. This will allow you to make the most of any time you spend on the road, even before reaching your intended locations. Join online traveling and RV communities to gain insider tips regarding lodgings, sightseeing tours, and other neat areas to visit once you are ready to explore what the open road has to offer.
Consider Food, Lodging, and Sightseeing Opportunities
While you are in the process of researching and planning for your RV trip out west, consider the type of food, lodging, and sightseeing that is most important to you. Anytime you are planning a long vacation in an RV, it’s important to consider the goals you have in mind while you are out exploring new locations. For some, an RV trip out west may simply be to explore the open road while taking in the surrounding sights. For others, stopping in at world-class restaurants or known landmarks may be a top priority. Once you understand the goals you have in mind for your trip, you can then begin creating an itinerary that is suitable for your vision.
Stock Your RV Ahead of Time
The best way to plan for a long road trip in an RV is to stock your RV ahead of time. Stocking your RV with non-perishable food, drinks, batteries, first-aid kits, and other necessary supplies is a way to maintain your peace of mind even before you head out on the road. You can also stock your RV ahead of time with items such as bedsheets for better sleep and disinfecting wipes.
Create a list of the items that are most important to you in your everyday life before you begin shopping to stock your RV. This will help avoid missing out on items that you may find you need at some point throughout the duration of your trip. Consider the type of regions you intend to travel to and the climates you will be exploring to determine what type of items you may also want to stock before you begin your road trip.
Map Your Destinations With Alternative Routes in Mind
Whether you are planning your very first RV trip out to the west coast or you’re planning your 20th, it’s important to take the time to map your intended destinations with alternative routes in mind. Even if you consider yourself well-versed when it comes to RV trips, having alternative routes available at hand can come in handy when you need them most. Mapping your destinations using multiple routes ahead of time will also help you to maintain your peace of mind once you begin your trip.
If at any time you lose access to your smartphone’s GPS or you are unable to connect to the internet, it is imperative to have alternative printed maps available. This is especially important when you are traveling out of state for the first time or if you are exploring territory that is completely new to you. Invest in state and national maps to keep stocked in your RV at all times. Always ensure that the maps you are using before a trip are as updated as possible. Print additional maps based on specific locations and areas you intend to explore, if necessary.
Spend time familiarizing yourself with printed map keys and how local and state maps differ. Use topographical maps as well as traditional highway and city maps to help navigate new and unfamiliar territory. The more comfortable you become with reading maps and interpreting map keys, the less likely you are to get lost once you begin exploring the west in your RV.
Take Preventative Measures Before Heading Out
Whenever you are planning an RV trip out west, taking preventative measures before heading out is always advisable. From preparing with an emergency flood light to conducting inspections to completing a final walkthrough of the RV itself, there are a few ways to go about taking preventative measures to ensure your RV trip goes as smoothly as possible, regardless of how long you intend to be on the road.
If you want to prepare your RV as best as possible with preventative measures, you can do so by cleaning any cameras, mirrors, doors, and windows that are currently in place with your RV. This will also provide a great opportunity to conduct a quick inspection to determine if any of your doors or windows require repair, restoration services, or resealing. You should also verify any hookups and connections you typically use whenever you spend time in your RV before heading out west.
You should also take the time to inspect your RV for potential clearance issues, especially if your RV has been in storage for any length of time. Inspecting vents, ducts, and antennas will also help you to ensure your RV is in proper condition before you begin your next road trip. Finally, it is also important to remember that you will need to remove any wheel chocks you have in place before your RV is ready for a road trip.
If you have jacks, leveling blocks, or stabilizers in place, these will also need to be removed and placed in their respective locations before getting behind the wheel. Completing a thorough inspection of all areas of your RV will help you to ensure that you are fully prepared for the next road trip you have planned. The more thorough the inspection, the less likely you are to encounter an issue that is unexpected or that results in expensive repairs once you are on your trip.
Anytime you’re planning an upcoming RV trip out west, it’s important to get your ducks in a row before heading off. The more prepared you are for your trip, the less likely you are to find yourself in trouble or without assistance and necessary resources. Taking the time to properly prepare for your next RV trip out west will allow you the opportunity to spend more time focusing on enjoying yourself and the sights around you rather than worrying about the condition of the RV itself.