How to avoid some mistakes of RV camping

Even though we are not in a position to travel at the moment with the bus only about half way through it's conversion, I am hankering for some travel and my mind keeps wandering to where we were and where we could visit in the future. I have even hinted to Rob about taking a few days off the bus conversion and going away in the caravan for a bit. Obviously the more time off we take the longer before we can hit the road properly.

In the meantime I have compiled this list of some of the pitfalls that can (and have) occur.
These mistakes below were not all made by us, some are common mistakes that we have heard of whilst sitting around at happy hour.  By far the most common fault of RV tripping is to be laid at the feet of human error - not mechanical or such. Follow there guides to help you have a trouble free trip.

Dirty Dozen tips to a better trip

  1. Use a checklist even if you are an experience camper. We have a rather extensive printed check list that we have laminated just at the doorway. We have done it so many times and can do 99% of it without resorting to our list, but still we go over it just before we pull out with the camper so that we are sure all of the steps have been completed. Each of us has designated ‘jobs’ but we also double check each other – which has been appreciated on more than one occasion. A pilot always runs around the plane with a checklist – so should we.
  2. Ensure you have enough fuel to get you to the next town. Wind drag and such really affect your fuel consumption. Carry a spare can of fuel but never rely on it. Keep it for when you truly run out of gas.
  3. Set your GPS settings to what suits you. Unless you choose otherwise, your GPS could just give you the shortest route, not the most suitable route to a destination. We had one that nearly always sent us via a tollway (even if it took us on a indirect route).
  4. Related to the point above: Don’t rely solely on technology. Have a paper guide as well as the GPS. At the very least have a general idea of where you are going. We have had our GPS insist that the next road was the right one, only to have doubts thrown up almost immediately. Use your common sense. It can be difficult to turn around in some places, making a bad choice even worse. Make sure your vehicle insurance and road side assistance policy is up to date and renewed before you leave for a long trip. 
  5. In remote areas, ensure people or at least the police know when and where you are going. Having a satellite phone is much more reliable than a CB or mobile phone!!! (You can get them on a pay as you go option rather than a monthly plan! Peace of mind is worth it!)  
  6. Don't forget to take down the rooftop TV antenna, close vents etc. Use your checklist!!! 
  7. Ensure the sockets are in properly and that your RV lights are working. Not having any turn signals, brake lights or even working brakes on the trailer can be very frustrating for any vehicles behind you, it also increases the chances of a serious accident. After a rather scary attempt to stop for a traffic light with no trailer brakes, a friend pulled over to see what the problem might be, only to discover a disconnected plug and cable hanging from the caravan that had been damaged beyond use. 
  8. Double check to be sure your jacks are securely locked in place. We once ruined the entire jack leg because we forgot to lock it up. 
  9. Overloading the back axle. Many a caravan or motorhome have additional weights on the back bumper, adding a lot of stress to the back axle. We have seen broken caravans caused by people thinking they can just a tiny bit more on the back. 
  10. Make sure to put chocks in front and rear of wheels before uncoupling from your tow vehicle. I raised the front jack to lift the trailer off of the hitch ball when all of a sudden it began to roll backwards. Luckily for us we were able to arrest the movement. Other friends were not so lucky, they watched in horror as their caravan proceeded to roll down the incline straight into the creek.
  11. Keep an eye on your tyre temperatures especially after having some work done on your wheels. We had it once where one wheel was in constant lock and wouldn’t let go. Even after having a mechanic loosen it, it spontaneously locked up again within 24 hours of travelling. 
    Source: Gypsy Journal
  12. Always be aware of the length & height of your vehicle, not just for passing under a bridge but for overhanging branches and turning corners. Rob has fashioned a extra long gaff . A gaff is a pole with a sharp hook on the end that is used generally in fishing, we use ours for hooking a branch so that we can tie it away from our RV (or cut it off it appropriate).
  13. And one more as a bonus: Keep some water and nibbles in the towing vehicle with you. You never know when you might not be able to access the kitchen in your caravan

What lessons have YOU learnt through travelling?
Write and share your hard learnt lessons in the comments below!


  1. This is a very handy guide for me, as I am about embark on my first RV travel trip. Thank you. I will going back through your posts to see more relevant information

    1. That is great. Helping others was my aim in writing this post. Why not follow up on facebook at


Thank you so much for popping by, I appreciate your comments!