10 Newbie RV Mistakes

There are some common mistakes that new RVers make that should be avoided if possible! Avoiding these ten common mistakes can save you a lot of headache, hassle, and money!

Man plugging in an RV

1. Driving Off While Connected

As crazy as it sounds, it has happened. I’ve heard stories. You should always do a walk-around before departing from your RV site! Make sure all hookups are disconnected, windows and vents are closed, stairs are up, and antenna is down!

Related video: Winegard ConnecT 2.0: Take The Internet Wherever You Go

2. Not Knowing Your Size

It’s imperative that you know the size of your rig. Knowing the height keeps you from attempting bridges, awnings, or parking garages that are too low. You need to know your length to know what size site you fit into!

Related video: RV Weight Ratings: Basics And Considerations

Someone looking at a checking on their phone

3. Not Using a Checklist

Checklists are exceedingly important on moving day. Keep a list handy of everything you need to do in order to pack up and be safely ready to leave a site.

Pre-Trip Checklist

4. Overpacking

You rarely need as much as you think you do! Weight is important in RVs, and the more stuff you cram inside, the more cluttered it will feel and the greater negative impact is has on your gas mileage!

Man putting up an awing on an RV

5. Leaving the Awning out

Never leave your awning out when you leave your RV. You never know when a storm could pop up with strong gusts of wind that could rip your awning right off!

Related video: Tips on How to Clean an RV Awning

6. Crushing Your Chocks

Always check to see if you’ve remembered to remove all chocks before rolling away. Failing to do so will result in crushed chocks!

Man sitting on a laptop near an RV

7. Failing to Plan Ahead

There are many things you should plan for when RVing. Calling ahead to reserve an RV site takes the stress out of guessing if there will be room for you if you arrive last minute. Checking a map to see if there is a grocery store near your destination lets you know how much food you should have with you with you arrive, unless you’re willing to do a lot of driving. In some parts of the country, gas stations are few and far between, so planning your gas stops is really important. It’s always good to have a plan!

8. Leaving the Ceiling Vent Open

If your ceiling vent doesn’t have a rain sensor, always remember to close it when it starts raining. Leaving it open makes quite a wet mess!

9. Leaving the Black Tank Open

Always keep your black tank closed. Keeping it open allows solids to build up in the tank, creating a “poop pyramid!” Using plenty of water when flushing and keeping the black tank closed can prevent a disgusting dilemma!

Related video, How To Properly Use RV Black Water Tank Chemicals:

10. Not Documenting Your Travels

RVing is a lot of fun! Seeing different parts of the world in your home on wheels is something not everyone gets the opportunity to do. Documenting your travels can be beneficial to yourself and others!

You may choose to remember your adventures through photographs or by keeping a written account of them. Keeping little reminders of RV life that you can look back on or pass down to generations to come is a precious gift. You can also keep track of parks or places you particularly enjoyed so you remember where you want to revisit one day!

With RVing, you’re always learning something. Hopefully this list of common mistakes will get you started on a good foundation to have an incredible RV experience!

Pre-Trip Checklist

Woman sitting outside with a camera About the Author: Lauren is a wife, mother of two, photographer, blogger and lover of nature and adventure! Currently traveling around the U.S. in a fifth wheel, Lauren and her family seek to live life to the fullest and continue to look for ways to simplify their lives in order to live larger with less. Follow along on their journey by visiting their family travel blog.

You might also be interested in:

5 Tips to Improving Fuel-Efficiency
Mapping Your Adventures With an RV Trip Planner
RV Checklist Underside Inspections
Pre-Departure Planning

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44 Responses to “10 Newbie RV Mistakes”

  1. John Martinez

    Need a rv

  2. Eduardo Sarquiz

    Your tips, are always very helpfull, special when we are Newbies, thank you.

  3. sue zahn Lucas

    We are newbies and have been on one 4 week trip. Learned a lot . This article is especially helpful. Thank you for your work to help us newbies enjoy our RV !!!!

  4. Jim

    Actually, Karl, THAT's A SILLY QUESTION!" When else might one "leave your black tank valve open?", when driving down the street???

  5. Stoneface


  6. Theodore Dickerson

    Should I turn off my Hot water heater everytime I leave for the week? Same applies to my propane tanks

  7. Robert Provost

    I canmot get slideout to go out. It is binding at the top and is bending metal at top. RV is all new to me and I truly need help.

  8. james Vallie

    if my levels are broken, can i just remove them altogether to save weight?

  9. Sharon Hyde

    our black tank leaks into the drain pipe..is there a fix to this other than taking it in to a shop? We have tried that and they told us nothing was leaking.

  10. Ron Rosencrans

    We have a 2015 Wolf Pup 16’ BH . It has a spare mounted to back bumper. We’re wondering what size of RV cover to buy and do you recommend a certain brand and quality I should buy.? Thanks