RV outside preparations is essential for travel day when living in an RV Full Time, to keep your home intact and family safe. We’ve written down our easy tips for RV travel to keep you safe and minimize stress!
Hi, we’re the RV Odd Couple. We sold our house & most all possessions to hit the road and live in an RV full-time with our toddler and dog.
This is part 2 of a 2 Part our Travel Day process focusing on RV outside preparations for the travel day. Different strokes for different folks. We thought it would be helpful to share how we keep safe. Take what you like and leave the rest.
For your convenience, there may be some affiliate links in this post, this means if you purchase after checking the link we would get a small commission. Your purchase will not cost you a penny more and can help us maintain our blog. The best thing is any RV item we link to is an item that we own ourselves and we absolutely love!
Also, don’t forget to check out Part 1 here where we cover the RV Inside Preparations. Below you will find our RV outside preparations. In the end, you can download our RV Travel Day Checklist!
Successful Travel Day Secret #1:
The most important advice for RV Safety is to Go Slow! When you hurry, Mistakes happen. RVing Full-time is about being present and in the moment. Distractions and rushing cause mistakes. Hurrying during the preparation process is also dangerous and expensive. Double and triple checking only takes a few seconds! Since we are RVing full time with a young child, slowing down is non-negotiable.
Successful Travel Day Secret #2 (RV Outside Preparations):
The most important Tip for RV outside Preparations is to Start Preparing the Day Before! Don’t make the same mistakes we have! Treat the day before travel day with the same seriousness that you would treat travel day. Don’t schedule any time-consuming activities the day before traveling. This is especially important if you will be on the road more than a couple of hours.
While my wife makes her Interior day before preparations, I focus on the following:
Fuel & Tire Check
It’s hard finding the right kind of truck stop for our combined 60 feet rig set up. We can’t just stop at any gas station because we’re 13 feet, 6 inches tall! And we don’t like to get in the way of truckers at truck stops. It’s intimidating and they’re working.
I fuel up on diesel the day before and check my tire pressure. Knowing that I have a full tank reduces the stress while traveling with the rig. Since tire pressure changes with temperature, I like to double and triple check the pressure the day before. This greatly reduces my stress when driving.
Charge Electronic Devices
While my wife is charging the iPad for our toddler, I make sure that my phone and tire pressure monitoring system is fully charged. I’ll also charge the go-pro so I can record any part of the journey.
Break Down the Chairs
I like to put the chairs, tarps, tent, rugs and picnic table cover away the day before. This way I can pack them in the bottom of the fifth wheel nice and organized. I find that if I wait until the day of travel, I’m in more of a hurry. I don’t like the feeling of being in a hurry and doing these simple items the day before makes travel day less stressful.
Plan the Route
We can’t just plug in an address and trust any GPS with our height restrictions. But there are special apps for RVers and truckers that help plan our route the night before. We also have a road atlas that we keep on hand just in case we lose wireless service. Planning our trip the night before reduces the stress. We can get a realistic idea of drive time and plan out breaks. And since we are potty training our toddler, potty breaks are very important! 🙂
RV Outside Travel Day Tasks:
Empty Waste Tanks & Put Away Hoses
I first empty my waste tanks and fill up my freshwater tanks. The black tank is the worst part of RV living. To make emptying the black tank more manageable and sanitary I do things in a certain order. The order in which the tanks and hoses are flushed and disconnected is very important. Check out my crucial RV Hacks to see why.
*RV Black Tank Hack*
Always empty the black tank first, and then the grey tank second. This way, the Gray tank water flushes out remnants from the black tank that is stuck in the hoses.
*Bonus RV Black Tank Hack*
Don’t disconnect from the RV water until after the waste tanks are flushed and their hoses are put away. This way, you can rinse out the plumbing connectors. If disconnect from the park water first, I have to go inside to turn on the water pump and I’m depleting my fresh water.
Pull in Awnings & Slides
After the hoses and water supply is disconnected, I pull in the awning and slides. This gives me an opportunity to go inside and wash my hands. (Even though I use gloves and hand sanitizer, I like washing my hands just in case).
First I pull in the awning, and then I pull in the slides. But before pulling the slides in I do a quick walk through inside. Even though my wife takes care of the interior preparations, our toddler gets into everything and it never hurts to double or triple check.
Disconnect Power & Inverter
Now that the slides and awnings are secured, I like to disconnect from the RV Park Power. Once I’ve disconnected from the park electricity, I make sure to turn on the inverter to keep the fridge cold. Again, every RV is different but we have a residentially sized fridge. So we have two batteries and turn on the inverter.
*RV Battery Hack*
I like to pull in the slides before disconnecting from power to save on my battery.
Even though I’ve checked the tire pressure the day before, I always run a second check before we drive attached to the RV. This way if I need to adjust the tire pressure, I can pull out my Viair. I also make sure that my portable air compressor is in a convenient place when we’re driving with the RV in case the air pressure needs to be adjusted.
Hitch to Truck
When I’m going to hitch to the truck I back in. Then I make sure everything is secured and safety pins are in. Next, I connect the power, so the Fifth wheel lights work while driving. Finally, and Very Important in RV outside preparations: Don’t forget to connect break away tow line.
Walk Around Rig
The final thing I do is walk around the RV to pick up blocks, chucks, and lock the door. This is my opportunity to make sure I didn’t forget anything.
Walk Around Rig Again
There is no shame in double and triple checking. I can’t tell you how many times I think I’m done and I find one more thing I forgot. Always- Always- Always walk around the RV multiple times before taking off!
Why are we sharing our Tips for RV Outside Preparations?
When we decided to take this huge leap of faith and RV full time with our family, so many people offered us help. We’d like to pay it forward. We’ve created a downloadable checklist so you don’t forget your RV Travel Day routine. This list covers the Night before, the Interior, and the Exterior. It also has blank spaces so you can customize the list. You’ll Join our “Odd Family” and be the first to know about our new adventures, products, and RV living hacks!
Thanks for Joining our Odd Family,
John, Mercedes, Sage & Skippy