Dangers on the Open Road: How to Prepare for an RV Trip

Your RV is about to be your travel wagon of fun, leading you to new and amazing adventures across the country. But first — preparation. From vehicle maintenance and personal safeguards to sharing your exciting whereabouts with friends and family, here is a list for how to prepare for an RV trip.

Auto Maintenance

  • First, RVs, just like cars, need the oil checked to prevent the engine from seizing up. The damage can cost up to $10,000, an expense you can avoid with regular oil and oil filter changes. Most mechanics recommend an oil change every 3,000 to 4,500 miles, but it’s always best to check your owners manual.
  • If your RV has a rubber roof, make sure to treat it at least once a year. Roof treatment prevents sun damage and leaks. Periodic roof inspections by a professional can also help prevent major leaks during a rainstorm that could put an abrupt end to your road trip.
  • During colder months of the year, remove the battery from your RV. Cold weather can freeze batteries and cause them to break. Regularly check fluid levels during harsh travel conditions, never drain your batteries completely and don’t let your batteries drop below 12 volts. Also, right before your trip, change the batteries in your CO2 monitor and fire alarm to help prevent a disastrous emergency.
  • Other basic maintenance tasks include checking tire pressure, replacing water filters, changing the generator oil and maintaining the air brakes. Inspect gas and propane systems for leaks and ensure proper pressure.

Personal Safety

  • Keep valuable documents like your social security card, bank statements or medical documents at home. If you need to bring important documents, guard these items in a small fire safe. Never walk around with private or confidential information in your purse or wallet.
  • Keep in mind you’ll be using different Internet connections at various locations that can be shared and insecure. Create and use a travel-specific email address. If your email gets hacked, it’s an isolated incident. While using a public connection, avoid logging into your bank account or another sensitive account. And use HTTPS when you visit websites to encrypt and protect your transferring data.
  • Travelers are highly vulnerable to identity theft risks because your awareness lowers in new and unusual places, inviting identity theft thieves to pickpocket and steal your information without you noticing. You could also encounter shoulder surfing and ATM skimming. Learn more about the best companies for securing an identity theft protection plan to safeguard you and your travels.
  • Be overly cautious. At campgrounds and small towns, for example, it’s easy to become too trusting of your surroundings. Make most of your rest stops during daylight hours and never let your guard down. Park in brightly lit areas at night and secure all of your equipment with locks and keys at all times.

Story Telling

Sharing your adventures and photos documents your memories and keeps friends and family in the loop. Start a travel blog to serve as a digital scrapbook to keep loved ones up-to-date as you camp under the stars in a national park or discover San Francisco. You can post your stories in WordPress, an easy-to-use platform for beginner bloggers who need ease of functionality. Ghost targets a more tech savvy crowd, but unlike wordpress, it isn’t free. Svbtle is a free service offering a smooth user experience and minimal design to help users curate thoughts. Not only will your friends and family love to follow along on your trip, you’ll have your blog as a way to reflect on your unforgettable experiences.

About the Author: Alex Clark-McGlenn is currently taking his MFA in creative writing from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. He has been published in eFiction Magazine, Inkwell at Evergreen, Slightly West Literary Magazine, and appeared in Smokebox Literary Magazine July, 2014. He currently lives in Bellingham, Washington.