Fur babies make adorable co-pilots, but it’s not safe to have them roaming free while you’re in transit. Not only can they distract you while driving, but they can get injured if you stop suddenly or get in an accident.
It’s best to keep them in a crate that’s well secured while the RV is moving. Make sure they have access to water and plan potty stops every few hours.
Not all roads are RV-friendly. Some roads are just plain too narrow (or windy) for oversized vehicles. And of course, you’ll want to watch out for bridges and tunnels that are too low to clear.
When we were on our return trip travelling along the East Coast, we were following Google Map directions that put us on a highway with a tunnel that had too low of clearance for us to drive through. Fortunately, there were warning signs that let us know we had to exit before it was too late. But we should have double-checked the route ahead of time to save 30 minutes of double-backing.
My “mini Winnie” is just 24 feet long, which means it’s possible to park it in many regular car spots. And thanks to a huge back window, I can actually see where I’m going when backing up. You may not be so lucky.
The longer the RV, the harder it is to maneuver. Some gas stations, grocery stores, city streets or even national parks may not be able to accommodate your RV if it’s too big. Figuring out where you’re allowed to stop for gas, food, and most importantly – sleep – is best done ahead of time.
Speaking of sleeping, it’s important to park in safe, RV-friendly areas when you’re done driving for the day. If you don’t want to shell out for a spot in an RV park, some good places to park overnight for free unofficially include Walmart, Cracker Barrel, and truck stops like Flying J and Love’s. But always double-check that RV parking is allowed at that particular location.
is a great tool for finding RV parking and reading reviews from others who’ve stayed there. Other good options include All Stays
and Harvest Hosts
(a paid service).
If you’re planning on-street parking, first make sure it’s allowed. The first night I had my RV, I parked it on my street, not realizing that the city prohibited overnight parking for oversized vehicles. That was $75 down the drain within 12 hours of owning the darn thing, which I could have easily avoided.
7. If you’re driving coast-to-coast, budget in the neighborhood of $3,000 for gas and other expenses
The not-so-great part about van life is that it’s not a cost-effective way to travel.
Why? They are really heavy, causing you to burn through a lot of gas. On our 10,000+ mile trip, we spent about $3,000 just in gas. At the time, the average price per gallon was around $3.00 (shout out to Missouri for the $1.70 per gallon gas). Plus, spending several days on the road means you’ll probably end up spending more money on food and drinks than usual. And if you want to stay in an RV park one night, the price can be just as much as a motel.
Before you hit the road, make a list of all these budget categories and try to estimate how much you’ll spend on each. The trip might cost more than you realized. Set aside enough savings to cover these costs, and spend some time saving up if you need to.
8. Literally schedule time to enjoy the ride
In the span of about a month, I got to see mountain goats hop up the cliffs in Zion, stand at the base of Mount Rushmore, watch a lightning storm over the Badlands, camp alongside bison in Yellowstone, get sprayed by the Niagra Falls, listen to country music in Nashville, see Elvis’ grave in Memphis, sit on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, take my dogs swimming in the Colorado River, and so much more.
So if you have to haul your RV across the country, why not enjoy it? Schedule time to make stops along your route, and buffer a couple of extra days into your schedule in case you want to make an unscheduled stop or spend more time in one area.
What if I want to ship my RV instead?
Fair enough. As fun as an RV road trip can be, I will admit that it’s also stressful to drive that far. Not to mention, it’s just a bit time-consuming.
Maybe you just bought a new RV that’s several hundred miles away and you want it ASAP. Or maybe you want to post up at an RV resort without making the long drive to get there, or you have a trailer-style RV but no truck to haul it yet. Whatever the case, you might consider shipping your RV instead.
It might feel counterintuitive to ship an RV cross-country, but it’s really not! There are plenty of services that do just that. Here are a few ways you can ship an RV:
Towing: One option is to have the moving service use a specialized vehicle and equipment to tow the RV to its new destination. However, this may not be the best option for shipping cross-country.
Flatbed: The moving service will use a large truck with a flatbed trailer to haul your RV long-distance (usually tugged along with several others).
Driving: You can hire a driver to personally transport your RV to its destination.
You should take all the precautions outlined above to be sure your RV is safe to haul and nothing gets damaged. Additionally, turn off any electronics, and totally disconnect the power supply and gas lines.
How much does shipping an RV cost?
As far as the cost to ship an RV, it will depend on the size of the vehicle and how far it needs to go.
If you’re shipping an RV less than 1,000 miles, the average cost is $1.05 per mile. However, if you need your RV shipped further, the average cost jumps to $3.32 per mile. Other factors, such as gas prices and season, may increase costs.
Moving an RV long-distance isn’t for the timid. You have to be comfortable spending a lot of time behind the wheel, navigating unknown roads and towns, sleeping in a different location every night, and being flexible with your schedule.
If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, it’s okay; you can pay someone else to do it, as long as you can come up with the cash. For my final tip, ask professional long-distance movers what they charge for car shipping—it could save you a lot of money!