Essential Travel Advice for RV Owners of Large RVs
Having a big rig is wonderful for a lot of reasons. It gives you plenty of space to spread out, and it might even afford you an extra bathroom.
There’s always plenty of storage in a big RV, and privacy isn’t such a big concern. All of these are enormous benefits that lead many RVers to invest in a big 40+ foot motorhome or large fifth wheel.
10 Tips For Planning An RV Route In A Big Rig
All that said, big RVs do also have some downsides. Owners of these large motorhomes and trailers must take certain steps to ensure they have a safe and enjoyable trip. This is especially true when it comes to planning an RV route.
Wondering what kinds of steps you should be taking when planning an RV route with your big rig? Here are our top ten tips.
1. Invest in RV roadside assistance
You can work on planning an RV route all you want, but you can’t always avoid problems with your vehicle. Unfortunately, your regular roadside assistance won’t help at all when it comes to moving your RV off the side of the road, and finding someone to tow your big rig can be a challenge. On top of that, the tow companies that will move larger vehicles tend to be pretty expensive.
This is where RV-specific roadside assistance comes into play. Companies such as Coach-Net provide excellent service and will ensure you have someone to call if you break down, no matter where you happen to be.
2. Watch for low clearances
Generally speaking, the bigger the rig, the taller it’s going to be. This means low clearances can be a big problem when driving or towing a larger RV. This is especially true since there isn’t always signage ahead of a lower clearance, meaning turning around isn’t always possible.
In order to ensure you avoid low clearances and only drive on roads that will allow your large RV to pass, work on planning an RV route with an RV-specific route planning program like RV LIFE Trip Wizard. This handy program allows you to input the size of your rig, so you can rest easy knowing it will choose routes that are suitable for your vehicle.
3. Avoid steep grades
Steep grades are another big problem. These can be scary even when driving a small car. However, the bigger your vehicle, the more weight you have to pull uphill, and the more weight you have pushing you downhill, meaning driving a large RV up and down steep roads can feel especially challenging.
Fortunately, RV LIFE Trip Wizard can also help you avoid steep grades when you use the elevation feature.
4. Skip tight turns
In a small RV, tight turns don’t tend to be a problem. That said, the bigger your rig, the harder those hairpin turns are to make. For this reason, it’s important that you ensure your route doesn’t include any super tight turns or U-turns.
5. Download the RV LIFE App
Once you’ve finished planning an RV route that will work for your rig in RV LIFE Trip Wizard, you might be wondering how to access the route while traveling. This is where the RV LIFE App comes into play.
Routes created in RV LIFE Trip Wizard can be loaded in the app, making it super easy to navigate using your smartphone. You can use the app to get RV-safe GPS directions, read campground reviews, and more.
6. Go around big cities
Most of the time, the most straightforward routes will take you through big cities. Unfortunately, navigating through a big and busy city with a large RV is extremely stressful.
Construction zones cause traffic jams and sudden stops, reckless drivers create dangerous situations, and low-clearance bridges can seemingly pop up out of nowhere. On top of all that, the majority of gas stations in big cities are not made for big rigs.
For this reason, we highly recommend taking your big RV around the bigger cities whenever possible, even if it means adding some miles to your trip.
7. Plan for tolls
Many toll booths charge based on how many axles your vehicle has, and the bigger your RV, the more axles you have. For this reason, driving a large RV on toll roads can get expensive fast.
We tend to avoid toll roads entirely whenever possible, but there are some places where toll roads are almost necessary. In these cases, make sure to budget for the tolls and have plenty of cash and coins on hand.
8. Plan fuel and food stops
Obviously, bigger RVs are not as easy to maneuver, meaning you’ll have to pick and choose your pit stops wisely. Deciding where to stop before you ever hit the road can actually help avoid problems getting in and out of parking lots.
We recommend choosing truck stops whenever possible, and even going so far as to eat in the truck stop restaurants when available.
You can use the street view mode on RV LIFE Trip Wizard to check out truck stop parking lots beforehand, just to be sure the parking situation works for you.
9. Read campground reviews
Another thing to consider? Where you’ll park your RV to sleep.
A quick overnight in a Walmart parking lot isn’t going to pose a problem, but there are some campgrounds that simply aren’t made for larger RVs.
Because of this, you will want to make sure to check out campground reviews at CampgroundReviews.com before you book a campground, taking special care to look for mentions of tight turns, narrow roads, and/or close quarters.
10. Book wisely
Finally, you will want to choose your site wisely. When booking, ensure the site you choose is wide enough and long enough for your RV, including slides, a tow vehicle or dolly, etc.
You’ll also want to make sure the campground offers a 50-amp connection. If it doesn’t, pick up an adapter beforehand and be prepared to limit your electricity usage.
Read more: Avoid These Dangerous Routes In Your Big Rig
Chelsea Gonzales is a full-time RVer, freelance writer, and roadschooling mama who loves sharing her expertise about RVing with kids, roadschooling, and full-time RVing. The entrepreneurial and free-spirited author is also artistic director of the Aistear Mobile Irish Dance Academy, and currently travels with her family in a 27-foot travel trailer. Chelsea’s informational articles about full-time RVing, raising children on the road, camping, and destination features appear on her blog, Wonder Wherever We Wander. throughout the RV LIFE network, and in RV industry media outlets such as Outdoorsy, Coach-Net, and RV Share.