Getting an RV ready for a trip. I'm sure everyone has their own routine that they follow to get an RV ready to roll. Some may have a very detailed and documented list and others might just wing it. I'm in between with some repetitive actions that are now built into my memory based on years of practice. But, I'm also an old Boy Scout and the "Be Prepared" motto has stuck with me, so my RV travel prep is broad based. I figured it might to be good to write this down and share it so others might benefit from it. So, here it is. Its in the sequence that I do them.
1. Get the RV Ready to Roll.
There's some obvious things we all do to get our rigs ready to roll. We start the frig, charge the batteries, check the tire pressure, check the water level, and check the propane level. But I like to keep my rig ready to roll. So, to make the pre-trip work easier, there are some regular things I do at the end of every trip.
When I come back from a trip,
- I flush the holding tanks on the last day so I can start the next trip with empty tanks.
- I refuel a few miles before I get home so the rig is full with fuel for the next trip.
- I wash all the towels, face clothes, and linens.
- I re-supply any consumable like toilet paper, trash bags, plastic cups, bottled water, and paper towels.
- I make sure the personal hygiene supplies (tooth paste, soap, mouth wash, dental floss, shampoo) are all sufficient for the next trip.
- I empty all the trash, sweep and vacuum out the rig, and clean the frig.
This end of the trip work makes it so much easier to take off at a moments notice.
2. Buy Food for the First 3-4 Days
I usually make a menu plan for the first 3-4 days of a trip and buy that food a day before departure. I usually take some food that's easy to cook and sometimes may actually cook the first couple of dinners and freeze them so all I have to do is heat something up for the first couple of days on the road.
3. Take Copies of all Reservations, Tickets, and the Itinerary
I print out copies of any reservations I've made, make sure I've go the tickets to any events, and print a copy of my itinerary. I also put a copy of the itinerary on Google Drive so I can access it from my smart phone. All paper copies get stored in a portfolio folder that I keep in the RV. This portfolio also has copies of my RV insurance declaration page, my vehicle title, and a printed copy of all my IDs and credit cards.
4. Put Travel Notices on the Credit Cards
This is so easy to forget, but so important. To avoid having my cards rejected out of state, I put travel notices on all the cards before I leave. It easy to do with a phone call to the credit card company to let them know the dates of your travel and places you stay.
5. Program the GPS
I plug in the first couple of destinations into the GPS before I leave. My GPS has an address book to store destinations so its easy to put them in ahead of time and call them up on the day of departure.
6. Charge all the Batteries / Take All the Chargers
Its amazing all the electronic gizmo's that we travel with and all the gizmo's have batteries and chargers. I make sure the cell phone, tablet, laptop, and three camera's are all charged up the night before. I have a yellow canvas zipper bag that all the chargers go into. That bag stays in the house when I'm home and it goes in the RV when I travel.
7. Take the Extra Key and the Extra Wallet
I always travel with an extra key to the RV and an extra wallet. They're never kept in the RV when its home, but they go in the day before I leave. Loosing your keys or locking them in the rig can make for small disaster. The extra wallet has an extra ID, extra credit card and and extra cash just in case I loose my wallet or if it gets stolen.
8. Pack the Cloths
This one of the last things I do and its the quickest. My wife can sometimes can take several days to pack clothes for a trip (mostly deciding what to take). But, I'm a typical guy and I can pack for a lunar expedition or an African safari in 10 minutes. All my clothes fit into 2-3 large eBags. I already keep extra shoes, some shirts, hats, a coat, and a rain coat in the RV so packing for me is easy.
9. Get the House Ready
On the morning of departure, I get all the home security stuff (e.g. FakeTV Burglar Deterrent and 7-Day On/Off Plug In Digital Light Timers) set up, lock up any valuables in the safe, cancel the newspaper, and give any last minute instructions to my sons who are watching the house. I also leave a copy my itinerary at home so my sons will know where I'll be and email a copy to my folks.
10. Do the Pre-Take Off Walk Arounds
Before I sit in the driver seat and buckle up, here's the list of my final actions.
Get out and do a walk around to make sure all storage compartments are closed, all cords are unplugged and put away, the awning is secured, all leveling blocks are stored, the wheel chocks are put away, the step is in, the door is closed tight, and nothings is in front or under the RV.
Do a walk around inside the RV to make sure all windows are closed, all vents are closed, appliances like the A/C, water pump, and water heater are off, propane is off, the TV power and antenna booster is off, all cabinets and drawers are closed.
- Start the RV and check to make sure the frig is running on DC.
And lastly, before I take off, I say a prayer and ask for a safe trip.
That's my checklist. It looks like a lot, but it's become somethings that's pretty easy to perform and its become a routine. In fact, I do item 10 every time I move the RV.
For those looking for more detailed checklists, Good Sam has a page of travel check lists that you can see at this link: Good Sam Travel Check Lists. FMCA also has some motorhome checklists that you can see here: http://www.fmca.com/motorhome/basics/156-motorhome-checklist.html
Let me know if you have some check list items that you'd like to share.
You can follow more of my journeys at: http://jdawgjourneys.blogspot.com/