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The Ultimate Guide: RVing for Absolute Beginners

RVing for Absolute Beginners
RVing for Absolute Beginners

If you’re new to RVing, you may feel overwhelmed by the wealth of information available. But fear not! In this ultimate guide, we will break down RVing for absolute beginners and provide you with all the tips and advice you need to embark on your RVing journey confidently.

Key Takeaways:

  • RVing is a great way for beginners to explore the world and create lasting memories.
  • Understanding the different classes of RVs will help you choose the right one for your needs.
  • Consider renting an RV before buying to get a feel for the lifestyle.
  • Budgeting for RV life is essential, including daily living expenses, campground fees, and insurance costs.
  • Full-time RVers can make a living through remote work, seasonal jobs, or entrepreneurship.
  • There are various options for overnight parking, including campgrounds, boondocking, and mooch docking.
  • Familiarize yourself with common RVing terms and jargon with our glossary.
  • Use our comprehensive checklist to prepare you for RVing as a beginner.
  • Remember, RVing is an adventure, so get out there and explore!

RVing for Absolute Beginners – Different Classes of RVs

Before diving into the world of RVing, it’s important to understand the different classes of RVs. From luxurious Class A motorhomes to compact Class B campervans and versatile Class C motorhomes, each class offers unique features and benefits for RVing beginners.

1. Class A Motorhome

Due to their size, Class A motorhomes look like buses or coaches. These RVs are often the biggest and most opulent motorhomes available (but some smaller class A RVs do exist). Class A motorhomes are equipped with kitchen and bathroom facilities and sleeping space for up to seven people. Therefore, they are ideal for large families or couples who want a lot of space to relax.

2. Class B Motorhome/Campervan

Class B vehicles are motorhomes or campervans. These RVs are the smallest variety and, from the exterior, resemble conventional passenger vans. Due to their compact size, most of these rigs can comfortably accommodate no more than two or three people. However, this doesn’t mean they lack the comforts of larger motorhomes. Class B RVs have kitchen and bathroom facilities and sleeping spaces.

3. Class C Motorhome

For many people, Class C motorhomes represent the pinnacle of motorhome design. They have a boxy design, like a moving truck, and often have an extended roof section as a bed. Class C motorhomes are typically smaller than class A RVs. However, there are exceptions, such as the super C, which uses a semi as the chassis.

Tips for Choosing a Recreational Vehicle

Choosing the right recreational vehicle (RV) is important for beginners. To make the best choice, consider the following tips:

  • Rent an RV for a weekend to get a feel for the nomadic lifestyle and test out different types of RVs.
  • Take the time to thoroughly inspect and learn about the features and amenities of each RV you are considering.
  • Consider whether to buy a new or used RV based on your budget and preferences.
  • Determine the size and layout that best suits your needs and travel style.
  • Think about your long-term goals and how you plan to use the RV.

By following these tips, you can make an informed decision and find the perfect RV for your adventures.

How Much Does RV Life Cost?

Living expenses in an RV can vary widely depending on your travel habits and preferences. The two main factors of the cost of living in an RV are daily costs and the speed of travel.

  • Daily costs include food, campsites, and transportation, which may vary greatly from one region to another. Visiting popular tourist spots often comes at an extra cost.
  • Traveling more leisurely can save money on campground fees and fuel expenses. Weekly or monthly camping reservations often offer savings over nightly camping reservations.
  • RV insurance is also an important cost consideration. RV parks and campgrounds often require liability insurance to protect you and others.

Living in an RV can be affordable, regardless of your financial situation. You can enjoy the RV lifestyle without breaking the bank by budgeting and making wise financial decisions.

How Do Full-time RVers Make a Living?

Full-time RVers have various ways of making a living on the road. Some popular options include:

  • Remote work opportunities: Many full-time RVers work remotely, taking advantage of online job opportunities or running their own businesses.
  • Seasonal work: Some RVers take on seasonal jobs in different locations, such as working at national parks, resorts, or campgrounds.
  • Digital nomad lifestyle: RVing allows for flexibility and freedom, making it an ideal lifestyle for digital nomads who earn income through blogging, social media, or other online platforms.
  • Savings and investments: Some RVers fund their lifestyle through savings or investments, allowing them to travel without needing regular income.

Ultimately, the key is to find a work arrangement that suits your skills, interests, and financial goals while allowing you to enjoy the freedom and adventure of RVing.

What are the Overnight Parking Options?

When it comes to overnight parking options, RVers have a few choices:

  • Campgrounds: Traditional RV parks and campgrounds offer amenities such as water, electricity, and sewage hookups for a fee.
  • Boondocking: Also known as dry camping, boondocking involves parking the RV in a location without any amenities or hookups. It’s important to research and follow local regulations.
  • Moochdocking: Some RVers park their vehicles in a friend’s or relative’s driveway, saving on campground fees and enjoying the convenience of staying close to loved ones.

Whether you prefer the comforts of a campground or the freedom of boondocking, there are options to suit every RVing style. It’s important to plan ahead and ensure the chosen parking spot is safe and legal.

RV Camping

RVing for Absolute Beginners – Glossary Part I

Here are some common RVing terms and jargon to familiarize yourself with:

  • America’s Largest RV Show
  • Auxiliary Battery
  • Breakaway Switch
  • Class A Motorhome
  • Class B Motorhome
  • Class C Motorhome
  • Class Super C Motorhome
  • Diesel
  • Fifth Wheel
  • Grey Water
  • Height Limit
  • Hitch
  • Length Limit
  • LP Gas
  • Motorhome
  • RV
  • RVer
  • Toy Hauler
  • Travel Trailer
  • Van Conversion

Familiarizing yourself with these terms will help you navigate the RVing community and understand the terminology used in the RVing world.

RVing for Absolute Beginners – Getting Started Checklist

Use this checklist to guide you through the process of getting started with RVing:

  1. Research the current market of new or used RVs to determine what you can afford.
  2. Obtain financing from your preferred financial institution, dealership, or lender.
  3. Find your dream RV, motorhome, or towable vehicle.
  4. Make the proper arrangements with your dealer for delivery or pick-up.
  5. Set up your RV and ensure its condition and functionality.
  6. Find a campground and try out the RV lifestyle.
  7. Become acquainted with the RV community through clubs, gatherings, and events.

By following this checklist, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the RV lifestyle and creating unforgettable memories.

Tips for Choosing a Recreational Vehicle

Choosing the right RV is a crucial step in your RVing journey. Whether you decide to rent or buy, taking the time to test drive different RVs and consider the features and amenities that are important to you will ensure that you find the perfect fit for your needs.

RV Buying Tips

1. Renting vs. Buying: Renting an RV for a weekend is a fantastic opportunity to test drive the nomadic lifestyle. You’ll have the chance to spend more time in different types of RVs and determine what works best for you. On the other hand, buying an RV can offer long-term cost savings and the freedom to customize your living space to your liking.

2. RV Test Drive: Test driving an RV is essential to get a feel for its handling, maneuverability, and comfort. Take your time to navigate through different road conditions and assess the driving experience. Consider factors such as visibility, braking power, and overall stability.

3. RV Features and Amenities: Make a list of the features and amenities that are important to you in an RV. Consider factors such as sleeping capacity, kitchen facilities, bathroom amenities, storage space, and entertainment options. Determine what you can’t live without and what you’re willing to compromise on.

Additional Considerations:

  • Cost: Evaluate your budget and the long-term costs associated with owning an RV, such as maintenance, insurance, and campground fees. Determine whether renting or buying aligns better with your financial situation.
  • Size and Layout: Consider the size and layout of the RV in relation to your travel needs. If you plan to travel with a large family or pets, a spacious RV with multiple sleeping areas may be more suitable. A smaller RV or campervan might be the better choice if you prefer a compact and maneuverable option.
  • Research and Reviews: Read reviews and seek recommendations from experienced RVers to gain insights into different RV brands, models, and dealers. Researching and comparing options will help you make an informed decision.

By considering these tips and exploring various RV options, you’ll be well-equipped to choose the right recreational vehicle that fits your lifestyle and travel goals.

How Much Does RV Life Cost?

Understanding the cost of RV life is essential for beginners to plan their budget and make informed financial decisions. From daily expenses like food and campground fees to the cost of insurance, we’ll break down the key factors that contribute to the overall cost of living in an RV.

RV living expenses
  1. Daily Living Expenses: RV living expenses can vary depending on your lifestyle and preferences. Costs like food, fuel, and campground fees will be your primary daily expenses. It’s important to budget for these costs and be mindful of how much you spend daily. Cooking your own meals and staying at campgrounds with lower fees can help keep your expenses in check.
  2. RV Park Fees: If you plan to stay at RV parks or campgrounds, you’ll need to consider the cost of park fees. These fees can vary based on location and amenities offered. Researching and comparing different parks can help you find affordable options that meet your needs.
  3. RV Insurance: RV insurance is another cost to consider. It’s important to have insurance coverage to protect yourself and your RV in case of accidents or damage. The cost of insurance will depend on factors such as the type of RV, your driving record, and the coverage limits you choose.

By carefully managing your expenses and making smart financial choices, RV life can be affordable and enjoyable. It’s important to budget for your daily living expenses, research and compare campground fees, and obtain adequate insurance coverage for your RV. With proper planning and financial management, you can embark on your RVing journey with peace of mind.

How Do Full-time RVers Make a Living?

Many full-time RVers have found creative ways to support their nomadic lifestyle while earning a living. From remote work opportunities to seasonal jobs and entrepreneurial ventures, beginners have various options to finance their RVing dreams.

Working remotely has become increasingly popular, especially with the rise of digital nomads. As long as you have a reliable internet connection, you can work from anywhere in the world. This opens up a world of possibilities for RVers who want to maintain a steady income while traveling. Some common remote job options include freelance writing, graphic design, virtual assistance, and online tutoring.

Seasonal work is another popular option for full-time RVers. You can find seasonal jobs in national parks, campgrounds, resorts, and tourist destinations. These jobs often provide free or discounted RV accommodations as part of the compensation package. From working as a campground host to being a park ranger or tour guide, there are plenty of opportunities to work and explore the great outdoors.

If you have a unique skill or talent, you can even start your own business on the road. Many RVers have turned their passions into profitable ventures, such as selling handmade crafts, offering photography services, or running an online store. The flexibility of RV living allows you to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams while enjoying the freedom of the open road.

Financing an RV Lifestyle

When it comes to financing your RV lifestyle, it’s important to create a budget and stick to it. Determine your monthly expenses, including campground fees, fuel, groceries, and other necessities. This will give you a clear picture of how much income you need to sustain your RV lifestyle.

Consider diversifying your income streams to minimize risk. Instead of relying solely on one job or source of income, explore multiple avenues. This could include remote work, seasonal jobs, and passive income streams like renting out your RV on platforms such as Outdoorsy or RVshare when you’re not using it.

Lastly, be mindful of your expenses and adopt a frugal mindset. RV living can be more affordable than traditional living, but managing your finances wisely is still important. Look for ways to save money, such as cooking meals in your RV instead of eating out, boondocking or mooch docking to reduce campground fees, and being mindful of your energy and water usage.

By finding creative ways to earn a living, managing your expenses, and staying open to new opportunities, you can successfully finance your RV lifestyle and enjoy the freedom of the road.


What Are the Overnight Parking Options?

Finding overnight parking options is an important aspect of RV travel. From traditional campgrounds with full hookups to boondocking in the wilderness or mooch docking in a familiar driveway, there are various choices for beginners to park their RVs safely.

RV overnight parking

1. Campgrounds:

Traditional campgrounds with full hookups are a popular choice for RVers. These campgrounds offer amenities such as electricity, water, sewage hookups, recreational facilities, and organized activities. They provide a comfortable and convenient option for beginners, especially those who prefer having access to all the necessary amenities.

2. Boondocking:

For those looking for a more adventurous and off-the-grid experience, boondocking is the way to go. Boondocking refers to camping in remote areas without any amenities or hookups. This option allows RVers to enjoy the beauty of nature without the distractions of modern life. However, having self-sustaining resources and respecting the environment is essential to practicing leave-no-trace camping.

3. Mooch Docking:

If you have friends or family willing to accommodate your RV, mooch docking can be convenient and cost-effective. Mooch docking involves parking your RV in someone’s driveway or on their property, providing you with a safe and familiar place to stay. This option allows you to save on campground fees and connect with loved ones while on the road.

When choosing an overnight parking option, it is crucial to consider safety and convenience. Research and plan ahead to ensure that the chosen location is suitable for your RV size, has the necessary facilities (if desired), and adheres to any local regulations or restrictions. Always respect private property and be mindful of noise levels and cleanliness.

Remember, the joy of RV travel lies in the freedom to explore new places and create unique experiences. Whether you prefer the comforts of a campground or the serenity of boondocking, find the overnight parking option that suits your preferences and embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

RVing for Absolute Beginners – Glossary Part II

To fully immerse yourself in the world of RVing, it’s essential to understand the terminology and jargon commonly used by RVers. This glossary introduces you to the key terms every beginner should know.

America’s Largest RV Show

An annual event and tradeshow that is held annually in Hershey, PA.

Auxiliary Battery

Many RVs and motorhomes rely on a separate battery for powering 12-volt equipment and appliances.

Breakaway Switch

A device that is designed to automatically stop a trailer if it becomes unattached from a towing hitch during transportation.

Class A Motorhome

The largest and most common type of motorhome for RVing across the U.S.

Class B Motorhome

These are the smallest of all motorized RVs, and they are built on the chassis of a common van or minivan.

Class C Motorhome

These are more comparable to traditional trucks than vans or buses. They feature an overhanging section extending beyond the front cab’s roof, which usually accommodates a bed.

Class Super C Motorhome

A highly specialized, performance-oriented RV that is meant for serious RV enthusiasts.


An alternative fuel to the unleaded gasoline that is used in cars and vehicles. Motorhomes with diesel engines typically feature greater performance and efficiency.

Fifth Wheel

A type of RV that is non-motorized and attaches to the bed of a truck for transportation.

Grey Water

Another term for the wastewater generated by using sinks, baths, toilets and other appliances in your RV.

Height Limit

Most states impose a maximum height limit on all RVs and motorhomes. This is to ensure compliance with the clearances of any local bridges or tunnels.


A device that is used to attach a non-motorized RV or trailer to another vehicle.

Length Limit

Most states impose a maximum length limit on all RVs and motorhomes to ensure the safety of every driver on the road.

LP Gas

Liquefied petroleum gas, known as LP, LPG or propane, is often used to fuel small stoves and other appliances.


An alternate term for RV. Although this is typically used to describe a motorized vehicle, it is often used interchangeably to describe all types and classes of RV.


Also known as an RV enthusiast, this describes a person who is interested in RVs and the RV lifestyle.

Toy Hauler

Another name for RV or travel trailer, toy haulers are often reserved for hauling dirt bikes, four-wheelers and other recreational toys.

Travel Trailer

A small- to mid-sized trailer. Since most travel trailers do not feature an engine of their own, they require towing from another vehicle.

Van Conversion

A van that has been converted into a motorhome or RV. There are endless possibilities and customization options for van conversions.

Getting Started Checklist

If you’re pressed for time, feel free to use our handy guide to getting started in the world of RVing. Even if you’re already knowledgeable on the subject, it’s helpful to print this short checklist for any friends or family members who are considering the lifestyle:

  1. Research the current market of new or used RVs to determine what you can afford. Don’t forget to plan for extra costs like registration, insurance, fuel, maintenance and long-term storage.
  2. Obtain financing from your preferred financial institution, dealership or lender.
  3. Find your dream RV, motorhome or towable vehicle. There are plenty of resources to help you achieve this, including websites, local classified ads and even TV commercials.
  4. Make the proper arrangements with your dealer. Whether you’re having your RV delivered or planning to pick it up yourself, now’s the time to make your intentions known.
  5. Set up your RV as soon as possible to ensure its condition and functionality. Even if you aren’t planning a road trip in the near future, it’s important to identify any potential issues and notify the dealer immediately.
  6. Find a campground and try it out for yourself! There are plenty of KOA locations to choose from, or you can find your own unique spot in the great outdoors.
  7. Become acquainted with your community. You’ve probably already met some great folks during the initial phases of researching, buying and testing your RV, but you’ll meet even more during your future travels. Thankfully, there are plenty of RV clubs, gatherings and events that make it easy to become a part of the RV community.

Pre-Owned RV Checklist

If you opted for a pre-owned or rental RV, it’s a good idea to give it a thorough inspection before setting off for your destination. This helps ensure you’re getting your money’s worth, but it also means a safe trip for everyone involved. Take a few minutes to run down our list and verify each one — it might even save a life:

  1. The first step is to inspect the external condition of the RV itself. Check for any large dents, surface cracks or leaks in the walls as well as the roof. Doors, windows, vents and skylights require proper sealing or caulking, so verify the condition of these fixtures, too.
  2. Check the condition of any outdoor accessories, including steps, ladders, mirrors, lights and awnings. Ensure fuel doors are closed and caps are in place at all times. If your RV has a fold-out, expansion or slide, use this time to verify its operability.
  3. Examine the undercarriage for any leaks, frame damage or aftermarket welds. Verify the condition of axles, suspension system, brakes and holding tanks for water and waste.
  4. Ensure all leveling jacks and stabilizing legs are in working order. If you notice any damage, including any legs that “stick” during deployment, it might be time to hit the garage for repairs. You can also take this time to verify the condition of the RV’s wheels, including tire pressure, tread and the presence of a spare.
  5. Inspect any exterior storage compartments to make certain they’re secure, waterproof and clean. You don’t want to arrive at the campground without your luggage, so it’s important to verify the presence of working locks and to look for signs of water damage or excess wear.
  6. Verify the condition of utility systems, including all connectors, switches and wiring systems. This includes any hookups for television, telephone, satellite dish, fresh water, grey water and electrical connections.
  7. Check your fuel sources, including batteries, propane tanks and generator levels. Recording this information is a good idea for future maintenance needs.
  8. Examine all the trailer coupling components, including the tongue, king pin, breakaway switch, safety chains and other connectors. Verify the presence of a trailer wiring harness and plug if you plan to pull another vehicle or trailer behind your RV.
  9. Perform a thorough inspection of the motorhome’s engine compartment. Make sure to verify fluid levels and examine the overall condition of filters, hoses, belts and other components.
  10. Take a tour of the RV’s interior. Any major signs of wear or damage, either in the rear cab or within the cockpit, could indicate more serious issues.

To fully immerse yourself in the world of RVing, it’s essential to understand the terminology and jargon commonly used by RVers. This glossary introduces you to the key terms every beginner should know.

RVing for Absolute Beginners – Conclusion

Now that you better understand RVing and all the essentials for beginners, it’s time to take the plunge and start your own RV adventure. Whether you’re renting or buying an RV, exploring different classes and types, budgeting for RV life, finding ways to make a living on the road, or planning your overnight parking options, a wealth of information and resources is available to help you every step of the way.

RVing is about freedom, exploration, and creating lasting memories. So pack your bags, hit the road, and embrace the RV lifestyle!

RVing Glossary

Getting Started Checklist

To ensure you’re fully prepared for your RVing adventure, we’ve compiled a helpful checklist that covers all the essentials for beginners. By following this step-by-step guide, you’ll have everything you need to get started on your RVing journey.

  1. Research the current market of new or used RVs to determine what you can afford. Don’t forget to plan for extra costs like registration, insurance, fuel, maintenance, and long-term storage.
  2. Obtain financing from your preferred financial institution, dealership, or lender.
  3. Find your dream RV, motorhome, or towable vehicle. Use online resources, local classified ads, and dealership visits to explore various options.
  4. Make the proper arrangements with your dealer. If you’re having your RV delivered, ensure all details are discussed and confirmed.
  5. Set up your RV as soon as possible to ensure its condition and functionality. Take the time to familiarize yourself with all its features and amenities.
  6. Find a campground and try it out for yourself! Consider booking a spot at a KOA location or exploring unique camping locations in the great outdoors.
  7. Become acquainted with the RV community. Join RV clubs, attend gatherings and events, and connect with other RVers for advice and camaraderie.

If you’ve opted for a pre-owned or rental RV, performing a thorough inspection before embarking on your first trip is essential. Here’s a checklist to help ensure your safety and enjoyment:

  • Inspect the external condition of the RV, including walls, roof, doors, windows, and vents. Check for any signs of damage or leaks.
  • For proper functionality, examine outdoor accessories such as steps, ladders, mirrors, lights, and awnings.
  • Verify the condition of the undercarriage, including axles, suspension system, brakes, and holding tanks.
  • Ensure leveling jacks and stabilizing legs work for a stable camping experience.
  • Inspect exterior storage compartments for secure closures and waterproofing.
  • Check utility systems, including connectors, switches, and wiring for proper operation.
  • Verify fuel sources such as batteries, propane tanks, and generator levels.
  • Examine trailer coupling components, safety chains, and other connectors for proper attachment.
  • Inspect the motorhome’s engine compartment thoroughly, including fluid levels and overall condition.
  • Take a tour of the interior, examining for signs of wear or damage and ensuring all amenities are in working order.

Now that you have your checklist and have completed all the necessary preparations, you’re ready for your first RVing adventure! Remember to stay safe, have fun, and embrace the freedom of the open road.

RV Checklist

RVing for Absolute Beginners FAQs

Q: What are the different classes of RVs?

A: The different classes of RVs include Class A Motorhomes, Class B Motorhomes/Campervans, and Class C Motorhomes. Each class varies in size, features, and amenities.

Q: How do I choose the right RV?

A: When choosing an RV, consider whether to rent or buy, take a test drive, and look for key features and amenities that fit your needs. Renting an RV for a weekend is a great way to try out the nomadic lifestyle before making a decision.

Q: How much does RV life cost?

A: The cost of living in an RV can vary depending on travel habits and preferences. Factors to consider include daily expenses, such as food and campsites, as well as the type of RV insurance needed.

Q: How do full-time RVers make a living?

A: Full-time RVers have various ways of making a living, including owning their own businesses, working online as digital nomads, and taking on part-time or seasonal jobs. Some rely on savings to support their lifestyle.

Q: What are the overnight parking options for RVs?

A: Overnight parking options for RVs include staying at campgrounds with hookups, boondocking in areas without infrastructure, and moochdocking in the driveways of friends or relatives.

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