As you step into your RV for the first time, you might be overwhelmed by what there is to learn, like how you are going to drive it and where on earth you are going to store all of your clothes, groceries and souvenirs that you pick up along the way over the course of the next week or so.

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First, take a deep breath. It’s much less scary than you think, particularly when you consider that you’ll watch a welcome video to walk you through the RV before you even set foot inside. Then, you’ll be ready to step in and look around your new home on wheels.

Meet Your New RV

Your first few moments will likely be with the RV rental manager who will give you a tour to get familiarized with the inside space, as well as the storage compartments and hook-ups on the outside of the RV. Ask as many questions as you like. The manager wants you to feel as comfortable as possible with your new RV.

Outside the RV, look through the storage areas, as well as where all of the hook-ups are, like for water and electricity, as well as sewage. You’ll want to make some mental notes as you go along, like the location of the generator and external vents, as well as how to flush the sewage from the RV (don’t worry, it’s neither difficult nor especially scary).

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As you head inside of the RV, your guide will show you key features of the RV, like light switches, indoor storage areas, appliances and bathroom functions. While appliances inside the RV (e.g., fridge, stove, microwave) are much smaller than those inside your home they still operate in a similar way. If you do have questions about how to operate them or any other feature in the RV, now is the time to ask.

Take a Test Drive

Next, get ready to take a test drive. Spend a few moments in the driver’s seat taking in your surroundings. You will notice that the driving area of the RV is much like that of a truck or a passenger van. Take your time on the test drive and familiarize yourself with the most used controls. Again, ask the manager any questions you may have, no matter how small, about driving or parking the RV.

Once you’ve completed your tour, load up the RV but give yourself time before finding a place for all of your clothes and luggage. It’s best to place your suitcases in your RV, then drive to the nearest grocery store or supercenter before you unpack. Take a look around the RV and plan which storage spaces you will use for different things (i.e., which cupboards the kids’ clothes will go in and which cabinets you’ll use to store the snacks).

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This will help you stay organized (and sane) during your first RV trip. Take advantage of being in the grocery store parking lot and picking up the supplies you will need to get started on your trip. Here’s a Shopping Checklist with the general items that you will need during your trip. Don’t stock up for the entire trip. Plan to stop later on to refresh your supplies. Save space for items at farmer’s markets along the way.

Take as much time as you need to before you hit the road to feel comfortable in your RV. Most importantly, have fun and remember that this is a new adventure. It’s should also be an experience you will never forget.

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