We often receive similar questions about RVing, travel, camping, our family, homeschooling, and general home and lifestyle questions, so we thought we’d compile them for you here in an easy to reference RVing FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page! Use the table of contents below to easily jump to a section or specific question. Send us a note on our Contact page if you have a question that isn’t listed here and we can add it to the FAQ!
We also cover these and other topics on our weekly RV Tips Tuesday post on our Instagram page which we’ve compiled into an IG Guide as well.
RVing Tips & Tricks, Projects & Products
Do you use a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)? Any other tips for tire care?
As you travel down the road, making sure your tires are in good condition and have the right amount of air in them is all important to keep you and your family safe. It took us awhile to get a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) (we have Tire Minder), but we are glad we now have it. We had seen too many instances of other RVers’ tires going flat and causing extensive damage to their RV. This could also potentially cause a catastrophic and tragic accident. Keep yourself safe and consider a TPMS. We also purchased a digital pressure gauge with a flexible hose. Since we have a dually truck, that allows us to more easily get to and check the inside rear tires. Before our travel days we check our tire pressure on our truck and RV and use our small 1 gallon air compressor to add more air when needed. We’ve found it’s hard to get to the needed pressure using many 12V tire inflators and tire pressure stations at gas stations don’t seem to go high enough and we haven’t always found air hoses at truck stops. Our setup allows us to check and have the proper tire pressure before we get going.
Do you have a washer & dryer in your RV or how do you do laundry?
Many RVs now come with a washer/dryer or at least washer/dryer hookups so you can install them. We have an in-unit washer & dryer (ours is the Splendide stackable vented model). We love it and think it’s great. Especially with kids it’s nice not to have to go anywhere with the amount of laundry they make. If there’s a mess at any time of day or night we could start a load of laundry if needed. Some have a combo washer/dryer, and that means you don’t have to move the load of laundry from washer to dryer and it saves some space.
If you don’t have these in your rig or need to wash something larger like a blanket that may not fit in your unity, most RV parks have laundry rooms and most work well and are clean though there are exceptions. You can also find local laundromats and we’ve done laundry at friends’/family’s houses from time to time also. We used to have a collapsible laundry basket that sat in the hall or the shower, but now we have a tall narrow one that sits in the closet next to the washer.
If we’re on top of laundry, for a family of 4 we could do a load a day, though usually we wait several days and then do several loads. If we are boondocking off grid, then we spend a whole day doing loads of laundry back to back to catch up once we’re back in a campground and hooked up. But it’s nice not to have to leave the house and only have to briefly interrupt whatever else we’re doing in order to keep the laundry moving.
What RVing apps and websites do you recommend?
There are so many great RVing apps and websites out there. We have several apps on our phone and websites bookmarked that we find useful. We couldn’t possibly mention all of them, but here are a few categories of apps and apps to consider. You’ll definitely want some kind of map / route app, finding fuel, locating dump stations, a weather app, finding a campground or camp site, and any apps specific to any campground memberships you have (see the below question on camping memberships for specifics on these). In the above categories, the ones we use the most are Google Maps, Gas Buddy, TSD Logistics Fuel Card App if you use this program, Sanidumps, Accuweather, and Campendium.
What camping memberships do you recommend?
Camping memberships can save you money, give you more options of places to stay, and provide you some fun experiences. We have several apps on our phone and websites bookmarked that we often use. These are some of our current favorites and others we’ve used in the past.
- Harvest Hosts allows you to stay for a night at interesting locations like wineries, breweries, distilleries, museums, farms, and even golf courses with their higher tier membership. For the price of just a few overnights in a campground you can stay for free at amazing places. While there, you check out the business and buy something or participate in one of their experiences. This has been so fun for us as we travel.
- Boondockers Welcome lets you stay on hosts’ property for 1-5 nights typically. As the name suggests, you usually just boondock without hookups on a spot on someone’s land. We’ve met super friendly and welcoming folks through this program.
- Thousand Trails is a network of campgrounds around the country for which you can purchase a camping pass for a specific region or regions of the country. You can upgrade your membership to a nationwide plan and be able to go park to park, with various tiers that specify how long you can stay, how far in advance you can book and so on. You can also add on the Trails Collection (a set of additional Encore Parks). A lot of full-time RVing families use these parks so it’s been a great way to meet people.
- Passport America is a discount membership where you can get 50% off of campgrounds in the program.
- With Good Sam, you get campground discounts and discounts when you shop at Camping World and Gander RV & Outdoors among other things.
- Escapees memberships give you discounts on Escapee RV parks, community events, discounts, and other benefits.
Do you have a generator?
Our generator is a Honda EU2200. It holds 1 gallon of gas. We also added on a 6 gallon auxiliary tank. We like this generator because it’s not too large. The generator itself weighs 47 lbs, and it is relatively quiet compared to a lot of others. Don’t get open frame construction site type generators. While they are cheaper, they are very loud and won’t make your neighbors very pleased with you. 🙂 Make sure to change the oil after a certain amount of run time listed in the maintenance schedule. As part of the maintenance you’ll occasionally change the spark plug or the air filter as well. Try to run it at least once a month to keep it operating smoothly. We don’t have to use our generator too often anymore since we upgraded our batteries and installed solar (see details about batteries and solar in the following questions specific to those topics) but it is still nice to have for occasional use. If you are looking to start boondocking, getting a generator is the first and easiest step (as well as cheapest compared to batteries & solar panels) to trying it out!
What RV batteries do you have?
We upgraded our two standard deep cycle lead acid batteries that came with our rig, to 6 Battle Born lithium batteries and two new Victron inverters/chargers. The benefits of lithium batteries over lead acid are numerous: they charge faster, they last longer, they store way more power for their size, they don’t have a big voltage drop under a heavy load, they can be discharged almost to empty unlike lead acid which shouldn’t go under 50% without risking damage to them, and they weigh less. Upgrading also gave us the ability to boondock overnight which we couldn’t do before without running our generator because we have a residential fridge in the RV and it uses a lot of power. Turning our generator off at night to be considerate of neighbors meant we barely limped through the night. It also paved the way for installing solar and spending a lot more time off grid.
Do you have solar panels installed on your RV?
We installed 15 Renogy Solar Panels, 3 Victron Solar Controllers, and all the other necessary components and wiring for the ultimate RV solar system. Since installation, the system has been running great and we’ve been doing a lot more boondocking. We run our air conditioners and all the other devices we need. Catch our RV Solar playlist on our YouTube channel for all the details on our installation, our 6 month follow-up and lessons learned, and why we decided to go with flexible solar panels vs rigid.
How do you deal with pests in your RV?
Whether you’ve had to personally deal with pesky pests getting into your RV or have only heard of this happening to others and are thinking of some preventative measures, it’s a good thing to think about just in case. In our several years fulltime on the road, we’ve had 5 mice. Granted 3 of these were in one location where there just seemed to be a particularly large population of them (and we were glad to leave!). So what are some options? You can add vent screens to any vents on your RV, seal any openings with expandable spray foam insulation, or stuff steel wool into openings. You can use traps of your choice, as there are various kinds. Some people suggest ultrasonic pest repellants, essential oils on cotton balls, dryer sheets, or bars of Irish Spring soap but I can’t say how well those may or may not work. Make sure your food is in sealed containers / areas where pests can’t reach them. Crossing our fingers none of us ever have to deal with pests in our RVs again!
Travel & Camping
How do you find a place to camp?
After deciding what area you’re looking to camp in, figure out your criteria like deciding if you want to be in a national, state, or private campground or would rather be on public land, boondocking on someone’s property, or parking at a business in exchange for visiting and purchasing from them, and what kind of hookups you want/need (electric, water, sewer). Then check out some of the following resources for finding the best place for you and your RV. Campendium (has all types of camping), Reserve America (national & state parks), Google/Google Maps (find RV parks and then go to their individual websites), other campground networks like KOA or Sun Resorts, querying other RVers or other RVing groups you are a part of, looking in the network of any camping memberships you’re part of like Harvest Hosts, Boondockers Welcome, Thousand Trails, Passport America, Good Sam, or Escapees (see more details on each of these in the camping memberships question above). Look at pictures or YouTube video reviews, and take a look at the site on satellite view in Google Maps. Once you’ve visited a place, consider putting it into a list on your computer or notebook so you can note whether you liked it and would visit again, and if so, if you liked your spot or what other sites in the campground you might prefer to reserve the next time. Happy camping!
How do you plan your RVing travel routes?
Kevin does our route planning. His first step is good ole Google Maps. He routes us to our destination through there and sees what the options are. If it gives him several route options he chooses more major roads over backroads. This doesn’t mean we take the interstate everywhere, as we do like to see beautiful scenery as well, but just that it’s a road that can accommodate our rig. Then he corroborates this route on the Truck Router website. Here he can put in the height and length of our vehicle (we tell it we are a standard 18-wheeler since we are so tall) and make sure that we won’t come across any low bridges. If he chooses a route that isn’t directly corroborated with Truck Router, he will look over that portion of the route using Google Maps satellite view to look for any possible obstacles. We also try to preplan our fuel stops along the way and sometimes additional rest stops. All of this planning gives us more peace of mind on travel day.
How do you keep kids entertained on travel day?
Travel days can be long and tedious for anyone at times, but kids especially. We have found it is helpful to have toys and activities prepped in the truck and in an accessible organized place for kids to reach and keep themselves occupied on drive days. We use a car organizer basket in the center of our backseat between the two kids’ carseats. This way they can see and reach the things they want, and then put them back when they’re done. I’ve also seen hanging organizers for over the back of the front seats. This seems better for older kids that are forward facing and have longer arms to reach this type of organizer. We’ll probably get a couple of these in the future. We have books, stuffed animals, toys (animal figurines, vehicles), art stuff (paper & crayons in an art bag, Melissa & Doug Water Wow pads, Crayola color wonder paper & markers), a Leapfrog Pad & learning games, and a tablet with games/movies/books. We listen to music or sing songs, listen to podcasts or audiobooks, play road trip bingo, I Spy games, search for license plates from various states, take turns telling a story, or just encourage them to look out the window for a while. Of course you can’t forget the all important road trip snacks, so see below for more details on that!
What roadtrip snacks do you prefer for travel days?
Nothing’s worse than being hungry on a road trip. Not wanting anyone to get “hangry,” we make sure to always pack lunch and lots of snacks. It’s easy to gravitate toward eating a lot of junk on travel days, so we try to conscientiously choose healthier options as much as we can, though it’s nice to have some yummy treats in there as well. We pack a cold bag (a large for travel days, a smaller one for shorter outings) with ice packs. For lunch we’ll typically make sandwiches or wraps with peanut butter and jelly, meat and cheese, or peanut butter & banana & honey. Sometimes Kevin and I will have rice/quinoa topped with salad/dressing in a tupperware. For fruit we pack apples, mandarin oranges, or grapes. For veggies we bring baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, sweet mini peppers, or sugar snap peas. Other snacks include: applesauce or other fruit/veggie packets, nuts, popcorn, pretzels, granola bars, cookies, or chocolate. Don’t forget paper plates and utensils if needed as well as napkins and/or wipes. Bring water or other drinks to stay hydrated. Bon apetite!
Are there certain camping rules or etiquette I should follow?
We have an amazing opportunity to enjoy our planet as we get out and travel. But with that comes responsibilities as well. As we travel, it’s good to remember some basic camping etiquette. This can make it more enjoyable for everyone. Even if you boondock all on your own without anyone around, there are some things that apply in being a responsible camper and steward of the environment. Here are some things we thought of. Following campground rules, parking where you’re supposed to, not blocking others, cleaning up after yourself, respecting other campers’ sites/space/privacy, observing quiet hours and generator hours, being a responsible pet owner, considering your neighbors if you’re a smoker, and teaching children these same courtesies. The 7 Leave No Trace Principles also provide some nice guidelines to keep in mind.
- Plan ahead and prepare.
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
- Dispose of waste properly.
- Leave what you find.
- Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).
- Respect wildlife.
- Be considerate of other visitors.
Family & Homeschooling
Do you and your family meet many other families and make friends on the road?
As much as we love time together as a family on the road, sometimes you need some time with other people. It is fun to meet others, hear of their experiences, let the kids play, and be in community. Finding community and meeting others is something we’ve found has to be done intentionally. Just waiting to run into others doesn’t happen too often. We’ve found that joining a community of fellow travelers has been the best way to meet others. Since we have kids, one of our favorites is Fulltime Families. With their Facebook groups by region of the U.S. as well as branches by interest areas (like faith, food, boondocking and so on), community events like hangouts and rallies, and just the fact that a lot of families use the Thousand Trails campground membership and get together often for campfires, potlucks, and other outings, it’s been a great way to make friends and then see them again later on down the road! Another couple of great groups like this are Escapees and Xcapers! Also check out The RV Entrepreneur if you are or are aspiring to run a business on the road, and the Rootless Living community for other like-minded digital nomads. Don’t be lonely on the road, make some connections and your travels will be enriched even more!
Do you homeschool?
Yes! Our daughter completed homeschool preschool and is currently completing kindergarten. Our son will join in officially when he’s just a bit older, but he learns right along with his sister when he wants to participate. We use a combination of curriculum style learning, lots of learning by play and arts and crafts at this age, and real life experiential learning by doing and through the places we explore.
How did your kids adjust to full-time RV living?
Great! Our son was only 8 months old when we moved into our RV and began full-time RVing, so this lifestyle is all he knows and he’s perfectly content with it. Our daughter was 2 1/2 and had some questions at first, but once we reassured her that her things were there and we would always be bringing the RV with us she was ok with it! They get excited about the places we visit, the new things to see and do, new friends to meet, and family and friends we visit along the way.
Home & Lifestyle
Where do you store your shoes in the RV?
We like many others, didn’t know what to do with all of our shoes when we first moved into the RV. They just seemed to pile outside or inside the front door, get in the way, and drag more dirt into our rig. Finding a place to store them was essential. We have a decent hallway space leading from the front door up to the bathroom and master bedroom. After seeing a picture from another RVer, we bought a “STÄLL” shoe cabinet from Ikea. It is narrow and we were able to screw it into the wall to make sure it doesn’t tip over during drive days. It has four compartments, one for each member of our family. Our hall is long enough we could even add a second one someday if needed. However, we just keep our most used shoes here and have a hanging shelves closet organizer where we stick the others. We’ve seen others use Ikea “Trones” cabinets, which can be combined in as many high and wide as you want, a tub for shoes inside or outside of their RV, put shoes in under stair storage, or use a pocket over the door organizer cut into rows to hang them on side of the bed.
How do you hang decorations in the RV?
You’ll want to make your RV more homey and personalize it, and that means hanging some decorations. So how exactly do you do that? Hanging decorations in an RV is a bit different that in a house since you need to make sure it doesn’t shake and bump loose as you’re traveling. But a lot of the tools are pretty similar. The most commonly used thing are Command Strips. Depending on what you’re using you can use the regular kind or heavy duty picture hanging Command Strips. For more lightweight items we’ve used putty. And we have used a few nails, screws, or hooks at times but you have to be cognizant about where you’re placing them because the walls are mostly thin and full of insulation and you definitely don’t want to damage your walls or punch all the through if you use hardware that’s too long.
How do you create a more homey atmosphere in your RV?
Various things we’ve done include comfy and decorative throw blankets and bedding, pillows (we like ones that have removable slip covers we can wash), and throw rugs (we have a Ruggable rug that has a carpet pad, and top layer that is machine washable). Additionally, try decorating with plants, string lights, or a letter board where you can put up your favorite quote, Bible verse, or seasons greeting. We have a digital picture frame that cycles through lots of our favorite pictures of our adventures that we periodically update, and a diffuser to make our home smell wonderful!
How do you organize your RV? Do you have any organizational hacks or products you can share?
In such a small space as an RV, it’s nice that you can clean up quickly, but messes can also be made very quickly. So it’s nice to have a spot for everything, and organizing strategies and tools to help. Here are some examples of what we use for general organization:
- A dedicated shoe rack (see options for shoes in the above question on shoe storage
- Hooks on the back of doors
- Extra hooks on the bathroom wall for towels
- Suction cup hooks in the shower or shower door for towels/loofas/washcloths
- Desktop drawer containers for countertops or the linen closet
- Little narrow baskets to organize the bathroom mirror cabinet
- Ottoman with storage for blankets
- Chairs with in seat storage for small items
- Tiered shelving inserts
- Pantry organizers
- Bathroom drawer container
- Cubes for clothes
- Hanging shelves closet organizer
- Clear tubs in underbelly storage to keep like items together and be able to see inside to quickly find the one you need
Thank goodness for things that help keep things in their place!
How do you keep kids’ things organized in an RV?
Space(s) in the RV can easily get overrun with toys and stuffed animals, so organization specific to kids and their things is a must. We started out with toys in various drawers in our mid den room and the rest in storage cubes. But it was harder for the kids when they couldn’t see them or there were too many things in one container and they tended to just dump the entire thing out and create more of a mess. So we implemented some of these other methods instead:
- Extra coat hooks in the hall
- Storage cubes for clothes
- Tiered shelving so that each type of toy has its own container
- Stackable containers
- Under-bed tubs
- Pocket over the door organizers
- Tension rod to hang clothes and another to hold books onto the bookshelf so we don’t need to move them during travel days
- Use a net and/or bean bag chair for stuffed animals or extra blankets/offseason clothes
- A net will keep the stuffed animals up and out of the way
- A beanbag contains the stuffed animals or blankets and is multipurpose for sitting and reading books or watching a movie
- Mesh bags held on by suction cups can store shower toys
Again, send us a note on our Contact page if you have a question that isn’t listed here and we can add it to the FAQ!