In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Is it safe to RV across America? We will give you a few essential tips on how to make the best of your RV trip.
Is it safe to RV across America?
Travelling in an RV across America is fairly safe. Of course, you must prepare yourself and make good choices in matters of vehicle and camping sites. In this guide, we will talk about:
- Planning your route in advance;
- Making no mistake about the choice of your vehicle;
- Making lists;
- Driving license and legal age;
- When to go on American roads in an RV;
- How to stay safe in an RV always and anywhere.
Travel across America by RV
Of course, planes are fast, cars are convenient, and public transport is economical. But RVs (Recreational Vehicles) are a real pleasure to visit large regions, especially in the north of America (the United States and Canada). You travel at your own pace, with all the necessary comfort on board with you. The great outdoors and the freedom to sleep where you want (or almost) are yours. Travelling in a motorhome is the very spirit of travel.
According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, there are approximately 35 million RV enthusiasts in the United States alone. The reason this form of travel has become so popular is that it offers the freedom and flexibility to come and go as you please.
Contrary to what you can read here and there, travelling in a motorhome is affordable. Even taking into account rental and fuel costs, it is cheaper than travelling by plane or car, especially when you take into account the costs of accommodation and food.
If you intend to travel to the United States and Canada for a long time, just remember that these countries are among the largest territories in the world. From there, the motorhome becomes obvious. Especially since these countries have a wide range of campsites to stop.
Look at it this way: you are on the road every day (but only if you want to), choosing places that you have so far only dreamed of. Every day is a potential adventure. Every day brings you new and unexpected things, unforeseen discoveries. Each evening you eat at your table (if you wish) and sleep in your bed. With the motorhome, you feel at home, far from home.
Some tips for travelling in the United States with an RV
Planning your road trip well in advance is essential for the success of your trip. This is the thing over which you have full control, the key to having the perfect experience. Here are some tips and advice to know before setting off on North American roads.
- Plan your route in advance. Whether you have a week, a month, or six months, plan a route to follow, even if you like to move freely as you see fit. Have a destination as a goal to meet your deadlines. By knowing where you are going, you will be able to select the most interesting sites on your route.
And depending on the progress of your trip, you may enjoy one place more than another. Make sure you have the right maps or a GPS system, especially if this is your first time on this kind of trip.
- Make no mistake about the choice of your vehicle. A small RV can fit you today but you may need a larger vehicle when getting behind the wheel. A large motorhome offers more space to live and store your belongings, but you must ask yourself the question: “Will it fit in a parking space or on a campsite?”
- Make lists. When preparing for your trip, you should list what you will need onboard your motorhome. But also take the opportunity to list many other parameters:
- Find all the campsites on your itinerary
- Find out where in town you can sleep (free Walmart parking lot for example)
- Establish your budget by calculating all the expenses you will have (fuel, camping space, rental, food, national park entrance fees, etc.)
- Depending on the season, reserve your camping pitches in advance (online). Etc …
- Driver’s license and legal age. To rent a motorhome in the United States as well as Canada, you must be 25 years old. Driving such a vehicle requires a little more experience than a car.
Also, you must bring your valid driver’s license (Pink B License), and you will need to present an international license in most states. Also, don’t forget to take your passport and a payment card in the name of the main driver with you.
When to go on American roads in an RV?
In the United States, there is hardly a season better than the other for travelling in a motorhome. For example, the American West can be visited all year round, but be careful in summer it is very hot and muggy. Florida, on the other hand, enjoys ideal temperatures all year round: prices from June to September are affordable while from December to April it is high season.
Finally, the Northeast of the United States is best discovered between May and October, with campsites closed the rest of the year.
Mandatory checks for your RV trip in America
When we start a trip it is important to have knowledge of the state of the vehicle or motorhome, so as not to be surprised during the journey.
Before starting our journey, it is necessary to review all the mechanical and electrical aspects of the motorhome for the safety of our family and other vehicles that travel on the roads. That is why we will show you some recommendations to prepare your vehicle before hitting the road.
Check the lights. The lighting of our caravan or motorhome is one of the fundamental elements in safety, so its maintenance must be carried out with care.
It is important to know that in many countries by law, it is established that the car lights must be turned on between sunset and sunrise, in low visibility conditions and in other situations such as inside a tunnel or when driving in a lane.
Periodically check the operation of all the vehicle’s lights, such as low beam, parking, long-range (road), brake lights, turn signals, fog lights, warning, the exterior of the body. Bear in mind that poor lighting generates poor visibility, a situation that causes visual fatigue for the driver.
Spread the load. Badly distributed cargo in our motorhome modifies its behaviour. In addition, poor distribution complicates dynamics and affects visibility. Keep in mind that exceeding the load limit authorized by the manufacturer can bring financial penalties and in some countries the immobilization of the vehicle.
To safely drive our motorhome with a considerable load, it must be taken into account that when overtaking, it will take more time to overtake. A greater following distance must be maintained as more meters are needed to brake.
Latest revisions. It is important to check the mechanical and electrical parts of the caravan one last time. Check the supplied closure and the fastening system. In no case should they remain in service during the tour.
A gas leak, due to rupture of its pipes, in a collision, can cause the explosion and the possible fire of the vehicle. Check that all the things are in their corresponding places. Get the satellite dish, remove the access ladder, so that the windows and ventilation spaces do not remain open.
Is it dangerous to travel in an RV in America?
Living and travelling in an RV is not dangerous as long as you take some precautions. Whether you opt for a camping holiday in a caravan, motorhome or tent, thefts are frequent. Although campground operators try to stem this phenomenon, it is impossible for them to eradicate it completely. In addition, the structure of some rentals favours theft.
However, it is possible for you to take certain appropriate measures, either by implementing sound advice or simply by using common sense:
- Take only “essential” valuables
- Always lock the door
- Invest in a good lock.
- Get motorhome insurance.
- Don’t be fooled by classic hiding places.
- Buy an alarm.
To protect yourself in a motorhome, take all the necessary precautions. Perimeter protection, carried out by magnetic sensors, concerns the exterior protection of the motorhome, it is effective day and night. The alarm is triggered when an attempt is made to force the doors of the driving position and the front door, but also bays or gates.
The bottom line
Whether preparing a trip for a long or a short stay, the RV must be subject to regular checks and optimal maintenance to avoid any technical problems on the roads. In this way, passengers and the driver can fully enjoy their journey in great comfort.
In addition to the usual checks, follow our tips before going on an adventure and make sure you take all the necessary precautions!
Do you have any questions, comments or suggestions on how to safely travel in an RV in America? Let us know!
FAQ on Is it safe to RV across America?
Are RVs safe in a crash?
Just like any other vehicle on the road, RVs are not completely safe in a crash. The structure of an RV is not strong enough to protect the driver and passengers. These models indeed have a very short deformation zone compared to their high weight.
How to sleep safely in your van?
Some tips to make the night go well in a van:
- Stay discreet!
- Before going to bed, remember to put all your belongings inside the van.
- Opt for curtains: in addition to making your interior opaque, this will isolate you from outside view.
- You can opt for additional locks.
Where to spend the night in a motorhome?
There are many solutions for spending the night in a motorhome and sleeping outside of public spaces without renouncing pleasant and friendly surroundings: Municipal service areas or campsites.