RV Travel – Pre-trip RV check list

nice RV
Once your RV is serviced and checked out you may not be 100% ready for your trip. There are other Important items worth considering before you hit the road.


Travel Insurance

(Medical & Vehicle) – especially if you are traveling outside your province, state or country, your medical insurance may not cover you and your family.
Additional medical insurance may be necessary, check with your medical insurance company.
Insure & Go specializing in travel insurance click here. If you are sick or injured you may need to travel home to your own doctor and medical care, Med-jet is the way, click here to check out their site.
In case of an accident in a strange area, it’s a good idea to check the location of a medical facility close to your destination before you start your trip.
Vehicle insurance may also be an issue that needs attention, check with your provider before you head out.
 Pet Medical Records
If you are planning an extended trip and taking your furry friends or crossing into another country, you will need to take your pet vaccination records along.


Food & organics

The USA is especially strict about bringing anything organic into the country, even firewood. We were turned back once with firewood and other times we had food taken away. So don’t stock up before you cross the border. Most things are cheaper in the USA anyway. For US Customs info click this link http://www.cbp.gov/
Traveling from the US into Canada or Mexico the restrictions are not as strict, however, be aware firearms are against the law and if you get caught trying to cross the Canadian or Mexican border be prepared to pay a large fine and have your gun confiscated or worse.


Passports need attention long before your trip begins. Check to see if they are current. Some countries will not allow you to visit if your passport expires in less than 6 months.



Medication for your trip is, of course, important, make sure you have enough for your trip.
If you plan to visit Mexico or the southern US most prescription drugs are cheaper in Mexico. Dental care is also much cheaper. My wife and I are Canadians, dental care in Canada  is extremely expensive if you do not have a plan.
Traveling to Mexico (Algodones) just south of Yuma Az. for dental work, the money we save easily pays for our vacation. The dental work performed by many of these dentists is as good or better than our dentists at home.

GPS & Maps

Good navigation is key to any successful vacation. A GPS is an essential piece of equipment, especially if you are traveling with an RV.  There is nothing more frustrating than hitting a dead end road or taking the wrong exit off the interstate.
Don’t forget to update your GPS before you hit the road.

Check out this best-selling portable GPS on Amazon.


A GPS is mandatory,but  you also need good detailed maps. I like these soft cover atlases with rec. sites and topographical information.


Travel Plan

Having a good travel plan is essential for a safe and uneventful trip. Plan your overnight stops, when Lynda and I are on the road I plan how long we will travel for each day, then subtract our stop time. Usually fuel stops are good for potty breaks and a longer stop for lunch.
An hour and a half per day is usually enough time for breaks and lunch unless we plan a long traveling day in which case I subtract another meal break.
Sandwiches and snacks made ahead of time are a great way to save time on meal stops and healthier also.

Weekend Trips

If you’re planning weekend trips, especially long weekends register early in the year to secure a spot. If you cannot get away early it may be an idea to pay for an extra day.
Take an alternate less traveled route to a popular destination, it could save frustration and time. Traffic on direct routes will be heavier.

Road Conditions & Weather

Part of the travel plan is picking your route, for example, as I am writing this there is a huge wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. This would be an area to avoid, the roads are jammed with vehicles and some of the highways are closed.
Road conditions including weather can be a factor all year, especially during winter and the shoulder seasons. Always check road weather and construction delays.

Overnight Stops

Believe it or not, some towns do not have  RV parks, Walmarts or motels, a place to spend the night. Random overnight parking  for the night will draw the attention of the local police force. No fun being woken in the middle of the night and told to move.
When on the road we prefer to stay the night at a casino , Walmart or some other free and safe spot.  For us spending more that $20 to park and catch a few hours sleep is a crime.  We try to avoid truck stops, it’s difficult to get a good night’s sleep, the big rigs are coming and going all night.

Cell Phone Coverage

As we all know cell phone companies are not created equal. If your trip takes you into the boonies or outside major cities coverage can be limited. Check your provider’s coverage maps prior to leaving.
Device charging can be a challenge. If your vehicle is not equipped with one, buy one or a power bank would be the answer.


Bring along passwords to web sites, bank accounts etc. they may come in handy.

RV Park Reservations

Remember to make RV park registrations well in advance. If your plan is to be in a particular park for more than 3 days often the weekly rate may be cheaper.
Don’t forget the addresses of your stops along the way or your destination,

Credit Cards

It can be embarrassing if your credit card is declined, notify your credit card company of your departure date and return date.

Proof of Residence 

 If you are visiting another country it’s a good idea to bring a utility bill or something that has the same address as your driver’s license.

Length of Stay 

Most countries have a maximum length of stay, it may be a complicated calculation of several years as in the USA. Conversely, some states and provinces have restrictions as to how long you may be away from home, this mainly involves medical insurance.
For example, some provinces allow you to be out of the province for 7 months while others are less and the USA allows visits of a maximum of 6 months.

Proof of Ownership

If you are taking anything with you of substantial value, such as ATV’s, motorbikes, etc. make sure you have proof of ownership. Many states and provinces require a license plate on your ATV and some require insurance. Check your destination for restrictions.

Satellite dish and receiver 

Check out this satellite finder on Amazon

Many RV’s are equipped with satellite TV dishes – if you want to stay in touch with your home news etc. It can be a challenge to set up but very possible with a satellite finder @ Amazon, these are for the regular TV dish. An antenna booster  for your roof mounted TV antenna is also an option to pick up local TV stations.
If you have a manual satellite dish (a dish that is not automatic) remember to bring the coordinates for your destination. These are available on the internet, www.pointdish.com. You will need to know the name of the satellite/s your system uses.
There are several sophisticated  automatic Satellite TV dishes on the market ,  the higher priced ones on full automatic just set it outside and plug it in or mounted on the roof of your RV.

Check this roof mounted unit on Amazon

Tool Box 

A good assortment. I usually have a project or 2 related to our RV so I bring whatever tools I would need to do this. Waxing the exterior is a project, it keeps the graphic decals from fading, so I’ve read.
Mail and House Sitter
Make arrangements for someone to pick up your mail while you are away. Some post offices will keep your mail until you return. Cancel your newspaper.
Hire a house sitter or have a neighbor check on your home. Insurance companies recommend whoever is checking on your home document their visits time and date. Click here to check out my article on RV and home security.

Don’t Forget your Toys

Make a list of  the activities you plan to engage in and with each activity list the accessories you will need. Don’t forget clothes and footwear.

More Stuff

For a comprehensive list of  the things you may need on your travels, click here to see my article The Things you Need.

For more information on traveling check out my new travel book “The Snowbirds Guide” not just for snowbirds.

roads less traveled
Happy Trails
If you enjoyed this article or have any questions feel free to leave a comment.
Thanks for visiting.
G. Borg

2 thoughts on “RV Travel – Pre-trip RV check list”

  1. Haven’t camped in a few years – but want to start again. Used to have my RV check list – but this is perfect! Thanks for all the helpful links and hints.

    1. You are very welcome, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. If you have any questions about RVing or camping please let me know I will do my best to answer them.
      Thanks Gord

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