How to Plan a Successful RV Camping Trip

To maximize your fun and minimize your stress, learn from the camping experts on planning your next RV trip.

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Choosing a Location

Traveling by RV is one of the best ways to see the vast continent of North America and visit all its fabulous attractions. Choose one of your favorite destinations, and chances are there's a KOA nearby. The campground setting provides a relaxing home base between all of your destinations.

If you want to go on an RV adventure but aren't sure what types of attractions to look for, get some inspiration from the following list. You'll find KOA RV camping locations near all of them.

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What to Bring on Your RV Camping Trip

"Packing is easy," said no one ever. Just when you've brought every last thing you'll ever need, you realize you've forgotten something basic. Refer to this handy list and check off the items as you go:

Packing Checklist

  • Setup gear: Confirm that you've packed all the tools and equipment you need to set up your RV once you arrive at your site. This includes stabilizing jacks, which ensure your camper remains stable and level. You'll also need cords and hoses to connect to the campsite's utilities.

  • Cooking supplies and food: Look through the cupboards in your RV for utensils, plates, cups, pans, and other cooking gear. Some RVs are also equipped with portable grills or camp stoves. Don't forget to pack enough meals for the trip, and some non-perishable items that you can bring along as a snack for your daytime excursions in the great outdoors. As always, don't forget the s'mores!

  • Personal, safety, and household items: These items will vary widely from one person to another, but they usually include toiletries, clothes, first-aid, pest repellent, linens, and medications.

  • Outdoor and comfort items: bring any comfy chairs, screen tents, outdoor rugs, clotheslines, tablecloths or other outdoor items you'd like to use during your vacation.

  • Entertainment: Don't forget the fun stuff! Bring along entertainment items such as yard games, board games, and card games.

Tips for Making Your RV Trip a Success

Whether you're planning a trip with friends or preparing for a family camping adventure, these tips are sure to help your RV camping experience be as stress-free as possible

Plan your route: Are you planning to take scenic routes, avoid toll roads or get to your destination as quickly as possible? If you plan for these questions, you'll be better able to figure out the places where you'll stay on the way. Use the KOA Trip Planner tool to plan your trip and find KOA Campgrounds along the way!

Make an itinerary: Once you've decided on your route, you should then create an itinerary. When planning your RV camping timeline, make sure to allow time for fun stops so that you can take a break from driving and stretch you legs.

Build a budget: If you've built a budget, you can figure out how frequently you can eat out, how many groceries you should buy and how much money you can set aside for emergencies.

Buy RV insurance: If you don't have it already, make sure to purchase RV insurance. This is especially important for long RV vacations, where you want to be sure that your camper—and everything in it—will be protected in the event of an accident. Lots of companies offer RV insurance, like Progressive for example.

Perform regular maintenance: Keep your RV running well by routinely performing basic maintenance tasks like inspecting, cleaning, replacing filters and servicing and lubricating the engine. During the off-season, it is important to keep your RV in good condition by winterizing it.

Check the tire pressure before each trip: In addition to routine maintenance, it's also important to check the pressure in your tires before setting off on an excursion. Low tire pressure poses a serious safety risk.

Prepare for the weather: Remember to check the weather forecast for your destination and pack appropriate clothing and gear for those conditions.

Know your rig: Having experience with handling your RV will make your KOA vacation much easier. If you haven't had much experience with RV camping, take your RV out for a practice run or two before the big trip. You can also practice backing up and navigating a travel trailer or 5th wheel in an empty parking lot.

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Additional Resources

RV Information and Resources from KOA

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The Beginner's Guide to Buying an RV

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Renting an RV with Outdoorsy

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RV Campground Etiquette Guidelines

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Find a KOA for Your Next RV Trip

Finding a KOA for your upcoming RV excursion is easy with the KOA app, which you can use to find a KOA Campground near your desired destination. The app provides extensive information about each KOA location, including details about the amenities and kinds of RV Sites available. You can also use Find a KOA to search for KOA locations and the KOA Trip Planner to plan all the stops of your RV road trip.

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