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RVing in Retirement: 7 Tips for Getting Started

Has the open road been calling your name since you were in stuck in the rat race during your working years? Retirement is a great time to finally see the many wonders of the continental U.S. through an oversized window.

Whether it’s cruising the famous Route 66 or cruising up and down the scenic Pacific Coast, the United States provides more than 35,000 miles of adventure on the open road.

If you’re thinking about taking a cross-country road trip in an RV, here are seven tips to help you get your feet wet before diving in:

retired couple with RV

1) Try out a few different RVs before you buy. Because an RV is such a large purchase, it’s a good idea to rent a few different makes and models before committing to buying to find the one that best suits your needs. Check with your dealer to see if you can test-drive an RV for several days (this may include a fee). When evaluating RVs, consider:

Comfort - your home away from home should be a place where you can do more than rest your head. Be sure you and your family feel comfortable enough to spend a lot of time in the RV in the case of inclement weather or extended trips. This includes noise levels when walking around and the way the bed feels and general layout of the RV.

Ease of driving - you must feel confident behind the wheel, especially when driving along scenic and curvy highways. Be sure you can easily maneuver the vehicle, including backing up.

Type of RV - from travel trailers to Class A, B or C motorhomes, the possibilities are almost as endless as the open road, each with their own pros and cons. This quiz from Go RVing can help you determine your preferred type of recreational vehicle.

Cost - recreational vehicles can range from the tens of thousands into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you’re planning on making the RV your home for most of the year, you may want to invest a little more into one that provides maximum comfort. And if your RV will spend most of its life in your garage, then maybe renting one each time you take a trip would be a better route.


2) Make your initial journey one with a destination. For your first few trips, hit the open road with a clear destination in mind. Find an RV campground in a neighboring state or only 300 miles or so away from your home and reserve your stay. This way, you can rest assured knowing you’ll have all the amenities and necessities for a comfortable stay waiting for you.


3) Create a caravan. Invite another couple or family to take the trip with you. Because RV life can be so intimate, we recommend they have their own camper or motorcoach to stay in!


4) Don’t forget the necessities. It’s not like you’ll be so far removed from civilization that you won’t have access to stores, but make a list of the things you should bring along on every excursion, from food and food prep to toiletries and emergency supplies.


5) Get situated before sundown. Once you know where you’re parking for the night, be sure you get there a few hours before sundown. You’ll want plenty of daylight to get familiar with your surroundings, set up seating and a grill, and also hook up to any available outlets.


6) Avoid common beginner mistakes. Here are some rules of the road (and the campground) you should remember:

● Don’t exceed the weight or towing limits of your RV or vehicle. If you’re towing a camper or trailer on your vehicle or pulling a vehicle behind your motorhome, be sure to carefully review guidelines and weight limits and understand the difference between actual weights and weight ratings and how to calculate them.

● Know your height clearance. Armed with this knowledge, avoid any bridges or underpasses that are that same height or shorter. This includes drive-thrus too!

● Always properly store food and trash. Whether it’s intentional or not, feeding the wildlife isn’t a good idea for anyone. And you definitely don’t want to discover a hungry bear in the middle of the night!

● Get trained on the key components of the RV. You don’t want to encounter any technical issues without understanding the generator, controls or how to empty the toilet or grey water tank when the need arises. Ask if you can record this training session on your phone for easy reference when you need it.


7) Take notes (and pictures!). Make note of things you liked and didn’t like about each type of RV. Also jot down things you forgot, favorite memories and fuel expenses to provide a realistic view of what worked and what didn’t for use in future excursions.

RV client testimonial

For guidance on how to ensure RVing and other travel are part of your retirement roadmap, Read our free Preparing for Retirement eBook or contact Stratton & Company at 904-425-0943 to discuss how insurance products, such as an annuity, may fit into your retirement strategy and help to close your income gap.

Download our booklet