A first timer’s guide to RV-ing

For those venturing out in an RV this summer, here’s some tips to get on the open road.

  • Jul 20, 2020
  • 645 words
  • 3 minutes
A lighthouse peaks out over the beach in Covehead Harbour. (Photo: Patrick Keefe/Can Geo Photo Club)
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With COVID-19 impacting how Canadians travel, our summer vacations may look a little different this year. Provincial and international border restrictions are keeping Canadians closer to home and many people are finding innovative ways to keep themselves and others safe while taking advantage of some much-needed downtime. RV camping has seen a boom in recent months, allowing travellers to explore Canada’s beauty while allowing them control over their accommodations and physical distancing. For those venturing out in an RV this summer, here’s some tips to get on the open road.

Secure everything

Being on the road means everything that’s packed is going to shift around. Make sure to secure everything that could possibly shift to avoid breakage and mess. To help, a variety of tools are available from grip liners for drawers and cabinets, to storage boxes to bungee cords.

Do a practice run

Before heading into the wild, it’s important to take a weekend and do a practice run (this could be in a driveway or at a campground close to home) to make sure everything is in working order and nothing is missing — imagine getting to your first big destination and realizing no one bought toilet paper.

Book in advance and be flexible

One of the joys of taking a vacation is the freedom to decide the how, when and where you travel. But, as has been the constant message so far in 2020, being flexible is key. Even in normal times, good RV campgrounds are hot commodities and with the uptick in people adventuring in RVs this summer, spaces are booking up fast. Make sure to book in advance and have second and third choices ready in case things are booked up.

RV-ing is the perfect way for people to explore while keeping themselves and others safe. (Photo: Leigh Gilbert/Can Geo Photo Club)
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Bring some comforts

As much as an RV has most of the amenities of home, sometimes it can be helpful to bring a little piece of your space with you to feel more comfortable, especially for children. Consider bringing a favourite blanket, pillow or stuffed toy with you in your home-away-from-home.

Respect the land

RV-ing is different from tent camping in many ways, but the same rules about respecting nature and other people’s communities still apply. Always leave your campsite better than you found it, including cleaning up any garbage, not disturbing wildlife and being cautious with any open flames you may have on your site. Always follow the rules of the campground, and make sure to leave only footprints and take only memories with you when you leave.

Make a set-up/tear down checklist

For many first-time RV-ers, there can be a lot of confusion about how to manage set up, tear down and hooking the RV up to a vehicle. Help prevent any mishaps or dangerous situations by creating a checklist that details what needs to be done, step-by-step, for each of these tasks.

Travelling in am RV gives people the opportunity to take a vacation and try more local options. (Photo: Breyen Peters/Can Geo Photo Club)
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Be COVID-19 safe

As much as you’re on vacation, remember to follow public health guidelines and use common sense while you travel. While many small towns rely on campers or tourism, they also don’t necessarily have the infrastructure to handle large scale health problems if COVID-19 were to spread from visitors. Wear masks indoors, use hand sanitizer, don’t travel if you’re sick, self-isolate if you think you may have been exposed and make sure you’re keeping your own spaces clean and disinfected as you travel.

Stay local

Part of staying closer to home this summer presents a unique opportunity to go all in on supporting local businesses. Many of these businesses are struggling because of the pandemic and decreased tourist activity, so make an effort wherever possible to support local wherever you go. Do some research, find local restaurants, farmer’s markets and stores and give them a try. Who knows, you may find a new favourite store or restaurant!


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