Planning to rent an RV and take a long road trip as we did this summer? Here are some tips on what to look out for and how to coordinate traveling with others as a group.

What we wish we’d known about RV travel

Plan to do some cleaning right away if you’re renting the RV. Your cleanliness standards may not match the rental company’s (our RV was fine, but our friends who rented from the same place weren’t so lucky).

Hunt for the best gas prices ahead of time. We spent about $630 on gas.

Pack duct tape, bungee cords and basic tools. Things will rattle, and sometimes they may unscrew themselves.

Organize obsessively. It’s hard to believe how often you can lose things in a tiny space. It helped to have a labeled bin for each dinner’s ingredients, and to assign a cabinet to each person.

Pack more dish towels and bath towels than you think you’ll need.


Don’t forget the toilet paper and air freshener.

More travel stories


What we learned about traveling as a group

Lay out guidelines together that allay each traveler’s concerns. When’s bedtime for the kids? Will they ride in each other’s RVs?

Book campsites early, and have one person book all the sites in a given campground so you end up near each other. We hit the reservation systems in October for our July trip.

Upload your bookings to a place where you can all access it, like TripIt or a Google doc — then print it out. We didn’t always have cellphone service, so having a paper copy with addresses and check-in times was crucial.

Speaking of no cellphone service, don’t rely on being able to text each other. Agree on rendezvous points and times in person before you go, and be OK with not always connecting.

Leave room for bikes and scooters. They kept kids playing and out of our hair while we made dinner.