Planning an RV road trip for the first time can be intimidating. From deciding which type of recreational vehicle best fits a client’s needs to figuring out plumbing systems, there’s plenty of room for error.

Zander Buteux, VacationRenter’s head of organic growth.

Zander Buteux, VacationRenter’s head of organic growth. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Zander Buteux

Still, according to Zander Buteux, head of organic growth for vacation home and RV rental listing aggregator VacationRenter, navigating those challenges can be well worth it. Buteux is so enamored of the RV lifestyle, in fact, that he’s been living and traveling in his RV full time for the past two years.

“The biggest barrier to entry that I’ve had to explain away is that RVs are difficult to drive,” said Buteux. “And one of the biggest misconceptions is [that the lifestyle] is not one accessible to working professionals.”

Buteux shared the following tips for first-time RV road trippers to help them get the lay of the land:

RVs may not be difficult to drive, but a driver does need to be cautious. “It’s important to remember that you can’t be Mario Andretti behind the wheel,” Buteux said. 

With a Class B vehicle, like a Sprinter van, or a smaller Class C vehicle (which start at around 20 feet long), you have some flexibility regarding where to park and sleep; it can even be a last-minute decision. With larger Class C vehicles, which can stretch into the 30-foot range, and Class A vehicles, which are generally 30 to 40 feet long, nightly plans need to be established before heading out.

To an outsider, RV plumbing can be the breaking point, but “it’s not significantly different than the plumbing luxuries you’re used to,” Buteux said. An RV has three tank types: white/clear water, gray water and black water. The clear water tank is the fresh tank that outputs fresh water to the entire vehicle, gray water is the water that goes down the sink and shower drains and black water is wastewater that flushes down the toilet.

This blue icon typically signifies that a dump station is available nearby.

This blue icon typically signifies that a dump station is available nearby.

An RV’s white/clear water tank can be filled up at most gas stations, while the majority of campsites and RV resorts offer “dump stations” where wastewater can be drained. This blue icon typically signifies that a dump station is available.

Need reliable WiFi access on the road? Buteux recommends using a cell phone signal and hot spot booster from weBoost.