Top Tips for Safe Holiday RV Travel

From the days leading up to Thanksgiving through the start of the new year, America’s highways and byways are packed with holiday travelers. During the busiest travel season, thousands of families hit the road to celebrate with loved ones or explore new destinations. However, holiday travel isn’t all Christmas cheer. RVers face extra challenges, including increased traffic and winter weather. Here are our top tips to help ensure safe holiday RV travel days.

Make a checklist and check it twice

Channel your inner Santa Clause and check your list twice before you start your travel day. Every RVer should have a detailed pretravel checklist to ensure a smooth start to the day. From securing bathroom doors to turning off the furnace, your checklist ensures nothing gets overlooked in the excitement of starting the trip. 

Now, raise your hand if you have ever skipped the checklist and managed your pretravel tasks from memory. All hands should be up right now… we’ve all forgone the checklist at some point. However, the excitement of holiday travel makes the checklist even more critical. Not only will you be getting ready for an RV travel day, but you’ll also be packing gifts, thinking through the groceries needed for special meals, and rushing to meet up with grandkids or family members. All that extra excitement adds up to distraction and means you are more likely to overlook something. 

Once you have checked your list twice, complete a thorough walkaround and light check before starting your drive. Walking around your rig and intentionally looking at every detail is last-minute insurance against troubles.

Check your tire pressure

Nothing derails an RV trip like a tire blowout. RV tire blowouts are scary, dangerous, and incredibly expensive to repair. Beyond a destroyed tire, RV tanks and floors are often damaged during a blowout. 

Winter weather calls for extra attention to tires. As the temperature drops, so does tire pressure. Before you start your drive day, check the pressure in each RV tire and adjust as needed. During your drive, a Tire Pressure Monitoring System can keep you updated on the current status of each tire. A TPMS alarm can be an early warning before the worst happens. It will also allow you to adjust tire pressure throughout your drive day, especially if you started driving on a frigid morning and warmed up over the day.


Go slow

You’re in a hurry to eat your turkey dinner or tear open some gifts… but that’s no reason to turn your RV travel day into a race. The increased traffic of the holiday travel season calls for slower speeds. Holiday drivers are unpredictable, and most drivers around you have never towed a travel trailer or sat behind the wheel of a motorhome. The person swerving in front of you to make their exit probably doesn’t know that you need extra stopping distance. In addition, winter weather can be challenging for RVers. Going slower allows for more reaction time and room to maneuver. Plus, slower speeds improve fuel efficiency, so you can spend less at the gas pump and put extra presents under the tree. 

Make Frequent Stops

Winter weather and holiday traffic can be stressful. Even if you find yourself navigating empty stretches of highway, long drives can be monotonous and lead to driver fatigue. Break up your journey with frequent stops. This gives everyone a chance to stretch their legs, grab a snack, and breathe in some fresh air. It’s a good idea to stop once every 2 hours, and the stops can be as simple as a fuel station or rest area. But planning some special holiday stops in your journey is far more enjoyable. While planning your route, look for cute towns with over-the-top holiday lights, Christmas stores with unique ornaments to pick up as souvenirs, or eateries with yummy holiday treats. Or, look for scenic overlooks along your route and stop for a few photos while you recharge. 

Wherever you choose to stop, be sure to complete another walkaround and tire pressure check before jumping back into the roadways. 

Lock all RV and storage compartment doors

We’ve all heard horror stories about upticks in vehicular break-ins during the holidays. Unfortunately, a whole home on wheels, full of expensive RV gear, can be tempting to thieves. Protect your belongings by locking your RV and vehicle doors and those on each storage bay. Add this important step to your pretravel checklist and double-check the locks at each stop. A quick double-check is essential when stopping at busy fuel stations and stores, especially if someone opened a storage bay to grab a quick item or went into the RV to get a snack or visit the restroom. 

Whether traveling to enjoy Thanksgiving or Christmas with family or headed out for a winter getaway, a little extra diligence this holiday season can ensure you are still RVing into the new year.

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