An RV Checklist for Before Your Trip 12802

Going on a trip in your RV can mean anything from a long weekend to an extended road trip. The items on your RV pre-trip checklist depend on where you are going and the duration of the trip you are planning. That said, there are some basics that everyone should review before setting out in their RV.

Let’s take a look at what those are and when you should do them.

3 to 6 Months Before Your Trip

New Tires For RV Camper Van. Taking Care of Motorhome and Travel Trailer Tires.

Before you even think about heading out on the road, you need to check your RV’s condition and ensure it is safe and ready for travel. The last thing you want to do is end up stranded and have to deal with mechanical or electrical issues instead of enjoying your vacation. Here are all the things you need to do three to six months before you leave. 

  • Have your RV completely mechanically checked, including internal functions. If you’re a full-timer, consider having your RV inspected by a technician at least annually. 
  • Look at the condition of all latches, hooks, tires, awnings and any movable parts. 
  • Make sure your hitch is in good order. 
  • Check the condition of your HVAC system and portable generator.
  • Make sure that there isn’t any mold or mildew on the inside of the RV or refrigerator.
  • Make sure all propane or gas containers are filled up and not leaking. 
  • Check to make all lights work, including vehicle lights, exterior auxiliary lights, and interior lights. Proper lighting helps with security and to deter theft.

Though unrelated to the condition of your rig, it can be smart to contact campgrounds at or near your destination for reservations, if required. Many popular campgrounds fill up fast, and you need to plan well in advance. 

One Week Before Your Trip

Senior Couple Hold a Map and Plan Their Journey by Their Motor Home

About a week before your trip is where the bulk of the planning needs to occur. Doing all this a week out gives you enough time to get it done without having to rush. Some items to consider include:

  • Put together a meal plan and be ready to prepare food at the campground.
  • Gather all of the important paperwork, documents, and maps and have them in one place.
  • If pets or kids are going, be sure to have all of their health documents and needed medications.
  • Make arrangements for mail delivery.
  • Ensure that all bills are paid and any other obligations are taken care of during the time you’ll be gone.
  • Print copies of maps and directions (in case you don’t have internet access).
  • Wash your laundry, specifically the clothes that you plan to take with you. 
  • Go shopping for food and supplies you’ll need on your trip.
  • Check generator fluid levels and RV battery charge.
  • Confirm once again that motorhome or tow vehicle fluid levels are satisfactory.
  • Fill the fresh water tank to your preferred level, but remember that carrying a lot of water with you adds a considerable amount of weight to your rig.
  • Check to make sure that your first aid kit is complete.

Departure Day

Man driving on a road in the Camper Van RV. Caravan car Vacation. Family vacation travel, holiday trip in motorhome

Right as you prepare to settle into your RV and hit the road, it’s important to take some time and make sure you’re totally prepared for your trip. Remember the following important things:

  • Check the tire pressure on the tow vehicle and the RV tire pressure.
  • Fuel up the vehicle if it isn’t already.
  • Clean all windows and mirrors.
  • Fill containers for drinking water.
  • Check all cupboards and the refrigerator to secure items that might move or shift while traveling.
  • Make sure all awnings and any moving parts are secured.
  • Close roof vents except those for ventilation.
  • Confirm the refrigerator is running properly.
  • Make sure all other appliances function as they should.
  • Check your propane tanks, hoses, and valves.
  • Ensure all external RV items such as steps, decks, and handrails are properly stowed.
  • Make sure that anything carried on the roof or outside such as bikes or coolers are properly secured.
  • Close all internal and external doors and cabinets.
  • Check that the RV brakes are working properly. 

With every item on this checklist marked off, you should be good to enjoy your trip. With this comprehensive checklist and some savvy RV hacks, you’ll be the smartest camper at the campground.

How do you prepare for your RV trips. Anything you’d add to this checklist? 


  1. Good check list. However I would do a final walk around inspection (especially if you are a full timer.
    Before I get all crazy and weight a bunch of stuff there is a check list in the cdl study guide provided by the DMV that will work very well.
    1) pull your rig out of your current parking spot and to a safe spot in the park or street.
    2) walk back to your parking spot and check the following;
    – you didn’t forget anything, chuck blocks, leveling blocks, hoses, chairs or anything else.
    – be sure you cleaned up after yourself, all trash…
    – inspect the ground for any signs of leaks from your rig ( puddles, drips, stains….)
    – be courteous and check out with the park host
    – do a final check of all lights, brakes, CB, Walkie Talkies, and all passengers to include pets
    – Make all last minute calls to family and friends where you are leaving from and where you are going to. This includes your next destination to give them a heads up if you are arriving after hours.

  2. I like using Find Friends app to share with family so they can track where we are at? Works great if are traveling as a group also.

  3. We have become avid tailgaters for concerts & festivals so we created “the tailgate bucket”. This large box contains it all: utensils, grilling items, spices paper towels, trash bags, toilet paper, koozies, etc etc. Now that we have our first camper, we just grab the tailgate bucket, throw it in the camper & go! I am now creating other task specific buckets for the camper (bed and bath, outdoor/patio/campfire, first-aid, etc). This way, we can prep the buckets in the house well in advance of our trips. So much easier and you do not forget essentials as they are always stocked in advance. We restock at the end of each trip so it’s pretty much ready to go for the next adventure! Since we have our camper stored at a location an hour away, we cannot just go in and out to check supplies & inventory. So this system is perfect!

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