8 Pieces of Advice for 50+ RV Newbies

Donny and Tammy Benedict pose outside of their Keystone Cougar.

When Donny and I bought our first RV, we had officially just sent the last of our three kiddos off to college. With the empty nest years upon us, we were ready for the next chapter of our lives. The RV life was calling our names, but we soon realized…we knew nothing! Literally—the only experience we had was from watching the Robin Williams’ “RV” movie. That definitely left a lasting impression on our weary minds the first time we emptied the tanks.   

In the past 5 years, we have learned so much about RV life and travel.  We wanted to share this knowledge with other people who might be entering the RV game a little later in life.  

8 Tips for 50+ RVers

  1. Research and Create Your Plan

    Research everything!  We watched YouTube videos looking at layouts of RVs and watched other people traveling in their RVs to find the answers to all our questions about the buying process, what kind of insurance we would need, what supplies we would need, and how to plan our routes.  We just soaked in all the information we could find in preparation. In the process, we felt more sure of our decision and were able to develop “our” perfect plan for RV life and travel. 

    Donny and Tammy Benedict's Keystone Cougar travel trailer at a campsite.

  2. Embrace Technology

    Many helpful apps make RV travel easier today.  Instead of being afraid of them, embrace them.  We have an app for planning our route and an app for finding gas stations that are big RV-friendly and save us money on gas. We also use a location-sharing app to keep connected with friends and family.  Also, GPS is our best friend in a new area.  You will use these apps so much that you will become familiar and comfortable with them. 

  3. Prioritize Comfort

    Whether you plan on RVing for extended periods of time like us or just travel on short road trips, being comfortable in your RV is key to having a pleasant experience.  Make sure your mattress and bedding are comfortable for you. We splurged on a new mattress, awesome sheets, and pillows to ensure we would get good sleep.  Stock the kitchen and bathroom with all the conveniences you enjoy. I brought my favorite kitchen gadgets so I could still make all our favorite dishes. We think of it as our little “vacation home on wheels” and that’s exactly how it feels, cozy and comfortable. 

    Tammy Benedict lounges on the couch in her Keystone Cougar travel trailer.

  4. Plan Your Route Carefully

    When I begin planning a new route, I always start by looking at our timeline and our final destination. Then I research that route and plan our stops according to our “must-see” spots along the way.  It’s important to choose a travel pace that is best for you.  Donny and I try to keep it at 300 miles a day at most and we like to drive early so we arrive at the campsite with plenty of daylight. 

  5. Stay Connected

    We love a good campfire with friends, so we make it a priority to get out there and meet people. We walk the campground, attend events, and chat with others to create new friendships. We work-camped last summer and made great new friendships through that experience. Attending rallies, meet-ups, RV clubs, and joining online communities are all great ways to make new friendships. 

    We also like to stay connected to our family while on the road. We use FaceTime phone calls and the Marco Polo app to video talk with our loved ones. We send postcards from each new area we visit to the “grand cuties,” which they love!  And sometimes we are lucky enough that family gets to join us at a location we are in to explore together. 

    Donny and Tammy Benedict with their family.

  6. Plan for Health Needs

    We bring along our insurance and HSA information and two first aid kits— one in the RV and one in the truck so we are always prepared. Also, we like to leave a copy of important medical info with family back home (just in case). We plan ahead by bringing enough of our prescription medications with us to last the whole trip. This summer, Donny will receive his last few treatments on his eyes. It took some planning but we successfully worked with his regular doctor to find a specialist local to our destination this year.  

  7. Stay Active

    This one can be easy if you love outdoor activities!  We hike and bike at every new destination. We have a kayak we can use whenever we have the opportunity and we are currently learning how to play pickleball because so many campgrounds have courts now.  Incorporating these activities into your RV trips is a great way to stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

    Donny and Tammy Benedict hiking near a stream.

  8. Don't Let the Fear of Change Stop You!

    This is our biggest piece of advice. One thing is certain, 100 percent of change is scary but the best part of your life might be on the other side of that fear. The only way to find out is to go for it.   

Fifth Wheels

This camping trailer affectionately nicknamed a “Fiver” is a favorite of many, especially those taking extended trips in their RV. The prominent overhang resting above the tow truck bed is frequently employed as a bedroom suite, or, more recently, a living room or even a kitchen.  

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