How To RV With R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

An aerial view of Karen Blue's RV parked alongside a lake

After nearly four years of full-time travel and RV living, I’ve learned a few things about what it means to be a considerate RVer. The fundamental principles include: Reduce, Educate, Sustain, Protect, Enjoy, Connect, and Travel. Or, more easily remembered as, RVing with RESPECT. Here are my tips for being a respectable RV citizen, road traveler and outdoor adventurer.

Reduce

As an RVer, it’s important to be mindful of your impact on the environment. There have been exciting efforts and advancements across the RV industry that are actively working to help reduce emissions, including a push for more solar power and new electric RV concepts. And while we can’t completely eliminate our emissions, there are things RVers can do to help reduce their overall impact.

  • Perform regular maintenance on your RV and reduce your load to optimize fuel efficiency.
  • Buy reusable dishes, cups and utensils, as opposed to disposable. If you have a large gathering, try to use compostable or eco-friendly dishes and always recycle to reduce landfill waste.
  • Install a water-saving faucet and showerhead.
  • If you drive an RV with a diesel engine, use biodiesel instead of petroleum diesel. While biodiesel is not as widely available, you can still find gas stations that offer it.

Karen Blue's sustainable products such as reusable utensils, wax paper and eco-friendly laundry detergent

Educate

Many RVers have fond memories of camping as children and are now raising their own families with this same appreciation. They are passing down and educating the next generation on the importance of protecting our outdoor spaces. There is also a new surge of first-time RVers who may not be as knowledgeable but are equally as passionate about camping and RVing. As with all forms of education, information should be sought and shared.

  • Kids can attend state and national park ranger programs and earn badges, all while learning about nature, history, recreation, and preservation. Don’t have any kids? There is actually no age limit for the National Park Service Junior Ranger programs, so anyone can enjoy them!
  • Seek information from seasoned travelers through responsible social media, blogs and RV events.

Karen Blue's daughter wearing her Junior Ranger vest with badges from different national parks

Sustain

RVs are essentially tiny homes on wheels with a small footprint. Generally, they involve some level of sustainable practices, including water and power conservation, but there are many ways we can further our efforts.

  • When you arrive at your destination, try to shop local. And if you’re shopping online, buy from sustainable marketplaces such as Kindhumans.
  • Use organic or enzyme-based eco-friendly holding tank treatments. These are free of toxic chemicals and less harmful for the environment.
  • Install a solar power system in your RV. Not only will it produce clean, renewable energy but it also frees you from the need to be connected to shore power and is a significant step toward off-grid boondock camping. There are plenty of resources to help determine how much solar power you need for your RV.
  • Find local water filling stations for drinking water, and refill plastic gallon jugs or use an RV water filtration system.

Local produce, flowers and goods from a farmers market that Karen Blue atteneded

Protect

With the rise of more people getting outdoors comes the responsibility of protecting the places we all enjoy. Here are a few tips to help protect our parks and green spaces. 

  • Learn about and model the seven leave no trace principles.
  • Burn wood where you buy it and practice responsible fire safety.
  • Properly dispose of RV waste.
  • Grab a glove and make a commitment to pick up trash. There is no better way to teach your friends and family about waste and being a good citizen of the planet.

Karen Blue's daughter picking up trash next to their Airstream RV

Enjoy

Nothing can ruin an RV trip like an accident. Whether you are driving to and from your destination or out exploring, there are some simple things you can do to safely enjoy your trip.

  • Prepare for the outdoors with the proper gear, including sunscreen, insect repellent, bear spray, a first aid kit, and maps.
  • Check the weather ahead of your travels.
  • Observe all wildlife from a safe viewing distance.
  • Practice RV fire safety by regularly inspecting smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.

An aerial view of Karen Blue's RV parked alongside a lake

Connect

I never expected to meet so many incredible RVers during our travels and build such a strong community. Regardless if you’re traveling with a big group or adventuring solo, here are a few things you can do to help to build and promote the RV community.

  • Attend meet-ups, rallies and caravans with other RVers.
  • Build your own RV community by connecting with others through social media and getting together in a safe place when you are in the same area.
  • Learn how to safely RV with your pets. Keep them leashed when required and always pick up after them.
  • Be respectful and welcoming to others. Just remember that everyone was new to RVing at one point.

Karen Blue's friends and family smiling for a photo as they sit by the beach by their Airstream RVs

Travel

Last but not least, get out there and travel in your RV. The best way to learn and earn respect is by actually doing it. There are so many beautiful places to visit and exciting things to explore, and it’s important that we keep the outdoors healthy and available for generations to come.

Karen Blue's Airstream by the beach at sunset

Travel Trailers

Travel trailers are the most popular type of non-motorized RV. No doubt you’ve seen one pulled down the highway hitched to a car or pickup. Travel trailers come in all sizes including tiny jellybean-shaped models with a chuckwagon kitchen in the rear to the massive house-on-wheels with picture windows and a sliding glass patio door.

Find Your Perfect RV

Whether you're new to the world of RVing or you're ready to narrow your search, we're here to help you sort through it all and find the RV that's right for you. Explore RVs based off of your lifestyle and the features important to you.

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An travel trailer RV parked in a green field.