An RV Checklist To Help You Get Ready For RV Travel – Things You Should Do Before Every RV Trip!

by Karen

Camping Tips, Checklists, Cleaning Tips, Fulltime RVing, Kitchen Issues, Moving, RV Security And Safety Issues, RV Water Tanks, Space And Storage Issues

Whether you are going to a new campground and planning to stay for months, or just going on a weekend trip, you should have an RV checklist of things that need to be done before you leave.

Not only will a list prevent you from forgetting something important, but it will also assure that you get from one place to the other safely. (Because there are lots of little things that are easy to forget about when you’re RVing.)

Your RV to-do list can be written down and taped inside a cabinet door, or tucked away in your brain — either way, having a list is essential!

Jim and Karen's Jayco RV trailer and tow vehicle -- a Ford pickup truck

Here’s how Jim and I team up to get things done each time before we leave in the RV:

  • I usually take care of all the inside chores.
  • Jim takes care of the outside tasks.
  • Then, we check each other to make dang sure everything is done.


Things To Do Inside The RV

On the inside, I start at the back of the RV and work my way forward.


In the bedroom

I put away all our shoes, caps, and jackets in the wardrobe closet.

Also, I make sure that the sliding doors are locked.

Next, I clear off all the things on the dresser and bedside shelves. (Lots of things get tucked into the dresser drawers — so they don’t get thrown around the RV bedroom during travel.)

The soap dish and toothbrush holders are packed away.

Shampoo and conditioner are set on the floor of the shower.

And I lock the shower door.

When all of that is done, I’m ready to bring in the bedroom slide.


In the living area

We have a wicker trunk that doubles as a coffee table. Before we move, I make sure all the remote controls, the table clock, the flashlight, thermometer, and a few other things are tucked inside the trunk for the trip.

I look inside the pantry cabinet and make sure there is no food packaged in glass jars touching each other.

At this time, I also move things around inside the pantry, rearranging them so they won’t slide around and fall out on my head the first time I open the cabinet door when we get to where we are going.

I put the throw pillows from the sofa in the pantry — to help things stay in place in the pantry while we’re moving.


In the kitchen

I put the canisters and coffee maker in the cabinet under the sink.

Clean bath towels and kitchen towels are placed between glass casserole dishes and bowls to cushion them.

I lower the cover over the stove top.

I also put away the spice jars from the spice rack — packaging them in large ziploc bags.

Once everything is secured in the kitchen, I push the button to bring in the kitchen slide.

You need a separate RV checklist for the RV interior things.

Now, the inside of the trailer is ready to go!

It may sound really involved, but this process really takes less than 1 hour to do it all.

At the same time that I’m checking items off my indoor RV checklist, Jim is busy on the outside.


Things To Do Outside The RV


Jim disconnects the satellite cable from the RV and wraps it in a coil — he then puts it with the Dish in the back of the truck.


He dumps the black and gray water tanks, rinses the sewer hose, takes it off the trailer, and puts in a large plastic garbage bag — which also goes into the back of the truck.

After that…

He disconnects the water hose, cleans off the outside of it, and coils it up before putting it into the back of the truck.

The last thing Jim does is…

He unhooks the electric cord and pushes it into the storage compartment.

You need a separate RV checklist for the RV exterior things.

All of this usually takes him the same amount of time that it takes me to get the inside of the RV ready.

When we’re both done, we check behind each other to make sure things are where they are supposed to be!


Things To Do With The Tow Vehicle

Next, we back up the truck and hitch up the trailer to it.

Once the hitch is on the ball and the cotter pin is in place, we raise the electric jack and put on the sway bars.

Jim then raises the look-out jacks on all 4 corners, and stows any wood blocks we had under them in the back of the truck.

While he’s doing that, I walk around the outside of the trailer and truck, and check to make sure all the running lights, brake lights, and turn signal lights are working properly.

I also make sure the RV entry door is locked, and that the steps are folded up and secured.

The very last thing we do is remove the chocks from the wheels.


The Bottom Line

You might think we’d be too tired to drive after all that work! But it really is just a short time to get it all done — usually about 2 hours max.

And every single thing we do is done for a reason!

If you’re thinking that each thing we do is just common sense… and you’d never have to tell someone to do it (or need “a list”) — but you would really be surprised at how many times we have seen someone drive off from their campsite and have:

  • Their electric cord pulled out of the trailer because they forgot to take the time to put it away
  • Their sewer hose trailing behind them, spewing ugly black water down the road

Here’s another great RV checklist!

So, I encourage you to make a list and follow it every time you get ready to go for a drive in your RV. You’ll  be a happy (and less stressed) camper when you do!

Right before we hit the road, I do a few last-minute thingsso we’ll be comfortable and have everything we need within reach while we’re driving.