Emergency Planning For An RV Trip


While preparations for your next RV trip can be an exciting exercise, many (like myself), feel somewhat overwhelmed at the prospect of planning out stays and activities for a family of five in a home on wheels.

My mind seems to always go to the worst-case scenarios (which drive my husband and kids absolutely bonkers) as I admittedly have an inherent need for a thorough plan in place for every scenario.

Eventually, thankfully, I get through it, and once the planning process is over, I can focus on having actual FUN!

The benefit for you – fellow reader – is that I’ve come up with the bones of a good emergency preparedness for RVer that you can use on your next RV adventure.

Step1:  Roadside Assistance

The first step we take as a family is plot the time and trajectory of our trip, which for me – this is the most fun part of the planning process.

The end result is a list of places and dates we’ll be staying.

To state the obvious:  this is important information for not only campground reservations and event planning, it also lays the groundwork for the roadside assistance number I need to look up just in case our RV gets a flat, engine blows, or battery dies (among other things).

In a notebook I Google the date and destination, and jot-down the best rated towing service or roadside service companies in the area for quick reference.

(If you’re ever in the Dallas Fort Worth area, I can vouch for Premio Towing Service – they’ve helped us here recently when our Starcraft RV wouldn’t get out of the driveway!)

While this may seem like overkill, I’ve actually used the list two times in as many years for a flat tire and dead battery, once where the service had to tow the RV to an auto repair location.

Step 2:  Vehicle Maintenance

Closely related to emergency roadside assistance is proper vehicle maintenance.

The idea is:  if you properly maintain the RV, you can avoid preventable vehicle issues.

Just like any gas or diesel-powered piece of machinery, your RV needs to be properly serviced on regular intervals.

So before you leave ensure that your RV has had it’s…

  • Oil changed
  • Transmission fluids filled
  • Coolant fluids topped off
  • Windshield wiper fluid topped off
  • Hydraulic Brakes – check pads . rotors/ drums / linings checked (! Super Important if you’re driving in the mountains)
  • Air Brakes – check / replace filters (I like to have one on hand in case of failure)
  • Battery tested
  • Belts checked / replaced
  • Tires – aligned and checked for wear
  • Spare tire – properly inflated

Also note, I keep a log of the PM items we’ve completed with dates in the glove department so I can reference it later.

Step 3.  Pack An Emergency Kit

Every vehicle should have a proper emergency kit in case of an emergency roadside need.  Prior to the trip I make sure to check the integrity of the kit items as many of the items can expire.  Here’s what we pack before every trip

  • 3 Gallons of drinking water
  • Jumper cables
  • Multi-purpose utility tool
  • Reflective road triangles
  • Reflective vests for the family
  • Compass
  • First Aid kit (make sure it has a snake bit kit!)
  • High, non-expiring dry foods, bars, fruit, and / or candy. Enough for 2 days.
  • Portable cell phone charger / power banks (ensure that it is charged prior to departure
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Rain ponchos
  • Warm blankets or sleeping bags, one for every family member
  • Shovel
  • Cash
  • Hiking shoes
  • Warm Clothes
  • Spare tire jack
  • Sewing Kit
  • Bug Spray
  • Emergency toolbox (wrenches, screwdriver, rope, ratchet straps, duct tape)
  • Paper map of areas visiting

Step 4:  Pre-Launch Checklist

A few days before we leave I like to go over a checklist of RV-specific items that should be prepped prior to the trip.  These include:

  • RV Jacks: Test before leaving and make sure they are up prior to pulling out of the driveway
  • Water Heater / Filters
  • RV Generator: Empty old gas, top-off with new and run generator prior to leaving.  Make sure you have all necessary wires and cable stowed.
  • Carbon Monoxide / Smoke Detectors Check
  • Sideout Check: If you have a sideout, ensure that the hydraulic work smoothly
  • Exterior / Interior Lights: Ensure all lights turn on and function.  Have spare bulbs on hand
  • A/C Check


And there you have it.

Hopefully this comprehensive list above has helped take some of the worry out of planning for emergencies so you can concentrate on looking forward to planning the fun adventures on your next RV Roadtrip.