RV Tips

When it comes to RV, we've been there, done that, now serving 232 tips in 25 categories ranging from 5th Wheel Trailers to Used RVs.

Can I cross the Canadian/United States border with my pet?

Driving Your RV Across the Canadian/United States Border with a Pet

Crossing the Canadian/United States border with a cat or dog is fairly simple. The animal must have a rabies vaccination certificate, issued by a licensed veterinarian, which shows the vaccine was administered within 12 months of the border crossing. The document must also have an accurate description of the animal. A letter from your veterinarian certifying the overall health of the animal is not required, but acts as a back-up. Cats and dogs under three months of age are exempt. Animals and your RV are subject to inspection at the border.

Pet birds more than three days old may be imported, subject to a health inspection at the border. Owners must sign a declaration that they have owned the bird for at least 90 days prior to entry. Special rules apply for birds on the endangered species list. Special permits are required for exotic pets such as amphibians, reptiles and aquarium fish.

The rules sometimes vary depending on which country you are entering. If visiting Canada, its best to check with the Canada Border Services Agency. If traveling to the United States consult the U.S. Customs and Border Service and/or the USDA, United States Department of Agriculture.

Don’t forget your own valid passport and make sure the registration and insurance on your RV will be valid for the duration of your trip.

Where do I find emergency road service providers for RVs?

Emergency Road Service for RVs

Changing a flat tire on an RV is not exactly the same as on the family sedan. The sheer weight of the vehicle makes the chore much more challenging. Towing an RV also requires a larger tow vehicle and special skills to avoid damaging the on-board systems. Not only do you have to worry about the engine and the chassis, you must consider the systems that are part of the housing section. One pull in the wrong direction can burst a water hose or puncture a holding tank. Signing up with an emergency road service that handles RVs is the best way to protect your home on wheels and preserve your peace of mind..

Good Sam

That same company that helps you find a place to camp for the night also offers RV Roadside Assistance. They cover issues such as lockouts, jump starts, flat tires, emergency gas service and towing. Depending on the plan you can also cover your car, motorcycle and/or truck. Some plans include services of a roadside mechanic, cover leased RV and offer other discounts.


This iconic road service company with the familiar blue and yellow trucks also offers coverage on RVs. Rules vary among the states, but generally to get the RV coverage you must sign up for the Premier or Plus RV service. Coverage is similar to some of the Good Sam plans. AAA also offers travel agency service and vehicle insurance coverage. Check with your home state for details. AAA cards are also honored in Canada at shops that accept CAA, the Canadian equivalent. British Columbia has its own sub-label, BCAA.

To find other sources of RV emergency road service, ask the dealership where you bought your RV or check with your current auto insurance firm to see if they provide coverage.

Can you travel with a cat in an RV?

RV Traveling With Your Cat

The RV lifestyle is perfect for taking your four-legged family member on vacations with you. But what if your pet purrs instead of barks? Is it possible to have a good RV experience with your favorite feline? The answer, of course, is yes. It just takes a bit more preparation in order to outsmart your cat, while at the same time keeping him content.

Use a Cat Carrier

Don’t expect your cat to ride in one of those small, taking-me-to-the-vet cat carriers for hours on end. Spring for a larger model, line it with a soft blanket and a few familiar cat toys and most cats settle in pretty quick. Some will serenade you when you start out, but the “singing” usually ends once the cat figures out nothing bad will happen. Many cats end up spending the night in the open carrier, getting up just in time to remind you about breakfast.

Setting Up the Litter Box

Campgrounds frown on letting cats run loose, and in most cases doing so is unsafe. A few cats will walk on a leash, or rather walk you. But most cats stay inside, and seem to prefer it that way as long as there are nice big windows to look out of.

One of your biggest challenges is figuring out where to set up the litter box. The bathroom is the obvious choice, if it is big enough. A separate shower is ideal. Make sure you put the box on a big towel or pad to keep stray bits of litter from going down the drain. Having this stuff gum up your gray tank is no fun. The covered litter boxes work best. Special pads that go in front of the litter box door also help. Another option for larger RVs is to put the litter box in a hidden corner of a separate bedroom. Again, those pads will keep your cat from tracking litter all over your rig.

Trial Run

If your cat isn’t used to traveling, taking the carrier and the cat out to the RV for a trial run in the driveway works wonders. Leave the cat carrier door open during part of the trial run so your cat can wander around the RV. Put out food, water and set up the litter box just as if you were spending the night. Curiosity will do the rest. You may have to repeat this process for especially irritable and antsy cats.

Consider doing a trial campout in your driveway or maybe a weekend trip to a local campground. The latter gets your cat used to the sound and feel of the RV when it’s in motion. The turning on of the engine and driving down the road for the first time tends to bring out the kitty serenade in full force. But once you’re parked and settled for the night, chances are your cat will stake out a favorite window seat and just watch the scenery.

Sooner or later your cat will figure out he can sit in that window in perfect safety, no matter how many dogs sit outside and bark. The word “tease” comes to mind.

How do I wake up my RV after a winter snooze?

Waking Up Your RV After Winter Storage

If you are a warm-weather camper, there are a few things to remember when starting the season after a snooze. Whether your RV storage is indoor or out, here's what you need to remember to get going again:

  • Fill your holding tank with a 50/50 percent bleach/water solution to kill any mold or fungus that may have grown over the winter and flush with fresh water. Hook up a pressurized fresh water line and turn on all sinks, including outdoor shower, to flush out all traces of antifreeze.
  • Treat your black and grey tanks with RV tank treatment solution from your RV store.
  • Inspect your appliances. Gas appliances need to be inspected for cracked or worn hoses.
  • Inspect electrical system for corrosion and/or malfunctions. Turn on all lights, radios, and operate any electrical equipment to be sure it works.
  • Test for carbon monoxide leaks.
  • Check tire pressure and condition of tires. Be sure pressure is at the recommended level for your RV.
  • Open all doors, drawers and cabinets and check for critters who may have camped out over the winter. They probably don't want to live with you either!
  • Clean your RV inside and out with recommended cleaner from your RV store to get a good start on the season.
Remember that none of these tips can replace the need for regular maintenance during indoor or outdoor RV storage.

Is there a way to store my RV in a garage without going over-budget?

Portable RV Garages for Protection at Home

Have you decided to invest in proper motorhome storage this year? If you like the idea of having your own RV storage garage, there are several options on the market. Choose from peak roof style, rounded, square and double-wide. A portable RV garage offers a temporary shelter in several sizes to fit your RV storage needs. They are made with polyethylene fabric, heavy-duty metal frames, and tubes and a slip-fit system that connect for easy construction. Water-proof with UV protective covering, portable covered RV storage units offer accessibility, protection and they are movable!

Be sure to check city ordinances and neighborhood covenants for rules related to residential RV storage on your lot.

Do I winterize during indoor storage?

Don't Let Your RV Get a Chill! Check Temperatures and Winterize!

Is your indoor or portable RV storage temperature controlled? If you are fortunate enough to have a temperature controlled RV garage, you may not need to winterize your RV. Monitor your RV temperature frequently. If the internal temperature falls below freezing, you will need to winterize your RV.

  • To winterize, empty and flush out your holding tanks. This will keep the water lines from freezing and bursting. Drain the fresh water tank and water heater (leave the drain plug out - do not open the safety valve - it may not seal properly).
  • Pour two to three gallons of non-toxic RV antifreeze through the plumbing. Put antifreeze in each sink, shower/bath, and stool.
  • Use a manual hand pump to push the anitfreeze through the system.
  • It is recommended to purchase a hot water heater bypass kit. This will allow you to empty your hot water heater to avoid freezing damage without using an excessive amount of antifreeze.
  • Remove the battery for winter storage. Store the battery in a warm spot but not in your living area.
Don't forget to de-winterize and do a safety check after storing your RV for long periods!

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Sherril Steele-Carlin