Road trip Checklist

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Road trip checklist -- don’t leave home without one

Part of the road trip planning for any RV travel should be creation of a road trip checklist. My wife and I used two such lists. One was the road trip checklist itself, on which we had written the names of important items that we didn’t want to leave behind. The other was what we called our “launch pad checklist,” which I consulted every time I broke camp. On the launch pad list, I literally checked off with a pen the chores I needed to complete before we launched out of a campground and down the highway on another day’s adventure. These included things such as “close windows and vents,” “turn off propane,” “raise stabilizer jacks.” Mundane stuff? Yes, but you don’t want to be barreling down the highway with a thick shower of sparks rooster-tailing behind your rig and your extended stabilizer jacks scraping along the concrete.

Karen and I spent more than a year on the road in a fifth-wheel trailer, logging more than 30,000 miles, on a road trip to self-discovery. Thanks to our checklists, the trip went smoothly. Thousands of couples dream of an adventure such as that, and we found that it’s well within reach of many, if not most. If you’re willing to make the temporary adjustments in your life that a road trip requires, and willing to do the necessary planning, there’s probably little reason you can’t launch yourself on a similar journey.
The story of our adventure, and how we approached it, I’ve described in my book, In Search of America’s Heartbeat: Twelve Months on the Road. We’d had zero experience of any kind with RV travel before our road trip, and we approached the endeavor with just a bit of concern. The fact that the trip turned out to be so enjoyable resulted, in large part, from careful planning. And a part of that planning was creation of our road trip checklist, which helped ensure that when we headed down the highway we left nothing important behind.

Everyone’s checklist will be a bit different, depending on a person’s idiosyncrasies. But here are the things we had written on our personal list:


Sometimes, in spite of the best planning, little things can go temporarily wrong. In case they do, it’s good to be prepared. Here are a few things you might want to consider for backup:


This list will get you started, but ultimately you will develop your own road trip checklist. Ideas will occur as you undertake your road trip planning, and after a shakedown cruise or two you will have a list that is uniquely yours.