How to Create an Emergency Plan for RV Road Trips

Camper and Eastern Sierras
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Creating a memorable RV road trip might seem simple—you pick a destination, book your campsites and pack the RV, right? Seasoned RV travelers know there’s a little more that needs to happen to keep that road trip from becoming a bad memory. 
  
Planning for emergencies—the things we hope won’t happen on the road—is the best way to keep your RV road trip plans on track. Take these three steps to planning for RV road trip emergencies, and then relax!

You can make it a great vacation, no matter what comes your way. 

Step One: Recognize Known Risks 

From chronic health issues to severe weather, there are road trip de-railers we can plan for if we acknowledge and deal with the risks. 
  
For example, if you or someone who’s traveling with you has health problems that could flare up on the road, make the necessary health care solutions a part of your vacation plan. Write down all foreseeable problems in a list. 
  
Here are the most common emergencies RV road trippers might face: 

Although you might never experience a travel emergency, recognizing they could happen and planning how you’ll respond are the actions of a smart RV traveler. 

Step Two: Formulate Your Plan 

Work through your list of potential emergencies one at a time.

Name the risk and then plan how you’ll mitigate the damage. Here are three examples: 

What if one of us becomes ill far from home? 

Find out ahead of time if you have insurance coverage outside our local area. Armed with that information, we’ll put your insurance cards and doctor’s contact information in a safe but easy-to-access place.

If disaster strikes, get emergency help and then contact our insurance plan for further instructions. ​

What if the RV breaks down on the road? 

This emergency can happen to the best road trip planners, but you can lessen the risk by having the RV checked by your mechanic regularly. If you do experience engine failure, A/C overload or some other mechanical issue, having a plan in place can make the difference between ending your trip early and a temporary delay. A roadside assistance plan through an auto club or your RV insurance provider is an essential tool to consider. Make a note of how will you contact them and what they cover. If you’re skilled in mechanical repairs, your RV tool kit should contain hazard flashers and other safety equipment, as well as basic tools and supplies. ​​

What if our credit cards or cash are stolen? 

Online banking makes surviving this emergency much easier than in the past. Include in your plan how to report stolen cards, and what’s needed to complete a wire transfer from your bank to a remote location. Before you leave, divide up debit and credit cards so that no one traveler is holding them all. You can also use an app such as ​iProtect or Keeper to store and encrypt your card numbers and bank account information for easy access on the road.

 

This list will be the framework of your effective RV road trip emergency plan. 

Step Three: Gather Your Resources 

After you’ve made your “what if this scary thing happens?” outline, go through each solution and identify the resources you’ll need to effectively execute the plan.
  
For each potential road trip emergency, there are people, tools or strategies that can help. What resources do you already have in place to help deal with a sudden, negative event? Gather the paperwork, contact information or other materials needed for each resolution. 
  
For example, gather your roadside assistance information, medical and dental insurance cards, doctor contact information, a fully-stocked RV tool kit for mechanical issues, a good weather radio, contact information for banks and credit card companies, and the numbers for the people you would contact back home if disaster strikes.

 

Whether it’s planning to pull off the road to find shelter when bad weather strikes or having your emergency contact information stored on your phone for first responders (label them ‘ICE’ for In Case of Emergency), knowing ahead of time what you’ll do can take the stress out of traveling. ​

By following those three steps, you can create an effective RV road trip emergency plan that saves the day, no matter what you encounter. 

Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV, a nationwide RV rental company.