The Only RV Travel Day Checklist You Will Ever Need

As we enter our third year of full-time RVing, we can say that having a complete RV travel day checklist can make all the difference. As you pack up your RV and prepare to travel down the road, a travel day checklist or departure checklist can give you peace of mind that you won’t be leaving anything behind or risking damage to your RV, tow vehicle, or vehicle in tow.

Some things are hard to forget and some are hard to remember.

One thing that is certain…travel days are full of emotions. Excitement about what is to come, stress about getting there safely and smoothly, and everything in between. It’s kind of a wild ride.

There will be days when you can do it all perfectly without much thought and others when your travel day checklist will be a lifesaver.

No matter what your RV travel days bring, the following checklist can serve as your north star, setting you on the path to a smooth journey to your next amazing RV destination!

The Ultimate RV Travel Day Checklist

Fifth wheel in a campsite surrounded by the blue waters of Lake Hartwell

Whether you are a new/first-time RVer or a seasoned RV traveler, this checklist can serve as a guide for your smoothest, least stressful RV travel days yet!

Pro Tip: As an RV couple, we have delegated specific responsibilities to each person to help make things as efficient as possible and limit the number of items each person has to remember. Alyssa is in charge of all inside items, as well as the final visual check of the outside of the RV and surrounding campground. Zach is in charge of all outside items on the RV as well as preparing the truck.

RV Departure Checklist

The RV departure checklist is the list of items you should consider when you are leaving your campground, boondocking site, or home and setting out toward your destination.

These items will ensure your RV is ready for travel, that you don’t forget anything, and that you will arrive at your spot without any surprises once you step inside your RV.

Inside the RV

It may be a cliche in the RV world… but the inside of your RV truly is like an earthquake when it is traveling down the road.

Taking the time to secure everything inside your RV before departure can help you avoid stepping into a chaotic mess and massive clean-up once you arrive at your destination.

To start, there are a few that apply to the entire RV:

  • Close and secure all cabinet doors (we use velcro straps to keep ours shut)
  • Wipe down countertops
  • Sweep floors and around all slide-outs to keep them clear from debris to avoid damage when bringing them in
  • Vacuum floors and rugs
  • Turn off all faucets
  • Secure any plants or decorations for travel
  • Unplug internet routers (like T-mobile home internet or Starlink) and stow safely
  • If you are a digital nomad or working RVer, break down and/or secure your workstation for travel
  • Ensure A/C, furnace, fireplace, and water heater are all turned OFF
  • Ensure all windows are closed and/or locked
  • Put all window shades in the stow position (we put them up so that they don’t smack the wood, in our Casita they got latched in the down position)
  • Latch any sliding doors or pocket doors (we have one between our upstairs space and downstairs space)
  • Put any antennas or satellites on the roof down and in the stow position (this also applies if you have tilting solar panels)
  • Turn off all fans and close all roof vents
  • Turn off all lights
  • Retract awnings (this may be an outside item if your awnings are manual)
  • Ensure all counters and floors are clear (for us this has included moving our Berkey Water Filter into our truck and rolling up our area rug)
  • Take in all RV slide-outs (this should be the very LAST thing you do before exiting the RV)
  • Shut the door and lock it. If you have one, put the RV stairs handle in over the door

Living Room

  • Put any recliners in the upright position
  • Turn off and secure TVs (or put them down if on a televator) **may also apply to bedroom or outside spaces
  • Ensure the electric fireplace is turned off
Residential Fridge in DRV mobile suites fifth wheel being held shut with custom pvc connections. A great hack to avoid a messy cleanup after travel!


  • Secure items inside the fridge (put breakable or spillable items inside drawers, think about how things may move in transit)
  • Secure fridge doors (we use a DIY PVC pipe “T” to keep our fridge and freezer doors secure
  • Wash and put away dishes so that nothing is sitting in the sink
  • Take out the trash (we typically dump any bathroom trash into our kitchen trash to take it all out at once)
  • Secure dining room chairs
  • Put dinette or dining table in “stow” mode (ours pulls out to extend when we are set up)
  • Make sure any pet bowls are empty and secure for travel


  • Secure shower doors
  • Clear off bathroom counter, stowing items in cabinets and drawers
  • Secure medicine cabinet (we have a mirror that needs to be locked into place and a cabinet that needs to be latched)
  • Take all shampoos and soaps out of the shower and secure them in a cabinet or drawer
  • Do the GEO method or other black tank cleaning method after dumping to keep tanks clean
  • Make sure the toilet seat and cover are down (prevent splashing)
RV bathroom with shower doors locked tight and clear counters for a safe and secure RV travel day


  • Shut washer and dryer doors, turn off water supply hoses
  • Secure closet doors (we have a sliding door that needs to be locked and latched on the bottom)
  • Place any larger fragile items on the bed for travel (this is often where we store our T-mobile home internet tower)

Once you have completed your checklist we highly recommend doing one final walkthrough of your RV before taking the slides in!

Tap your cabinets as you walk around to make sure they are all shut tightly, check for anything on the counters or in front of the slides, and make sure all lights and other electronics are off!

Outside of the RV

Large fifth-wheel RV sitting next to a ram truck under a blue and orange sunset sky

On the outside of the RV there is also a list of items to work through to get things ready for travel:

  • Dump the black tank and then close the valve
  • Dump the gray tank and then close the valve
  • If you have the option, flush your tanks for optimal cleanliness and performance
  • Place cover on dump pipe when finished with dumping
  • Make sure you have a small amount of fresh water in your tank for travel (bathroom breaks, etc.). If you are moving to a boondocking site you may want to fill your freshwater tank
  • Rinse and put away the sewer hose and sewer hose stand (do NOT use your drinking water/ fresh water hose for this)
  • Disconnect and put away the water hose
  • Climb up on the roof and sweep off all slides
  • Disconnect and reel in the electrical cord (for safety, be sure to flip the breaker before unplugging)
  • Check all tire pressures
  • Do a visual inspection of the tires (on one travel day we did have to change one tire before departure)
  • Put bikes on the back rack and make sure it is secure
  • Grease hitch
  • Check tire lugs to ensure they are tight
  • Take up chocks and blocks
  • Put away your water pressure regulator
  • If you used any electrical adaptor (such as a 50amp – 30amp converter) ensure those are put away
  • Disconnect and put away RV surge protector
  • Disconnect and put away RV portable water softener system
  • Ensure all outside compartments are locked
  • Turn off propane
  • Put RV stairs up and away and door handle in and secure
  • Put away outside appliances (screen tent, Blackstone, propane firepit, lights, rugs, chairs, etc.)
  • Hitch up, safety pin, ensure it is in tow mode
  • Do a tug test to make sure your connection is secure
  • Retract all jacks
  • Check to make sure the brakes are working and all brake lights, directionals, and hazards are working
  • One final visual inspection to make sure all slides are in, compartments are closed and locked, awnings are in, chocks and blocks are away, and there is nothing left outside in your campsite

Pro Tip: You will want to time your inside and outside RV travel day checklist items in an optimal way. For example:

  • Sweep off the slides before taking them in
  • Make sure dishes are washed, teeth are brushed, and final bathroom breaks are had before dumping tanks
  • Don’t unplug the RV from the pedestal until you are ready to hitch up

Tow Vehicle Checklist

A DRV Mobile Suites fifth wheel and white truck sitting in a dirt lot with colorful rocks and canyons of Capitol Reef National Park behind

While it can be easy to focus most of your energy on the RV before departing on travel day, it is important not to overlook your tow vehicle.

Be sure to:

  • Check tire pressures
  • Plug in 7-pin connector for a secure connection to the RV (checking the trailer’s brake lights will let you know this is working properly)
  • Pack water and snacks for the ride (we typically get this stuff packed up the night before)
  • Move any delicate electronics into the tow vehicle (we keep our work laptops in the truck with us, just in case)
  • Set up your RV-safe GPS and ensure you are setting out on the desired route to the correct destination
  • Have glasses, sunglasses ready, and ID and wallet in the truck
  • Ensure you have enough fuel. If you will need to re-fuel along the way, plan out your fuel stops. We use the OpenRoads app and their discount program to make this a breeze (and get great savings, too)

RV Arrival Checklist

Large RV being towed by a white truck sitting in a grass field in front of an orange sunset over an apple orchard
Arrival day might look different depending on if you are doing a quick overnight stay, boondocking or staying at a campground

While your RV departure checklist provides you peace of mind while traveling between destinations, an RV travel day arrival checklist can help you get set up efficiently so that you can spend less time setting up camp and more time enjoying your next big adventure!

  • Put RV into your site and chock the wheels
  • Place leveling blocks or DIY jack blocks and put jacks down
  • Unhitch truck (this process may look different depending on the type of RV hitch you have)
  • Pull out the truck or tow vehicle and park it
  • Auto-level or level the RV
  • If on hook-ups, plug in the RV to the pedestal, attach water hose, and set up sewer hose
  • Take out the stairs
  • Ensure the area is clear around all sides and take them out
  • CAREFULLY unlatch all cabinets and check for objects that may have shifted
  • Set up Berkey or another water filter system and fill it so you can have fresh water ASAP!
  • CAREFULLY remove locks from the fridge and open, being mindful of objects that may have shifted
  • Plug in and set up internet devices, routers, antennas, etc.
  • Put out necessary items on the counters that have been stowed (bathroom items, knife block, coffee maker, etc.)
  • Set up outside space (rug, lights, chairs, tent, Blackstone, propane firepit, etc.)
  • Unlatch sliding or pocket doors
  • Unlatch shower doors and set up shower items
  • Turn on the water heater (propane or electric depending on your available resources)
  • Make it yours (set up rugs, plants, photos, lights, etc.)

The most common RV travel day mistakes to avoid

If the long lists of things “to-do” feel overwhelming, that is okay. Travel day can feel like quite the headache at first, but trust us – after a few go-arounds, your travel day checklist will become a routine that flows seamlessly.

And if all else fails, you can also fall back on this list of common mistakes to avoid that will keep you clear of most larger headaches (and many more minor ones) that can happen on travel day:

  • Forgetting your water pressure regulator at the water spigot
  • Forgetting your surge protector or power adapter at the pedestal
  • Forgetting the elbow attachment for the sewer hose
  • Not checking or monitoring your tire pressures with some form of TPMS (which can lead to a tire blowout)
  • Leaving cabinets or interior doors unlatched or unsecured
  • Leaving your awnings out
  • Taking slides in without moving items out of the way
  • Failure to do a tug test (which can lead to “dropping” your fifth wheel)
  • Failure to check trailer breaks and trailer lights
  • Leaving chairs or outside comfort items behind at the campsite

For more mistake-free RVing check out these resources:

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