On the Road - Towing a Small Travel Trailer
This is Really Important
In case you skipped over the video on my "Getting Ready" page, and don't understand how important it is to have the trailer loaded properly when towing a small travel trailer, please take a minute and watch this!!!
All the Dreaded Driving
So you've done it. You've planned your trip. You've left home. You're on the road, towing a small travel trailer. Congratulations!
But after all the prep work, what's going through your head
- So what is this day going to be like?
- Will we run into problems?
- Are we going to get bored?
- Is this going to be too much "togetherness"?
- Will we manage to get everything setup right when we get to the campground?
- Was this idea of towing a small travel trailer really a good one?
These were our questions in the beginning. And, we had most of the same questions when we took a cross country trip after several years of towing our small travel trailer. For us, we seem to be a little anxious the first few hours of a longer trip, but quickly settle down. The key is to make sure you have prepared well.
Things to Keep in Mind Throughout the Day
A few things to think about when you're on the road towing a small travel trailer:
- Walk around your entire rig and look everything over before you begin the day and after each stop.
Just make sure everything looks normal (nothing loose, tire getting low, etc.)
- Each time you stop, check to make sure the trailer wheel hubs are not getting real hot.
I have an inexpensive infrared thermometer (search/filter Items for Your Tow Vehicle on my Products We Use page) that I just point at each hub to take the temperature. If you don't mind getting your hand dirty, it really works just as well to just place your hand on each hub. As long as it's not uncomfortably hot, you're fine. If you burn your hand however, it may well be a sign that you have a wheel bearing going bad. By the way, if one side of the trailer has had the sun beating on it for a while, that hub will normally be hotter than the other side, but not hot enough to burn you.
- Keep your overall speed down.
You may feel fine driving faster, as long as nothing goes wrong. But if you have any surprises, you will have much less control than usual. Don't take chance...slow down!
- Make sure you're tires are kept close to maximum pressure.
Tires fail when they overheat. This is caused by low tire pressure and higher speeds.
- Choose gas stations and parking lots carefully.
It takes room to make wide turns. Be sure you think it out carefully before you leave the main road.
- Be prepared for areas without cell phone coverage
This is important not only for phone calls, but also if you want to use the Internet to look up information along your way.
- Confirm campground availability early.
If you don't have reservations, be sure to call to check on campgrounds early enough to find alternatives if they are full.
To save money eating when you are on the road, skip the restaurants and the fast food. Pull into a big parking, put on your brakes, go into your trailer, fix your own lunch and relax a bit!
Hey it's a Road Trip...Enjoy it!
So here is a list of suggestions to consider when you're on the road towing a small travel trailer.
- Plan your drive times so that you pull into your destination well before dark.
It's a lot nicer parking and setting up in the daylight. Be sure to allow for delays that seem to occur during the day
- At least every hour or two, stop and stretch a bit whether you really think you need to or not.
As we've gotten older, we find that if we don't stop at least this often, we'll be very stiff and know it when we get in bed at night.
- If you have the time, avoid the Interstates when you can.
The small towns you'll go through taking the old highways will add a lot of variety to your day and make the time go faster. There's also very little traffic on most of the old highways making the drive much less intense and stressful.
As my dad used to say...
Take Time to Smell the Roses
Take a few extra minutes when you stop to relax a bit, and maybe look around and even talk to some people. It will make for a more enjoyable day, give you and your traveling partner (if you have one) something more to talk about, and generally make the driving time go faster. Towing a small travel trailer may become your favorite way to travel. It has for us.