How to Use a Travel Trailer

By Natalie Lyda
Travel trailers, you, the road
Andy Reynolds/Lifesize/Getty Images

Travel trailers offer a unique way to camp or embark on vacations without the expense of a hotel room. After hooking your trailer up to a tow rig and reaching your final destination, you'll need to set up. Although trailers offer most of the conveniences of home while you're out on the road, they do require a bit of work to get up and running. The specific procedures will vary from model to model, however the basic steps to establish your home away from home will remain the same.

Fill the travel trailer's fresh water tank from a trusted water source, such as your home or a truck stop RV fill station. Remove the cap from the pipe labeled "Fresh Water Connection" on the outside of the trailer and connect a hose to the fill port. Turn the water to the hose on and wait for the tank to fill. (See Reference 1) Be sure to fill the tank before reaching your final destination if water will not be available at your campsite.

Install full propane tanks to the travel trailer in the designated propane storage area. Secure the tanks in place and connect the trailer's propane lines to the tanks. Open the valve located on the propane tank to allow propane to flow into the trailer's system once you are at your final destination. (See Reference 2)

Park the travel trailer in the desired location of your camp site. Try to select the most level spot to avoid having to use leveling boards to adjust how the trailer sits. If a completely level spot is not available, place an RV leveling ramp in front of, or behind the low side trailer tire. Drive the trailer up onto the leveling ramp to level the trailer from side to side. Disconnect the trailer and adjust the landing jacks at the front and rear of the trailer to level the trailer from front to back. (See Reference 3)

Connect the trailer to a reliable electrical source, if available, by plugging the trailer's electrical outsource into the electrical hook-up. Hook-ups are typically available at truck stops and RV parks. If an electrical source is not available, start the trailer's generator to act as the power source for the trailer's lights and appliances.

Set up any accessories, such as awnings or slide-outs that your trailer is equipped with.

Upon completing your trip, or filling up the waste water tank from toilet and outflow of showers and sinks, empty the waste water tank. Note that some trailers are equipped with multiple waste water tanks. Connect a dump station hose, such as those found at truck stops and many RV parks, to the trailer's waste water outflow port to empty the tank. (See Reference 4)