The Essential Checklist: What To Do Before Shipping an RV?

Rochdi Rais Rochdi Rais · Updated May 31, 2023

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Shipping an RV across states or across the country involves more than just hiring a transport company. One question that every RV owner should ask is: what to do before shipping an RV? Preparing your RV for shipping is crucial to ensure its safe and secure arrival at the destination. Here’s a comprehensive guide outlining the key steps you need to take.

Pre-Shipping Checklist for RVs

Inspect Your RV Thoroughly

The first step in answering the question, “What to do before shipping an RV?” is conducting a thorough inspection of your RV. Check for any existing damage, such as scratches, dents, or broken parts. It’s a good idea to take detailed photographs of your RV from all angles, which can serve as proof of its pre-shipping condition. Don’t forget to inspect the interior as well.

Secure Everything Inside the RV

Before shipping an RV, it’s crucial to secure everything inside. This includes cupboards, drawers, doors, windows, and any loose items. Anything moving or shifting during transportation should be securely fastened or removed to prevent damage. Don’t forget to secure appliances, electronics, and furniture as well.

Empty Tanks and Disconnect Utilities

Another important step when considering what to do before shipping an RV is to empty all tanks, including water, sewage, and propane. Any liquids can add unnecessary weight and could potentially cause issues during transportation. Also, remember to disconnect all utilities, such as gas, electricity, and water.

Remove or Secure External Accessories

If your RV has external accessories like antennas, satellite dishes, or awnings, you must remove or secure them before shipping. These items can easily get damaged during transport, so storing them inside the RV or removing them altogether is safer.

Perform Necessary Maintenance

Before shipping an RV, it’s essential to perform any necessary maintenance. Check the tires for proper inflation and good condition. Ensure the battery is charged, and all lights are working correctly. If your RV has any mechanical issues, it’s better to address them before shipping to avoid any complications during the transport.

Inform the Transport Company of Any Special Instructions

When you’ve done everything you can on what to do before shipping an RV, it’s time to communicate with your transport company. If your RV has any quirks or specific handling instructions, inform the company. The more they know about your RV, the better they can ensure its safe transport.

For more insights on shipping an RV, visit this comprehensive guide on shipping an RV.

Check Your Insurance Coverage

Before handing over your RV to the transport company, ensure you have adequate insurance coverage. While professional transport companies usually provide some form of coverage, it’s important to understand the details of the policy. Verify whether your personal RV insurance policy provides any coverage during transport.

Prepare for Pickup

The final step in answering “What to do before shipping an RV?” is preparing for the pickup. Ensure your RV is easily accessible for the transport company. Check if any local regulations or permits are needed for the pickup, especially if your RV is particularly large.

Why CitizenShipper Is a Great Choice for Shipping an RV

When it comes to shipping an RV, choosing the right transport service is crucial. CitizenShipper offers an excellent platform connecting RV owners with a network of reliable, experienced transporters. They provide a competitive bidding system, thorough vetting of transporters, and an easy-to-use interface. This makes CitizenShipper a great choice for stress-free RV transportation.

Documenting Your RV’s Condition Prior to Shipment

Another essential step to consider when contemplating what to do before shipping an RV involves documenting its current condition. This process is vital for several reasons. It helps you have a detailed record of your RV’s condition before it’s moved, and it provides a reference point in case any damage occurs during the transportation process.

Begin by conducting a comprehensive inspection of your RV. Look for any existing dents, scratches, or other forms of damage. It’s advisable to focus on both the interior and exterior, leaving no stone unturned. Key areas to check include the roof, windows, tires, undercarriage, and all sides of your RV.

Next, take photographs. Photographs provide visual proof of your RV’s condition before shipping. Ensure you capture clear, high-resolution images that accurately represent your RV. Take multiple pictures from different angles and focus on areas that already have any noticeable damage. Remember to date these photos for reference.

In addition to photographs, consider creating a written record detailing your RV’s condition. In this document, describe any pre-existing damage you’ve noticed during your inspection. Mention the location of the damage and its extent. If you have any repair history documentation, include this as well. This record can be valuable if any disputes arise about new damage after transportation.

Lastly, share this documentation with your chosen transport company. Providing them with a copy of your RV’s condition before shipping ensures transparency and reduces potential disputes. It’s a good idea to go over the document with the transporter during the pickup to make sure they’re aware of any pre-existing damage.

In conclusion, taking the time to document your RV’s condition before shipment is a valuable step in the overall process of preparing an RV for shipping. It provides peace of mind and serves as a crucial part of protecting your investment during its journey.


What is the cheapest way to transport a pet?

Typically, ground transport is the cheapest way to transport a pet.  Longer trips using a transportation service, like CitizenShipper, typically average around $1.00 per mile.  Using a pet transportation service ensures your pet arrives in your new location safely, while minimizing stress and overall cost. 

How much does it cost to ship a pet internationally? 

While shipping your pet domestically is a relatively straightforward process, international shipping can be more complicated.  Hiring a pet transport service to help with international logistics can save a tremendous amount of stress and time.  

Each country of arrival will have specific regulations regarding pet health checks, necessary vaccination, and possible quarantine requirements.  The cost to ship a pet internationally can vary, especially if you need to board your pet for an extended quarantine. 

How much does it cost to transport cats?

The cost to transport cats will vary depending on the transport method.  Cats can be transported via ground or air transit, and are often small enough to be considered a “carry on” item.  Transporting a cat can cost as little as $25 on Amtrak, or as much as $125 to fly in the main cabin of an airplane.

How much does it cost to travel with a small pet?

Traveling with a small pet, compared to a large pet, is much cheaper.  Smaller pets can fit under the seat in front of you and can often qualify as a “carry on” item.  Traveling with small pets on Amtrak can cost $25, while airlines can charge around $125.  Keep in mind certain companies will only allow cats and dogs to travel.  

What does it cost to ship a puppy?

While puppies are small enough to fly in most airline cabins, they can incur additional costs.  Puppies generally require more attention, and therefore can be more expensive than shipping an adult dog or cat.  

Many breeders will utilize an air nanny service to accompany your puppy.  If the air nanny is experienced, or a regular, certain airlines may provide discounted rates or waive certain fees.  Breeders regularly ship puppies to their new homes and are well-versed in arranging transportation.  

Conclusion: Ready for Shipping an RV

In conclusion, knowing what to do before shipping an RV is crucial for a smooth and successful transportation experience. By following these steps and choosing a reputable service like CitizenShipper, you can rest assured your RV will be well taken care of.

Shipping an RV doesn’t have to be stressful. By following these steps on what to do before shipping an RV, you can ensure a smooth and secure transport process. The key is thorough preparation and clear communication with your chosen transport company. For more resources and regulations on RV transportation, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website.