If the idea of embarking upon a long RV road trip with your kids leaves you in a cold sweat, fear not! The beauty of RV camping is that your home comes with you, so you can take your time, explore that backroad or extra attraction, and be more flexible. You have your own bathroom on wheels, and if you’re traveling with older kids and teens, they will love the extra space and (semi) privacy an RV offers over tent camping.
But still, anytime you’ve got a group of people living together in a confined space, issues can arise. A little planning can do a world of good in making your family RV trip memorable for all the right reasons. Here are some of our best tips on how to do just that.
Use those oversized pull-outs at scenic vistas and embrace your new lifestyle of slow living. Look for historic markers or hands-on museums en route, so kids can stretch their brains (they get a bit unused in summer) as well as their legs. It’s vacation after all, so relax and take your time.
Give Older Kids Control Over Navigation
Teens are much more enthusiastic about a destination if it’s their idea in the first place. Give older kids and teens the day’s route, and challenge them to find two to three stops that interest them along the way. It helps to have in-car WiFi—such as a hotspot or mobile WiFi device—so your kids aren’t streaming data.
Plan to Picnic En Route
Eating all meals at restaurants on the road can be costly to the wallet and the waistline. Look for farmers markets in towns along the way and use grocery stores. Have food ready for picnics and look for rest stops each day.
Keep Daily Mileage to a Minimum
Let’s face it—you won’t be zipping along in your RV quite like you do in your family car. Keep this in mind and plan for fewer miles per day to avoid ending up on the road for simply too many hours for anyone to enjoy.
Make Camp Set-up a Family Affair
Everyone has chores at home, right? Give them all a job to do at each campsite as well. Young kids can place tablecloths on picnic tables and set out mats, and older kids can gather or buy firewood and organize camp kitchens.
It’s important to have rules in place for campground nights. Start each evening by setting boundaries within the campground for your kids (depending on age) and take care to point out any safety issues, such as traffic on a busy loop, poison oak or ivy, or bodies of water.
Make a Game Out of Campground Exploration
Some families create a BINGO card with common campground amenities or sights in nature, and others embark on scavenger hunts, looking for animal tracks, leaves, and flowers. Get creative with how you explore your new surroundings.
Keep Things Clean and Organized With:
- An oversized mat for the front door.
- A fun tablecloth to keep outdoor picnic tables homey. Do as much dining al fresco as the weather allows to maximize your living quarters.
- A clothesline to dry towels quickly.
- Clear Rubbermaid totes or bins. Dedicate one bin to kitchen supplies, one to outerwear/beachwear, one to shoes, etc.
- Mesh laundry bags. One per person, and teach your kids how a washing machine works.
- An awning or tarp for shade to, again, maximize your outdoor space.
- Individualized shower caddies for each family member. Use campground facilities whenever possible to minimize use of water tanks and hook-ups.
Grocery shop and cook in. Kids enjoy campground cooking more than restaurants anyway, and you’ll save a bundle. When you simply must eat out, opt for a big breakfast, the cheapest restaurant meal. In most cases, you can skip lunch entirely after an indulgent breakfast or brunch.
Stay Reasonably Close to Home
At least for your first couple trips, this makes it easier to adjust plans as needed.
Combine Resort RV Campgrounds with More Rustic Experiences
Have you been to a KOA Kampground lately? While sites vary, most now offer resort-like amenities such as swimming pools, game rooms with pool tables or foosball, and other fun extras and activities. Most have Camping Cabins and Deluxe Cabins that can be rented as well, so you can indulge in a little more room for the family if necessary.
Plan to spend some time at the KOA to get your laundry done, let the kids enjoy some swim time, and have downtime in your RV. You’ll feel much more refreshed when it’s time to pull up stakes and head to more isolated campgrounds with fewer amenities if state parks or national parks are in your plans.
Written by Amy Whitley for RootsRated Media in partnership with Kampgrounds of America.