As RVing rapidly increases in popularity, it’s moved well beyond the purview of retirees taking on their lifelong travel dreams during their golden years.
These days, it’s not at all unusual to see young singletons, couples, and families on the road, whether it’s for a summer getaway or a full-time lifestyle made possible by the ever-expanding capacity of remote work. (That’s right: Some people actually make their living while they travel. Don’t be jealous — read more about how you can do it, too, here!)
It’s also cheaper than ever, especially when you factor in camping clubs like Passport America — which can save you 50% on your campground accommodation fees every single time.
But no matter what kind of trip you’re taking, whether it’s just a quick weekend, a month-long circuit of the National Parks, or even the foreseeable future, living in a motorhome with a family is a totally different animal than going solo or with a spouse. We want to ensure your family RV experience is a pleasant one, not a nightmare — so here are our best tips for living in an RV or camper with kids without going crazy!
RV Trips with Kids
The number-one ticket to staying sane? Keeping everything — and everyone — as organized as possible.
We know, we know… easier said than done. But with a little bit of planning and forethought, you can not only make your RV trip kid-friendly, but into a vacation offering lifelong memories for your children and actual relaxation for mom and dad all at the same time.
Yes, really. Here’s how.
First of all, these tips will vary depending on the age of the children you’re traveling with. For example, RVing with a baby on board is not at all the same as RV travel with toddlers or teenagers.
But no matter how old your child is (or children are), they inevitably come with a whole lot of extra, well, stuff that you otherwise wouldn’t have to deal with. Clothes, toys, favorite blankies, sippy cups… that’s a lot of demand on the already-tiny storage space most RVs can offer!
That’s why it’s critical to make sure, no matter what, that everything has its place aboard your RV.
This project might be a bit of a challenge, but there are actually tons of clever RV storage solutions you may not have thought of yet.
For instance, you can create more separate spaces in your closet with a hanging closet organizer or shoe rack, or divide up drawers so everyone’s stuff doesn’t get mixed together with these neat separators.
It also bears mentioning that bringing less stuff in the first place is a solid strategy to cutting down on clutter. Of course, you can’t ditch everything — your baby may need a high chair or bassinet — but for older kids, convincing them to leave home without all their favorite gadgets might just be a great way to get them back in touch with nature (and spend some quality conversation time together, while you’re at it)!
Kids also benefit from keeping a regular schedule when it comes to things like mealtimes and bedtimes, so doing your best to maintain something close to a normal routine on the road can head off a lot of crying fits and tantrums.
Motorhome with Kids
The other key to RV travel with kids that won’t make you want to tear your hair out: keeping everyone entertained.
Now, ideally, this doesn’t mean keeping your whole clan constantly tethered to their smartphones or Game Boys. The point of this kind of travel is to reconnect with each other, after all!
But a multi-player video game might just be a great way to spend a rainy afternoon — or even a sunny one on which mom and dad just can’t take one more off-campsite excursion. It doesn’t even have to be a fancy, expensive new model. The Nintendo Wii, for instance, has tons of fun and interactive multi-player games and can easily be purchased for less than $100.
You could also go the old-fashioned route and pick up some actual board games to take on the road. many lifelong camping memories revolve around evenings spent at the table over a pair of dice, a deck of cards, and a game of chance and strategy. You can’t go wrong with favorites like Monopoly, Scrabble, Sorry or, for younger players, Candy Land — although fun, new games are still being produced all the time. Have you played Speak Out yet?
Family RV Trip Planner
Another important factor in RV family travel and vacationing is figuring out where to go. Some destinations might be very attractive to adults, but have little to offer younger members of your party!
For example, unless you have very exceptional children indeed, spending a full day touring museums and cultural exhibits in a place like Washington D.C. is going to bore the under-10 crowd to tears. But on the other hand, it’s possible that mom and dad aren’t exactly thrilled about the idea of a Disney vacation.
Fortunately, there are lots of RV parks that are designed with this conundrum in mind, offering activities for kids and adults alike. For example, the Jellystone Parks family of RV resorts has fun, themed activities and tons of amenities like swimming pools, water slides, and bounce houses, making it one of the best solutions to RV vacations for families.
Best RV for Large Family
Finally, if you know you’re going to be camping with kids on board, it’s a good idea to choose an RV that has ample space for your brood. Not feeling cramped makes everyone behave better, mom and dad included! (Plus, some states have RV child seat laws that require restrained seats; be sure to check the laws in your area.)
Of course, the best RV for your family individually depends on your travel style and individual situation. For example, a family of 4 might not require a large, Class A motorhome with slide-outs… but a family of 6 would almost definitely benefit from having the extra space. Also consider whether you and yours are more outdoorsy or simply into traveling for the scenery. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time inside, invest in extra space!
Taking your kids RVing is a wonderful way to get them acquainted with the world of traveling, one of the most fulfilling human activities we can participate in. Enjoy the journey… even if it’s not always as quiet as you’d like!
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