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Are you anxious to try an RV trip with your kids, but a bit nervous as to how they’ll do? I get it, if you haven’t camped before, it may be a bit daunting to pack everyone into a small space. With the start of summer vacations, you may find this article by the RV experts at Mighway helpful, I know I did.
The following article was provided by Mighway.
Summer vacation is just around the corner, which for many means getting out on the open road in an RV with your family. If you’re thinking of booking an RV trip, you’re smart because studies show it’s a lot cheaper than other forms of travel. Families of four who own an RV save significantly when they travel this way and they only have to unpack once!
If you’ve been afraid to try it because of cautionary tales, don’t worry. The world’s leading expert in RV travel, Mighway—”an Airbnb for RVs”—has got you covered. Owned by TH2—a partnership between the world’s largest RV rental operator and manufacturers—Mighway draws on their 30 years of experience assisting family road warriors.
Here are the top 10 tips for not only surviving the family RV road trip but thriving:
Get the Right RV
If you don’t own an RV, be sure to rent one that is the right size and amenities. The advantage of peer-to-peers like RVshare, Mighway, and Outdoorsy is that you can see pictures of what you’re getting, see the full amenities, and ask questions. Some owners will allow Fido to go too. An RV that sleeps eight generally means four adults and four kids, or six adults. The dinette and sofa turn into a bed but those are usually too short/narrow to sleep, two adults. Make sure to pick an RV size that is not too long for the roads you want to use (some parks/roads have length limits).
Plan the Trip in Advance
Although a lot can be said for spontaneity, you don’t want to be completely spontaneous in an RV trip. You want to make sure the roads you are traveling are safe for your RV size, and you’ll want to pre-book spaces at RV resorts, especially during high season. A great resource for trip planning ideas is www.roadtrippers.com. Check out the other four road trip planning sites here.
Pack Lightly and Use Soft Luggage
One big rookie mistake of taking an RV trip with your kids is packing too much. Pack light and use soft carry bags such as this one, which are easier to store. Be sure to secure them so they don’t become a safety hazard. Don’t forget your comfy pillow/bedding with enough blankets for the cooler nights when you don’t want to run the furnace.
Ban the Electronics
Sure, the kids will want to stage a coup at first but bring board games, card games, or storytelling the family can do together. The best part of the RV lifestyle is, if you take advantage of the intimacy, it’s a wonderful way to reconnect with each other. Kids quickly get over the withdrawal symptoms surprisingly fast.
Pack Portable Snacks
For safety reasons, it’s best to pack favorite portable snacks kids can keep with them between stops so they don’t try to get up and get food. Getting up can be risky if the RV must make a sudden stop. Staying buckled up is the law, and if the RV makes a sudden stop it’s a hazard. Store-bought snacks work great, but many families prepare food in advance and store it in the fridge so they don’t have to cook during the trip.
Related: How to Eat Healthy on the Road
Don’t Drive Every Day and Make Frequent Stops
One of the biggest mistakes is an overly ambitious itinerary. Shorter stretches with regular stops for bio breaks and food makes everyone happier and more relaxed. Break up the drive with surprise stops at offbeat or unique attractions to engage them in the local culture and inspire a sense of adventure. Avoid driving and booking a different park every day. Take a couple of days to unwind in each destination and do off-the-grid activities like hiking or biking. These in-the-moment adventures together will mean more to your kids than you can imagine, and it’ll be easier on the parents doing the driving and trip coordination.
Stay Some Nights in a Full-service RV Park
Although RVs can go for a few days without recharging, national park campgrounds don’t usually have hookups, which can get old fast. Make sure the house batteries are fully charged before the “quiet time” at night in the campground, when generator usage is not allowed. Choose an RV park with full hookups, so you can recharge batteries, and feature fun activities so your kids can meet new friends, such as playgrounds, swimming pools, and game rooms for when the weather is bad. Some of them even have a petting zoo, hay rides, kid’s entertainment, dining options and more. And the whole family will enjoy the upgraded bathroom and shower facilities (the RV shower is good for about 4 uses)! Also, if you think you might encounter cold weather, running the furnace uses a lot of battery power which can drain it overnight.
Barbecue Nights and S’mores by the Fire
The most memorable RV Trip with your kids always have campfires and s’mores. Many campgrounds offer barbecues, which can be a fun way to make an easy, less expensive meal than always eating in restaurants. Bring heavy duty aluminum foil as campground barbecues can be dirty or rusty. Most RVs feature kitchenettes where you can prepare simple meals as well. Take advantage of picnic tables to spread out (bring an outdoor tablecloth in case the tables are dirty). Also make sure to spend time after dinner around the fire making s’mores, which taste best when paired with good stories. And when the kids go to sleep, mom and dad can break out the wine and snuggle by the fire!
Avoid Extreme Temperatures
Camping in the desert during the summer is not the best choice for an RV, most of which are not built for extreme temperatures. An RV AC can only bring down the temperature so much and it can be uncomfortable. Avoid locations that snow or ice over even in the summer. For moderate cold, you can hook up at an RV park and use the furnace to keep it toasty. You can use it without hookups, but it drains the battery quickly. Do not travel with an RV in freezing conditions (the water system may freeze).
Shell Out for Insurance
Even with the best planning and top-of-the-line RVs, things can go wrong. Give yourself the peace of mind of having protection, especially if you’re going to be in the wilderness.
Several companies offer insurance, and Mighway offers a unique premium option where they take care of road service, repairs, claims – and potentially find replacement vehicles for you. Outdoorsy also covers you in your rental. However, checking into travel insurance might be better in case you need to suddenly fork over hotel costs.
If you follow the steps above, you’re bound to have a RV trip with kids you’ll always remember and it will bring you closer than you’ve ever been.
Read More about Camping when you don’t own camping Equipment here.
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