Summertime = VACATION! Now before you go grabbing those hiking shoes and innertubes, let’s take a moment to learn some practical ways of how prepare for a vacation like this, especially if you’re a first-time RV camper. To help you navigate through the twists and turns of this wonderful adventure and with the help of some friends who have RV living experience, I’ve put together a helpful list of tips to help you enjoy your vacation to the fullest!
1. Do Pre-Vacation Prep for RV Camping
- Make sure you have plenty of time to prepare properly. You tend to forget things when you’re in a hurry. Come up with categories of items you’ll need and create a list of things within each of those categories. For example, make separate lists for clothes, food, camping gear/campfire supplies, hygiene items, first aid and emergency items, odds and ends, etc.
- As the day of your departure nears, designate an area (in the garage or living room, perhaps) for your items to start accumulating. This way you can see easily what hasn’t been packed yet. It’s much better to be at home and thinking of something to add to it than suddenly remembering what you’ve forgotten 30 miles down the road.
- Go over the rules with your family before you leave. This includes family rules AND (if you’re renting an RV) review the guidelines for the care and usage of the RV the owner may have provided. This helps everyone be on the same page and have an understanding of what is expected of them. Communication is key, and helps everyone have a jolly time together!
- If you enjoy music and movies, take the time to enjoy them together! Downloading music and videos before you head out is a great way to avoid the troubles of having no internet connection. You can also grab some DVDs for the rainy days for the family to enjoy together.
- Plan a menu! Precook and prepare things in plastic bags and store them in the refrigerator or freezer for when you’ll need them. You can also make homemade Granola Bars or Protein Balls beforehand for quick and easy snacking! Try to take multi-use cookware in order to save space.
2. Avoid Overpacking Clothing by Careful Planning Preceding Your Vacation
The easiest thing to do when getting your things together is overpacking. Overpacking is an actual pet peeve for some, while others simply want to be prepared. There’s a balance, and it can be hard to find it. Use common sense as a rule of thumb. Below are a few tips you may use when getting your items together.
“Plan your outfits ahead of time. Pack tops and bottoms that can be paired together for multiple different outfits. There’s no shame in wearing something twice if it’s not dirty.”
- Plan your outfits ahead of time. This helps tremendously to avoid overpacking. Pack tops and bottoms that you can pair together for multiple different outfits. This creates variety without filling the closet.
- There’s no shame in wearing something twice if it’s not dirty. Many camp grounds will have laundromats where you can wash your clothing, so less is more. Less clutter = more freedom.
- Packing clothing that doesn’t take a lot of room as well as taking multipurpose shoes helps cut back on taking up space.
- If possible, pack only one hoodie or sweatshirt since this usually takes up the most room.
- Stay away from packing clothing you “might” wear, especially if you don’t actually like them very well. Stick to the ones you know you love and will be needing.
3. Have a Secure Place for All Your Belongings
- “A place for everything and everything in its place.” It’s extremely easy for an RV to get really messy very fast. If you have a secure place for everything, you’ll be better able to avoid clutter. This may take time and some things may need to be left behind, but cutting the clutter is worth it!
- Consider investing in small, inexpensive storage bins or baskets at Dollar Tree or Family Dollar. Ensuring your items are secure is beneficial for keeping loose items from flying around while traveling. Making neatness a priority will make your vacation a ton more enjoyable.
- Have your cosmetics in containers that are easily moveable. You never know when a family member NEEDS to get into the bathroom right as you’re getting ready.
4. Travel Games and Quality Time with Family
- Keep it family-oriented and fun. While there’s appropriate times for screen time, try to have the majority of your time be spent with family and enjoying the scenery while traveling down the highway.
- Play the ABC or Number game together! Whoever finds the entire alphabet from A-Z first wins! The same goes for the number game; whoever finds the numbers 1-10 first wins! This way you can enjoy the scenery and interact with each other at the same time!
- Take a couple of your favorite board/card games along! If you take card games, there’s usually more than one game that can be played using a deck of cards, thus you’re saving space.
- When traveling long distance, step outside to stretch your legs or go on a short jog when making rest stops or fueling up. It’s easy to want to stay on the couch, but you’ll feel much better if you resist the temptation.
- If there’s room to do so at rest areas, have the whole family step outside and bump the volleyball around or throw the frisbee for a few minutes before hitting the road again.
- Trivia Questions: Some games don’t take much of any room at all! Grab some treats at a rest stop or gas station and have a list of fun questions to ask. Whoever answers a question correctly gets a piece of candy or other treat you provided.
- If you’re traveling with children, have a cinch sack on each of their bunks with a few goodies or projects that will keep them entertained if they need to play by themselves for awhile.
5. Keeping it Clean
You’ll want to keep your RV clean and airy. It doesn’t take long for things to get dirty when you’re traveling with multiple people.
- Take a battery sweeper and small mop to quickly grab when the floors need a little pick-me-up.
- Make a list of the things you’ll need and pack accordingly. Here’s few things to get you started packing your cleaning caddy: Small and large trash bags, All-purpose cleaner, disinfectant wipes, gloves, a few rags + a polishing rag, duster, scrub brush, dish detergent, etc. You can also add hand soap and laundry detergent if you wish.
“Small & large trash bags, All-purpose cleaner, disinfectant wipes, gloves, a few rags + a polishing rag, duster, scrub brush, hand soap, dish detergent, laundry soap, etc.”
- Have everyone participate in a 10-15 minute clean-up time every morning. The time it takes to do this varies. You’ll soon be able to tell if it takes more or less time to start your day off on the right foot.
6. Have Fun!
- Whatever you do, don’t sweat the small stuff. Keep in mind that you’re doing this for fun and making memories you’ll likely have for years to come. You can make sure you do your part to make them pleasant ones! These times are so precious and pass very quickly.
- If something doesn’t go according to plans, improvise! Use it as an opportunity to get creative! Sometimes the best memories are made when you do things on a whim!
“If something doesn’t go according to plans, improvise!…Sometimes the best memories are made when you do things on a whim!”
Bonus: Helpful Resource + Extra Tips
- Packing tip: When packing clothing, start from your feet and work your way up. For example; what shoes are you going to need on this trip? Socks, sandals, flip flops, slippers, etc. Next, what pants, skirts, shorts, and swimming trunks are you going to be needing? Next, plan what underwear to pack, blouses, tee shirts, pajamas, and such. Save accessories for last, such as watches, jewelry, sunglasses, hair accessories and then your cosmetic pouch, etc.
- Mosquito repellent: If you care about the chemicals you put on you and your children’s skin, taking the time to create this quick and easy bug repellant is the perfect option for you to use while camping/spending time outdoors! Click Here for a how-to video to make your own repellant!