There’s no better way to connect with your little ones than to share your love of camping together. It’s even more fun and exciting when your kids are ready to travel in an RV with you.
RVing is a great way for kids to learn about the world around them and escape from the stress of school and technology. It’s a way for you to get to know your kids, and for them to learn valuable lessons from you.
But RVing with kids is noisy, chaotic, and messy. It can be exhausting keeping your children under constant supervision to make sure they don’t get lost in the woods or encounter with a wild animal. Despite its challenges, RVing with kids is very rewarding, and the key is to start slowly and be prepared.
It might seem intimidating to pack your whole family into a small space and set off on a road trip together. Your kids might not like the outdoors, they might get carsick, or you might forget something important. It’s normal to be nervous about starting a new adventure with your family.
To relieve some of that fear and hesitation, start small. If you don’t already own an RV, rent or borrow one to see if your kids like it. (Chances are, they will!)
Take a short, local first trip. Visit a state park or camp on a beach that your kids are already familiar with. Reassure them that home is just a short drive away, and you can always return if they’re not happy. This tactic works better with younger children, who will usually get distracted by nature and forget about home as soon as you set up camp.
RVing with your kids means planning more activities and bringing more gear. That’s why it’s helpful to ease into it with a short trip while you figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Best Types of RVs
When it comes to the different types of RVs for a family, some work better than others.
It’s unavoidable that your RV will get dirty and things will break when you have kids. That’s why most parents choose to buy a used RV when traveling with children, especially younger ones. You don’t have to worry about protecting a brand new investment, and ultimately get more relaxation and enjoyment out of a gently-loved camper.
Families with children tend to favor travel trailers over motorhomes. Travel trailers are more affordable and accessible, especially if you’re a first-time RV owner. There are many floorplan options featuring bunk beds and hybrid tent ends that will sleep 6-8 people comfortably.
Towing a trailer means everyone can ride together in the truck, where parents can keep a close eye on children. Travel trailers also offer the added benefit of being an activity in itself – kids love to help set up awnings, tent ends, and slide outs.
Get Kids Involved
Speaking of helping out, make sure to let your kids get involved in every aspect of the trip, from planning to setting up. Teach them to pack their own camp clothes and help load the camper. Make packing a game, challenging your kids to organize all their toys and gear so it fits snugly in a small RV space.
Let your children help plan the route. Pick family-friendly destinations that have something fun for everyone. If you have more than one child, let each one choose a must-do activity to give them something to look forward to. This helps build trust and leadership skills, and makes it more than just another family vacation.
When choosing a campground, look for one that has a playground and group activities for families. Many campgrounds offer guided hikes, crafts, and nature tours for the little ones to enjoy. Bring your bicycles and fishing rods, and take this opportunity to get your kids involved in your favorite outdoor activities.
Plan Fun Activities
You might be interested in visiting farmers’ markets and museums, but your kids probably have a different idea of fun. Trips really have to cater to your children’s interests for them to develop a true love for camping and RVing.
The point of taking your kids RVing is to get them outside, so let them play outside! Take them hiking, biking, fishing, and swimming. When you’re near the camper, set up a play area and let them enjoy playing in the fresh air. They’ll burn up all their energy, and you can enjoy a quiet hour or two later in the evening.
Make sure to plan for rainy day and indoor activities as well. Stock your RV with cards, board games, movies, books, and crafts. A little rain doesn’t have to mean you’re stuck inside, either. You can still enjoy games like cornhole and ring toss under an awning in your rain boots. Once the rain passes, don’t forget to let your kids play in the puddles!
Stay Clean and Organized
Although it’s impossible to keep kids completely clean on a camping trip (who would want to, anyway?), there are a few things you can do to make your life a bit easier.
Pack a go-bag with your kid’s favorite camping clothes, toys, books, blankets, and cups, so everything stays in one place when you’re loading and unloading your RV. Designate these items “RV Only” so your child knows they only come out of the bag when it’s time to go camping. Teach your kids to be responsible for their belongings, if they’re old enough.
Prep meals in advance to help cut down on messes and clutter in the RV. Make extra servings of your kids’ favorite meals ahead of time, freeze them, and take leftovers on your trip. Enlist your kids to help with cleaning up and doing dishes after every meal, and make packing up a game, instead of a chore.
Invest in a large, durable patio rug to help keep dirt out of the RV and double as a play area for the little ones. Use the outside shower to rinse the dirt off your little ones after a long day of playing outside.
The best part of RVing with kids is the close, quality time you have together and the ability to learn from one another. It’s an opportunity for you to teach the next generation of campers to love, value, and respect nature. RVing is a chance for you to lead by example: unplug, unwind, and just enjoy the experience.