Family trips and RVs go hand in hand. Having an RV with you wherever you go just makes things easier, especially when it comes to traveling with kids. In fact, we’d even go so far as to say almost any RV road trip is a kid-friendly trip.
Still, hitting the road with little ones does take a bit of extra planning to make sure things go smoothly. In fact, the more time you take to plan according to your kids’ needs, the more fun the trip is going to be for the whole family.
Below are our top tips for planning a kid-friendly RV road trip.
Involve Kids in the Planning
Do you have kids who are reluctant to join in your adventures? It could be that they would benefit from being involved in the planning process. Not only will letting your kids help plan get them more excited about the trip, but it will also help them gain skills such as budgeting, time management, and route planning.
Bring On-the-Road Entertainment
Absolutely nobody likes being stuck in a vehicle for hours on end. That said, kids are probably the least likely people to happily sit still during a long road trip.
Instead of enduring hours upon hours of whining, make sure to create a good stash of things to do in the car. A well-charged tablet is a great start. However, you will want other options at the ready.
Try the following:
- Books or audiobooks
- Car-friendly games such as road trip bingo
- Pipe cleaners or WikkiStix for bending into shapes
- Window clings for the vehicle windows
- Colored pencils and coloring/activity books (avoid crayons, as they melt in the heat)
- Stickers and paper
Besides fun things to do on the road, you’ll also want to make sure you have plenty of kid-friendly snacks and meals on hand. After all, a hungry kid is a cranky kid, and nobody wants to deal with that. Fortunately, when you’re traveling with an RV, you have an entire kitchen at your disposal, making this easy enough to do.
Snacks that can be grabbed quickly and munched on while driving are perfect for travel days. Meanwhile, those days spent sightseeing call for sandwiches and other easy-to-pack lunches.
Plan Frequent Stops
As mentioned above, traveling with an RV means traveling with your kitchen. It also means you’ll have a bathroom and your own beds anywhere you go. This is amazing news for parents everywhere, as it makes pit stops a cinch.
Plan to take full advantage of pulling a tiny house behind you by making plenty of rest stops. You might even consider super short travel days, stopping to sightsee and rest for the day after only 3 or 4 hours of driving. While this will mean taking longer to get to your final destination, it’ll give you opportunities for many more adventures, and it will likely keep everyone much happier, as long stretches of riding in a seatbelt will be non-existent.
Find Kid-Friendly Campgrounds
Generally speaking, RVing is a family-friendly activity, and the vast majority of campgrounds and RV park will be welcoming to kids. That said, there are some parks that cater to the 55+ crowd, and others that are made specifically for kids. We highly recommend avoiding the former and seeking out the latter whenever possible anytime you plan on traveling with kids.
The campgrounds that cater to families with kids will have fun planned activities, amenities such as water play areas and playgrounds, and even kid-centric live entertainment. Finding one of these campgrounds adds a whole new level of fun to your family getaway.
Add in Education
A super cool thing about travel is that it offers awesome educational opportunities around every corner. Take advantage of this when traveling with kids by actively seeking out these opportunities and weaving them into your adventures.
Not only will the kids learn something new, but they’ll also likely have a really great time doing it, meaning you’ll be adding even more fun to your trip!
Wondering what kinds of educational opportunities there are? Try the following:
- Junior Ranger activities at state and national parks
- Visits to zoos, aquariums, and museums
- Visits to historic sites
- Ranger or staff talks or presentations at any attraction you visit
- Reading or watching videos about information presented at attractions you visit
Take a Camera, Binoculars, and Magnifying Glass
Getting kids involved in whatever you are doing is key to ensuring they have a good time and learn a thing or two during your trip. There are many ways to go about this, and the options we’ve mentioned so far are a great start.
That said, you can take this a step further by packing a few simple things. Items such as a kid camera, binoculars, and a magnifying glass encourage little explorers to look closely at the world around them and draw them into whatever experience your family is having together.
Don’t Forget Sunscreen and Bug Spray
Bug bites and sunburns are both bound to lead to grumpy kids. Avoid this issue by thinking ahead. A bottle of sunscreen and a container of bug spray don’t take up much room and can be picked up at any store. Make sure to apply these things every time you head outside, and you shouldn’t have any complaints about bites or burns.
Skip the Nice Clothes
Kids plus camping equals a mess. For this reason, you will definitely want to skip the nice clothes and reach for the older, more worn-out clothes in your kids’ drawers. Sure, it’s tempting to pack those cute new summer outfits for your family vacation, but having those brand new clothes ruined will only lead to upset, and asking your kids to stay clean restricts the amount of exploring they can do.
Keep Things Laid-Back
Lastly, you will want to make sure you keep things laid-back. Trying to cram in every single activity is only going to lead to stress.
Kids are much happier when they have time to run and play freely, and parents tend to have a better vacation when there’s plenty of downtime built-in for sitting around the campsite, grilling out, and enjoying a campfire.
So go ahead and plan to see some of those awesome attractions, but leave lots of time for relaxing as well!
About the author: Chelsea Gonzales
Chelsea has the amazing opportunity to take part in full-time RV living and traveling with her tiny tribe. She homeschools her five-year-old son as they travel, and takes full advantage of their unique situation by using the entire world as her son’s classroom. A group of total Disney fanatics, Chelsea and her family often find themselves in the Orlando area in order to visit the Disney parks, but they have also visited over 25 of the 50 states with plans to see many more along the way. No matter where her travels take her, Chelsea enjoys riding bikes, gazing at beautiful sunsets, finding new coffee shops, Irish dancing, and sitting around a campfire with her family.
You can join her adventures through her blog, Wonder Wherever We Wander.
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