This 5 Tips For RVing With Kids is a guest post written with Drugstore Divas. Drugstore Divas received no compensation for this post, has no affiliation with any RV company, and is only responsible for the content we wrote.
If your follow my mom at Life Of 2 Snowbirds, you know that my parents got an RV last year. I haven’t actually taken a trip in their RV yet, but I did get a chance to check it out over the summer. It was awesome, basically a hotel room on wheels.
RVing is a great way to travel and is gaining in popularity. If you own your RV, you can keep kitchen tools and blankets inside all the time. But if you’re renting an RV, it’s a little different. And especially if you’re traveling with kids.
My cousin and her husband, along with their two kids (who are 3 and 4), recently took a family RV trip in a 2020 Winnebago Minnie Winnie from Go RVing and wrote this post filled with tips for RVing with kids for us.
5 Tips For RVing With Kids
My husband and I often refer to our two children as the traveling babies. Our family are no strangers to life on the road and we have taken many road trip. When my daughter was four months old, we took her on a mini road trip from New York to Vermont. And my son was just three months old when we drove from New York to North Carolina.
We have always talked about how awesome it would be to rent an RV for our next adventure. Well, we did it. This was our very first time taking an RV road trip and we cannot wait to do it again. Hopefully this will inspire you to go RVing with your kids.
Bring Food You Can Cook
One of the biggest advantages of traveling in an RV was there was a full refrigerator and kitchen appliances (stove, oven, and microwave). At home, I cook pretty much every single day. We don’t get fast food often, so it’s something I like to do when we are on vacation.
My daughter will eat and try almost anything, but my son is so picky. He doesn’t eat any kind of meat, he likes his staple foods and is rarely curious about anything new. That makes it hard to stop to get food on the road when I know he won’t eat anything.
It was a great feeling to be able to have the kitchen. We could stop at a fast food restaurant, park the RV as my husband took the kids inside to pick up some food, and I could stay behind to cook for my son. I didn’t make anything elaborate, but having his favorites — oatmeal and pasta — and access to a full fridge was great. I know my aunt (Lisa’s mom) made spare ribs in her RV, so you definitely can go all out if you want.
What’s also great is you can pack up frozen food from home, then put them in the fridge when you set out on your trip. It will last a couple days as they defrost in the fridge. Then, when you’re hungry, you can just microwave those meals.
Make Stops To Get Out And Play
Even though there is a lot more freedom inside the RV, you’ll still want to make stops to get out and break up the trip. When you’re driving, the kids do need to remain seated.
You need to stress to the kids that even though it feels like you can just walk around like you’re at home, when the RV is moving, everyone needs to be sitting down. Small aside: 22 states require that all occupants, including children, must wear seatbelts while the RV is in motion and 26 states require seatbelts based on the ages of the children. God forbid you get into an accident and the kids are not sitting. They could go flying and get really hurt.
So when you’re taking your RV trip, plan to stop at rest stops, parks along the way, or local tourist destinations. Even a boring parking lot would work because as soon as you park, the kids can start running around and stretching their legs.
Bring A New Toy
Before almost any road trip, we try to hit the dollar store to pick up a new toy. The best part about taking the kids to the dollar store is they can pick out any item they want and it’s only $1. So even if it’s something silly or something they don’t need, I let them pick whatever they want because it’s cheap and keeps them happy.
For an RV trip, though, you might to splurge on something that will keep your kids occupied for a little longer — and will keep them sitting down too. A portable DVD player is perfect. Pick up your kids’ favorite movies and pack them for the trip. They’ll be so interested in the movie, they won’t even notice how long they’ve been in the RV. The trip will fly by.
Pack Your Kids’ Favorite Pillow Or Bedding
The fun part of the RV is that you get to sleep there at night. Just pull up to a campsite and you’re ready to go. Your kids might be a little skeptical about sleeping in the RV and not getting out to sleep in a hotel or someone’s home. To make them feel more comfortable, pack your kids’ favorite pillow or blankets.
Your RV should be equipped with heat and air conditioning, so don’t feel like you need to pack extra blankets because you’re sleeping outdoors. But, depending on the source of your heat, you may consider not running it. In Lisa’s parents’ RV, the heat runs on propane and that can get pretty expensive. So, they suggest getting a small electric space heater instead. You can let that run all night (just don’t put it near something like a dish towel, Lisa’s mom says). There’s a safety mechanism that is activated if it falls down, so you don’t have to worry about it while you sleep.
Play In Every Area Of The RV
When you’re parked for the night, let your kids explore. When we first got into the RV, before we go on the road, my kids were so excited. They were bouncing off the walls and exploring every part of the RV. I think what they loved the most was that every little area felt like their own little hideout.
At one point, I set up their toys and snacks on the dinette. That table is one of the luxuries of taking an RV trip. You don’t have to worry about eating on your laps — or who spilled or dropped food on the floor — like you do in a car.
The kids loved sitting on the seats, while their dad was driving, so they could watch the scenery out the windows.
At night, when we were settled into our campsite, we created our own movie room in the main bedroom. We closed the blinds, brought in all the pillows and blankets, and watched a movie on the DVD player.
My kids’ favorite of the entire RV was definitely the top bunk cabin. There is a ladder leading up to it, and, since my kids are natural climbers, this was really fun for them. I’ll admit, I played up there too.
Have you gone RVing with kids? Be sure to let us know your tips in the comments.