This spring our family took a trip we’d been dreaming of for a long time; we rented a motorhome and drove across multiple states for what we hoped would be an epic RV adventure. We value experiences as a family, and with our kids’ ages in the sweet spot of six and ten, we wanted to take the opportunity when it presented itself.
Our stops were “the farthest from civilization we could get” (my husband’s wish) which included Area 51, Zion National Park, The Grand Canyon, the Arizona desert, and the Sierra Nevadas. Before we left we told our kids and our friends that we weren’t sure if it would be fun, but we knew it would certainly be memorable. And it was definitely that, and more.
On that two week family RV adventure we learned a few things that we think might help other families along the way. So if you’re planning a long road trip, particularly in an RV this post is for you. Here are eight of our best tips for road tripping in an RV with kids:
1. Go in the Summer Time, But be Prepared for Any Weather
Weather any other time of the year is just really unpredictable in the Greater Northwest, but the great part of an RV is that you’re inside no matter what the weather so that’s a bonus feature for sure. We experienced sun and heat, rain, thunderstorms, snow, and the worst wind storms ever. Thankfully we had packed clothes for all situations. We used them all!
2. Stop Along the Way, and Don’t drive More Than 350 Miles a Day
Some of the best parts of the journey are those you don’t plan for. Stop and see the interesting sites, weird stores, and cultural landmarks along the way. If you try to pack in too many miles each day, it’s way more exhausting, and doesn’t feel like a vacation.
3. Meal Plan
We only ate out twice in two weeks which means we saved A LOT of money and ate much healthier. We made simple, easy-to-prepare meals, and it was much less stressful. I carried the Instant Pot along with us, and that made cooking and cleaning up a breeze.
4. Know your Coverage and Expect the Unexpected
Sometimes things just go wrong, you get delayed, you have to change routes, you have to fix a flat tire, your toilet leaks, the wind blows off a vent cover, etc. and there’s no amount of planning that can change some of those things. Stay flexible and pack Duct Tape. That stuff can fix so many unexpected things.
We have AAA and expected they would be great about coming to the rescue if we needed, but that’s not always the case. When we needed them on Saturday in the snowy mountains, they told us they could get to us on Monday. Not helpful. The place we rented our RV from also had “road side assistance” which also turned out not so helpful. When we couldn’t find any help we called 911. And they, on the other hand, were very helpful, sending us a tow truck within twenty minutes. Sometimes that’s your last resort and it works.
5. Make the Kids Rotate Beds
Everyone gets a turn in the “best” spot on the RV adventure. Well, except mom and dad. They always get the best spot.
6. Carry Technology
I know limitations on technology is a must, but on long road trips it’s just not one of those times. Just let it go. Plug in the DVD player and let them have a movie marathon.
We had our kids journal about each day of the trip. We may have missed a couple, but for the most part they wrote (or colored pictures) about our RV adventure as we went. It’s good for them, and entertaining to read what they wrote later on.
7. Learn a New Game
Our kids learned to play chess on the road trip, and it kept them entertained for hours.
8. Have Fun!
Laugh a lot. Don’t take things too seriously. (Make ridiculous crowns out of foil when you’re driving through Area 51.) Stay flexible. These memories and experiences will stay with your family forever.