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PLANNING AHEAD FOR RV VACATIONS
Enjoying a family RV trip begins long before you pull into the campground. Although some people love to travel on a whim free of checklists and agendas, planning can be the key to happiness for popular destinations.
The real trick is finding a good balance. You definitely don’t want to overschedule every day of the vacation, but without any itinerary at all you may miss out on some really great experiences.
The same is true with packing. It can be tempting to bring a ton of stuff just in case, but then you might be organizing, sorting, and cleaning up instead of relaxing on your trip. On the flip side, you certainly don’t want to be constantly running to the store to pick up items you forgot to pack.
Here are our own family’s tried and true tips for finding that balance–planning and packing for our RV trips without getting stressed out, overwhelmed, and overloaded.
1. Pick A-List activities in advance.
You probably won’t be able to squeeze in every single activity and attraction that a destination has to offer. Eliminate disagreements and stress by deciding on an A-list far in advance of the trip. Make sure your A-list includes picks from everyone in the family–including the kids! No one wants to end a trip feeling disappointed that they didn’t get to do a bucket list activity.
2. Learn about the RV destination
Whether you are visiting a national park, a city, or an historical monument, reading books and watching movies is such a fun way to prepare for a future trip. We’ve learned that we get more out of a vacation experience with a little bit of background knowledge.
3. Build excitement and set expectations for kids
Our kids are so excited when we arrive at a destination because we spend weeks in advance convincing them that it will be absolutely awesome. We show them internet videos of the campground, and explore the websites of any activities and attractions we plan on visiting. We also make sure they have reasonable expectations for the vacation. Discussing in advance souvenir budgets, drive time, and technology use will go a long way to preventing classic vacation meltdowns.
4. Make a flexible meal plan
If you try to plan out every RV meal in advance, you will probably end up getting stressed out and wasting a lot of food. Sketch out a rotating menu of three breakfasts and three lunches. We like options such as oatmeal, cereal, tuna fish, and peanut butter because they are all shelf stable and simple.
We also pack two or three freezer meals, like ziti or white chili, for the days when we are arriving at the campground or packing up to go home. Throw in some options for grilling and you should be set. Instead of stocking up on produce in advance, keep an eye out for farmers markets and roadside stands to enjoy the foods in season at your destination.
5. Schedule plenty of downtime
One of the biggest benefits of RV travel is that a campground is infinitely more relaxing and enjoyable than a hotel. We make time everyday to decompress and appreciate the amenities where we are staying. Whether it’s bike riding, swimming, mini golf, or wiffle ball, enjoying campground downtime is often our favorite part of any vacation.
RV travel should be flexible and fun. Planning ahead can actually help keep you from needing a vacation from your vacation.
See you at the campground!