Whether you’re traveling on your own, with a partner, or with your family, the size of your rig can be the difference between fun and stress. If you’re traveling with children, do your best to make sure that everyone has at least a little space all their own.
Tow or Drive?
If you’re just going to camp, a motorcoach is a good option. Get to your site, set up camp, enjoy the outdoors, drive home. However, if you want to see the local sights, a towable rig is probably a better option. You can also pull a toad if your family can fit in a small vehicle.
5th Wheel or Bumper Pull?
A 5th wheel takes a special plate in the truck bed, which can limit the use of the truck. That being said, a 5th wheel can give you a lot more headroom. If you’re tall, it may be worth the limitations.
A bumper pull trailer may be a bit smaller, but for families with children, the tow vehicle options are very nice. Not only can you park, put out your camping gear and relax, but if you tow your bumper pull with a large SUV, you have extra storage in the back of the tow vehicle.
Your RV will last a lot longer with proper maintenance, and every family member can have a part in that. Be diligent about containing trash in the rig and outside, including micro-trash, or the tiny bits of wrappers that can quickly litter up a campsite.
Make sure that there’s a rug at the bottom of the steps and that everyone cleans their feet before getting in the vehicle to reduce sand buildup. Brush pets outside to cut down on hair in the rig, and make sure that everyone’s food, including snacks, are sealed up at the end of the day and not left out inside the rig. It only takes one mouse to make a big mess and cause serious rig damage over time.
Carefully review the RV when it’s all closed up. Can you and your family get a decent night’s sleep with the slides in? If not, then an overnight at a big box store or a truck stop may not be an option.
If you’re camping within a day’s drive of your home and not planning any long trips at the moment, you can probably function well enough in the rig without needing a rest stop. However, your RV life will be simpler and easier to plan if you can function with slides in, then relax and play a bit with the slides out.
Cooking in your RV will be a lot easier with everyone out of the space. Unless you find an RV with the kitchen at the back, having everyone walking through while the chief cook does their thing could be disruptive.
Consider an RV with an outdoor kitchen option. Even if your rig doesn’t have the fold down kitchen, a propane hookup, foldable table and camp grill can mean that the heat and aromas of cooking can be kept out of the rig while fresh food gets prepped inside.
Finally, whenever possible, eat outdoors! Find space in your basement or garage for a screen house and stake that near your campsite as soon as you put the slides out. If you have an outdoor shower, put the screen house at the opposite end, as the water can draw flies.
Once you’re at camp with the slides out, make sure that everyone’s bed is always theirs. It can be tempting to make the sofa the permanent sleeping place of a short adult or child, but this can mean that one person has no real spot to call their own.
If you must turn the couch into one person’s bed, use a timer and set specific rules about
- when electronics like the television get turned off
- when bedtime for everyone is
- when the couch can be a couch again
Traveling in an RV is a great way to see the country, enjoy family time and avoid the risks of social contact that 2020 has brought. Take care to disinfect any shared surface when you fuel up and once you’re in your campground. Travel safe, and enjoy!