Tips for How To Survive RV Travel With Toddlers
Exploring the country in an RV is a fantastic experience for travelers of all ages. Many RVers dream of introducing their kids to a world of travel, learning, and outdoor adventure. Kids learn invaluable lessons while traveling the country and experiencing new things. That said, traveling with little ones does add extra stress to your trip. Luckily, there’s a way to manage your entire family without losing your own much-needed vacation experience. With some extra planning, a few key parenting policies, and other tips for how to survive RV travel with toddlers, you can make a vacation experience no one will ever forget.
Plan for the Whole Family
An itinerary for adults will look very different than an itinerary for kids. To keep everyone interested and entertained throughout the trip, you must have everyone in mind when deciding where to go. You don’t want to spend every day at kids’ attractions, but you should try to have a couple of things on the schedule specifically for them. One of the best ways to do this is to get your kids involved in the planning stage. Ask them what they want to see as you travel. Are they interested in hiking? Do they want to go somewhere they can swim?
Even if your kids aren’t helping decide where to go, get them involved by showing them pictures of places you’re going to visit. Talk about the landmarks or animals they’ll be able to see while you travel. When kids get to help plan, they’ll look forward to the trip even more.
Give Everyone Their Own Space
Just like adults, kids sometimes need a little privacy. Make sure everyone has their own space during the trip. Kids should have their own place to sleep, their own bag to carry their toys, books, and other entertainment, as well as storage space for their shoes, clothes, and other belongings.
In addition to helping make the RV feel more like home, these personal spaces will also help keep everything organized throughout your trip. Plus, kids will feel more independent when they have their own space. Perhaps most importantly, a little privacy gives kids a place to cool down or unwind if they need it. This will help keep tempers down and spirits up even during longer journeys.
Always Have a Rain Plan
When you take an RV trip, you have to plan for the weather. A rainy day doesn’t have to ruin your plans, but you need to be prepared with backup activities if the weather prevents you from any outdoor excursions you have planned. This is especially true with young kids, who are sure to be full of energy if they’re stuck inside all day.
Keep entertainment around your RV in case you have to spend a day just lounging around the campsite. Books, board games, and movies are all great ways to pass the time—especially if you have options that the whole family can enjoy. You might also look out for indoor activities you can do, like exploring a museum together.
Keep Driving Days Fun
No one enjoys spending all day in the car, least of all young children. If you’re traveling far, you need to find ways to make those hours on the road more comfortable for everyone. Start by planning your driving days a little differently. Kids will need more stops than adults, so plan accordingly. When you stop, make sure everyone stretches their legs a little bit. Try to stop for lunch, too. This will give everyone a much-needed break from traveling. Finally, try to keep travel days only a few hours long and avoid traveling multiple days in a row.
You can also make the drive itself more fun. Games and movies are a great way to entertain the kids during those long hours on the road. You can also keep them engaged by talking about where you are or where you’re going. There’s a lot to see on America’s highways, and young kids will be especially delighted when you point out the changing landscapes outside their window. You can also make the trip more comfortable by packing snacks for everyone. Pillows and blankets will also help kids get comfortable enough to nap in the RV and easily pass much of your travel time.
Get the Kids Involved
You’re on an adventure. It’s only natural that kids will want to lend a helping hand. It’s easy to want to say no—after all, many tasks in and around the RV aren’t safe or appropriate for younger kids. However, getting your kids involved will help them feel like they’re part of the adventure. Find age-appropriate ways everyone can help. If they’re not old enough to help cook or do dishes, they might be able to set the table or place chairs around the campsite. Alternatively, make harder tasks a learning experience. You don’t want your kids playing with fire, but they can sit and watch as you walk them through how you light the fire.
Know Your Way Around Your RV
The better you know your RV, the less stressed you’ll be about maintenance. Learn your way around the different systems and tools. Learn how to check your tires, empty your tanks, and other routine maintenance tasks. It helps to have the right tools on hand. Keep spare parts, a toolkit, caulk, and other basic equipment with you everywhere you go. When you’re comfortable with your vehicle, you’ll have one less thing to worry about as you balance traveling and parenting.
Keep Your RV Comfortable
If you’re a little uncomfortable, your kids are probably really uncomfortable. That’s why it’s important to keep your RV in good shape when bad weather hits. Keep an eye out for leaks in the roof and around windows.
Additionally, winterize your RV if you plan on traveling in cold weather. An RV skirt, rugs in the interior, and other cold-weather measures can keep the interior of your vehicle warm and toasty when the temperature drops. Make sure you also install RV water pipe heaters so that your water system can still operate in freezing temperatures. A comfortable RV will keep everyone happy no matter where you go or what you do.
Plan Plenty of Rest
If you’re constantly on the move, everyone will be cranky and exhausted before you’re halfway through the trip. That’s why planning downtime is one of the most essential tips for how to survive RV travel with toddlers. Make sure your itinerary includes rest periods every now and then. This is a great chance to read, watch a movie, play a board game, or listen to music in and around the RV. Keep things calm and relaxing for a while so everyone has a chance to recharge. Whether you’re taking a day off from adventuring or spending a couple of hours every day, you’ll all be thankful for the chance to recuperate before diving into your next exciting activity.