The annual family RV road trip can be an unforgettable bonding experience with the kids. Or it can be a total disaster. Organizing your family’s getaway is often stressful, but it doesn’t have to be.
Right now you still have the gift of time to plan a fun vacation for everyone. Get started with your itinerary before it’s too late.
Will your family RV road trip be a disaster or a delight?
If the family vacation planning process rests on your shoulders, take five minutes to check out these road trip tips. Our do’s and don’ts practically guarantee you’ll have the greatest RV vacation yet.
The typical American vacation lasts just over four days, according to CBS News. In those precious 96 hours the typical vacationing family has little time to drive, explore and relax in many different areas.
As you map a route for your getaway, be realistic about driving times between places. If you think your family RV road trip seems like a lot of driving–it is. Commandeering a recreational vehicle is more intense than cruising in a passenger car. That two hour drive in a sedan will feel like four from behind the wheel of a motorhome. Here are two key tips to make the most of your time:
- Don’t try to see too many destinations during your vacation.
- Spend more time exploring your base camp’s surrounding area.
DON’T drive to hot spots
The American Southwest is a mind-blowing place to explore. But during summer, it’s one of the warmest places on the continent.
Driving into a furnace like the Grand Canyon has all the makings of a family RV road trip disaster. Exploring in triple-digit heat is no fun for humans and it can be lethal for pets who get left behind at camp. Save the spectacular Southwest for spring and fall and beat the heat for your getaway.
Some summertime getaways with cool daily temps include:
- Whitefish Point on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
- Washington’s Olympic Peninsula
- Camping on the Pacific Northwest Coast
If you can’t get to any of these spots, just head for a high altitude campground near you. You might have lots of company but at least you’ll be cooler than you were at home.
DO choose campgrounds that suit your needs
Whether you travel to Coast or the Rockies, campgrounds and resorts are packed with families in summer. That’s great if your kids want company. Empty nesters might see the chaos of kids running amok a little differently.
Before heading out, use RV trip planning apps for great adventures. They can pinpoint campgrounds that suit your needs. For example:
- RV parks prominently featuring “resort” in their name usually offer organized family-oriented activities and busy amenities like swimming pools and mini-golf.
- Developed US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management campgrounds don’t offer anything but a picnic table and scenery. During summer, empty nesters have a 50/50 chance that families with bored school-age children will set up camp.
- Dry camping on public lands probably offers the best chance of getting away from summertime crowds. Flex your dry camping muscles and go off-grid to dispersed camping areas in high altitude locations for the ultimate summer escape.
It’s tempting to just throw a dart at the map and drive somewhere for your annual family RV road trip. But a fiasco could be just around the corner if you do it during summer. A little advanced planning goes a long way to make sure that everyone from grandparents to toddlers will have a good time during that brief escape from your usual routine.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.