How to Plan a Family RV Trip 1834

Zion National Park Mom Trotter Family

It’s hard to narrow down all of the amazing aspects of a family RV trip. Not only will you and your family spend quality time together, but you will create memories you will all cherish for years to come. Whether this is your first RV trip – perhaps you’re renting – or you just take your RV out from time to time, there are a lot of tips that can make your next family RV vacation even more fun. With proper planning, your RV trip will be just as amazing.

With an RV, there’s no need to lose time waiting in airport lounges or train stations for your transport: the fun starts the moment you hit the road. Below are some helpful tips when planning a family RV trip.

Renting an RV?

Family Reading at Campsite
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If you don’t own an RV but plan to rent one, the first step is to pick the right size RV for your family. This is an important consideration since many RVs are simply too small, or too large, for your needs. You want to find an RV that will work for you.

Consider how much storage space you need. Try to ensure that each family member has their own space for their things. Will you be taking large, bulky items such as bikes? Are you going on a sports trip that requires lots of equipment? Another consideration is the layout of your RV. Will the sleeping arrangement be suitable for your family, and give everyone space and privacy?

Is a Special License Needed?

Family RV Trip
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You don’t need a special license to drive an RV: most people rent a Class C, which is on a truck chassis and is similar to driving a truck. However, driving an RV is different than driving a car. Its height and length are much bigger than a car’s, plus it needs much more room to turn.

It helps to think ahead and consider how you’re going to exit spaces like car parks and gas stations, to save the need for complicated maneuvering. There are RV-driving schools you can attend to learn these skills if you feel it’s necessary. Otherwise, when you get the RV, head for a large car park, such as at some of the bigger stores, to practice reversing and turning.

Rental Considerations

Most RV rentals are per week, but some companies do offer weekend packages. Look for deals that include discounts on additional services, such as unlimited mileage or additional time. You’d be surprised how much more expensive your trip can get once you go over the allocated miles. This happened to us on our first RV trip and cost us a few hundred dollars.

Try renting an RV for a family trip with Good Sam RV Rentals.

Practice Makes Perfect

Camping and Swinging in Hammock
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If you’re new to RVing, you might want a test run setting up camp before your trip – it’ll save you a lot of time and stress if you know what you’re doing when you arrive at your destination. You should know where to find and how to use the water heater, generator, amp box, water hose, and septic tank. Does your rig have an awning? Be sure you know how to set it up.

Once you get to your destination you’ll need to park up on a level – no one likes sleeping or eating on a slope! Being aware of all these things before you set off will make your weekend family RV trip go much smoother. One thing that is great about RVing for the first time is that RVers are generally some of the most helpful people you’ll ever come across. So if you get to an RV park and need help or have any questions, there will always be someone happy to help.

Trip Planning

USA State Sticker Map
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Once your RV rental has been planned, or you’ve purchased an RV, the next step is to consider where to go. The journey itself is half the fun, but unless you’re visiting places along the way, it is better to pick one or two destinations to focus on. Also, make sure to scope out campgrounds or RV parks nearby so you don’t spend too much time driving.

National parks and state parks make fantastic destinations and are usually more affordable as well. You can also look for an RV park that has plenty of family-friendly activities. Campgrounds that have on-site extras and amenities are usually the best for family camping. Campsites that don’t have these extras are good for when you want to be off-site and closer to nature.

You’ll have to keep this in mind when planning your RV trip. We’ve done a mix of state parks with little to no amenities, but absolutely beautiful and close to nature, hiking, and more, and we’ve also done RV parks with pools, play structures, splash pads for kids, and more.

Explore these campground options for you and your family:

Meal Planning

Mom Trotter Family Grocery Store Trip
Image: The Mom Trotter

One fantastic benefit of an RV trip is that it doesn’t have to break the bank. Staying in an RV is usually cheaper than it would be to stay in a hotel, especially because you don’t have to spend any money eating out if you don’t want to. If the weather is good, it’s easy to set up an outside kitchen for a grill or barbeque. Make sure you pack outdoor kitchen equipment and seating so that everyone can comfortably sit and eat around the campfire. When you rent an RV, you can also request these items from the owner.

Write up a meal plan and go shopping before you go on your trip. This will help you plan out what you’ll eat each day, but most importantly it’ll help you plan out what to grocery shop for. Grilling is great, but don’t forget to pack some quick and easy meal options too. This will come in handy for days that you are out exploring most of the day or even when driving so you have access to a quick meal without needing to pull over and put something together. This will save you lots of time.

Also, something that’s ready-made, especially for your first day makes arriving and setting up at the campsite much less stressful. You may not feel like cooking up a family meal after you’ve been on the road for a while, because I usually am tired and don’t want to either.

Don’t be afraid of camp cuisine. Learn How to Cook for Large Groups in an RV Kitchen.

What To Pack

Mom Trotter Family in Matching Pajamas
Image: The Mom Trotter

Double-check the weather before packing anything. This will save you lots of time! The first time we went RVing I checked the weather for every single day of our trip and packed accordingly for it.

Pack indoor activities such as board games, books, and arts and craft materials. If you won’t have internet where you’ll be staying, download movies onto a laptop or tablet before you set off. If it does rain or the weather is bad, and you’re forced to spend time indoors, then you’ll be prepared.

Pack all the bedding, blankets, pots and pans, etc. you’ll need. When renting an RV, most of these items are included so you’ll only need to pack your clothes.

Helpful Apps

You can download helpful camping apps, like Good Sam. Apps like this one will help you plan your trip and find campgrounds along the way as well.

Create a Schedule

Myrtle Beach Lazy River RV Park
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Start planning your trip in advance by mapping your route and booking RV parks. If you plan to do any tours, make sure to book that as well. Create a schedule of what you plan to do each day, how many miles you plan to drive, and places along the way where you can stop for food and gas.

I usually create a schedule using Google sheets and share the link with my husband as it is easy to access, go through, and change as needed. I didn’t plan this properly one time and we almost ran out of gas driving through the Colorado mountains. It was one of the scariest things we’ve had to deal with.

It’s okay if you don’t have a strict schedule as well. Sometimes we just wing it and go with the flow, and that’s okay too. But we were only able to do this after our first RV trip and after we were comfortable enough RVing.

Planning a Family RV Trip

Mom Trotter Family Around Campfire
Image: The Mom Trotter

Whatever the weather may be, taking a family RV trip will be lots of fun. We had so much fun on our first RV trip that we decided to sell our home and buy an RV, and it’s been so amazing since then.

An RV makes a wonderful basecamp for family trips and gives you lots of opportunities to get away for regular holidays throughout the year. I’m sure you’ll love it as much as we do. Every child will enjoy experiencing RVing at least once in their life.

Where is your favorite place to visit as a family when RVing? Do you have any tips for planning the perfect trip? Tell us in the comments below.

Karen created The Mom Trotter to share budget travel tips, homeschooling life, parenting and to connect with families following the same path as her. She and her family are traveling the country full-time in an RV.
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2 Comments

  1. I love your information please send other tips we just are thinking about buying a trailer 5th wheel thank you for this calif retired

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