Tips for your first RV Camping Trip with kids

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You’ve read all the guides, bought all your gear, prepared your itinerary. Now it’s time to rent that RV and hit the road. Here’s all that @scosays and I have learnt through our first camping trip that we think you’ll benefit from:

1. Learn your vehicle inside out.

If possible go see your rental before you hit the road. If not, ask for photos so you can plan accordingly. In any case, if it’s not your own RV – make sure you know how much storage space your vehicle has. Whether you have a closet, shelving or hanger space. Whether you have a freezer and how big that freezer is. Whether you have an awning (some rental companies do not provide one) or an outdoor table. If you know what you’re working with, you’ll have less surprises to deal with.

@scosays reading the guidebook that they gave us at Motorhome Travel Canada.

2. Prep your food.

Unless your idea of a perfect road trip is to prepare three meals and two snacks every day, it’s wise to plan ahead: Wash and chop your veggies, soak your salads, prepare (or buy) your mixes, cook your ground meat. This way, you can both save time and precious potable water that you’ll eventually have to spend by washing dishes. It’ll be a lot of work but you’ll thank me later.

These packs of minced beef literally saved me when we arrived to a destination way to late to set up and cook a barbecue.
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3. Your first day is out the window.

Rental companies may ask you to pick up your vehicle in the afternoon and while you’re there they may ask you to read the guides and show you how to operate the vehicle before you leave for your trip. At least the rental company we went with for our first trip did so and by the time we were able to get on the road with our rental, it was 4:30pm. We’d left the kids at home with their grandparents for the hassle and were glad we did so. We came home, loaded the vehicle and it was already 7pm. You decide whether you wish to get on the road after this time.

We had to leave a few hours later than we initially planned for so our first dinner had to be on board.
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4. Your last day is out the window, too.

You’re going to have to unload your stuff and clean up you rental before you return it. If your drop off time is before noon; again, you may prefer to go home first, unload and clean up the day before instead of dealing with that hassle early in the morning on the drop-off day.

Took us a good 2-3 hours to unload everything and clean up the vehicle when we arrived back home.
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5. Check the weather – twice!

If like us, you live in a region where the weather is unpredictable, you may want to check the weather twice before going on the road. Even in summer the evenings may be cold, so don’t forget to bring weatherproof clothing and indoor entertainment such as board games and books.

We cancelled our trip to Algonquin Park because we’d only be staying there for 1 night and that night turned out to have a major thunderstorm. So we decided to skip it. Click here for the whole story.

6. Don’t be shy: ask for help!

Campers are super-friendly people. At least that’s what we’ve been told and what we’ve experienced while on the road. Need an extension cable? They’ve got it. Not sure why the grey tank doesn’t look empty even though you’re pretty damn sure you emptied it? They’ll tel you why. Kids getting hangry because you’ve arrived a little late at your destination and now you’ve got to took while they drive you crazy? They’re your babysitter sent from above. Just accept the help and don’t forget to pay it forward.

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