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How to SURVIVE a Family RV Trip (10 Tips)

| Updated Nov 8, 2023

Don't go into your family RV trip thinking it will be Instagram-perfect. Here are invaluable tips on not only how to survive a family RV trip but to enjoy it to the fullest…

The wonderful idea of a family RV trip can be very different from reality. If you've ever seen Robin Williams' movie RV, you'll have a good idea of everything that can go wrong.

However, that movie also shows you how RVing can bring family closer together. It can bring memories that will last a lifetime (good and bad!).

To make sure your good memories outweigh the bad, we've compiled a list of tips to help you survive your family RV trip. More so, these tips will help you enjoy it to the fullest!

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Survival Tips for a Family RV Trip

How to SURVIVE a Family RV Trip (10 Tips)

We hope the following tips help you build memories you'll cherish for the rest of your life. These simple tricks and principles will make it easier for everyone to get along and make the most of their time together.

1. Comfort Is Key

Nothing makes someone grumpier than being uncomfortable! This is especially true on long road trips and camping trips.

So, before you go, put a lot of effort into making sure everyone will be comfortable both during the drive and while at camp. Here are some resources to help:

2. Take Turns Making Decisions

What Is Travel Decision Fatigue? (& How RVers Overcome It)

Decision fatigue is real! And parents can easily suffer from it on a family road trip. Making too many decisions while trying to satisfy everyone can be exhausting.

So, take turns! Even let your little kids have a say in some of the decisions. Some decisions to share are what family activity to do, what games to play, where to eat, what snacks to have, and so on.

You can divvy up the decisions by category, time of day, or even give family members certain days to make many decisions. For instance, Johnny picks the family activities today, and Jenny picks them tomorrow.

3. Schedule in Some Me Time

Everyone needs a bit of Me Time, even on family trips. So, even though you're trying to maximize Family Time, be sure to squeeze in some Me Time for everyone.

Mom should get a designated time allotment to enjoy her favorite book to read while camping. Dad should get time to go fishing. Teenage Jenny should get time to listen to music undisturbed… you get the point.

Do your best to plan for and protect this Me Time, and Family Time will be all the better for it.

woman reading book outdoors

4. Compromise on Screen Time

Asking kids to forfeit all screen time can be the equivalent of asking a smoker to quit smoking. As unpleasant as that comparison is, it illustrates how going cold turkey on screen time can result in irritable people and an uphill battle.

If you expect a lot of backlash for unplugging, talk with your kids and come to a compromise on screen time. Of course, you want to limit it as much as possible, but some screen time is reasonable. Perhaps you can combine it with their Me Time.

Consider screen time hours, as well. For instance, maybe they can only have the allotted screen time when it's dark or only for a break after lunch.

5. Enjoy Screen Time Together

You can also turn screen time into family time. For instance, you can cozy up to a camping movie at night, even enjoying a (campground-friendly) portable movie theater.

Or, you can enjoy a group game app together, like Heads Up or Trivia Crack. You can also turn your trip photos into collages, videos, or posts to share with your family and friends.

Another fun way to use screens while camping is to use the SKYVIEW® LITE APP with your stargazing for campers kit. It's a really neat augmented reality app that outlines the constellations and planets on your iPhone. Android has something similar called Star Walk2.

How to SURVIVE a Family RV Trip (10 Tips) 1

6. Leave Room for Serendipity

While it's important to have a plan and schedule for your family RV trip, it's also crucial to leave room for serendipitous moments. Sometimes, the best memories are made when you stumble upon unexpected gems along the way.

Allow for spontaneous stops at scenic viewpoints, local attractions, or interesting towns you come across. Embrace the unplanned adventures and let your family create beautiful memories together.

7. Be Ready with Games (or Crafts)

Family game night is the stereotypical way to bond for good reason! They're especially helpful during those rainy or quiet evenings in the RV.

Pack a selection of your family's favorite board games and yard games to keep everyone entertained. If you're not a board game type of family, you can also pack crafts, puzzles, or other activities.

Here are some resources to help:

How to SURVIVE a Family RV Trip (10 Tips) 2

8. Be Ready with Campfire Stories

No family RV trip is complete without gathering around the campfire and sharing stories. Encourage each family member to prepare their own campfire story to share with the rest of the group.

Whether it's a spooky tale, a funny anecdote, or a heartfelt memory, storytelling can create a magical and unforgettable experience. Don't forget to bring marshmallows for roasting, which should really be its own tip…

9. Be Ready with Camping Treats!

What's a family RV trip without delicious camping treats? Plan some special camping treats to make the experience even more enjoyable.

S'mores are, of course, a go-to! But you can up your game with some new campfire treats from our sister site, Camping Food Recipes, such as:

Mmm Mmm! Those treats will make the kids want to gather around the campfire with you!

How to SURVIVE a Family RV Trip (10 Tips) 3

10. Encourage Journaling

Making plans for a memorable trip should include plans for immortalizing your memories. Don't let yours or your kids memories fade over time!

Encourage your children to keep a travel journal and model for them by keeping one yourself. Even a bullet journal will help preserve your memories.

Here is a list of articles to help:

How to Survive RVing with Your Spouse

In this article, we've focused mainly on keeping the kids happy to have an enjoyable family trip. But keeping the parents happy is a big part of a successful RV trip, too.

So, we recommend also reading our survival guide for RVing with your spouse. It covers 10 unwritten rules that'll make the trip as enjoyable for you as it is for your kids.

Click here to keep reading…

RV Tips for RV Wives

RV Tips for RV Husbands

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Mike and Jennifer Wendland's Yellowstone Travel Guide

3 Beautiful Boondocking Sites Outside Yellowstone

At the top of every RVers bucket list, it is a place so majestic, so wild, and so big that it calls us to return, to explore, to get to know the diversity of its land and animals over and over again.

Everywhere you look are waterfalls, fast-moving rivers, geysers, sheer rock faces, towering lodgepole pines, all framed by mountains under the bright blue cloudless sky.

It’s spectacular for those who love the wilderness and getting up close and personal with it. Enjoy Yellowstone for RV travel.

We recommend you go Lectric for your RV Lifestyle

RV Lifestyle Partners 8

You know we love our RAD Power bikes – and have featured them for years, but we recently tested out and LOVE our new Lectric foldable ebikes. Being able to fold them up allowed us to put them in our Wonder rear garage area for a recent RV Lifestyle Gathering. You can check out our experience with them right here on our YouTube Channel.

lectric ebike

Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-09-21

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

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