Camping can be a very relaxing endeavor. According to the 2018 Annual North American Camping Report, “96 percent of teens say they appreciate that the adults in their lives are more relaxed when camping. This desire to spend quality time with friends and family drives their desire to camp more.” Isn’t that what everybody wants?
However, living in an RV can take some getting used to if you normally reside in a traditional home with a much larger floor plan. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind as you embark on your next RVing adventure.
- The driver is the most important person when the vehicle is moving. Whether you’re towing a travel trailer or driving a 30-foot motorhome, the driver needs to keep his or her eyes where it’s the most important: the road. It’s the driver’s job to keep everyone and everything safe. So as a passenger, don’t be too loud or provide distraction, especially at critical moments, such as during bad weather, heavy traffic, or trying to navigate to the next destination. It helps to have someone as the copilot who can help with navigation and keeping the peace.
- Bring enough to do. But not too much. You don’t need the clutter. Streamline by using an e-reader instead of a bag of books, skip the physical games and play road games, as examples. This can be especially challenging with younger families. Just bring along fewer than five favorite toys or games that are ideal for each child’s age. Perhaps make one of those items something new to help them pass the time.
- Be alert. This applies to everyone, not just the driver. Everybody should have their senses alert for strange noises (i.e., grinding), vibrations (i.e., popped tire), or something coming off the RV (i.e., did we forget to put the awning away).
While living in the RV…
- Be flexible. Since spaces in an RV have multiple uses – the dining table might be a work station, a spot for the kids to do homework, where to meet for family games, eating meals, etc. – you need to be flexible to change your plans or your location should a larger need than yours arise. You’ll find yourself discovering new methods or schedules as time goes on that makes everyone happier, rather than upset about “not having space” or stepping on one another’s toes.
- Keep your messes to yourself. A clean camper is a happy camper. Not only is it important for the overall hygienic state of the RV – no ants allowed – you don’t leave a mess for the next person to come along. Clean up immediately, especially in the bathroom and in the kitchen areas, and keep your clothes, gear, gadgets, or toys in their appropriate spots, always!
- Organize a chore list. This helps keep expectations in check. Everyone camping should have specific jobs, whether they are kept the same throughout the trip or rotate day by day. Apply this tactic to departure and packing checklists. Everyone should be responsible for something. This way, nothing should be left undone or overlooked as everyone is contributing.
- Be open to communication. Constructive communication. In a small space like an RV, there isn’t a lot of room for anger or resentment to fester and nowhere for you to “hide.” It’s best to be honest and open with those around you. Hiding these emotions is a quick way to ruin a trip or vacation, so don’t let it happen!
Has there ever been a time when your life in the RV wasn’t so harmonious? What would you have done differently then and probably will do in the future? When we go RVing, it’s all about relationships: our relationship with our fellow travelers (family, friends), our relationship with fellow nomads, and our relationship with our surroundings (nature, new places). Keeping those relationships in harmony is essential to a happy, more relaxed camping experience.
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