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Tips for Traveling with Kids in an RV

Updated on January 8, 2020
tamarawilhite profile image

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, an industrial engineer, a mother of two, and a published sci-fi and horror author.


Traveling in an RV has a number of advantages over a car trip with children. You can bring your own bathroom, you can sleep on board, and you have some food prep facilities. The downside is traveling in them with children who are unfamiliar with RVs. Here are a few tips to make it easier to travel with children in an RV.

Note: These tips are intended for families with preschool or school aged children. Infants and toddlers present an extra challenge not addressed here.

A picture of our oldest child.
A picture of our oldest child. | Source

Tips for RV Travel with Kids

Teach your children how things work so they don’t play with a toilet or let a sink run when you’re running off a limited water tank.

Stock up on shelf stable snacks and meals. Canned soups and pastas are cheaper than fancy freeze dried foods. Snack crackers work well whether hiking or between meals. Don’t forget the healthy options that don’t require refrigeration and cooking – grapes, bananas, apples, pears, bagels, sliced bread.

Throw of loaf of bread in the drawer along with peanut butter and jelly so you have an instant meal if you’re behind schedule.

Camp at state parks with bathrooms and showers, and utilize them to the fullest. Every trip to the park bathroom is one you don’t put in the brown water tank.

Involve kids in the navigation to keep them engaged during the trip instead of asking, “Are we there yet?”

Plan activities like cooking, filling water bottles and taking showers when you’re connected to utilities. Don’t forget to charge devices while connected to the grid.

Plan to stop at city parks with bathrooms every 2-3 hours to give kids a run-around with bathroom facilities. An alternative is planning to eat at restaurants with playgrounds.

Plan on using sleeping bags as bedding, and practice having kids sleep in them to get used to the idea.

Let kids decide where they sleep within reason. For example, you may not trust a younger child up in the loft. Let the kids swap spots on nights to keep up the novelty and prevent fighting.

Teach the importance of a place for everything and everything in its place. Have your kids get in the habit of returning everything to its place after using it.

Make a habit of putting the trash in trash bins at every stop.

Go ahead and stock up at a grocery store instead of buying items at gas stations. It is cheaper overall, and your kids don’t get in the habit of assuming that they can buy soda, snacks and toiletries at gas stations.

Have a first aid kit suitable for camping, and add essentials to it. For example, you’ll want to have extra cleaning wipes, antibiotic ointment, anti-itch cream, asthma inhalers if your family uses them, and stomach medicine.

Designate one parent for driving and one parent for handling issues with kids, so that your children do not yell for the parent who is driving and the driver isn’t tempted to respond to noises in the back.

Pack a pad of paper so that your kids can play games like tic tac toe and hangman instead of relying on tablets or books for entertainment. This is especially useful if a child is prone to car sickness trying to read in a bouncy car.

Let them sing. Really. If it drives you crazy, lead the songs so that they change what they’re singing

© 2017 Tamara Wilhite


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