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Hit the Road, Family Style: Mastering RV Travel with Kids

RVing means lots of time spent riding in a vehicle, particularly for those traveling in a towing vehicle pulling a travel trailer or fifth wheel behind. While road-tripping can definitely be fun, there are some aspects that are less than stellar. This is especially true when attempting RV travel with kids and even more so if those kids happen to be infants or toddlers.

After all, young children don’t tend to have much patience when it comes to sitting still for hours on end. Getting little ones in and out of the vehicle for potty breaks and snack stops can stretch out your travel days too.

Fortunately, there are ways to take some of the hassle out of traveling by vehicle with little ones. In fact, we’d even go so far as to say it’s possible to make extended road trips with your kiddos fun, and we’ve listed our top tips and resources for doing this below.

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Try these things on your next long stint on the road to see what helps keep your whole family calm, cool, and collected on travel days.

Tip #1 Pack Snacks Wisely To Make RV Travel with Kids Easy

It’s no secret that kids love snacks. Ah, who are we kidding? Adults love snacks, too!

Snacks can make sitting still for long periods a little more bearable and are crucial to have on hand when a case of the “hangries” decides to make an appearance. Unfortunately, packing snacks for the kids can also be disastrous.

To avoid these disastrous situations, try to keep the following tips in mind when packing snacks for your next RV trip:

Shop for Spill-Proof

Spills and messes in the backseat are sure to cause unnecessary stress. Instead of risking those messes by using un-lidded cups and regular bowls, consider purchasing spill-proof cups and snack cups. These items are enormously helpful when you have toddlers but are even nice to have on hand specifically for vehicle use as your kids get older.

Keep It Healthy When You Travel with Kids

Artificial dyes and lots of sugar or caffeine can cause kids to go bonkers. Since you probably don’t want your kids bouncing around the backseat, these are all things you’ll definitely want to avoid.

In fact, you may want to skip junk food in general because it has a tendency to cause stomach upset. Instead, take a look in your pantry or make a quick stop at the grocery store for snacks like fruits, vegetables, and whole wheat crackers.

Skip the Gas Station Snacks

Allowing the kids to purchase snacks from the gas station is incredibly expensive. On top of that, waiting for everyone to make a decision about what they want to buy can be a huge time-suck. Lastly, these gas station snacks tend to be unhealthy and filled with dyes and sugars.

For this reason, we highly recommend skipping the gas station snack stops altogether.

Tip #2 Find Screen-Free Fun

When you’ve endured hours of whining and crying, it can be tempting to hand each kid a tablet and let them play for the rest of the trip to your destination. While this is okay once in a while, too much screen time can actually affect your child’s development, meaning it certainly isn’t something you want to do often.

So what do you do? You could continue to listen to the grumpy voices from the backseat, or you could find other fun ways to pass the time. Some recommendations include:

Truck or Suburban-Friendly Crafting

Crafting is a fabulous way to pass the time no matter where you happen to be. Unfortunately, some crafts simply are not vehicle-friendly. However, this doesn’t mean crafting is banned in the your passanger vehicle it simply means you have to get a bit creative with the types of craft materials you bring along.

The following items are great craft project materials that will keep kids entertained without making a gigantic mess:

Surprise Bags

Kids are much more likely to be entertained by toys they don’t play with every day. For this reason, some parents find packing “surprise bags” helpful.

These bags contain small toys, craft supplies, miniature board games, and snacks to keep the kids entertained during the drive and are opened every hour or two for the entire trip. This introduces activities one at a time, ensuring each item is played with.

Keep in mind that the toys and other activities don’t have to be brand new, but they should be different than items the kids play with on a day-to-day basis in order to keep things interesting.

Listening Fun

This one might be cheating because it does actually involve a phone or tablet. However, we think it’s worth mentioning that listening to audiobooks, podcasts, and fun kids’ albums together can be an excellent way to pass the time.

We really like the following:

Other Tips for RV Travel with Kids

With snacks and entertainment all sorted out, you might think you have everything covered. However, there are more things you might want to consider. The following tips and tricks will make your drive go much more smoothly:

Keep It Short and Sweet

When it comes to traveling with kids—especially babies and toddlers—it’s best to keep travel days short. Additionally, you will want to schedule plenty of stops at rest areas to get out and stretch.

Account for Accidents and Emergencies When You Travel with Kids

When you’re a young child, accidents happen often. Be prepared for accidents and emergencies by keeping the following items in your vehicle at all times:

  • Potty seat
  • Extra clothes
  • Towel
  • Wet wipes

Put Up Sunshades

Bright sunshine can make anyone grumpy when it’s shining in their eyes. Help keep the little ones in your backseat happy by putting up sunshades to keep the sun out of their eyes.

Invest in an Easy-Clean Child Seat

Those accidents we mentioned before? They are much easier to clean up if you have an easy-to-clean car seat. The Chicco NextFit Zip is a great option.

Wrapping Up RV Travel with Kids

The key to smooth and enjoyable RV travel with kids lies in embracing the journey with all its quirks and unpredictability. Remember, every long stretch of road, every stop at a campground or RV park, and even those rainy days stuck inside the camper are opportunities to make lasting memories with your family.

With the right mix of preparation and flexibility, you can transform any trip from stressful to successful. So, next time you hit the road, take these tips to heart. Embrace the adventures, enjoy the comforts of your RV, and cherish the routines you create along the way. Here’s to family RV trips filled with joy, discovery, and the magic of exploring the world from the cozy confines of your home on wheels.