Family Vacations in an RV: Some helpful hints

Posted on May 30, 2007 by Sara Hickman. | 1 Comment


We are the kind of family that does NOT take a DVD player on any of our trips. “Oh, sure!” you’re saying to yourself, “That Hickman. She is a LIAR!” But, no, I am not. Let me tell you what we do on our family trips that helps us all have fun and create memories. After all, isn’t that what taking a family trip is all about? Building memories? (Oh, and learning how to balance your sanity at the same time?)

5) Take a recording device with you…tape recorder, digital recorder, video recorder, whatever you want. Not only can you make homemade movies at every historic marker, but you can create theme songs, record three part harmony versions of “100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall”, and most importantly, capture those moments where the kids swear they’ll help with laundry, so when they deny it, you just hit playback.

4) Have the kids bring journals, and have them document their thoughts and feelings. Have them draw what they see. Have them
write about the hot dog that fell behind the cushions on the slide-out that no one discovered until two weeks in the trip and every one thought Mom had a bad case of B.O.

3) Bring lots of art supplies–cardstock, tape, markers, crayons, scissors. And a list of addresses. Then, have the kids make homemade postcards. They can tape leaves and tadpoles on the front of the cardstock! They can use their muddy fingers and draw! They can create beautiful art to send to friends and family telling them all about the Washington Monument and how daddy couldn’t find a place to park the R.V. and got a ticket. Then they can draw a picture of a red daddy hopping up and down with an officer in the background rolling his blue, blue eyes.

2) Have a day where you and the kids create snacks in the tiny R.V. kitchen. Trail mix, granola, homemade peanut butter or ice cream.
Share with the neighbors in the R.V. park in baggies decorated with ribbon (see art supplies #3). Include a handmade invite that announces that evening’s ice cream social in front of your R.V.! Have the kids run back to the kitchen and make 2,000 tons of chocolate chip ice cream.

1) Take guitars and ukeleles and maracas. These are good to have around the campfire. Bring sing-a-long sheets, songbooks. There are a lot of song ideas available on the internet. But keep these things locked up on the drive so you do not have to hear “Wild Thing” 12 bah-zillion times. Remember, that is family time. When you are driving, it’s a good time to be having conversations about important things kids like to talk about. Dead bugs, when you’re going to get to the next place (good opportunity for math problems! 17 hours x 5247 miles= what kids?), how barfy that boy in Ms. Whozit’s math class was, who’s going to do the laundry. You know, the stuff of memories.

If, after following my advice, you still need more ideas for a family trip in the R.V., feel free to ask me about the other 5. But be forewarned: they include tips for making gas money to fill the very expensive tank and fun things to do with your R.V. at Halloween. Spooky stuff!


* Make up a song…someone starts with the first verse, and then someone else has to make up the second verse, and then someone else makes up the chorus, etc. This can get wacky and silly. And, most of the time, ends up in four part harmony. One time, Lily (my 10 year old) and I ended up singing about trees for 40 minutes. I am not kidding. Our “Ode to the Arbol” became an operatically embellished free for all!

* MAD LIBS! We loooooooooooooove to play Mad Libs. Plus, the kids are learning what the differences are between adjectives, nouns, verbs and adverbs, and then have great fun reading back the stories to us in hilarious voices.

* I SPY with my little eye… this usually works best at Rest Stops!

* I talked about journaling, but I didn’t talk about our family journal. Everyone gets to add to the family journal. We have been keeping one since my youngest was born (we wrote on her behalf). So we are all putting our thoughts, family meetings, travels, etc in one wonderful book that grows more and more sacred with journeys!

* We let the kids sit in the driver’s seats (no key) and pretend to drive US, mom and dad, to wherever they want to take us in their imagination. This can have a very relaxing effect on the entire family, cuz the kids get to feel like they are in charge, and my husband and I get to sit in the big seats in back and relax for a bit! (Of course, we get to ask, “Are we there yet?” and act up, if we want to! Role reversals all around!)

* Take card games…we LOVE to play “Slapjack” (cards that look like pancakes), and we play “Go Fish” or”Crazy Eights”

* We have also played “Worse Case Scenario”, a card game where you read a problem, like:
“You’ve fallen into quicksand… do you a) flail your arms and try to “swim” across the quicksand, b) lie perfectly still and try to make a cross shape with your body on top of the quicksand, c) imagine yourself as heavy as a stone, or d) hope Donald Rumsfeld doesn’t find you.”

These cards can lead to very interesting conversations while learning what to do in real life problems.

* Take a roll up net, volleyball and badminton racquets/birdie to play volleyball and/or badminton…gets out a lot of energy.

One response to “Family Vacations in an RV: Some helpful hints”

  1. Shawna says:

    I am laughing and smiling and wanting to go out and rent an RV. My goal is to one day travel for a year across the US in an RV and base all of our homeschool curriculum on our travels and historic sites.

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