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Travelling in an RV as a family is not the same as going solo. The journeys are likely to be longer, and this takes a toll on everyone – especially kids that are used to being very active and need to keep busy. Children don’t handle long-distance travel as well as adults, so there are allowances that must be made to keep everyone happy, too.
Here are some tips on how to travel successfully as a family unit.
Every child has their own needs. It’s important to appreciate what these are and not to group them together. For instance, some prefer quiet time, whereas others need more attention and prefer to stay in close contact with their siblings or one of their parents at all times. Consider everyone’s needs, especially when travelling to under familiar places.
Plan game ideas that will work inside an RV. It will probably be necessary to have one parent sitting back with the children while the other drives (alternating this routine regularly). If the kids are fond of using smartphones to play games, manage the power requirements well. Have individual power banks and make children that are old enough responsible for charging their power bank when that’s possible to do so.
Are We There Yet?
When you have chosen a Cruise America RV rental, you’ve got the open road and are free to pick your destination. However, it’s not quite as simple as that. In case you’ve forgotten what it was like being a kid, we’ll remind you.
More certainty is required. Children will often ask “Where are we going?” or “Are we there yet?” about every 10 minutes. They haven’t acquired much patience yet and get anxious when travelling to somewhere new.
It’s necessary for parents to create more breaks on these long journeys. This means using approved stopping areas on the side of a highway where vehicles including RVs are permitted to stop. Letting the kids out under supervision to stretch their legs and run around a bit is an important part of any trip. While adults may want to push on the next 3 hours to reach the RV park, the kids won’t make it that long without going stir crazy.
Double the time is needed to get to a destination if you plan places to stop and eat along the way too.
Schedule Extra Nap Time
Children obviously need more sleep than adults do. However, with travel, they’ll get tired more easily due to anxiety about where they’re going and what it’ll be like when they get there. Also, they’ll possibly expend more energy running around and exploring with each new stop, leaving them tuckered out later.
Schedule some sleeping time in the main bedroom away from everyone else. This is necessary to allow them to not get irritable during travel due to being sleep deprived.
Stick to Food They Like
Within reason, stick to food that you know they can eat without an upset stomach. While travelling, it can be tempting to try every exotic food item on the menu. Instead, shop at local stores for produce and cook in the RV to prepare meals they’re familiar with and won’t have their stomach-turning. The last thing you need on the road is a poorly child who cannot travel and needs a doctor pronto.
Be careful about how much candy, junk food and other extras they consume compared to their normal weekly diet. As they spot new local or regional food chains that they’ve never seen before, their eyes will be as big as saucers. Parents need to be strong about not taking too many risks with new kinds of food dishes that could cause problems down the road. An upset child who settles down 30 minutes later is better than one with an upset stomach for 36 hours. Sometimes, the mom must say no to variety even if she’s the “horrible mom” for a spell.
Moderate National Park Activities
Trekking through national parks looks attractive on paper, but it becomes hard fairly quickly with kids in tow. Many trails are long, steep or rocky. It’s quite likely that parents will need to set aside ideas about taking the longer trails they’ve had their eye on and choose short ones that their kids can handle.
Children are far less interested in nature than their parents tend to be. We don’t appreciate the great outdoors until we’re older and more mature. Therefore, temper your goals for activities within or around national parks. Look for ways to get from point A to point B while skipping some of the walking parts if there is a park and ride or shuttle service to some attractions.
Be Open to Teachable Experiences
Being open to what happens on the road is important for everyone to understand. Even when renting an almost new RV, it’s possible to not get a flat tire on a bumpy road. Whether it’s swapping out the wheel, dealing with the possibility of wild animals nearby, or the challenges of putting together an acceptable peanut butter and jelly sandwich, prepare to be surprised when away from home.
Approach the kids from the perspective of teachable experiences. There’s the opportunity on a trip to teach children how to start a fire or hunt in the woods. Young children can learn to swim in a local lake that’s safe to use (verify this before doing so), using inflatable armbands and a mother’s helping hands to give them the confidence to try. Kids learn extremely well from being active and doing new things so, when done safely, this should be encouraged.
For moms and dads, taking the kids on a road trip with an rv rental is something everyone can get excited about. Nevertheless, as this article has indicated, there’s various accommodations and different plans required to help make the trip enjoyable for the kids, too. An unhappy child makes a vacation less fun for everyone, so it’s necessary to anticipate each children’s needs, manage their expectations and help them along.