Advice on Our First RV Trip

Updated on July 02, 2008
D.F. asks from Colbert, WA
8 answers

Hey Ladies- We are about to ebark on our first trip in our travel trailor. We will be going to a lake about an hour or so away for just a couple of nights. My husband and I have never done the RV thing. We have two children....daughter-8 and son-6. We also have two dogs who will be going with us (a boxer and a pug). I'd love any suggestions or advice to help prepare us for our first trip and ensure a successful time together. I grew up tent camping and my husband had a family cabin growing up, but neither of us have any experience with RVing. Any help you can give would be great. Thanks!

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answers from Seattle on


I have many a fond memory of traveling in my grandparents Motorhome as a child. They had an oooooolldd Champion that looked like a Winnebago. It had a factory installed 8 track player too. :)

Anyway, the things I remember most were the travel games that stayed in the motorhome, like a book of games. I think it has snakes and ladders, reversi, chinese checkers, there were quite a few games. To play these games there was a dish of little plastic discs if 4-5 colors. My grandma had two drawers full of travel games. There was also an overhead storage bin of books that also stayed in the motorhome. There were golf putters stashed under the couch for when we camped at a Thousand Trails campground.

Another thing that I remember that was fun was helping to pack/unpack the motorhome. My grandma had really bad scoliosis, so any help was always appreciated. I remember how thrilled I was when she decided that I was old enough to take all the groceries out to the motorhome and put them away.

Anyway, in all my ramblings here I guess what I'm trying to say is that the best memories I have are just going out my my Grandparents' motorhome, traveling and enjoying the quality time with them.

Hope this helps,
if you have any other questions email me,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

You will have a lot of fun. I don't want to sound like you don't know anything about camping, so I'm not sure what all to say, but remember the firewood and the Smores. It usually rains over the 4th, not sure about this year, but if it is warm enough out, we like to sit under a tarp in front of the fire even in the rain. Don't pack the trailer too heavy. Fill up your water when you get there if you can. It saves on fuel. Make sure you use the right toilet paper for trailers or you will be in trouble. Check at Camping world for all of the necessities of the house and the rest is what you want to take along. We always take too much food. Check your propane and make sure the detector is working. We always set the fire alarm off with just making toast. If so, you can fan it with a magazine or something until it stops, but we usually end up taking it down in the daytime if we cook in there. It's best to have a carpet of some kind in front of the steps to help keep the dirt outside and clean up as you go or it will be a nightmare real soon.
Have a wonderful time!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Bellingham on

I suggest from experience that you try and keep things on the same time schedule as at home or when you get home its harder.
Same time breakfast, walks and dog care, and rest times.Take a few items for crafts (making boats to float with milk cartons,knife skills for branches for marshmallows,tape,popsicle sticks,and books and crayons for if it rains) Have then clean up (hose down) before bedtime and the books before bed can be replaces with stories around the fire of your trips as kids. Have a great time making memories for your kids.



answers from Portland on

First off, you will have a blast! We too have a travel trailer and have a 2.5 year old and a 5.5 year old. This is our 2nd full year of camping. Your kids are older than ours which offers you a little more freedom, but still what they will be doing will more than likely mean that you will be accompanying them. Take a football, soccer ball, bikes.. If your kids are like ours they will like beign on the move! We take lots of walks enjoying the scenery.
Couple things I would recomend.. Get a stand that compresses that you can put wet clothes on to dry, target has them for close to $10, folds up like an accordian. Get wet wipes, I buy the Kirkland ones, to keep in the trailer and on the picnic table. Seems like someone always has sticky hands. Keep cleaners and broom in the tailer to keep things tidy. Typically the day we hitch up to go home I go through and clean, making it easier when we get home. Put a small basket inside the door for shoes-- we have a 'no shoes inside rule'.. Portable DVD player will come in handy if the kids get up early and you want to buy time for an extra cup of coffee.
Make sure to back flush your septic too! Especially with the heat! When we are hooking up to get ready to go we will fill the toilet holding with water to make sure everything goes out. Once we empty that, I will then step on teh peddle filling quite a bit again for a second empty. Make sure after you disconnect your water that all your tanks are empty too, so turn on the kitchen and bath faucets, letting them run till dry (turn on your pump), make sure to empty that as well (grey water).
Take advantage of that microwave! If you aren't BBQ'ing I make sure I have hot pockets on hand, frozen enchilada's, etc.. You dont' want to 'work', when you are camping! Frozen waffles are awesome too!
Hope this helps!



answers from Spokane on

Hi D., I'm a grandma now and we have a motor home but when the kids were young we had a little trailor. If this is your first trip the most important advice I could give you,(and I learned this the hard way) is to spend 24 hours in it in your driveway. Cook meals use the bathroom if it has one and sleep in it. This is the very best way to be sure you don't forget something important. One missing kitchen tool can spoil the meal or one missing ingrediant. Got toilet paper? tooth brushs? paper towels? It is much easier to run into the house than ten miles to the nearest store. Don't forger first aid, bug repellant and any meds you might want. When you have everything you need, add some board games and cards, if it rains you will be glad you did. Start some traditions. With the grandkids, we take an early morning pajama walk around the site and in the evening we sit around the fire and everyone tells a story. They might not always make sense (the four year old rambled a bit) but they love it. A good time for you to introduce the good old days of your youth. A long hike if available is good too. They can collect treasures and you might even find a berry patch. Be sure you have good shoes for all. The dogs love it and if you are fairly remote they can run free. The dogs we had then (a yellow lab/shepard mix and scottie) minded much better at camp than in town. . If all goes well, you might consider taking along a friend for each next time. They have so much more fun and you and hubby can have little down time. When you get home make a list of everything you take out and anything you wish you had, and leave it in the trailor. Makes next trip easier.
Hope this helps a little. We are now planning this years family trip. I always send the daughter and son-in-law away for the day so I can have the four kids to myself. They are now 12, almost 10, 8, and 5.



answers from Seattle on

Hi D.,

How exciting! Absolutely love camping and have been doing it with our daughter (5 years) since she could crawl. Most important advice is make sure you take your Smores mixing - hee hee hee - just kidding - well not really!

Actually - here is what I find most important, multiple change of clothes - expect the unexpected when it comes to temps, getting wet and dirty! Once that sun drops, it is nice to be by the fire but the little ones get cold much faster then me or my husband. And if you are behind a mountain or trees it will drop a lot early then 9pm. Once while my niece was camping with us, she pooped her pants, so had another change of clothes and a run to the shower - oh yeah - bring your own shampoo - if you are in a fully contained RV - great - if not you might want to take a travel toilet (like the ones for the car) so you don't have to go to the public toilet if you get a late night potty request.

Another minor - but my save your RV is if you are taking bottled water where you pull out the tap and the water comes pouring out - teach your little ones how to push it back in before pulling their cup away. I had my 4 year old yelling for help as she couldn't get the water to stop...oh yeah, don't forget an extra towel for big spills.

Sunscreen, Mosquito repellent, Firewood (and newspaper), matches. Keep your meals simple unless you really like to cook and clean up.

We have camping staples:

Pancakes - and I put the bisquick in a tupperware bowl premeasured with enough room to mix in my milk and eggs..don't forget syrup.

Cereal - Kelloggs is no longer making the individual boxes but I think General Mill love cereal from those is so camping.



As far as dogs go - mine are expert travelers and campers, so not sure what to tell you. Except - watch both for heat exhaustion because of their short noses. Keep cool water for both and don't leave them in the RV without air conditioning. It is proper dog handling to always have them on leash and don't let them go to other dogs in the park without first talking to the owners, not all camping dogs like other dogs.

This is a memory that will stay with your kids for a life time. Keep smiling even when EVERYTHING is going down hill. It will be a funny story when you get home. Tell your kids over and over again about what you did when you were a kid.

Gotta run the house is starting to wake up.

Have FUN! I'd tell you my favorite local camping spot, but then it would be full.


Wife of 15 years to a fantastic camping Englishman and mom to a camping and wildlife champion, 5 year old daughter.



answers from Eugene on

The only things I can think to add as we ran into other campers...
know how to do your gray/galley/black water draining
know how to start up your water heater
test run water connections if it wasn't winterized
have a dustbuster handy, and a wisk broom
windex and paper towels
make sure items are secure while moving it (our tv fell on the table)



answers from Anchorage on

Camping with our kids has been wonderful. Don't be to concerned with them staying clean because it rarely happens while camping. I like to make a list of things we need to take with us and triple check it. We took our family out camping when our youngest daughter was just 3 weeks old and it went great. You will have a blast.

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