RV just sitting around? Here’s how to use your RV more

17
Campground

By Gail Marsh
I wanted more from my RV. Paying for a rig that sat in storage much of the year rankled with me. Yes, I loved traveling and living in the RV for extended periods of time, especially if it meant we could escape the brutal Midwest winters. Still, I wanted to use our expensive rig other times, too.

How about you? Would you like to use your RV more but hate the hassle of weekend trips? There’s reserving a place, packing clothes, planning/getting food, driving to the park, and hooking up… then two short days later it all begins in reverse! How can shorter RV trips ever work? Maybe some of the following suggestions will encourage you to get out more often in your RV.

Try doing these…

  • Add time to your weekend. Book RV camp reservations for Friday and/or through Monday. The added days help combat the feeling: “But we just got here!” If you aren’t limited to weekends, plan to spend four consecutive days during the week. If you spend part of the first day setting up and part of the last day packing up to go home, your actual RV relaxation time is extremely limited! Extend your stay if possible.
  • Camp closer to home. Cut down on travel time and you’ll add that time to relaxing. Think about state parks and city RV parks, as well as the obvious RV camp locations near you. Once inside the park, you’ll quickly forget that you’re only ten miles from home. Trust me!
  • Perfect your set-up/take-down procedures. We discovered that by setting up/taking down the RV more often we were able to do it more quickly. Give each person in the group a job to do (unhook water line, bring in the slides, etc.) and the chores can get done fast! (Hint: Take a good look at how you store hoses and other equipment. Make sure they are in easily accessible and labeled containers. That way you won’t waste valuable time searching for the surge protector or whatever else you may need.)

Prepare ahead of time

  • Prepare food ahead of time. If I wait until departure day to plan meals, I’m a mess! It’s easier for me to do a little each day. For shorter trips, I have a simple camp menu: hot dogs/hamburgers, buns, beans, and chips. Sometimes I’ll make meals ahead of time that can be reheated in the RV’s microwave or convection oven. I also have a storage box that holds shelf-stable camping foods like s’more ingredients, peanut butter, cereal, canned baked beans, and more. I keep condiments inside a bag in our home fridge. When it’s time to pack food I just grab the food box and condiments bag and take them to the RV. When we’re not RVing, everything easily stores at home. (Hint: Any non-food items that can be safely stored inside the RV stay in the RV. Things like pots and pans, plates, silverware, etc., are a hassle to pack and unpack before/after each trip.)
  • Pack a little each day. I pack personal gear a little at a time throughout the days before our trip begins. For example, pack hygiene items one day, linens another day, and clothing the last day. That way you can check the most recent weather predictions and take along the clothes you’ll really need.
  • Choose take-out for that first night. After the preparation, driving, and setting up at the campsite, everybody’s going to be tired and hungry. We like to have a pizza delivered to our campsite or grab sub sandwiches for dinner on the first night of our short stays. It jumpstarts our relaxation time.
  • Plan activities ahead of time. If you plan to golf, set a tee time before you leave home. Same goes for other activities that you’d like to do. Short stays mean that you’ll need to make reservations before you arrive, if possible.
  • Have menus/food planned for your return. Nothing ruins a relaxing time more than a mandatory trip to the grocery store immediately when you get home. I like to have menus/food ready for the week after our short RV trips. That way I can ease back into the daily routine.

Do you take short trips with your RV? Share your short trip tips (say that five times fast!) in the comments below.

Related:
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Mike Smith
1 month ago

We go every three weeks on average. One spot is only 8 miles away – but it gets us out of the house! Otherwise we stay within an hour of home. Got it and might as well use it.

Dr. Willie Live
1 month ago

Live less than an hour from two county parks. Great electric, water shared, dump stations. Dw and I get there on Wednesday and leave on Monday.

Snayte
1 month ago

I have developed a rule that works pretty well for us for weekend or extended weekend trips. One night stay for each hour of driving. If the campground is 3 hours away we make it a 3 day weekend, four for four and so on. It really helps combat that gee we just got here feeling and as the driver I feel like I get some time to relax rather than spending much of my free time towing.

Hank
1 month ago

We belong to two camping clubs/ chapters. They each have rallies once a month running Wednesday thru Sunday. We eat in, eat out, tour, shop, play games, and so much more. We have a great time! All usually within 200 miles or less from our homes. We do this all winter in Texas. Then we are gone all summer!

HDDRvr
1 month ago
Reply to  Hank

We also belong to a local RV Club…in fact I’m the Wagon Master. We go somewhere EVERY month for 4 to 5 days. Then once or twice a year DW and I take a longer trip somewhere. I know there’s a lot of hate toward California. I understand and certainly don’t agree with the liberal politics. But, I grew up here in the Bay area and I absolutely love the climate and all the places to go RV’ing within a short drive from home. We keep our RV at home and it is always ready to go.

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago

Great ideas, all. You hear people talk about having a “bugout bag” where you can grab and go in an emergency? Well, we have our “bugout trailer”. Like others have mentioned, we have sets of clothing that stay in the trailer, along with all our utensils and cooking gear and non-perishable food. During summer months there’s already water on board. My wife always makes food up ahead of time and freezes it. We too are lucky enough to have our trailer parked in our yard. Easy to do spur-of-the-moment trips. Plus, one of our fave state parks is 15 minutes away!

Sometimes we grab our evening cocktail and just go out and sit in the trailer, talking about our next trip – and sometimes waving to our neighbor who is doing the exact same thing.  😎 

Snayte
1 month ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Same here. We even have a fire pit just outside the trailer; our campsite at home if you will.

Marion Runcie
1 month ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

We keep our earthquake supplies in our van (clothes, food etc). It is easy to just grab some fresh food (milk bread fruit and vegetables) and go. We like to get away from cooking so mostly we have fruit and cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and an appetizer plate for dinner. We like to wander rather than stay in one place. It sure has been nice during shutdowns to be able to drive to somewhere local with a nice view, have a picnic lunch and come home.

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago
Reply to  Marion Runcie

Marion, it sounds like you discovered the secret to making it through this ‘whole thing’ without too much drama.  😎  😎  😎 

Jennifer R Willner
1 month ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

I’m sooooo glad to hear we’re not the only ones who hang out in our MH in the driveway. With cocktails. We also keep some camping clothes and non-perishable basics packed and ready to go in the MH.

Richard Hughes
1 month ago

We try to spend a week a month at a State Park. We are lucky enough to have one 30 minutes away and another only an hour away. We have honed our routine and thanks to the helpful hints, on rvtravel, we save ourselves a lot of stress. This past year, these short trips have made life much easier.

BAH
1 month ago

While not as good as a trip we visit our motorhome monthly for a day. We pack a lunch or get takeout and plan the day to catch up on small repairs and improvements like exercising the generator and checking fluid levels. Then spend the rest of the day “camping”.

Mary
1 month ago

We have specific items that belong to the camper. Bath towels and wash cloths, dish towels. Specific under garments, socks and some clothes that go right back into the camper as soon as they are laundered. Personal care items stay in the camper. I can have the camper ready to go in a very short time. Cook ahead of time, have meals organized and off we go to relax. Our Minnesota summers are so short, we want to take advantage of all the camping time we can.

Marion Runcie
1 month ago
Reply to  Mary

🙂

Jennifer R Willner
1 month ago
Reply to  Mary

Mary, we do these things too! Makes getting ready for a trip so much easier.

Joe Testa
1 month ago

Living in the midwest also, to get out (and to give the RV some maintenance runs, albeit not camping), we will take it to the grocery store(since I have luxury of parking it in my driveway).

So the class C, motorhome, gets chance to run motor, etc. We are looking at adding arctic weather package to the tanks and water lines to be able to camp in winter also w/o needing hookups.

Thomas Boltik
1 month ago

Our favorite campground is only 2 hours away. We can take a half day Friday, and spending just two nights away and we come back totally refreshed! One of the chores when we get home is the weekly laundry, so we try to get it done before we go. A load or two every night the week before means one less hassle when we get home. I am lucky enough that my RV is parked A block from home, so packing is a little bit at a time.