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.
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