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  • Born To Roam

15 Things RV Campers Wished They Knew

Splurge On Sleep:

Even luxury RVs haven’t gotten the memo about good mattresses, so before you leave town, purchase 2-inch memory foam pillow mattress tops for the beds (like this twin version or this queen version). Your backs will thank you in the morning. (And don’t forget your anti-snoring pillows and ear plugs. Your better half will thank us later.)


Don’t Forget Caffeine:

For coffee drinkers, a quality, small coffee maker is a MUST (here’s a compact one for simple coffee lovers and another for the fancier drinks). For tea-drinkers, don’t bother with a kettle, get a hot shot like this one.


Don’t Forget Drinking Water:

Freeze pints of water and use them to keep things cool in the freezer, then move to the fridge to thaw.


Create Conversation:

Bring collapsible chairs and a table to create outdoor eating and conversation space. If you plan to build a fire, pack a smores kit like this one. Use conversation starter games to flex those communication muscles.


Avoid Laundry Duty:

Unless doing mountains of laundry at laundromats is your “thing,” bring enough changes of clothing for everyone so that you either don’t have to do laundry (for shorter trips) or only have to stop once at the laundry house/laundromat (for longer trips). Take advantage of storage under RVs to store the dirty (but not wet) laundry until you return home. Use packing cubes (like these) to organize clothing per person, which essentially act like drawers.


Bring 2-3 Towels Per Person:

Similar to the idea above, bring one designated bathing towel per person and 1-2 additional towels per person for water activities or other incidental use.

Keep The Heat Outside: Yes, RVs come with all the kitchen appliances, but they aren’t as powerful as your appliances at home (at best 40-60% of the power). Even water is going to take forever to boil. A good rule of thumb is to keep the heat outside when traveling to avoid turning the entire RV into an oven on wheels. We recommend getting flat top griddles (cheap but light ones here and more expensive ones here). And don’t forget the grill! (And lighters, grill accessories, and spray oil for the grill.)


Avoid The First Night Blues:

Keep snacks handy and do not plan to cook the first night you arrive somewhere. It’s unrealistic to think you’ll be able to arrive, connect everything, and cook the first night, so plan on taking it easy. Either prepare or pick up something that doesn’t need heating and can easily be served up. To avoid the natives getting restless, while you are hooking up the RV, pass out some flashlights and camping scavenger hunts (Etsy is full of them). Give a special award to the first ones back with everything on their list. It’s a fun memory and gives you time to acclimate!


Keep The Mud Outside:

We highly recommend purchasing an 8×12 outdoor rug that you can roll up and store under the RV when on the road. Rugs like this one, let the dirt and sand fall right through and keep RV campers from tracking in mud. We also heard a rumor that a shoe caddy (like this one) hung on the outside of the RV for outdoor shoes helps to keep the mud-tracking to a minimum.


Keep The Bugs Outside:

We recommend these bug stickers and bracelets for not only your campers but also to create a bit of a barrier to bugs in open doorways and windows as well as outdoor seating/eating areas. Don’t forget copious amounts of bug spray, especially if you plan on camping in more remote locations. (And tweezers for those pesky ticks.) Keep in mind your animals will need extra protection if you’re traveling with them to more remote locations.


Keep Track Of Pets:

If you’re traveling with pets, make sure you’ve got them collared, vaccinated, and microchipped. We highly recommend also getting Apple Air tracking devices and covers, just in case your pet is prone to roaming. (Or kids, for that matter.)


Don’t Forget To Enjoy Nature:

Pack binoculars, wildlife books, and star map books. Download bird call apps, plant identification apps, and star-tracking apps. If you are really into the stars, pack a telescope and watch for meteors! Pack plenty of outdoor play, toys, and sports gear.


Disconnect From Electronics:

To reconnect to each other, we highly recommend disconnecting from electronics for all the non-travel time. Pack plenty of books, games, and cards to play before and after meals and even while on the road.


Stock Up On Entertainment:

While on the road, it’s common for kids to want stay entertained, so prepare with snacks, Road Scavenger Hunt (Etsy is full of great printables), plenty of books, puzzles, games, mad libs, play dough, markers, coloring books, mobile devices, and a hotspot. RVs do not have smart TVs, so you’re going to have to up the Wi-Fi game: We highly recommend Starlink for RVs but Roku and Amazon Firesticks can also be useful.


Keep Your Generator Full:

Many RV travelers want to keep the air conditioning and electronics going while on the road, but once your generator gas reaches a certain low point, it will automatically turn off to conserve gas for the RV (so you don’t get stranded somewhere). Keep the tank full so the generators can stay humming! And, if your RV doesn’t come with a professionally installed generator, make sure to get a safe one and use it as directed.


Did we miss anything? What would you and your family add to this list? Let us know at nate@charlestonparadise.com.

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