Ten Terrific Ways to Use Your RV… without Going Camping

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March 28, 2011

Ten Terrific Ways to Use Your RV… without Going Campingby Paula Loehr, R.N.

RV, Sweet RV… Most recreational vehicle owners feel a special ”connection” with their rigs. Whether your chosen model is new or used, mini or mammoth, basic or luxurious — purchasing an RV requires relatively major investments of time, effort and money. And in light of current economic challenges, it’s sensible to maximize the potential of all your available resources, including your recreational vehicle.

Every time my husband Dennis and I have purchased an RV (five rigs since 1980), we’ve set out to use it frequently and to its best advantage. A dusty, musty, hibernating rig that only rolls past our driveway for summer vacations isn’t an option for us. Through the years, each RV became our second family home, and we’ve developed alternative strategies for maximizing its potential — in between camping trips.

When your RV’s not logging miles on the road, you might as well use it in unconventional ways, like we do. Following are ten easy suggestions to help you get started…

#1. Guest Suite
A well-appointed travel trailer, fifth wheel or motorhome is the obvious best option when your house guests prefer peace and privacy. Separate onsite sleeping quarters, complete bathroom, and kitchen facilities provide lots of obvious advantages for house guests and hosts alike.

#2. Party Central
The morning we drove a motorhome to our oldest son’s 4th birthday party at a local park, we realized we’d instantly cracked the ”super party” code. Standard RV conveniences surely save the day when you’re storing perishable foods, lighting candles in the wind, scooping ice cream cones, or speed-cleaning sticky picnic tables. RVs also score high marks at kids’ sleepovers. And let’s not forget an RV’s ‘chuck wagon’ capabilities. Your rig can serve as a snack bar at club functions, church picnics, or community events. The choices are all up to you.

#3. Crafters’ Corner
Your family’s parked RV can be used as a personal studio space for visual artists, crafters, puzzle makers, seamstresses, furniture assemblers, or model airplane builders. It’s also a secure hideaway for gift-wrapping and storing ‘top secret’ packages for birthdays or holidays.

#4. Homework Haven
Back in the days when our sons were handling high school projects — from term papers to bottle rockets — they often visited our rig in the driveway for distraction-free study time. During earlier elementary school years, our motorhome helped keep family evenings on track at the local youth sports complex. There were plenty of ”marathon” nights when all three boys had games to play — on staggered schedules. While Dennis coached the kids’ baseball or basketball teams, I prepared meals in our galley and supervised homework sessions between games.

#5. Beach Cabana
A camping vehicle is made to order for surfing safaris, beachside picnics, fishing trips and other excursions to the ocean, river or lake. When you take your RV, you’re automatically equipped with a shady snack shack, shower stall and changing station — all rolled into one. Remember to set out a big pail of water and a thirsty doormat so swimmers can rinse and wipe sandy (or muddy) feet before they enter your cabana on wheels.

#6. Date Night Headquarters
Dennis and I like to plan candlelight dinners — RV style — even when we’re not going camping. Over the years, we’ve progressed from pizza and garden salad in our woodsy backyard (with a babysitter inside the ”main” house watching our kids) to lobster bisque, filet mignon, asparagus tips, and panoramic ocean views — at our favorite local park. After an RV-based dinner, you can add a sunset walk on the beach, play a favorite game, or watch an in-rig movie for the ultimate casual night out. Double and triple daters are invited too!

#7. Escape Hatch
Have you ever longed for a quiet, familiar oasis where you can contemplate life without intrusion, ponder an important decision, practice yoga breathing techniques, focus your thoughts, or simply pray? Consider escaping to the serenity inside your RV.

#8. Office Retreat
Today’s laptops, notebooks, smartphones, and digital files make RV-based office operation a practical possibility. An RV performs well as a temporary or permanent workplace, and it goes where you want it to go, whenever you want it to go there.

#9. Nap Nook
Sleepyheads come in all shapes,sizes and ages. A cozy bed (or crib) and restful environment are the essential elements that wannabe nappers need. Chances are your RV fits the bill as a first-rate place for everyone — from the new baby to her proud Great Grandpa — to catch a few well-deserved winks.

#10. Music Studio
Do you have family members who like to play or hear their favorite music in relatively unrestrained surroundings? Set them free in your RV with musical instruments or related electronics. The full spectrum of tuneful elements — from kazoos, keyboards and classical guitars to media players, compact disks and HD radios — are allowed, provided all windows are closed securely.

The next time some ”lack-of-use” dust threatens to settle in your RV, try one of our unconventional strategies to keep the recreation humming in your recreational vehicle, even if you’re not going camping.

For more info about RV travel visit the Good Sam Club Trip Planning section where you can route your RV trip, read interesting RV travel articles, learn about points of interest, find RV campgrounds and print out RV checklists.

Leave a Reply


  1. Jane

    #13 – Allergy Haven? RV’s are also a great place to spend time with your visiting-in-law who’s allergic to the pet you keep in your home. Just remember that those folks allergic to cats might also be as sensitive to the hairs from your horses’ saddle or blanket, or maybe even the chemicals let loose in the air from your shrimp or lobster feasts! The reverse is true too….If you want cat and allergic granny doesn’t travel with you? Kitty is kept in the RV house! Just advise future buyers which path you choose….

  2. Ginny

    My daughter got married in a local city park rose garden & gazebo. We used our 5th wheel as a changing station for the bridal party and an extra bathroom. Worked fabulous and was a hit with the guests.

  3. Patrick

    Wow. Great stuff…totally agree with all of the 10 and especially Chuck. We live in Canada(BC) and get pretty severe winter storms where we lose the power…what a godsend to be able and head to the RV and turn on the furnace, generator and live life!

    Loved the article and will not hesitate now in insuring the RV year round instead of the usual 6 month spring-summer period.

  4. Chuck

    And don’t forget, it is a great place to go when the power to the house goes out.

  5. Susanne

    I’ve done most of these. We used ours as a mobile kitchen for a beachside picnic with a group of 20. We use ours for extra sleeping space when we have company or if a friend needs a place for a couple of days. I often take mine and head to the local park or lake just to “get away” for a couple of hours.

  6. darran

    I find this all amusing because we have done all but one of these suggestions listed. We have yet to try #2

  7. Paul LeSage

    Sounds like great ideas if you store your RV on your own lot and not on a storage lot a mile away. Not sure how many RV’s are stored “bedside.” My guess is less than 25%.

  8. Liz

    When the weatherman says there is a chance for rain – I love going out to the side yard and climbing in to listen to the rain hitting the roof. Very peaceful and restul.

    It has always been my “runaway from home” when my husband was watching old movies, war movies, westerns, etc.

    It was also great when I was quitting smoking since I never smoked in it. It was perfect since I had a/c, bathroom and kitchen and I could stay away as long as I wanted.