Although our motorhome usually contains just the two of us, many people take their children or grandchildren along for the ride. Traveling by RV is more economical for families than flying and staying in hotels, and taking children camping enriches the whole family. Here are some tips when traveling with children.
- To keep children involved and interested on a long road trip, refer to a map of your itinerary and list all the towns, cities, counties, and points of interest and use it as a geographic treasure map. The children check off each site as they travel through it. They could also use a highlighter pen to trace the trip on their own map, circling stops and points of interest. – Jack and Shirley lippy, Westminster, MD
- Keeping a rug or old piece of carpet outside the door helps minimize the amount of dirt carried inside on everyone’s feet. Better yet, leave your shoes at the door. – Charlene Schweikhart, Indianapolis, IN
- Take along a little portable swimming pool for the children to enjoy in camp on those hot days. – Kathleen Bailey (KB), Westminster, MD
- Many campgrounds have special weekend events for children during the summer. Campgrounds where you’ve stayed before may send you a calendar, or try searching the Internet for campground Web sites. Start planning in early spring so you won’t miss out on the fun. – KB
- Overpack when it comes to toys and games that will keep everyone busy and happy. – KB
- Even on the road, your children and their young guests should have certain duties to be responsible for. Such tasks help each person feel like part of the group. – Fran Lathe (FL), Westminster, MD
- We feel that our teenagers are safer in most campgrounds that they would be in a hotel or motel. We can let them roam a bit on their own. Family communicators keep everyone in touch and round up the kids from wherever they are in the campground. We make sure they know the campground rules, especially about safety and noise. – FL
- If your RV is usually overflowing with extra children—friends or cousins along for the trip—bring along a tent for them to camp in beside the RV. – FL
Next week, in part two of Traveling with Children, I’ll detail more tips to help you keep the little ones safe and entertained while RVing.
Enjoy your RVing!
This is a subject that’s near and dear to my heart. We have 7 kids, now grown, and 13 grandkids, several of whom regularly travel with us. Last summer’s trip to Yellowstone and the mountain west saw us travelling with a “small” group of 7 grandkids.
As Jack and Shirley Lippey suggested, we usually make books (looseleaf binders) showing where we are going and what we may see. There are pictures to color and blank pages to write whatever interests the kid about the trip.
We also have a good supply of DVDs and VCR tapes – some of “general” interest (let the kids choose their favorites to bring along) and some about the places we’ll see. These last may be docudramas concerning the history of something or Science DVDs (think Discovery channel) about the sites we’ll visit.
Every kid I know, from 2 to 90, loves dinosaurs. Arrange a visit to a natural history museum in an area you’ll drive through. It doesn’t have to be an all day visit, usually 2-3 hours is enough. And DON”T forget family or grandparent memberships!
Enjoy – and you’ll be surprised to remember what the world looks like in a 3 year-old’s eyes.