9 RV Trip Planning Tips For An Unforgettable Road Trip Your Whole Family Will Love

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happy family planning a road trip
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Believe it or not, wholesome family vacations — like RV road trips — create a lasting foundation of happiness and unforgettable memories for kids and parents alike.

And even though planning an RV road trip takes some upfront effort, it's totally worth it. Family vacations can leave a long-lasting impact on the future happiness of your children.

According to the Family Holiday Association, a 2015 research survey showed that 49 percent of families said their happiest memory was one on a family vacation.

The pandemic put many family vacations on hold, but that doesn't mean you have to put a hold on creating happy memories for your kids. Taking an RV roadtrip is a fantastic alternative to flying, and a much safer one, too!

Plus, your kids can spend travel time looking out the RV window — instead of staring at their phones — between destinations.

It all so happens fast, and before you know it, you’re packing up the family and hitting the road to lay eyes on the jaw-dropping American landscapes you thought you’d never see up and close. But, to actually make it happen? It’s better to leave the details to the experts. And as they say, mom knows best.

Planning an RV road trip with your kids doesn't have to be tricky.

Leave it to mom to plan for everything. Being on the road is an exciting opportunity to cross off destinations on your family bucket list, but doing it with kids comes with its own set of challenges.

Every step of the planning process matters — from budgeting and mapping out activities, meals, and campsites, to choosing a comfortable RV.

RELATED: How Family Vacations Become 'Happiness Anchors' For Kids & Help Them Cope With Stress

You’ll find helpful road trip ideas and RV tips below for how to plan an RV road trip the whole family will enjoy.

That's why we've partnered with RVShare to help you plan a fun, affordable trip the whole family will love. Click here for more information.

Here are 9 essential RV trip planning tips for getting your family on the road to fun family memories.

1. Get the right RV.

Kids, pets, food, suitcases, and camping gear all take up space, and when it comes to an RV, size matters. Other factors to consider when renting an RV for your family road trip are:

RV Type: Will you rent a towable trailer you can park at campsites, or a drivable RV with all of the accommodations you’d find at home? There are pop-up and bus-sized RVs for small to large families and wheelchair-accessible RVs to include every family member.

Affordability: How long are you traveling and how far are you going? Most RV rentals charge per night with unlimited mileage included, so keep this in mind as you budget your trip.

Pet-friendly: If you don’t want your pet missing out on the fun, you can filter through RV rentals, like those featured on RVshare, that allow dogs and cats.

2. Plan your route in advance.

Even people with the "Let’s see what happens!" approach to road trips have some semblance of a plan.

You don’t have to map out every detail of every day, but if campsites require a reservation, you’ll need to book those in advance.

Buy yourself a paper map and get acquainted with it. You’ll need a copy when you drive through dead-zones with no Internet connection.

3. Pack snacks.

Being on the road for long stretches of time can be hard on small kids. That’s why having snacks on hand can help avoid meltdowns and keep everyone from getting "hangry."

Rather than refuel with greasy, fried snack foods, go for energy-generating trail mixes with nuts and fruits.

Another great thing about RV life is having access to a fridge, oven, and stovetop. This feature makes meal prep much easier as you can cook family-friendly meals as you’d normally do at home.

4. Frequent stops.

Everyone needs to stretch their legs, so set aside extra time on the itinerary to park, get some fresh air, and walk around.

With kids, this helps break up the time and keeps you from going crazy when they ask, over and over, "Are we there yet?"

5. Stay in an RV park.

The whole family makes sacrifices on an RV road trip, but comfort doesn’t need to be one of them.

Call it glamping if you wish, but when you have young children to corral across the country, staying in RV parks is the way to go. You’ll be within a stone’s throw of the sight-sees and still get to experience nature, without "roughing it."

6. Make it educational.

You can also spin your RV road trip into an educational opportunity to impart lessons your children might not otherwise learn in school.

Kids who are learning virtually get a chance to "log-off," which is good for young minds. If you homeschool, being on the road allows your kid to learn about important milestones in American history.

Seeing landscapes and animals or visiting museums — make them into memories, but also teachable moments!

7. Cater to different interests.

Plan your trip around everyone’s interests to avoid anyone saying the B-word — that is, "Mom, I’m bored!"

Dad can fish, the kids can see the waterfalls, and you can kayak (if that’s your thing). Ask your family what they want to do and see on your family RV road trip to get everyone excited for the journey.

8. Include national parks.

National parks are perhaps the best reason to plan an RV road trip, since they force you to disconnect (no WiFi, oh darn), and reconnect with your family.

The array of landscapes in America is unbelievable, and after being quarantined for almost a year, the great outdoors reminds us to appreciate togetherness in nature.

9. Make camping fun.

No camping trip is complete without s’mores, stargazing, and campfire hot dogs. Kids love getting off the grid, escaping into nature, and running around in open spaces, activities they don’t do as often these days with quarantine in place.

Your family RV road trip is the perfect excuse to get everyone off the couch and on the road!

Still not sure how our partners at RVShare can help make lasting memories with a family RV road trip this year? Click here for more information.

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Family RV Road Trip Ideas

Mountains to the desert: The West Coast road trip of your dreams. Your kids will love seeing Yellowstone, the Redwoods, and the Grand Canyon.

Route 66: This road trip takes you from Chicago to California and is great for families because of all of the funky roadside attractions.

Monument mania: There’s a history buff in every family, and on this road trip, you can drive coast to coast to see everything from the Washington Monument to Mount Rushmore.

Helpful Resources For Planning A Road Trip With Kids

Google Maps: Simple, free navigation tool to organize your stops.

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RV Trip Wizard: Browse campgrounds and know the fees ahead of time.

AllTrails: Stellar hiking app with easy to hard trails, maps, and attractions.

Our partners at RVShare have even more resources and ideas for planning an amazing family vacation with an RV rental. Click here for more information.

Answers to 6 Common Questions About Planning an RV Road Trip With The Family

1. How do I plan an RV road trip?

Make lists, set a budget, and figure out where you’re going. Then, rent an RV and start driving.

2. What is the best RV road trip planner?

There are dozens of apps out there, but ultimately, planning the best RV road trip comes down to your family’s interests. Popular sites like RV Trip Wizard and Roadtrippers can help you get started.

3. What are the best RV trips for families?

National parks, historic monuments, and quirky roadside attractions. It all comes down to what you want your family to experience!

4. What tips are there for RV trips with toddlers?

Pack light, be choosy with the toys you bring, and get the right gear to hike with your toddler.

5. Where can I rent an RV for a family road trip?

People rent out their RVs all the time on RVShare. Some owners even deliver the RV to you!

6. What are the most popular RV vacation destinations?

Scenic highways, sprawling landscapes, and national parks are great RV vacations.

If you're ready to start creating happy memories for you and your family, renting an RV and hitting the road is a great way to do it.

You'll be in the driver's seat (literally) heading towards tons of adventure, hands-on learning, and unforgettable memories.

Learn more about RVShare.

Don’t have an RV? Rent one through RVshare!

Own an RV? List it on RVshare! RVshare is the world’s first and largest peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace with more than 100,000 RVs to rent across the country.

RVshare brings RV renters and RV owners together by providing the safest and most secure platform for booking an RV rental.

With thousands of satisfied customers and a broad inventory ranging from travel trailers to luxury motorhomes, RVshare has the perfect RV for any need.

— Created in partnership with RVShare.

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Shannon Ullman is a writer who focuses on travel. She has spent the past 12 years taking road trips around the U.S (only seven more states left to go) and the world. She even spent time living out of an RV while traveling around New Zealand.