RV Survival Tips for Toddlers

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Families can appreciate nature while camping in an RV.

My family loves to travel. COVID-19 put a dent in our travel plans, so we bought an RV like many other people during the pandemic. Having an RV is amazing especially if you love the great outdoors, but do not want to camp, and like to take road trips. After taking the RV out a few times with my two year old, I have learned so much about traveling with a toddler. Here are a few tips and tricks.

Plan in Advance

One of the downfalls on our first trip was not planning in advance. I didn’t bring the proper cooking utensils to make dinner, I didn’t have hand soap, and I even forgot my purse! Here’s what I recommend:

  • Plan the road trip route and pit stops ahead of time. When planning, keep in mind the length of the road trip. If you need to stop to eat or get gas, you’ll need a place to park. This is also helpful for timing your stops around nap and mealtime.
  • Make sure that the Pack ‘n Play fits in the RV. We take out the table in our RV and the play yard fits perfectly in that space. It also leaves the walkway open for people to use the bathroom. If you have multiple people in the same RV, plan sleeping arrangements in advance. It is fun for the kids to set up their space the way they want before the trip.
  • Plan all of your meals in advance. This way you avoid having to cut an onion with a plastic knife like I did. We now have separate cooking utensils that stay in the RV. The more that can stay in the RV, the better. 

Practice these RV tips and tricks for toddlers.Must Haves

There are a few items that you should definitely add to your packing list to make the trip seamless with a toddler. 

  • Kiddie pool and water activities. If you are going anywhere in Texas during the summertime, I would bring a kiddie pool or a water table. The majority of your time is spent outside, so having a water source to keep cool is important.
  • Portable shade option. We recently went to Glen Rose, Texas with our RV. It was really windy, so we could not set our awning out. Next time we go in our RV, we will take an additional shade option because we could not be outside without it.
  • Extra clothes, varied for any weather. When we went to Ruidoso, New Mexico, it was warm during the day, but freezing at night. I had to go buy a jacket to be outside at night.
  • Games, outside toys, and yard games. My two year old loves the outdoors and running around. Having toys and activities kept our daughter at our RV instead of trying to run off into other people’s area. We also bought a toddler size chair for our daughter. She enjoyed being like her mommy and daddy sitting in a yard chair.
  • Diaper pail. My daughter had a huge messy diaper, and we had nowhere to throw it away. We ended up putting it in a plastic bag under the RV until we could get to the dumpster.

Toddlers enjoy hiking with dad. Other Helpful Tips

Our family RV trips have taught me a few additional pointers, which are helpful for parent or kiddo.

  • Have your toddler get involved with set up and tear down of the RV and campsite. It will keep them occupied and make them feel like they are helping mommy and daddy.
  • Arrive during the day. This way you aren’t setting up in the dark. You also want to give your toddler time to run around before bed because they will have been sitting in the car for awhile.
  • Turn on the refrigerator before you leave. This way you can put your groceries in the refrigerator as soon as you get to the campsite.
  • Minimize in and out. The more in and out, the harder your air conditioning or heater has to work.
  • Conserve water if no sewer hookups are available. If weather allows, maybe give your toddler a bath outside in the kiddie pool. We did that one time because our grey water tank was close to full and our daughter had a blast!

We love taking out our RV and traveling. I hope these tips and tricks have helped your RV trip become easier.

Tess is an Arlington native, who only moved away for her time at Texas A&M University, where she obtained an early childhood through sixth grade education degree. After graduation, she moved back to Arlington, started teaching, and married the man of her dreams. She then pursued her masters in mind, brain, and education from the University of Texas at Arlington. She now has a beautiful two-year-old daughter. Tess is currently the director of children's ministries at a church in Arlington. She loves travel, nature, and being with family.


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