My husband texted me while we were both working from home in our designated pop-up offices, while admittedly our kids likely were watching TV. He said, “honey, we’re going on an RV trip.” I pretty much ignored him.
As we all can relate, life has been such a blur between finishing homeschool, working remotely and taking on way too many quarantine home repair projects. I continued to work and assumed this “so-called RV trip” as something that might never happen.
Let me begin by saying that we’re not a camping family. While we hike, ski, bike and enjoy the outdoors, we’ve been camping pretty much once, with my son’s Boy Scout den.
That said, I did not argue with his idea and decided to take the spontaneous opportunity as a blessing. Our kids (a three-year-old girl and eight-year-old boy) were also very excited. They came into my home office to tell me that their dad had rented an RV. My right eyebrow rose. My kids had not been that excited in a long time — even pre-pandemic.
And then my husband informed me he had actually rented an RV for the upcoming weekend (this past Memorial Day). I was shocked that he followed through.
One thing is for sure: I kept an open mind. Here’s why I don’t regret packing up and leaving with no planning during a pandemic.
Concept of Home
The kids were beyond mesmerized by the concept of a mobile-home, so much so that our neighbors (people that we spent the entire quarantine with) were obsessed as well. The concept of “home on wheels” was intriguing and safe. It was on the edge, but still offered stability. The RV had all the amenities of home, so we could cook, snack, sleep, use the restroom and rest in comfort and safety.
Exploring with Flexibility
We did not have to stick to our plans. We diverted our trip on the first day after learning that RV parks are pretty crowded. We set off for a day trip to Buena Vista, Colorado (we live south of Denver). We went sight-seeing, explored, and made our own adventure with the convenience of a safe landing spot and no concerns of finding a place to sleep.
No TV and Electronics
While TV and the internet were accessible, our kids were way more intrigued with the nature outside such as dirt, hills, trees, lakes, the view from the ride and everything else novel in between. There was a blow-up for a movie and the Internet was not working. We gave them flashlights to play with and they were quickly distracted.
It Was Economical
While it did take some money to make it happen, the cost was pretty straightforward. We drove a total of 560 miles, used two tanks of gas at $80 each (one tank to return) and rented the RV for about $100 per night. We spent about $60 per night on campsites and RV parks. We spent money on groceries and used everything else that we had at home already.
My Kids Gained a New Appreciation
My kids really appreciated it, did not fight, did not yell, and actually helped out in ways that I’ve never seen before. They enjoyed cooking us dinner and breakfast — my son (8) volunteered to make eggs for breakfast on a propane grill and hot dogs and burgers over the fire for dinner. He also swept up the RV several times. My daughter (3) learned to use the potty better than before the trip. We roasted marshmallows, enjoyed a campfire and it was pretty amazing. It was not behavior we’ve seen from our kids on any other vacation. We usually question why we brought our kids on vacation because they act pretty ungrateful at times — sorry to be so honest here, but it is a valid concern.
We Could Bring Our Own “Toys”
Bikes, skateboards, fishing poles, you name it: This was the ultimate game changer for our family. We were able to pack our “toys” in a nifty little compartment in the RV basement. We fit it all in, including helmets, balls and games. The family had SO much to do and the kids absolutely loved having access to their bikes 24/7. It was brilliant and the best part of the trip to say the least. There is nothing like avoiding rental companies — not that those are an option now anyway.
Plus, we packed pretty minimally. We did not need much, but essential food and snacks, blankets, a first aid kit, a few pots and pans, paperware, utensils, beer/wine/coffee and basic cleaning supplies.
I don’t think we would have ever tried this pre-pandemic. But all in all, the trip was worth it. My kids came back with a true and new appreciation for things and have been talking about this trip ever since. And the best part is that we have some happy memories and a new tradition.