Last Minute RV Camping Trip: What Do You Do?

How Tos & Tips

“Be prepared”— it’s the motto of the Boy Scouts of America and it fits most situations. What if you like to be spontaneous though? What if you want to take a spur-of-the-moment RV camping trip?

The truth is, even most last-minute trips are more successful, and less stressful, with a bit of preparation. By taking a few minutes to plan and by following these tips, you are less likely to find yourself caught off guard, which will allow you to spend your vacation time doing what you want to do, rather than what you have to do. If you find this information helpful, share it with other potential vacationers.

An aerial view of an RV driving down a road

Plan Where You Want to Go

The first thing to consider when planning your impromptu RV camping trip is where you want to go. Do you want to travel, or stay close to home? Part of this may be dictated by how much time you have for the trip and how much time you have before your trip.

If you only have a weekend, a long drive may take up the majority of your time. In that case, picking a campground close to home makes sense. It will allow you to spend the majority of your mini-vacation actually on vacation instead of traveling. If you have more time for your trip, your options increase. Although, you still want to balance the proportion of driving per camping to ensure you’re making the most of your time.

Research the Campground Options

Once you determine where you are headed — nearby or farther away — look at campground choices in that area. Many have websites to assist in your search.

Look at the size of the parks and the accessibility of each. Will your rig fit, and if you plan to use it, do they have the necessary shore power? Check out the amenities. Is there Wi-Fi, public showers, a picnic table and grill, or a laundry facility?

If you plan to spend all of your time at the campground, what is there to do there? Some provide hiking trails, playground equipment, fishing, swimming, and clubhouses with game rooms. Compare rates and ratings to get the most for your money. It is also a good idea to check availability before finalizing your plan; some campgrounds even take reservations ensuring you a spot once you arrive.

an RV parked next to a lake

Plan Your Food

Part of guaranteeing a successful vacation is planning delicious meals for your group to enjoy. Decide how much time you want to spend cooking while you’re camping. Do you want elaborate meals or just basic camp fare? Then, choose a variety of foods in order to have something for everyone. Another option, if time allows, is to cook several different dishes and then refrigerate them. These become ready-made meals that only need to be reheated.

Regardless of which method you use or how elaborate your food is going to be, you then need to check the recipes or ingredient requirements for each meal. Make a list of the required ingredients and purchase the food.

Make sure you have any necessary condiments and decide how much time you want to spend doing dishes, etc. Don’t forget to get plastic ware — if you aren’t doing dishes — or dish soap and kitchen cleaners if you are. Remember plastic wrap or sandwich bags and paper towels, as well. The more thought you put into the food before you leave, the less you need to while you’re trying to relax.

Make a List

Figure out how long you’ll stay and make a list of all of the things you need to pack that aren’t already in the RV.

Along with the normal camping gear, which is likely in the motorhome already, plan to add items that are specific to the activities that you intend to engage in, as well as clothing for any potential weather that you may encounter. Here is a basic list:

  • Hiking shoes or boots and/or athletic shoes
  • Shower shoes if planning to use public shower facilities
  • Pants
  • Shirts
  • Jackets
  • Socks and undergarments
  • Sleepwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Glasses and contact lenses plus solution, if needed
  • Any necessary medications or vitamins
  • Personal care items like soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and hairbrushes
  • First aid kit
  • Bug spray or citronella
  • Sunscreen
  • Flashlight
  • GPS
  • Batteries
  • Chargers for phones, laptops, personal game systems, and iPads

Making a list helps to ensure that you have thought of everything and that you have everything you need.

an RV set up at a desert campground

Plan Your Route

By using GPS and planning your route ahead of time, you can determine several things that will make your trip more economical and enjoyable. You can research where to get the least expensive fuel and make those gas stations the locations of your scheduled breaks.

You can check to make sure you experience the drive that you want. For example, if you prefer to avoid urban sections in favor of the rural countryside scenery, you can program that into your trip. It also ensures that you don’t spend unnecessary time wandering around lost instead of enjoying your RV camping trip.

In Conclusion

When you’re heading out on that last-minute holiday weekend or “last week before school starts” mini-vacation, it is always a good idea to take a few moments to think it through. With a little bit of planning, you ensure that your trip ends happily, rather than with disappointment. Please share with your friends and family members and make sure everyone has a good time.