How to Make the Most of a Weekend RV Trip

Travel Inspiration

Work, work, work, work, work, work… by the time the weekend comes, you might have little on your mind aside from spacing out with Netflix and a nice glass (or three) of wine. 

But if you take advantage of those weekends, you can work in a memorable trip without taking even a single vacation day. It’s an especially bright idea if you’re new to RVing, in fact — because then, you’ll be better prepared to plan a longer trip when you do have time off to spare.

But how do you make the most out of a weekend RV road trip? Where can you even go with such little time?

We think you’ll be surprised by how much awesome you can pack into two little days, and how vacation-y it can feel to camp even just a few miles from home.

Here’s our guide to weekending by RV.

Weekend RV Travel Guide

Planning your weekend travel route is all well and good, but if you don’t already own one, you first need to get your hands on an RV.

Traveling for such a short period of time is a mixed blessing when you’re using an RV rental. You won’t have the rig for long enough to take advantage of discounted flat-rate packages that are sold by week or by month, but you also don’t have to worry about footing the per-day cost for very many days. You’ll also benefit from not having time to travel very far, since you’ll save cash in fuel and possibly additional mileage charges.

Some dealerships may also offer weekend RV travel packages set up specifically for people in a time crunch. By renting an RV already stocked with linens and kitchenware, you won’t have to worry about doing much prep work before you take off.

As with all RV vacations, it’s important to do a little bit of research ahead of time, even if you’re not normally a planner. Travel trailers and motorhomes are large vehicles with lots of systems beginners might not be familiar with. Your rental agent will likely walk you through setting up your travel trailer for the first time, and also provide you with a packing list for RV camping. Preparing ahead of time will make for a smooth transition into your trip, saving you time and energy that should be spent relaxing!

Best Quick Road Trips

Obviously, with just two or three days to spare, you’re going to want to spend as little time as possible actually en route. Instead, maximize your weekend by choosing a destination fairly close to your starting point — four or five hours away, tops. Once you get there, set up camp and don’t even think about hitting the road again until it’s time to go home.

Another rookie mistake on short RV trips: Trying to do everything. Even at only one destination, you’ll never be able to take it all in… even if you were staying for a whole week. So don’t try to see it all. Pick and choose the aspects of your destination that are most attractive and important to you. Make time to see them, but also make sure not to jam-pack your schedule. Otherwise, your “vacation” will resemble a list of chores more than a relaxing getaway.

Finally, a surefire trick to simplify weekend getaways: plan your meals ahead of time. Unless eating the local cuisine is a major part of your itinerary, you can save time and money by cooking up some easy meals before you leave, or even just having ample snacks available. That way, you can really indulge in one or two high-quality restaurant meals (researched and chosen before you leave to save time, of course), but skip the drive-through — which is both healthier and more affordable in the long run.

Great RV Getaways

Now that we’ve walked through some RV camping tips and ideas for short trips, you may be wondering, “OK… but how do I find quick RV trips near me?”

Of course, the best RV road trip routes that are doable in a short period of time will depend on where you’re starting from. For instance, if you live in central California, a quick jaunt out to the coast might make for a great romantic getaway, whereas a midwesterner might enjoy a weekend camped out in one of the area’s many state parks, filled with forest trails and lakes to swim in.

A great way to figure out the best RV routes in your area is to figure out how far you can travel in two to five hours drive from your origin point. Then, look for attractive campgrounds within that radius that offer activities and features you and your family are interested in. This map is a helpful tool — all you have to do is input your driving speed and the total amount of minutes you have available for the trip. It even takes traffic and delays into consideration. Watch out, though: The default units are kilometers per hour, so you might have to run a quick conversion!

Once you have your travel radius, you can use tools like RVParky to find available campgrounds in the area. Actually, while you’re at it, here’s our list of apps and digital tools that can help you simplify and save time on any RV trip… which is especially important when it’s such a short one.

No matter where you choose to go on your weekend trip, you’ll soon discover it’s the company more so than the scenery that makes it worth the effort. Taking the time to shut down your laptop and put work away for a full 48 hours is a rare gift these days, and camping makes it just a little bit more doable.

So don’t spend another weekend wasting away on the couch. Take advantage of the beautiful world that’s just outside your back door! No matter where you go, campfire s’mores and smiling faces are a whole lot better than that stale bag of popcorn and yet another episode of predictable situation comedy.