How to Survive RVing with Toddlers [2021]

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Updated July 12, 2021

Are you looking for ideas to make RVing with toddlers easier?

If you’re the mom of a toddler, you know firsthand that they are lovable and unpredictable little creatures.

One moment they’re screaming because you ran out of blue popsicles.

The next, they’re covering you in kisses. It’s quite the emotional rollercoaster. 

Needless to say, planning any form of travel with a toddler in tow can be challenging, especially if you’re planning an RV camping trip or you’re are planning to RV full-time.

 

rving with toddlers

 

Camping with toddlers takes next-level preparation, patience, and flexibility.

Unfortunately, even if you’ve checked all the boxes, things could still go sideways.

So, why attempt to go RVing with your toddler at all? 

Well, taking your toddler RVing is a wonderful way to introduce them to new sights, sounds, and people.

It’s also a way to prepare them for your expectations on future trips, and RV travel helps them become more adaptable. 

 

 

Finally, going camping as a family is an excellent way to build beautiful memories and come to terms with the fact that nothing will ever go perfectly–and that’s OK.

We’re here to give you some helpful tips and advice on How to Survive RVing with Toddlers to make your experience as stress-free as possible. 

 

How to Survive RVing with Toddlers

 

1.  Keep Your Toddler “In the Know.”

As many parents know, toddlers are most secure when they have a daily routine.

If their regular schedule is thrown off without warning, it can result in tantrums and other emotional distress. 

As you’re planning your RV trip, explain to your toddler what will happen and when.

Keep reminding them as the departure day draws closer, and try to act as excited as possible.

Your toddler will pick up on your energy and get excited as well. 

 

2. Involve Them in the Packing Process

Speaking from my experience as an early childhood educator, toddlers love being in charge of something.

So while we’re not suggesting you let your toddler pick out their own clothes, we are encouraging you to give your child some responsibility in the packing process.

For example, they can help fold shirts and shorts, include their favorite jammies, and make sure their favorite stuffed animal is securely in place. 

 

3. Overprepare

You can never have too many extra sets of clothes when it comes to RVing with your toddler.

We recommend packing at least one additional outfit for each day you’ll be traveling and then throw a few more in if there’s room.

Organize their clothes in the RV before you head out on your new adventure.

It will make things much easier if all of their clothes are in one place.

I’ve always said that toddlers do life at one hundred miles an hour, and the state of their clothing reflects it!

 

4. Meal Prep-Focus on the Favorites

Prepare as many toddler-friendly snacks and meals as possible when taking your toddler RVing.

Your attention during mealtimes will be stretched thin at best, so make things easier on yourself and your family by whipping up some tasty make-ahead camping meals. 

Your toddler’s regular routine will already be disrupted, so I’d also suggest including as many of their favorites as possible–even if that means several boxes of mac and cheese!

 

5. Bring a Variety of Entertainment

As a toddler mom, you know how quickly your child can flit from task to task.

It’s best to bring various age-appropriate activity books, mess-free coloring pads, DVDs (if your RV has a TV), and travel games to keep them entertained while RVing.

I love these travel busy bags for toddlers from Urban Mom Tales as well.

 

6. Remember the Carseat!

It’s essential to remember your toddler’s car seat when RVing, especially since all car seat safety laws still apply.

This means that your child will need to be safely buckled into their seat when the RV is in motion.

If the thought of lugging their regular seat from place to place makes you groan, consider purchasing a more lightweight option specifically for travel. 

 

7. Arrange a Separate Sleeping Space (If possible) 

Sleep can be an elusive thing the first time you take your toddler RVing, so we suggest arranging a separate sleeping area if at all possible, especially if they have their own room at home.

If space allows, you can set up your toddler’s travel bed in the dining area to increase the chances of a good night’s sleep. 

 

 

8. Relax Your Expectations

If your toddler struggles with schedule adjustments in normal conditions, please do not expect a miraculous personality transformation while traveling in an RV.

Despite even the most ideal conditions, there will be missed naps, meltdowns, and stressful moments for everyone.

Be reasonable with your expectations, and don’t assume that a few imperfect moments will darken the whole experience. 

Be gentle with yourself. Leave plenty of time on travel days for things to not go as planned.

Rigs breakdown, things break, toddlers get sick, traffic can be a nightmare, and not every campground will be idyllic.

 

9. Split Up Activities

You may have a mile-long list of places to see and things to do, but remember that toddlers can quickly become overwhelmed and exhausted if you try and pack too many activities into one day.

So whether you’re camping in one spot for a week or traveling place to place, pick the most visit-worthy items on your checklist and aim for a few each day. 

Remember to bring plenty of water and snacks if you go hiking.

Picking the right toddler hiking carrier will make visiting places more enjoyable for you and your toddler!

 

10. Plan for Inclement Weather

You’ve checked the weather forecast a dozen times.

The app on your phone assures you that you’re in for a week of sunny skies until…it begins pouring down rain.

Don’t forget to pack your toddler’s rain boots and jacket just in case a few storms pop up.

It’s also wise to have a few toddler-friendly board games on hand to pass the time inside. 

 

11. Include Toddler-Friendly Camping Games/Activities

If you’re planning on going RV camping with your toddler, try to include some age-appropriate camping activities to keep them engaged at the campsite.

You don’t want to pack your entire craft cabinet, but even a few tubes of paint make it possible to create leaf stamping art.

You can also try a fun lacing activity, which will keep your toddler busy for hours. 

 

12.  Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule

We know that keeping your toddler’s sleep schedule completely the same is unrealistic, especially if it’s their first time traveling in the RV.

You can be somewhat flexible, but try to build in naptimes where time allows and avoid letting your toddler stay up late every night. 

 

13. Maintain a Positive Attitude

Last but not least, try and keep a positive outlook when RVing with your toddler.

Remember that they’re just excited to be on this adventure with you, and there’s not much you could do to disappoint them!

Life with a toddler is what you make of it, so smile, grab their hand, and explore the world together (one RV camping ground at a time!).

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

Taking your toddler RVing is a wonderful way to introduce them to new sights, sounds, and people.

It’s also a way to prepare them for your expectations on future trips, and RV travel helps them become more adaptable. 

Finally, going camping as a family is an excellent way to build beautiful memories and come to terms with the fact that nothing will ever go perfectly–and that’s OK.

Life with a toddler is what you make of it, so smile, grab their hand, and explore the world together (one RV camping ground at a time!).