Travel Hacks

How to Prepare for a Holiday RV Road Trip

Brooke Faulkner
January 16, 2024

The holidays are a great time to take advantage of visiting family and friends that you otherwise wouldn’t get to see. However, the problem can be choosing which family and friends that you include in that round of visits. This is particularly true if you are in a committed relationship or married with kids. This means you have twice the number of family members and friends that are hoping to see you this season. One way to make those vacation days count is to hit the road and make multiple stops along the way.

Safety First

Before you set your sights on the horizon, there are a few logistical hoops that you will need to jump through. If you are going to be driving an RV or van that is unfamiliar to you, take it for a test drive to make sure you are comfortable being behind the wheel. No matter how short your road trip is going to be, it is wise to put safety first.

Leave for your destinations with plenty of time to get there so that you don’t feel pressure to speed. Likely, there will be others on the road that are trying to make it somewhere just as fast. Watch out for other drivers, especially the blind spots of big rig drivers, to avoid any potential collisions that could put a screeching halt to your holiday travel plans.

Map It Out

You may have heard the saying “it isn’t about the destination; it’s about the journey.” Tell that to someone who is traveling with children who are crying “are we there yet?” from the back of the RV. Whether it is just you and a traveling companion or you and the whole family, knowing when and where you will have a reprieve from the confines of the vehicle is good for your mental health. Choose destinations that will suit everyone in the traveling party and that will serve as good rest breaks in between family visits that aren’t too far off the track.

One of the difficulties of road tripping during the winter months is the likelihood of snow and ice on the road. Make yourself familiar with the area that you will be traveling through by studying the map before you take off. Although technology can be helpful with GPS guidance, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. Stay up to date with road closures and road conditions by putting your current state’s department of transportation on speed dial, and always carry a paper map.

Menu Plan

If you are planning on camping in remote areas, plan out your menu in advance to make sure you don’t run out of pantry staples and meal goods. Traveling with others who are prone to the feeling of being “hangry” is a recipe for disaster. Make sure to keep plenty of snacks on hand to ward off the hangry monster. Choose simple recipes that can be made in the small kitchenettes of RVs — ideally that only use one pot for easy cleanup to get you back on the road or off to the next activity.

Planning in advance will also help you to take advantage of the small amount of refrigerator space that you have in the vehicle. You may want to accept leftovers from your numerous meals with family and friends along the way. However, don’t accept them unless you know you’ll have room to store them if you aren’t going to eat them right away.

Budget or Bust

It may seem like you will save a bundle of cash by traveling by RV or van instead of taking multiple flights, but life on the road can add up quickly. Every gas stop typically comes with snacks and coffee, and eating out can drain your wallet. Consider applying for a new credit card to earn fuel points and cash rewards on your spending. Also, set up a budget so that you don’t come back from your trip with nothing left in your savings account. By having a mapped-out route, you can identify opportunities of when you can cook in the vehicle and when it’s appropriate to dine at a restaurant. You can also include estimated gas costs, as well as maintenance and repairs into your budget. If you don’t use it, that’s great, but at least you will be prepared if anything should arise.

If you are going to travel this holiday season, why not make it an adventure? If you have always wanted to try out living the millennial phenomenon known as “van life,” now’s your chance. Choose the right RV to fit your needs and hit the road in search of beautiful sunsets and intimate time with your favorite travel companion. This holiday season give yourself the gift of getting to reconnect with loved ones across the country while enjoying the views.

Brooke Faulkner
Brooke Faulkner is a writer and mom in the Pacific Northwest. She loves exposing her children to new cultures and experiences and being able to make a living doing so! You can find her on twitter, @faulknercreek!


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