Involve the kids. Kids love that if they’re hungry, need a nap or rest stop, you can park the RV. My kids even enjoyed cleaning it. It was like a blow-up doll-house. Sleeping in the queen-size “loft” above the driver’s seat is a thrill; also sleeping on, what had been at dinner time, the kitchen table. If this is your kids’ first experience camping, think about packing sleeping bags and a tent, says Eric Nyland of Melrose, whose family of four has RV’d from Camden, Maine, to Napa, Calif.
Rent the movie. Before you leave, watch “RV” with Robin Williams. (Don’t let the scene of emptying the “dirty water” scare you.) Avoid “cabin fever” by giving everyone their personal space. Stay outside the RV as much as possible — explore the campgrounds, eat, read, play games at the picnic table outside, sit around the fire at night.
Practice driving and parking.
Before leaving the rental company’s parking lot, have each driver practice driving and parking. Or pick your RV up one day earlier, suggests Rooker Price of Melrose. Before taking his family of four on a five-day trip to the Cape, he parked the RV in his driveway to go over the operations, load it with gear, bikes, chairs, etc. After letting his twin daughters sleep overnight in the RV, they couldn’t wait to get on the road in the morning.
Check pet policies. Traveling with pets is easy with an RV, as long as you clean up after them. A cleanup fee may be included in your rental policy. Check if your campground is pet-friendly, too.
Seek advice from RVers, your rental company, and camp ground staff. Rental company staff are happy to recommend local attractions and driving loops for first-timers. Campground neighbors and staff, too, seem to go out of their way to help RVrs.
KATHY SHIELS TULLY