The concept of traveling in a recreational vehicle is steadily becoming more popular, especially among families and retirees. One of the reasons for this is it allows for more freedom—you aren’t limited to one region because of sleeping and eating accommodations. The fact that it is cheaper in the long run is important to those traveling with families. While recreational vehicles are not designed for long-term lodging, they do have the capacity to sleep several people at the same time and having cooking and bathroom facilities.
Retirees are investing in the idea of RV traveling more frequently. Many are selling or renting out their homes for months at a time as they hit the road and travel across the United States or other countries depending on their locality. For the price they would pay for motels and dining out, they can travel in their RV without worrying about where they are going to eat or sleep and how much it will cost.
Description and Function of an RV
Recreational vehicle or RV is, in North America, the usual term for a motor vehicle equipped with living space and amenities found in a home.
Australian English: The term "recreational vehicle" may refer to a sport utility vehicle (SUV or 4x4).
British English: The term "recreational vehicle" may refer to a sport utility vehicle, Dune buggies or ATVs. Terms covering some of the vehicles classified as "recreational vehicle" in North America are camper van or motorhome (see below) and caravan. The term RV is used for imported North America vehicles.
While the terminology used in many countries may differ, in most cases an RV is still viewed as an inexpensive way to take a vacation or do extensive traveling. Since they are available in various sizes, it is possible to travel with a small or medium size family for weeks or months at a time.
A recreational vehicle normally includes a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom and a living room. In other countries the terms caravan or camper van are more common, and the vehicles themselves vary, typically being smaller than in North America.
RVs are intended for everything from brief leisure activities such as vacations and camping, to full-time living, for which they are often parked in special trailer parks. (However, many trailer parks are reserved just for mobile homes, not to be confused with RVs and motorhomes.) RVs can also be rented in most major cities and tourist areas. They are occasionally used as mobile offices for business travelers and often include customizations such as extra desk space, an upgraded electrical system, a generator, and satellite Internet. Other RV`s serve as traveling permanent homes.
There are many different reasons people might choose the RV lifestyle even for traveling across the country or just for a vacation or short weekend camping trip. The concept of RV traveling has reached record levels with almost one family in 12 in the United States owning an RV. That means there are 8 millions TV households in America alone with previous statistics showing the typical motorhome, travel trailer or fifth wheel owner being 49 years old and married. However, a more recent study the University of Michigan conducted indicated the age span of those who own motorhomes, travel trailers or fifth wheels are usually between the ages of 35-54.
One of the things that makes RV traveling some popular is because people don’t have to worry about packing—they can maintain the RV in ready condition for their next trip. This style of traveling is great for family vacations and can help strengthen the bond because everyone is able to spend time together and they tend to work together in order to make the trip more enjoyable.
Unlike travelers who have to worry about motel accommodations and places to eat, RV travelers don’t have to sacrifice the comforts of their homes during their travels. They can enjoy many different sites including small towns, beaches, parks, mountains and campgrounds whenever it is convenient for them without the concerns about finding room accommodations and paying higher prices during high seasons. In addition, if you purchase a sport utility RV you can even bring your personal vehicle with you so you don’t have to use the RV to travel around the vacation sites.
In terms of cost, it is possible to find an RV for as little as $4,000 and as much as $400,000 for the Class A motorhome. Even those who don’t want to leave the comforts of home behind will be pleased because new RVs include fully equipped baths and kitchens, central heating and air conditioning, stereos with surround sound and plasma television sets. Cost wise, a family a four can expect to spend approximately 74 percent less when they travel by RV compared to staying in motels or vacation rental homes with these estimates also factoring in the cost of traveling to the vacation destination whether by ship, air or private car.
In addition to cost factors RV owners have an immense amount of flexibility and freedom when they are traveling. There is no need to worry about traveling on someone else’s schedule, lines in the airport, restrictions on what you can bring along and making advance reservations unless the RV park requires advance notice. RVs also allow people an inexpensive way to travel away from home on a regular basis—even weekends—for camping and other events. Because you don’t have to worry about unpacking when you return home from a trip, you can have more time to simply spend with the family.
RV Traveling with Children
Any vacation can be difficult when you are traveling with children—RV traveling is no exception. However, you can eliminate some of the potential problems if you plan ahead of time and don’t just spring the trip on children. While this may work well for adults, it is not a good idea for children—at least not very young ones. Those old enough to assist in planning the trip should be allowed to do so; it will help them feel more a part of the experience and they will feel less resentful about being “made” to go.
When you plan to travel with children you and your travel companion, whether a spouse, significant other or just a friend, should help develop a list of fun places you can go that the children will enjoy. Of course, budget constraints may put a damper on some distances and activities, but you want to discuss the ideas with the children and give them insight into those activities that are within your budget.
Once you know where you can afford to travel you want to map out those destinations and plot the directions: today GPS makes it much easier to accomplish this because you can save those destinations and directions to call up when you are ready. You will be able to even identify rest stops and other things you may want to see along your travels. An internet search will help you find different attractions and RV parks, resorts and campgrounds where you may choose to stop for a couple of days with the intention of seeing all the sights in a specific area.
If you are planning a trip with children who have not traveled, slept in an RV or spent a night away from home, you may want to have a trial run before you leave on your trip. You can have the “dry run” the night before your trip or even a few days earlier right where you park the RV. It is always a good idea to allow children to get used to staying in the RV overnight before they have to spend an entire day traveling in it to an unfamiliar location. When the younger children don’t have to worry about where they will sleep at night when you are traveling, they will be able to enjoy the traveling and the sights you pass along the way.
Unless you absolutely have to be at a specific place at a specific time, plan your trip so you have extra time every day without rushing. You will come across many places you can explore during your trip, and children need to stop frequently. You also want to make sure you stop early enough to allow the children and everyone else to enjoy the evening.
During the planning stages of your trip you need to incorporate ways for the children to remain entertained, amused or just busy. The size of a motorhome provides children with plenty of space for playing table games and even some video games. You need to be careful, however, and make sure the children understand they cannot play any games that require them to move around while the RV is in motion such as tag, hide and seek and any type of interactive video games. They can only play those games that allow them to remain in a seated position.
Audio tapes, DVDs and CDs are several items you can bring along to keep the children occupied. Teens can take the time before the trip to put plenty of music on the iPods so they can be entertained while they are traveling. Since some teens tend to like to dance to music, it is important for them to understand they cannot get up and move around; just because they are teens and no longer “children” does not mean there is a different set of safety rules.
There are many different games children can develop to entertain themselves along the way—license plate poker, picking out cars of a particular color and many more. While children may need to stop more frequently along the way, there is no need to stop for bathroom breaks unless you are traveling with a tent trailer that does not have an accessible bathroom.
If you are traveling with school age children you can provide each one with some paper, a clipboard, pencil and pen. Use Google Maps to print out some of the places you will be visiting and allow each child to follow along. You also want to print sheets that have other things they can look for such as railroad crossings, stop signs, a helicopter, etc.—they can then check those items off as they find them.
Before the trip visit a dollar store to purchase some items you can use for special awards. You will usually be able to find things such as magnetic checker/chess sets and other games that are great to use in the car. Do not give out all of the treasures you bring along but keep them separated for emergencies.
Children may find the thought of an RV resort with a swimming pool and playground area quite exciting. Do not avoid their questions about how much longer until they arrive at your destination but provide them with an estimate that is reasonably accurate while also providing some insight into some sights they might see along the road.
RV parks are usually equipped with restrooms, showers and sometimes laundry rooms, all of which are important when you are traveling with more than one child. This prevents the problem of having to tote all the dirty laundry home or having to find a Laundromat within the town where you park the RV. The key to a great RV camping trip or vacation is having all of the necessary facilities and amenities within the RV or the RV park.
The planning of your trip should include assigning chores the children can do when you arrive at your destination. They need to first tend to their own belongings and keep them together neatly in an assigned area, but you should also assign each one a “family” chore based on their age. This will allow everyone to enjoy the vacation instead of one or two people being responsible for all the cleanup duties.
Where to Find RV Parks
In the United States alone there are more than 16,000 public and privately owned RV campgrounds that offer the pleasures of a resort and include amenities such as health spas, golf courses and tennis courts. Recent studies show that because of the popularity of RVs people are traveling shorter distances and on shorter breaks. Weekend trips are becoming more popular in the RV as well. Travelers in the 21st century don’t want to be bothered with planning a trip but just want to get into their vehicles and drive to their destinations—or maybe their lack of a destination as the case may be.