As summer approached and most of our travel plans weren’t able to proceed as we had hoped due to COVID, Cody and I began brainstorming any and all ways we could still have some excitement and safely see a few loved ones as well. I’m from Oklahoma and Cody has family in Arkansas so we typically travel by plane when we go there. But we haven’t felt comfortable traveling as a family on a plane (obviously), so we had to consider other options… and that’s how we decided on a RV trip! We’re always down for an adventure and Cody loves to drive (thank goodness!), so an RV trip made sense as the best possible option with the current state of our country.
We went into this knowing that even a road trip this year wouldn’t be a “typical experience” though. We physically and mentally prepared ourselves to take the extra steps needed. We abided by the laws in the different states, wore our masks, ate outdoors and/or only on our campsite, and did whatever was needed to keep our family safe, and everyone around us safe. Was it a bit of an added stress? Yes, but we felt it was well worth the planning involved.
And there was a lot of planning involved, let me tell ya!
There is a lot more that goes into any RV trip than just packing up the kiddos and hitting the road! Add in a pandemic and this trip involved a lot of checklists! There is a ton of prep to do but I can now say from personal experience, I’m so glad we did it.
We mapped out our journey, totaling two weeks, starting in Boston, en route to two different lakes, one in Arkansas, one in Oklahoma. But first, we were off to New Jersey. Why New Jersey? Because that’s where we were to pick up the RV! We would, of course, have loved to pick it up (and pack it up) in Boston, but since RV’s are in high demand due to COVID, we couldn’t obtain one in our area, so a little swerve over to Jersey was fine.
We rented our RV through 84 RV Rentals; it had two queen beds, a twin bed, and a full, as well as a shower, toilet, small sink and mirror in the bathroom, and a full kitchen (oven, stove, microwave). Cody and I took the “bedroom” in the back which we were able to partition off a bit with the door from the bathroom, making it easier for us to stay up a bit later than the kiddos. Harvey slept in his pack n’ play in the middle of the RV with our sound machine on as well, allowing us to sneak by without waking him up, when we went to bed after him.
Evie and Harvey were buckled in their car seats the majority of the time we were on the road, positioned on the sofa behind the driver and passenger seats. We did use the bathroom at times while driving and Evie thought this was absolutely hilarious 🙂
My dad is an experienced RV guy so he was an amazing resource for us when planning out our own trip. Toss in some solid Internet and travel blog research, and we felt prepared! It was a lot of work though packing everything we would need. We ordered a few items, like knives with covers and other kitchen necessities, and brought our outdoor dining plates and cups, but if we do ever travel by RV again, I’d probably just do biodegradable paper products. It would be so much easier and so many less dishes to clean the whole time!
I also ordered and packed a lot of kid activities (many from the Target dollar section) but honestly, Evie and Harvey didn’t even use them all! On the way down, they were so excited that they watched movies practically the whole way there. I know it sounds a bit “terrible” that they watched movies for most of the first couple of days…but it made the experience so much calmer and quieter for Cody and I. And as any parent can tell you, that is a major TREAT.
Even Bella did amazing! She slept by us in the front of the RV the whole time 🙂
Once we got to our destinations, we were outside all day long. Evie and Harvey played from sun up to sun down, so I think we’ll be using those packed activities more this fall than we did on the road!
We stayed at KOA (Kampgrounds of America) while driving to and from our destinations, and they were great! Depending on the location, they often have amenities like laundry, playgrounds/pools, general stores, and full hook-ups for your RV.
It felt amazing to get to the lake in Arkansas and another lake in Oklahoma, to let our kids play outside with close loved ones, and to put up our feet, especially after days of driving. I ended up not logging on to social media all that much, giving myself a break, and it was so needed.
After almost two weeks, we began our trek back to Boston, and while the RV experience was great overall, it was wonderful to get home. When we returned to Boston, we made sure to take the necessary steps to do so safely, based on our state’s travel mandates. Traveling during this time of a pandemic definitely had a lot of added worries and factors involved, but I’m so glad that we decided to give a RV adventure a try.
RV Packing Must-Haves & Tips:
- Bring less clothing than you think (you can find a laundromat or use the laundry room at a KOA or other campsite). This is not the time for endless clothing options! Less is better!
- Makeup remover wipes are the best for this type of trip – I used them for everything and anything! Same goes for baby wipes!
- No need to bring a lot of products to get ready – keep it simple! Air drying your hair is easiest (my hair was wild the entire trip), and I only used a serum, moisturizer, my trusty Ilia Tint Serum, and mascara… that’s it! Embrace the au natural look 🙂
- We brought our SOMA water pitcher (we always try to say no to plastic water bottles!) but it does help to have some backups available. I would suggest getting boxed water or a sustainable option to have in the fridge or cooler.
- Other kitchen items we loved having on hand: our smaller Nespresso machine because we are crazy about our coffee, travel coffee mugs, reusable wine glasses with covers so bugs didn’t get in our wine, knives with covers and a cutting board, dish towels, our everything soap (for washing hands and washing dishes), dish cleaning brush, trash bags, paper towels, stasher bags, basic spices and olive oil, mixing bowls, reusable plates and bowls, and a small cooler.
- Other random things we found helpful: chairs, a fold-up outdoor rug, sound machine, DVDs, and an Amazon kids tablet for games!
If you’re considering a RV trip and have any questions, please feel free to send me a message! I’d love to help!