The traditional two-week family vacation has virtually disappeared from the American cultural landscape, in many cases being replaced by shorter trips spread throughout the year. It can be almost impossible for working parents and busy kids to carve out space in the calendar for an extended RV escape.
So how do you find time to use the RV as much as you would like?
You have to awaken your inner weekend warrior.
Weekend RV trips might seem a bit overwhelming at first. Getting stuff packed during the work week, and then getting that same stuff put away before Monday morning can wear you out just thinking about it.
But we know that if you do it right, weekend escapes can feel both adventurous and refreshing. Just follow our six simple rules for the weekend warrior.
1. Use your vacation days. Seriously.
Study after study tells us that Americans are terrible at using their paid vacation time, and that’s not good for health or productivity. Even though it may be challenging to take an entire week off, see if you can manage a Friday here or there. A three-day RV trip will give you enough time to truly unwind.
2. Limit travel time.
Try to find a close-to-home retreat where you will feel miles away from the hectic demands of life even though you only drove a short distance. Also avoid travel routes that get congested on Fridays and Sundays. There is nothing that will dampen your camp mojo more than sitting in hours of traffic to and from the campground.
Two hours is our maximum distance for quick weekend getaways. We even have a favorite spot just 30 minutes from home where we camp when we want to decompress and still make it to a kid’s game on Saturday morning.
3. Keep food prep simple.
The number one stress for many people is planning food for a weekend getaway. We use a simple weekend menu that includes items like cereal and oatmeal for breakfast and cold cuts for lunch. We usually plan for dinner out on Saturday. Just because you are camping doesn’t mean you have to cook!
4. Prepare incrementally throughout the week before your trip.
If you do a few tasks each day, you can be ready to go on Friday without any last-minute stress. Make the RV beds on Tuesday, pack the clothes on Wednesday, stock the food on Thursday. Remember to plug in your RV refrigerator 24 hours in advance so it is cold enough for your food. We set a reminder on our phones, since that is an easy detail to forget!
5. Splurge for a late check out.
Most campgrounds set check out time between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. But if someone isn’t arriving on your site that same day, they are happy to let you check out later for a small fee. This means you can schedule an outing or just enjoy a lazy Sunday morning at the campground. We just make sure we are on the road by 3:00 p.m. and home before dinner.
6. Establish SWAT team Sunday back at home.
It’s all hands on deck when we arrive home after a weekend getaway, and that means that we can have the camper unpacked and the house pulled together in just about an hour. If you kept your packing simple, then all you have to do is unload the refrigerator, throw in a load of laundry, and order the pizza.
The Sunday night Netflix selection is totally up to you.