So you did it! You made the investment of an RV (recreational vehicle) for your family vacations. Now you have to furnish it with all things that will make it your “home away from home.” Buying all new items, such as dishes and towels can quickly eat up your vacation budget. However, toting every item from your house to the RV and back can be time consuming. Here are few tips for outfitting your RV on a budget.
Stocking Your RV Kitchen
In order to save yourself time and energy, it is easiest to outfit your RV with its own set of dishes, cooking utensils, hand towels and cleaning supplies. That way, you don’t have to spend time trying to figure out what you need to take from your house, and what you already have in your RV. It was also help you from having to buy items, such as tin foil, at the camp store, which can be three or four times as much as the prices in the grocery store.
Thrift stores are a good place to pick up used dishes and cookware. You should have one place setting per person, plus one or two extra, if you think you might have company. Of course, you can use paper plates and plastic forks while camping, but they are not environmentally friendly, and after a while, the cost of purchasing them will add up. For hand towels and dishcloths, why not purchase a new set for your house kitchen, and put your old kitchen towels to work in the RV? You can spruce up you kitchen while outfitting your RV for camping. Other items you will need to purchase include dish soap, SOS pads, hand soap/sanitizer, baking soda (for the fridge), salt and pepper, other spices you use regularly for cooking, tin foil, plastic wrap, paper napkins (or cloth, if you are worried about excess waste), microwave (a small one will be perfect for rainy-day cooking), and a hot pot (also known as an electric tea pot). If this list seems like a lot to buy at one time, try picking up one or two things a week, a few months prior to RV camping season.
Stocking Your RV Bathroom
For your RV bathroom keep the only the basics. No need for wrinkle cream and nail polish. After all, you are roughing it. Basic items include a package of bar soap (it won’t spill), shampoo and conditioner (a 2 in 1 formula will save room) toothpaste, and toothbrushes. You may want to leave your electric toothbrushes home and opt for the old fashioned kind, in case they get lost somewhere between the RV and shower house. Other items include razors, shaving cream, first aid kit, sunscreen, deodorant, hand soap/sanitizer, and bath towels – again, you may want to consider buying new towels for your house, and put your used towels in the RV.
Stocking Your RV Bedroom
You may opt for sleeping bags, or traditional bedding. Either way, make sure you will be warm enough if the weather turns cold. Pillows may be the one thing you want to take from your house, besides your clothes. It can be hard to sleep on an unfamiliar bed, and having your pillow may make you more comfortable.
Since you will probably be spending the better part of your camping trip outside your RV, it is important to think about this area as another ‘room’ in your home away from home. For cooking, you will need charcoal or wood, matches and lighter fluid. Lawn chairs are a must. You should have one per family member, plus one extra. A clothesline and clothes pins are essential for hanging up wet swimsuits and towels. An awning attached to the side of the RV will provide shade, if you are in area without many trees. An indoor/outdoor rug (think fake grass) will help keep dirt from being tracked into your RV. A plastic tablecloth will brighten up dingy picnic tables. Citronella candles will provide light and keep bugs away (though not very well). Keep a couple of battery operated lanterns and flashlights handy for nighttime. A hammock makes a great spot for napping. Lastly, don’t forget the bug spray!
For the Kids
Traveling with kids means having lots of activities to keep little hands occupied. Travel friendly items include an etch-a-sketch or magna doodle, frisbee, jump rope, markers & other drawing supplies, a bug kit (for catching bugs), bikes, bike helmets, inflatable inner-tubes, life jackets, sandcastle building supplies, and board games (in case of rain). Many campgrounds offer a free lending library, but it is always good to have older kids bring along a book for reading.
Just for Fun
If you are planning on an extended stay at one campground, you can add small touches like wind chimes and potted plants to spruce up your lot. Nylon windsocks or flags also add a bit of fun color and whimsy to your campground. Christmas lights or lanterns provide fun lighting for the evening hours. You may also want to consider setting up a tent, as a separate “room” for the kids. This gives both kids and parents some privacy after a long day together. Cable and internet service are available at more and more RV campgrounds, but isn’t the point of camping and goijng on vacation to get away from it all, not bring it with you?
Outfitting your RV for a family camping trip is a one time investment that will make your vacation much easier and enjoyable! By making smart purchases and buying ahead of time, outfitting your RV doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Make your home away from home a wonderful retreat for you and your family.