Discovering the Wonderful World of RV Travel

Published on June 20, 2020 - Updated on June 23, 2020

Why We Believe It Will Be A Growing Trend As We Flatten The Curve, and A Few Tips and Tools Learned Along The Way

I realize every day that the people who said time flies when my daughter was an infant, were absolutely right. I worked a lot for the first few years while settling into my life as a mom. Now, in a blink of an eye, she is four, so I have taken a big step back to ensure we are living the life of our dreams.

For me, this means purposeful time as a family. It means being a present mom and having an intentionally positive relationship with my husband. It also means untethering from technology whenever possible to be present with the people I am in the company of, whether family, friends, or professional acquaintances. My good friend Heather said it best, “Be where your feet are.” Easier said than done but we strive for it every day.

As part of this mission of purpose and overall commitment to a new way of life, we are planning our time very deliberately. We’ve dreamt of an RV trip (or many RV trips) for quite some time and we recently made this dream come true. Our first trip was quite the learning experience and I’m confident we will continue to pick up new tips and tricks as we encounter different climates, terrain, site setups, and seasons.

It proved quite a hook, as I find myself dreaming up our next RV adventure regularly during this period of physical distancing. Once the curve has flattened, traveling by public transportation will still be concerning, and require higher safety measures. When exploring by RV, in many ways you are quarantining with your travel companions already and have the opportunity to take it further when it suits your needs and safety.

With RV travel, hotels, eat-in restaurants, and even public restrooms are easily avoided. By stocking up on food, you won’t have to stop often for supplies. Pumping gas can be safe with appropriate physical distancing measures, a mask, a pair of gloves (or even a paper towel) and hand sanitizer since it is performed outdoors. No-touch payment technology is even offered in many gas stations but you can also purchase an alloy germ key for that purpose.


The Importance of Advance Planning

Relaxing RV travel depends on some level of planning, such as choosing an approximate daily start and an end time as well as a reasonable duration for the journey. Within those parameters in place, set guidelines for how many hours you should expect between destinations giving honest attention to how flexible or spontaneous you want to be. We prefer to limit our daily drives to three hours and, if long travel is needed, no more than one full day a week.

Establish a general idea of how long you want to stay in each place by creating a list of must do’s along the way. If you are making reservations, give yourself reasonable windows of time. If you prefer to move more freely, avoid reservations except when a specific region or destination is expected to book up. (This is key in prime summer camping months but if you arrive early, you can often still secure a spot).

As we explore the world, we will be publishing our favorite routes and the tips and tricks we learn along the way on the happyly blog, where you can also find additional information when moving through a major city or national park. If you are ready to plan your first RV adventure once COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift, here is some inspiration to get you started!

Camper Supplies

  • A cooler is a must and it is essential that you anticipate stops for ice refills.
  • First Aid Kit
  • Bug Spray/Sunscreen
  • Personal Hygiene Products
  • Pharmacy Items (including allergy medicine and bug spray)
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Trash Bags
  • Cooking Materials (tongs, oven mitts, pot, pan, knives, can opener, bottle opener, colander, etc.)
  • Eating Materials (plates, bowls, utensils, drinkware, etc.)
  • Food Storage Materials
  • Napkins/Towels (kitchen and bath - we love these quick-dry towels)
  • Water Filter
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Maps or Travel Books (cell coverage can be spotty)
  • Headphones!
  • Art supplies: Paper, Stapler, Scissors, Tape, etc.
  • Lanterns, Headlamps, and Flashlights
  • Charcoal/Matches or Lighters.
  • Grilling Gear (tongs and a grill brush is a must-have)
  • Folding Chairs - these Coleman Kids Chairs and Adult Chairs are great!
  • Umbrella
  • Binoculars
  • Indoor/Outdoor Games
  • Inflatable Boat or Stand-Up Paddleboard


Meal planning/Grocery List

Dinner: We love grilled meals on the campfire after traveling or hiking. Our favorites included steak, hot dogs, hamburgers/turkey burgers, and sausages. We often add corn on the cob or grill another fresh veggie for a delicious meal. Rice-A-Roni is a camping classic and likely not an everyday treat, it’s delicious and convenient after a long day!

Breakfast: We make a lot of breakfast burritos. Sometimes it’s as simple as a scrambled egg in a tortilla and other times we get more creative, eggs by the order, veggies, sausage or pesto, and a variety of cheeses. Oatmeal is also a super easy option and a happy kid meal in our family. We always take note of how good the simplest things taste in nature.

Lunch: Good old peanut butter and jelly, fluffernutters, turkey, and cheese wraps with veggies or fruit from a local fruit stand or farmers market along the way is our preference.

Snacks: We always have plenty of snacks, snacks, and more snacks. Annie’s granola bars, Welch’s fruit snacks, yogurt drinks, hummus and crackers, mixed nuts, etc.

Tip: If you’re heading through a town before hitting up the National Parks, you can often find a wonderful farmers market for local produce to add to your meal.

Additional Resources

Camper Rentals


Cruise America

RV Share


The Dyrt

Go Camping America

Good Sam


All Trails

Travel Guides

National Park Service

America’s State Parks




Have fun, be safe, and see you on the campgrounds! We welcome highlights from your adventures on Instagram @gethappyly.

Explore the happyly blog for more inspiration, such as Building a Summer Family Bucket List, Camping, Glamping or RV Travel, or Five Survival Tactics for the Summer of COVID-19.

Enjoying our content? Please download the free happyly app, the country’s only mobile-first family activity planning app, for fast access to all of our frequent blog content, favorite activities, and expertly designed curated days, both locally and in many communities and travel destinations across the country.

Thoughtfully captured by:
Caitlin Iseler
Caitlin Iseler, happyly founder and CEO, was born in New York and is one of eight children. Her favorite holiday is Thanksgiving and the chance to sit at one table with her favorite 40 people. Caitlin, her outdoor loving husband, Thomas, and daughter, Hanah, live in Virginia Beach. She is also blessed to be a bonus mom to 2 incredible humans, Max & Elizabeth. Being a mom has always been something she dreamt of and it brings her joy beyond measure. Before starting happyly, Caitlin spent 15 years working in executive search with technology companies, most recently with Korn Ferry. In what seems like a lifetime ago, she attended the University of Virginia and was a member of the National & ACC Championship Teams, a gift that keeps giving.
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