The RVing lifestyle has changed a lot over the years. Today, many RVers are full timers, and why not? The thought of living a nomadic lifestyle is amazing, and with more and more people having the ability to work remotely, it makes perfect sense. But, a full-time lifestyle may not be right for everyone.
With 9-5 jobs and school-aged kids, we have discovered that being “Weekend Warriors” suits us very well. When the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life starts to take its toll, it is a gift to look forward to our frequent weekend RV getaways, never too far from a new adventure or a relaxing campfire. But, because our time is often limited when we’re away, a little pre-planning is a must.
Through our RV travels, we’ve picked up a few tips and tricks that help us get the most out of our weekends and thought we’d share them with you. Enjoy!
1. Select the right destination
Choosing the destination is one of the most important elements of a successful weekend. We typically try to find campgrounds that are within 75 miles of our home. This makes for an easy escape on Friday afternoon after work. Although, we may venture a little further out when we have a few days off or a long holiday weekend.
Recently, we spent a weekend in Monterey, CA, which is about an hour away from our home. While we were only away for 48 hours, we were able to take in the beauty of the surrounding areas, including Carmel and Big Sur, while still having plenty of time for some relaxation and family time back at our campground.
Pro Tip: Remember to consider traffic in your area. One of our favorite weekend spots is actually a little further than some others, but because it’s on a route that avoids traffic, we get there in half the time!
2. Plan out your weekend menu
There is no shortage of delicious meals to enjoy on a camping trip. But planning for several days of meals in one shot can be stressful. What to buy? What to pack? What to eat on those late Friday arrivals?
Our advice: Keep it simple. When we arrive on a Friday evening, we like to make something quick and easy. We’ve heard some travelers recommend eating dinner on the road or even driving to a local restaurant upon arrival on a Friday. But for those who prefer to get to the campsite and stay there, the simpler the better. A few of our favorites include mac & cheese, premade pizzas, or the most classic of comfort foods – grilled cheese and tomato soup.
For lunches, cold cuts and veggies for sandwiches are also a great option. Prepping your favorite toppings (i.e. washing lettuce or slicing onion) at home further simplifies the process, making for an easy, space-saving option that will free up more of your time to enjoy what you’re there to do. (And if that is having a margarita on your lounge chair, well, no judgment).
Pro Tip: Cook something earlier in the week to take with you. We love to throw some pork in a slow cooker mid-week and then pack it in a Pyrex dish (our favorite recipe is here). Just 15 minutes in the oven and voila … campsite carnitas! Pair with your favorite tortillas and toppings and trust us, you will be the envy of the campground and have neighbors asking, “What’s cooking?”
3. Plan and pack ahead of time
We like to get up and go with the best of them. But sometimes, even spontaneity can take a little planning. This bit of extra effort on the front end will ensure that you’re ready to go when five o’clock hits on Friday.
We have found that planning meals and grocery shopping early in the week allows us to get a jump on packing. And speaking of packing, by doing a little each day, you can feel confident that you have everything you need without having to scramble around on Friday afternoon. It is also helpful to think about the clothes and toiletries you’ll need for the weekend and pack these a little each day, so you’ll be ready to go when Friday hits.
Pro Tip: Keep an extra set of kitchen and personal essentials in the RV to avoid extra packing. Also, create a checklist of everything you’ll need for the weekend, so you can keep track of items you pack throughout the week.
4. Optimize your check-in and check-out times
There was a recent article about how Americans only use half of their paid vacation each year. Crazy, right?! We tend to blow through every day we have allotted and do our best to make sure we get the most from it. When planning for a weekend away, we will try to leave early from work on Friday. Leaving early on Friday can help avoid the afternoon traffic and get you to your site in time to enjoy a couple quality hours of R&R. You will also have an entire Saturday to explore and adventure. Even better, consider taking Friday off completely and leave Thursday night. Doing so allows for two full days to enjoy, which sounds like a mini-vacation to us!
Pro Tip: Ask for a late check-out on Sunday. A few extra hours can be priceless during a great weekend getaway.
There are 48 hours in a weekend. By our count, that’s two beautiful sunsets, a couple of campfires, and lots of great quality time with the ones we love most. These simple tips have helped us get the most out of our time away with our favorite people and we hope they do the same for you.