RV Life

5 Tips for Your Very First Trip in Your New RV

Your first trip out in the new RV can seem overwhelming. It feels like stocking a second home, which it kind of is, and surely you’re going to forget at least one thing you really need. Just make sure it’s not the toilet paper. The rest can be worked out.

Tips for Surviving your First Trip in the New RV

Texas RV Camping McKinney Falls State Park
  1. Stay Close to Home and Camp Near a Walmart - Seriously. Luckily for us there wasn’t anything that we needed to go run and get in an emergency, but it happens all the time for first timers. You forget something you really need and the last thing you need is to be way out in the middle of nowhere and far from home. Our thoughts were that if something went terribly wrong, we could just hook up and be home in 30 minutes. No harm done. Also if we forgot something small that we actually needed like a can opener or bottle opener (if you’re me that’s important), you could just run up to the nearest Walmart and grab it real quick. Some people even choose to camp in their driveway for the first time. If you live somewhere where you can do this, it’s probably not a bad idea.

  2. Keep a Notebook or Start Notes in Your Phone - This is for those things you forgot that you got by without, but definitely want for next time. For me this was salt and pepper and also cooking spray. Although I’ll be totally honest with you, I left the cooking spray in the camper and I’m currently questioning that choice. It’s starting to get hot here and I’m afraid the next time I go in my camper it may have exploded. Fingers crossed my kitchen isn’t covered in cooking oil spray. Also this is great for keeping track of campsites. Drive around and find your favorites and write them down so you remember them for you next trip.

  3. Use your Phone To Communicate While Backing Up the Camper - If cell service is non existent, you could also use walkie talkies. Our camper is 39 ft. long. I tried the whole use hand signals to help my husband back it in thing and it was bad for our marriage. I was never in the right spot and we were both super frustrated. Cell phones allow me to be anywhere I think I need to be and moving regularly to check clearance and I can still direct my husband into the campsite. It’s so much less stressful this way and who wants to start their trip off with stress?

  4. Expect anything or expect nothing - Your first trip is likely going to be a shit show. Or at least peices of it. Expect nothing to go as planned. Expect anything to happen. Setting appropriate expectations can make a not so great trip no big deal at all. Just remember you’re learning and remember this first trip is all about working out the kinks.

  5. Just Enjoy!


Texas RV Camping First Time McKinney Falls State Park

Just before our first trip I polled a Facebook group I’m in to have them tell me that one thing they forgot on their first trip. I want to share the top responses with you before I wrap this post up just so you can make sure you have the most commonly forgotten things.

  • Can Opener

  • Cork Screw

  • Toilet Paper

  • Garbage Bags

  • Spices (Salt & Pepper)

  • Dish Soap

  • Pillows

  • Scissors

  • Table Cloth

If you have any great tips and tricks to add or want to share the thing your forgot on your first trip, please feel free to share in the comments.

Also if you want to check out my RV camping items on Amazon, click the button below. Maybe you’ll find something else you haven’t thought of yet.

Disclaimer: The Amazon link is an affiliate link and I do earn a tiny commission for any items purchased as a result of clicking this link. If you purchase, THANK YOU!! This allows me to keep bringing you quality content on a regular basis.

Happy Camping!!!

-Monica


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What To Do About That Terrible RV Mattress

If you’re reading this I’m guessing you just spent the night on quite possibly the worst mattress you’ve ever slept on (if you even slept at all). No worries, I’ve got you. Let’s talk about that horrible RV mattress and the best and most affordable way to upgrade it.

It happens to the best of us. We buy our new or new to us camper, we buy all the things to go with it, and then set up our maiden camping trip just to find out ain’t nobody sleeping good on that poor excuse for a mattress that comes with the thing. You just spent all this money and a new mattress is the last thing you have room for in the budget. What do you do? Do you fork out the cash for a new one anyway? It’s a shame to spend all this money on something that’s supposed to bring you joy only to be sleep deprived with an achy back. We fixed this issue for under $100, which by comparison seemed like the perfect alternative to buying a new mattress.

This is NOT a sponsored post. I’m simply sharing what worked for us and helping out my fellow RVers.


What we bought

Lucid 3 Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

This particular mattress topper had great reviews everywhere I found it online and was available at many stores for so much less than comparable models. I ended up buying mine from Home Depot because at the time they had the best deal. I like to shop around. I’m going to link it below on several sites so you can find the best deal at the time you’re looking at this. I did see it on more sites (JC Penny, Bed Bath and Beyond, etc.), but those others had a much higher price point and I didn’t see the point of adding them here.

Disclaimer: The Amazon and Home Depot links are affiliate links and if you do purchase through one of those links, thank you! I will receive a super small commission, but that commission keeps me producing quality content for you. That being said, I’m a firm believer and finding the best price most of the time. If it’s not at Home Depot or Amazon, please choose the option that’s best for you.


What else you need to know before purchasing your mattress topper

mattress topper for the camper

I didn’t just purchase ours blind hoping it would work for us. I thought about our sleep needs and the level of firmness we typically prefer. If you like a super plush and soft bed, maybe the 4 inch model would be a better fit for you. If you love it super firm, you may consider the 2 inch model. We chose the 3 inch topper simply because we sunk into the super thin camper mattress directly down to the plywood below. We like it mostly firm, but felt for our needs that the 3 inch might provide a little bit more of what we were looking for. Check out this graphic from Lucid. Maybe it’ll help you decide which model will work best for you.


Hopefully you found this helpful and you can start getting a better night’s sleep on your next trip. This thing really has made a huge difference for us.

Interested in my other blog posts for beginner RVers? Check them out below.

Happy Camping,

Monica

24 Rainy Day Camping Activities for Kids

Rainy Day Camping Activities for Kids

I know I’ve talked about it before, but I’ve got a knack for planning camping trips on rainy or poor weather weekends. My talent for doing this is incredible actually. Just ask my family. You want to know when it’s going to rain? Just ask me for my camping schedule and you’ve got the answer. We’re headed to the coast in July and I’m already planning for hurricane weather because that would be my luck. You can bet I’ll be keeping a real close eye on the forcast during that time.

So since it’s obviously going to be raining for my next camping trip and the one after that and the one after that, here is the big question. What kind of rainy day activities can we do to keep the kids busy in the camper? I mean, we’ve watched every single movie in our camper at least 5 times and we haven’t even been camping for all that long. There are only so many times you can watch Sing or the Minions Movie over and over again. I’ve seen this question asked over and over again on camping forums so I’ve compiled the ultimate list of rainy day camping activities for your young kids.

The Ultimate List of Rainy Day Camping Activities For Your Kids

Markers and coloring books

Markers and coloring books

  1. Watch Movies - Yes it’s screen time and that’s not what camping is about, but for me camping is family time so if we’re all enjoying a movie together with a little popcorn, then I’m cool with that. Our camper favorites lately seem to be Sing, Minions, and The Lorax.

  2. Play Board Games - Candy Land, Monopoly, Guess Who, Battle Ship, Connect 4, Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, Trouble, Checkers, or any board game you already have hiding in a closet somewhere will do.

  3. Play Card Games - A whole family activiite sure to please. We love Uno and Go Fish. My almost 6 year old daughter would probably play all day. Don’t forget about games like Skip-Bo, Old Maid, War, Apples to Apples, Crazy 8, or Charades for Kids.

  4. Color - We prefer a couple of coloring books and some markers that stay in our camper. Both of my kids love to color. Crayons can melt if they get too hot so I wouldn’t suggest keeping them in the camper if it gets hot in storage.

  5. Paint - I’ve seen suggestions of painting rocks which looks like a ton of fun. Some people have also mentioned leaving them behind for the next set of campers to discover. I love that idea. Seems like a fun way to put a smile on someone’s face. Also some old school water colors and paper are easy to pack and always a fun activity for kids.

  6. Play outside (if it’s safe to do so) - Just make sure you have a couple of kid size ponchos on hand (or swimsuits if it’s warm enough) and pack their rain boots (or crocs) and you’re good to go for a little rainy day outdoor adventure. Of course if there is lightening near by or dangerous wind, don’t do this. Use common sense folks, but have fun.

  7. Play-Doh - cheap and easy to bring along.

  8. Fort Making in the Bunks - If you have bunks that is and plenty of blankets or sleeping bags, pillows or just anything that can be used for a fort. I haven’t met a kid that didn’t enjoy fort making yet.

  9. Learn Origami - Keep a stash of paper around and maybe grab an inexpensive book off Amazon for learning origami.

  10. Make Slime - You can buy a slime kit or just have the ingredients you need on hand. There are endless recipes for slime on the internet. Just google it and choose a recipe that looks interesting or easy or whatever you want it to be.

  11. Bake Cookies - Our favorite ones to make come from the Magnolia Cookbook. Oddly they’re better after they cool off which is unlike any cookie recipe I’ve ever tried. A premade dough works just fine as well, but from scratch will give you more to do and can be a great family activity for a rainy day.

  12. Legos - Bring a tub or just a small set. You’re never too old for legos.

  13. Read - Grab some books that your kids can read on their own or bring along some to read to them. I went to college to be an elementary school teacher so I’m a fan of reading to kids anytime, not just when it’s raining.

  14. Seek and Find Books - Think Where’s Waldo or the I Spy books. Both of my kids love these.

  15. Puzzles - I love that this can also be an individual thing or a family thing. Bring along all kinds of puzzles ranging from 24 pieces all the way to 500 pieces (depending on how rainy it’ll be or on ages and number of participants).

  16. Jenga - Because this one also never gets old.

  17. Tic-tac-toe - This is our go to at restaurants, but why not on a rainy day in the camper too.

  18. Visit Local Indoor Attractions in nearby city- Museums, Children’s Museums, Aquariums, Kid friendly brewery or winery, trampoline parks, bowling, etc. Just google indoor activities for whatever city you are near and get out and explore.

  19. Craft Kits - you can create your own kit or buy one ready to go. This can be as simple as beads and string or that super cool dream catcher kit in my Amazon list for rainy day activities.

  20. Science Experiments - Honestly even I’d have to just google this one. I wouldn’t know where to start, but I’ve seen it mentioned in forums so I thought I’d include it here.

  21. Dominos - I haven’t played dominos in years and would totally have to figure it all out again, but I do remember having fun. Seems like a great game for kids and adults alike.

  22. Paper Doll Books - I’ve never done paper dolls with my daughter, but I’d bet if I pulled this out on a rainy day, she’d be in heaven.

  23. Joke Books - This is for when you’re desperate and everyone is getting on each other’s last nerve. Hopefully a joke or two will get everyone smiling again.

  24. Magnatiles - We don’t have magnatiles, buy I’ve almost invested in them several times. Everyone who has them swears they’ll keep their kids busy creating for hours.


Just after the sun came back out, looking at birds on the water.

Just after the sun came back out, looking at birds on the water.

Get everything you need to entertain your kiddos on a rainy day in the RV on Amazon. Click the button below to go to my Rainy Day Shopping List created specifically for this blog post.

This link is an affiliate link and I may receive a small commission for any items purchased by clicking this link. If you choose to click and purchase, Thank you! This is how I can continue to bring you quality content on a regular basis.


A cold day spent inside at Moody Gardens Rain Forest Pyramid while camping in Galveston.

A cold day spent inside at Moody Gardens Rain Forest Pyramid while camping in Galveston.

Do you camp? What are some of your favorite rainy day camping activities? Share them with me in the comments for others to see.

Thanks for reading my post!


-Monica

Want to see more of my posts for beginner RV campers? Click the links below.

Spring Break at Inks Lake State Park

You know what Saida and I fought about just before heading out with the camper to Inks Lake State Park? She didn’t want to go and and kept telling me we should just stay home. Homegirl junior. Not that she cares, but I had to pull the “well mommy and daddy don’t spend too much money a month on this camper to not go anywhere so do you think we should go camping or do you want to sell the camper?”

Obviously we went camping. I won’t say she didn’t cry about it for an hour and half on the way there though because she totally did.

Where’d we go?

Inks Lake State Park (and Longhorn Cavern State Park for a couple hours)

Site number?

West Loop, Site 43. I’d highly recommend this site especially if you like being right on the water and you like having the park store nearby with boat rentals and such. It is very close to the park store though and when they did fishing with a park ranger, there was a lot of foot traffic on the trail between 42 and 43. We didn’t mind, but if you do, consider a different site. And also fair warning, someone did mention to me on the Texas RV Camping Facebook page that they had seen a rattlesnake and some water moccasins in this particular area. We kept and eye out, but never saw anything.

What we did while we were there

Camped, hiked, paddle boated, made memories with family, made s’mores and hamburgers, watched movies in the camper (we’re real people), fished, hit up the park store for ice cream, made a quick trip to Longhorn Cavern State Park to take a cave tour.

Other Things you can do there

They have at least 2 playgrounds, a Kona Ice truck, kayaks, canoes, more hiking trails, swimming in the lake & events depending on the day. Also I had my eye on a winery up Park Road 4 called Perissos Vinyard and Winery, but we didn’t actually go there.


Around the campsite

Campsite 43. You can see the canoes from the park store behind the camper.

Campsite 43. You can see the canoes from the park store behind the camper.

Golden hour behind our campsite looking towards the park store.

Golden hour behind our campsite looking towards the park store.

From our campsite (43) looking out over the cove.

From our campsite (43) looking out over the cove.

Camping at Inks Lake State Park in Texas
Camping at Inks Lake State Park in Texas

Hiking

Camping at Inks Lake State Park in Texas

My kids aren’t exactly experienced hikers so when picking out a hike, we went for something that appeared manageable. We chose Lower and Upper Fisherman’s Trail and essentially made a loop. We ended up on the dark green trail for a few minutes so we walked a little further than originally anticipated, but overall this was a great trail for them. They got to climb a little, see the lake, and it wasn’t too long or challenging for them (ages 3 and 5). Corbin fell a few times, but that’s mainly because he’s a little more clumsy than your average 3 year old.

Upper Fisherman’s Trail

Upper Fisherman’s Trail

Lower Fisherman’s Trail and they were only climbing because the wanted to. This is actually just above the trail.

Lower Fisherman’s Trail and they were only climbing because the wanted to. This is actually just above the trail.


Paddle Boats

Anyone curious what happens when I ask my kids to stand next to each other for a picture? THIS! This is what happens. This is why I don’t ask them to do it. Also the only reason I have this sad image is because we were about to buy ice cream and they weren’t taking a chance of not getting it. Also this was after getting off the paddle boats which ended up being a disaster because everyone was tired and both kids (who couldn’t even really reach the peddles) wanted to be able to peddle at the same time. We didn’t even use our full hour and then when I asked Saida what her favorite part of camping was after we’d been home a few days, she said the paddle boats. Blew my mind. I’m like you mean that thing we did where everyone whined the whole time. They really did have a great camping trip overall though.

Camping at Inks Lake State Park in Texas

Longhorn Cavern State Park

Camping at Inks Lake State Park in Texas and Longhorn Cavern

Longhorn Cavern State Park really wasn’t on our list of things to do on this trip, but when we realized it was literally down the street from Inks Lake State Park, we decided why not. To be honest I really wasn’t sure what we were getting into. I thought we could explore a cave on our own for like 20 minute and then go hit some trails (because from what I can tell they have some super easy and kid friendly trails), but turns out this cavern is much more expansive than I originally thought and it’s only accessible by a 90 minute guided tour. Obviously we took the tour and decided against any hiking trails since we were well into nap time by the time we finished. The kids absolutely loved it. Corbin was a litte over it about an hour in (because it was nap time) but overall he did really well (thank goodness).


We’re only three camping trips in, but so far we’ve really enjoyed each one. I think the kids are anxious to come back here again sometime soon. My final thought is that it’s a fantastic park for families and next time we look forward to bringing bikes for the kids as well. Maybe I’ll even hit up that winery and report back.

-Monica