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April 3, 2017

RV travel necessities

When you RV with the family, a lot of the fun comes from rolling down the open road and camping in your own self-contained world. For maximum enjoyment, make sure your world is well-stocked before you leave. Working from a thorough checklist, you can equip your recreational vehicle with everything you need to be safe, prepared, and relaxed.

Make a Checklist

Several weeks before your departure, start a comprehensive checklist. Be sure to take the list on your trip, refining it as you learn what you don’t really need and what will come in handy for your next RV excursion. After a trip or two, you’ll have a personalized list with everything you need — and nothing you don't.

Create a Contact List

Cell phones and free Wi-Fi make it easy to share your trip with others. For some good old-fashioned communication, bring stamps for postcards — and a list of friends’ and relatives’ mailing addresses.

Be Safe

Being footloose and fancy-free on the road is easier if you know you’ve got all your bases covered. The first of these is safety. Here are some must-have items.

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Complete first-aid kit and basic first-aid book
  • Snakebite kit
  • Syrup of ipecac (in case of poisoning)
  • Prescription medicines
  • Over-the-counter pain reliever/fever medication
  • Your family doctor’s phone number, plus the Center for Poison Control’s (800-222-1222)
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Flashlight or headlamp

Make a Fix-It Plan

Where safety is concerned, err on the side of expertise and get your vehicle to a mechanic. But for basic jobs, pack tools. Fill a small tool chest or lidded tub with the usual suspects — hammer, screwdrivers, wrench, and any other fix-it items you can’t do without. A Swiss Army knife loaded with wine opener, nail clippers, toothpick, and scissors always comes in handy. Ask your RV representative about any special tools you should have on hand for standard upkeep or maintenance.

Keep it Clean

When you’re in a confined space, keeping everything spick-and-span becomes more important than ever. Pack a small tub with the cleaning supplies you’ll need for kitchen and bathroom. A tub of wipes can double as both hand sanitizers and kitchen and bathroom scrubbers. Fill a small plastic bucket with sponges, dish soap, and cleaning spray for inside cleaning. Plenty of paper towels, dish towels, and a box of kitchen-size plastic garbage bags round out the home-on-wheels cleaning kit.

Plan for Bedtime

Sheets, pillows, blankets, and a throw or afghan for cozy lounging should do it. Does anyone in the group need a night-light? What other creature comforts could enhance your journey and enjoyment?

Make a Meal Plan

Plan your meals ahead of time. And take whatever dry or canned goods, spices, salt and pepper, etc. you have room to carry. Factor in which meals you might want to eat in restaurants. Take any recipes you need. If you are renting your RV, call ahead to find out what items are included in the rental.

Pack Some Kitchen Basics

Don’t forget that you’ll need a way to store leftovers after cooking. Aluminum foil, plastic wrap, large and small plastic baggies, and storage containers all come in handy. So do measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board, bottle opener, matches, and a water filter. And don’t forget the coffeepot!

Bring the Pantry Staples

Like having a well-stocked pantry at home, keeping your cupboards filled with some staples means fewer stops along the way. Some basics you may want include bottled water, salt and pepper, spices, coffee, creamer, tea, milk, cereal, bread, olive oil, butter, vinegar, sugar, flour, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, garlic, and onions.

Plan Entertainment for on the Road

What do you need to take along to enjoy yourselves to the fullest? Games? Cards? Books? How about a journal, to savor the experience? When you’re well-organized before you go, all that’s left to remember is to let the good times roll.

Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.