Teenagers are interesting on family vacations. All they want to do is lay down on the couch and check their phone. But I’m here to tell you there is a way to make RVing fun for teenagers. Here’s a list of tips and tricks to have fun RVing with teens, tweens, and all kids. Here goes!
11 Ways to Have Fun RVing with Teenagers
Don’t despair if your teenager seems to hate camping. These outdoorsy RVing fun ideas can put the fun back into camping for everyone on the trip.
Get out of the RV
Teenagers would drop whatever they’re doing to get outside and have fun playing a sport. It’s easy for you because all you’ve got to do is bring a football or a Frisbee. Simple, easy, and fun. Even if it requires a short drive to get to the destination, it’s worth it because everyone will be entertained!
For example, recently we took a trip to the Oregon Coast. One night everyone was relaxing in the trailer (being teenagers). We decided to get up and walk along the beach. We brought the Frisbee and ended up playing with it for a few hours. And before we knew it, our Fitbits had tracked five miles of walking!
Let them help pick the activities.
Ask them ahead of time what they really would like to see throughout the trip. You can nail your plan with their opinions in mind, making it really fun for everybody. No matter where you are, there is always something fun nearby.
One night on a trip we stayed at a state park campground with a big lake. We had researched a couple things to do there – and turns out there was a kayak tour the next morning (that ended up being really fun and the teenagers were very happy)!
Surprise your teenagers with a movie night.
If your RV or trailer comes with a TV, take that to your advantage and bring a movie to watch. (Especially if it’s raining out!) Bring some snacks and popcorn on the trip to make it very fun.
If your trailer or RV doesn’t have a television, you can easily bring a laptop or an iPad to watch the movie on. One of our personal favorites is the movie RV. This is a hilarious classic Robin Williams movie in which he decides to rent an RV. He wants to increase “family bonding” time, which ends up being in every way a total disaster. As an RV owner, you will definitely appreciate the hilarious situations Bob Munro is caught in with his family.
Don’t make EVERY meal in the RV.
Make sure you get out for dinner or lunch a few times so you’re not eating meal after meal in the RV. Take note of what foods they like beforehand. You can plan out the meals and make them happy with what they are eating. Show them the meal plan with your teenager. They can look forward to what’s coming up for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Teenagers like to be included in the decisions that are being made for them. Or included on the fun they are missing out on. Which brings me to my next point…
Teach them to cook the food over the fire.
Camping isn’t camping without campfire cooking. Meals you can cook over the campfire include hot dogs, banana boats, or just easy tin foil dinners. Banana boats are a dessert food. Make them by cutting an unpeeled banana vertically (straight down the middle, making two long halves). Then fill it with chocolate chips, marshmallows, and anything else to your desire. Wrap it up in tinfoil and stick it in the fire for 5-7 minutes.
Have enough electrical outlets
Outlets need to be made available because teenagers need them for their cell phones and other devices. In fact, we do too. Make sure you have enough outlets. Do any changes as necessary, like investing in a surge protector/power strip. This will be useful in your house as well as your RV. We have used it so many times in and out of our house and do not regret buying it. Power strips are cheap, portable, and useful.
Every teen falls for a good card game or board game. They create lots of inside jokes between you and your family. Games are a great tool for family bonding and fun.
Let them start the campfire.
Teenagers need to and love to be included in the fun. Teach them how to start the fire so they will know this in the future. Some day they can do it with their family and on future RV trips.
Decide whether to be pro-technology or technology-free.
If you decide to use technology (mp3 players, phones, laptops, etc), set some rules in advance. This one is probably one of the most important, next to getting out of the RV. Make your RV a technology-friendly environment. It’s essential to make the RV fun for teenagers. Obviously, don’t let them be on their phone all day, but let them do what they need to do for a few minutes each day. Teens need to see what their friends have been up to and keep in touch. On top of this, try to stop at campsites that have Wi-Fi or internet connection/cell service.
Another idea that will help gain control over technology in your trailer is to have a set bedtime for phones. Have an agreed time when everyone will turn off their phones to spend family time together. Watch a movie, play a game, or just stargaze outside.
If you do decide to go technology-free, provide a basket for storing phones, laptops, and other devices in. This fits right in with the ‘bedtime’ for technology.
Stop at campgrounds with electricity/invest in a generator.
This is really important and is necessary if a teenager needs to charge their devices. This is probably the backbone of the whole camping trip because it sets up for everything else. You will need electricity in your RV to watch movies, charge devices, and to let it be a technology-friendly environment.
If you can’t get electricity every night, try to aim for it every other night. Prevent phones and laptops from out of juice at all costs. There’s no better way to ruin a trip than letting a teenager’s phone die.
Take time to talk with your teenager.
It is important that you take the time to sit down and have a nice talk with your kid. They need that every once in a while. Remember to ask them lots of questions that pertain to their life. Let your teenager do a good portion of the talking. Don’t allow them to feel like they are being given a speech.
With these eleven tips to make RVing fun for teenagers, your next family will be eleven times more fun for everyone! To recap: get out of the RV and walk along the beach. Play football or Frisbee, or just to go out and get something to eat. Involve your teens in the decision making. Bring a movie on your trip along with some snacks and popcorn. Don’t make EVERY meal in the RV. Teach them to cook food over the fire. Teach your teen how to start the campfire. Match the number of outlets your teens use with the number of outlets in the RV. Bring fun and social board games. Decide to be pro-technology or technology-free inside your RV. Stop at campgrounds with electricity plug-ins or invest in a generator. Finally, take the time to sit down and talk with your teenager.