What is it with weddings and RVs? The catalyst for our first RV rental experience was a wedding several provinces away. And our second rental was also prompted by a wedding invitation, but this time, we were travelling by RV with a toddler!
Our daughter was just two years old when we were invited to a wedding in Northern Ontario. We’re talking Thunder Bay kind of north, not the typical Southern Ontario definition of “north.”
Colin lived in Thunder Bay for nearly a decade before we were together, and often described the beautiful drive up Highway 17. The invitation was the perfect excuse for a road trip, and the decision to rent an RV again was a no-brainer.
All of the advantages we’d experienced when we rented a van conversion several years earlier still applied. But there were additional reasons we felt an RV was the ideal way to travel with a toddler.
Six advantages of RV travel with kids
1. It feels like “home”
Our daughter was a slave to routine. If we messed with bedtime or mealtime, we paid the price. Travelling by RV meant she had her own space--a bed that soon became familiar and comfortable; a kitchen to prepare her favourite foods. So even though we camped in a different location each night, she felt comfortable and at home.
2. Avoiding boredom is easy
Before renting, we ensured we could safely install our car seat in the dinette, which was immediately behind the cab. Our daughter travelled in style! We rigged up a laptop with hours of Disney movies and animated programs to entertain her on the sometimes long stretches between stops.
And when she got bored, I would shift from the passenger seat to one of the seatbelt-equipped spots at the dinette so I could hang out with her. Much easier than driving to dive into the backseat of a car!
3. You only have to unpack once
Toddlers come with a lot of stuff. At least ours did. We’re talking stuffies, books, toys, sippy cups, snacks, extra clothes...you get the idea. Now imagine hauling that stuff in and out of hotel rooms every night. No thank you!
When choosing our rental RV, we looked for one with ample space for us, and our gear. The van conversion wasn’t going to cut it on this trip! We opted for a 21’ Class C Motorhome.
Colin and I slept in the bed above the cab, which gave our daughter the double bed at the back, with a large cupboard to hold her things.
When we picked up the RV, our first order of business was to create her little home away from home. Once it was done, we were good to go for the next two weeks!
4. No bathroom drama
RV bathrooms can be small. But anyone with a toddler will immediately recognize the value of that little space!
Our daughter hated public bathrooms. She lived in mortal fear of self-flushing toilets. If she spotted an auto-flush sensor, it was game over. If she didn’t, she was convinced it was merely hidden.
Having our own bathroom helped us avoid that drama. And because our bathroom drove around with us, it was always available to her.
Added bonus: our bathroom had a small tub, which made bathing her a snap.
5. Changing weather is a breeze
(See what I did there?!)
On this particular trip, we went from sweltering heat to running the furnace. Colin and I are comfortable tenting in changing weather conditions, but the addition of a toddler makes it a bit more challenging.
Travelling by RV with a young child eliminated any worries about being too hot, too cold or too wet. No matter the weather, we could easily keep our girl comfy and happy!
6. It’s flexible
As a parent, you learn your child’s early-warning signs. You know the ones I’m talking about. The “if you don’t give me a snack right now I’m going to have a meltdown of epic proportions” sign, or maybe the “if I don’t get my nap in the next 10 minutes, you’ll be sorry” sign?
In an RV, it’s easy to meet your toddler’s needs. Just pull over and figure it out! When we were in Thunder Bay we decided to take a day trip to the zoo. But when we got there, our daughter had fallen sound asleep in her car seat.
We knew waking her was a bad idea. So, we grabbed a couple of beers and a deck of cards and relaxed for an hour. No worries!
We loved our two-week RV trip with our toddler. In fact, it was on that trip that we decided to take the plunge and buy an RV of our own.