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Meal Planning for Campers

Meal Planning for Campers

Do you struggle to figure out what to cook when you get to the campsite? Or know what you want to make but then find out you are missing an ingredient? Meal planning for your camping trips can solve these problems and make your camp cooking more enjoyable and stress free.

Choose Your Meals

I know I have difficulty in deciding what to make for dinner each night and I have to assume that others have the same struggles. Choosing your meals ahead of time can alleviate that stress. Get a notebook or a meal planning notepad which can be found in the Out of the Box Camping Summer Box and carve out 15 minutes to plan out your meals when at the campground. Pick your go to meals, ask your kids or family members for a meal they would like to have, and fill in the other meals with items you know you will have on hand from the other dinners.

I also like to choose meals where I can reuse some of the ingredients for other meals. For instance, I make hard boiled eggs and use them to make an egg salad. I can also cut them up and add them to a cobb salad or use some to make deviled eggs. I cook bacon and use it to make bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches for breakfast. I can then use the leftover bacon to make BLT’s or turkey clubs for lunch or dinner.

The meal planner notepad found in the Camp Kitchen Box

Grocery Shopping

Once you have your meals listed, you can create a grocery list of what items you will need to make each meal. I look for the items I have on hand at home and move those into the camper and add the items I don’t have onto my grocery list. Having a set list will make your grocery shopping so much quicker and allow you to stay on budget by sticking to the items on your list.

Meal Prep

After you go grocery shopping it’s time to take the ingredients and prep what you can ahead of time to have more time to relax at the campsite. I wash and cut up fruit and vegetables prior to our trip. I also like to portion out snacks so that I don’t over eat on camping trips. I usually prepare salads ahead of time at home too. Some of my favorite recipes:

egg salad can be a great addition to your camping meal plan

Egg salad can be made ahead of time and makes a great lunch option

Camp Cooking

While you are at camp, you can make the the make the main dishes of your meals to go along with your previously prepped items. I like to have my kids help make the meals that they previously picked out for the menu. It’s nice to have an extra hand and the kids love to pitch in. Here;s some things the kids can help with:

  • Measure ingredients (use the collapsible measuring cups from the Out of the Box Camping Summer Box)
  • Stir mixtures
  • Set the table (use the Camp Casual paper plates found in the summer box. Need to re-stock? Use the promo code found in the box!
  • Put out condiments
  • Clean off the table
  • Wash dishes
picnic table place settings for camp cooking

Have the kids help out with dinner by setting the table while you finish other tasks

Meal Plan Schedule

For a weekend trip, I plan out my meals and write my grocery list on Wednesday, shop and meal prep Thursday, and on Friday I pack up the food and we are ready to head to camp Friday once my husband gets home from work Check out our Camp Cooking Pinterest Board for some great meal plan examples.

If you missed out on the Out of the Box Camping Summer Box that included the meal planner notepad, you can still make up your meal plan by using our free downloadable Meal Plan Worksheet. We always love getting new meal ideas, what is your go camping meal you will be adding to the worksheet?

Vacationing with Kids in an RV

Vacationing with Kids in an RV

If you have little ones you seriously need to consider taking an RV on your next vacation.  We recently took our RV for our first beach vacation with three kids.  Our kids were 8 years old, 5 years old, and 10 months at the time.  It superseded any beach vacation we ever took in a hotel.  Here are the reasons why we recommend taking your next vacation in an RV:

Cost

Our beach vacation in Myrtle Beach cost less than $500 for seven nights and eight days for our campsite.  We traveled from Upstate NY and stayed 1 night in a parking lot on the way home to save money.  Since we could cook on site at our grill or in the kitchen in our RV we also saved a lot of money on food.  There were so many activities on the campground that there was also not a need to spend extra money on additional site seeing activities.  We only headed out one day to the aquarium.  Here is our costs broken down for our trip:

Lodging: $455.46

Food: $186.47

Eating Out: $146.96

Activities: $86.96

Souvenirs: $61.25

Gas: $612.45

Tolls: $128.67

GRAND TOTAL: $1678.22

Amenities

 RV resorts are all the rage right now. Most campgrounds cater to families. They have beach access, pools, waterparks, arcades, and playgrounds. During high times like Spring break and summer months most have organized children activities like crafts and games in their common area. We have yet to find a hotel that includes all of these amenities.Some of our favorite family friends RV resorts:

 

Easier Mealtimes

No more fighting with your children to sit at the restaurant begging them to eat.  No long wait for the food to arrive, worrying if they are being too loud or having to deal with them throwing tantrums.  All you have to do is grill up some hot dogs and you are good to go.  You will also experience lower costs since you aren’t eating out for every meal.  Just use your normal grocery budget to get the food to prepare your meals at the campsite. We love to meal prep. The summer box from Out of the Box Camping includes a great meal planning notepad that I use to plan out my meals for each week, even when we aren’t camping.

Location

You can choose your campsite to be right next to the pool, playground or beach to make life easier for you.  When staying at the beach, our campsite was steps away from the Ocean.  This made things so convenient, especially with a baby in tow. If he started getting cranky, my husband or I could take him back to the camper for naps without interfering with the older kids fun.  Also trekking all of the kids toys, beach chairs etc wasn’t an issue since we were so close and if we forgot something all we had to do was head back to the camper and a minute later we were good to go.  I know that any hotels that we previously stayed at we would have to walk through hallways and have an elevator ride in order to get to the beach which put a damper on the fun.

Packing Ease

Packing for a vacation can be a nightmare, but I find that packing an RV is much easier.   You don’t have to try to fit everything in a suitcase. Also if you have the camper at your home first you can load everything directly into the camper and don’t have to lug around 5 suitcases (in our case one for each member of the family). You can also easily pack a highchair, pack n’ play, and other baby gear saving you money from having to rent it at your destination.

Better Routines

Having the kids bedding, will help them sleep better. If you have your own camper kids will get used to it like a second home so vacationing will not alter their routines.  Our kids like having their own space that they are familiar with.  When we take vacations in our RV there isn’t a transition period of them getting comfortable to their surroundings, they are used to our camper and therefore there is less tantrums and we can stick to their normal eating schedule and bedtime routines.

Downtime for Parents

When you have an RV, you can put the kids to bed, and then you and your significant other can sit out side and enjoy some quiet time around the campfire. have a glass of wine and partake in a nice talk without out little ones interrupting. If you have older kids and are able to leave them alone, many campground offer concerts or shows for adults that you can walk to in the evenings.

I hope these gives you a good idea of why a vacation in an RV is a great option when you have kids.  The best part is you don’t need to own your own camper to do it. There are campgrounds that offer RV or cabin rentals. There are also RV sharing platforms where you can rent an RV in your local area and drive it to your location or have one set up at a campground for you.  I recommend to check out Outdoorsy if you are looking to rent an RV. 

Do you take family vacations in an RV?  What do you love about it?  I would love to hear your thoughts – just post them in the comments.  If you are looking for more tips on RVing with kids, check out Tips to have a Successful Roaddtrip with Kids.

 

Happy Camping!

 

Tips to have a Successful RV Road trip with Kids

Tips to have a Successful RV Road trip with Kids

Road trips with little ones can be difficult. However, with the right mindset and some proper planning you can enjoy your vacation. Here are some tips on how to reduce the stress on those long rides. Whether you are in a truck, SUV, motorhome, or campervan this list should do the trick in making everyone happy.

Plan Activities

I started creating activity bags for the kids for long road trips even before we began RVing. The kids are now excited each time we have a big trip coming up because they know they will be getting some fun things to do while traveling. I pack a bag for each child and put in items that be done in the car. Some of the things I have included are travel games, coloring books, drawing materials, travel journals, and books. Try to get one new item for each hour traveling and hand them out as they get bored. Some of the kids favorite items they have received and kept them occupied the longest were:

You can find great budget friendly options at The Dollar Tree, Five Below, or the dollar bins at Target.

We also like to play games as a family. This past trip we enjoyed playing Which Would You Choose (A Would You Rather type ap I downloaded on my ohone), 5 Second Rule (we use just the cards to play in the car), and of course I Spy is also a classic that is fun for all ages.

Pack Snacks

Let’s face it, we all get hangry. Having drinks and snacks packed can save you arguments and time so that you don’t have to stop anywhere. We keep a cooler with water and juices and hearty snacks like cheese and crackers, fruit, trail mix, and granola bars that will help get us to the next meal.

Our family likes to take our lunch or dinner breaks at a rest stop. We get out and stretch and let the kids eat in the camper. It gives them a break from sitting in their car seats. It also seems to refresh them and lets us get back on the road more easily.

Be Flexible

When you have kids things never go according to plan. You may need to take three more potty breaks then you planned, take a trip to the store for a forgotten item (diapers anyone?) or make an unexpected stop. On our trip to Myrtle Beach, SC we planned on driving from Upstate New York to Virginia (about 8 hours) for our first day on the road. We ended up dealing with unexpected storms and accidentally taking the “scenic route” more often then we would have liked. After 10 hours of driving we were still 2 hours away from our first stop where we had already made reservations.

There was more bad weather coming in so I made the executive decision that we had traveled enough for the day and used the Good Sam Club ap to find a local campground. I called and verified they had a campsite available and we headed that way. We had to forfeit the deposit we made at the other campground but the kids were so much happier. We were even able to enjoy dinner at the campground, a bike ride, and time on the playground.

Enjoy the Journey

This is a tough one for me. When traveling, I’m used to trying to get to the destination as quickly as possible so that I can enjoy my vacation. While RVing, the trip can take longer because you are traveling at lower speeds and have to take detours to accommodate the weight and size of your vehicle. I had to adjust my attitude and try to enjoy the uninterrupted time in the truck with my family. Once I changed my mindset to find joy in the journey, I enjoyed viewing the sites out the window such as the blue skies, green gas, and the leaves on the trees (in mid-April they had yet to arrive in Upstate NY). We got to pass old barns, farm animals, point out boats in the Chesapeake Bay, and even caught a glimpse of the Washington monument.

Use Screentime

Let’s face it we all have our limit and can only do so much entertaining of the kiddos. When it gets to the point when they won’t settle down and have asked “Are we there Yet?” for the 100th time, give yourself a little grace and pull out that Ipad and let them watch a movie or play a game. It will allow you all to decompress and will work wonders for your nerves.

Once we get to the campground, we institute a no electronics policy, so giving them a little extra time on the drive works for us.

I hope these tips will allow you to find some peace in your journey!  For more tips for camping with kids, check out Top 5 Ways to Use Duct Tape When Camping with Kids.

 Happy Camping!

Top 5 Ways to Use Duct Tape When Camping with kids

Top 5 Ways to Use Duct Tape When Camping with kids

Duct tape has many uses and can be especially helpful while camping with kids. Use any roll of duct tape that you have laying around in the garage, colorful duct tape that you can find at your local Dollar Tree, or fun prints that are available at the craft store. The Happy Camper duct tape pictured was included in the Out of the Box Camping Spring Box. Out of the Box Camping is a quarterly subscription box for RV Enthusiasts.

Trail Marker

The kids and I love to go hiking and exploring when we camp. We have found that using pieces of Duct tape to mark your trail works great. Just be sure that on the way back you remove your trail markings so that you leave the area as you found it.

Repairs

Let’s face it, kids can be destructive. Instead of throwing things away, give it a second life using duct tape as a temporary fix.. Bag chairs, pool floats, broken sunglasses or flip flops – the possibilities are endless. It may not make the item last forever but it’s a quick fix that will get you through the camping trip so that you don’t have to make a trip to the store to replace the item when most likely you have others at home.

Labeling

Are the kids fighting over who’s cup it is again? Using duct tape on the cups can solve this! You can place any duct tape on them and write with a sharpie or you can glamp it up and use the decorative duct tapes that are available. Have each child pick their own print and use that tape to mark that child’s cup or other belongings. No more guesswork and no more fighting (about that anyways). I also like putting a bit of tape around the stem of my wine glasses that way the hubby can’t accidentally take mine.

Tape it

Of course you can always use duct tape for it’s intended purpose of taping things. Tape your tablecloth down, use it to seal packages of food, or tape a bandage on a wound.

Rainy Day Activity

If the weather is uncooperative and you are stuck inside with the kids duct tape can make for a fun activity. No don’t use it to tie the kids up, do crafts! Check out this awesome Duct tape water bottle holder from There’s Just One Mommy. You can use the water bottle holder on a bike ride once the sun comes back out. Another great craft is Duct Tape Boats that use can use to have a race in all of those puddles. For older kids try making this duct tape wallet. You can give them a few dollars to put in it and send them to the camp store to get a treat.

I hope this list gives you some great ideas on how to use that duct tape you have lying around for some new purposes. What have you found to be the most useful way to use duct tape while camping?