RVing with Toddlers

If you’ve been following along on IG stories, you’ll know that we just returned from a 9-day RV excursion around Alberta! Given COVID, it’s one of the only safe ways to travel right now. And, it’s pretty fun. This is my fourth RV trip. The first, I was just a wee tike, and my parents took me and my 2 brothers on a tour around New Zealand. Unforgettable. The second RV experience was just Mark and me before kids. We took 12 days to drive from Calgary to the North West Territories and hit up Whitehorse, Dawson City, and watched the sunset at midnight. That was another epic excursion. The third RV trip we took was from Calgary to Vancouver with the whole family! At the time, Posie was just 4 months old and Henry had just turned 2. Our latest RV trip was Alberta only, due to the COVID restrictions in place. At first, both Mark and I were bummed that we wouldn’t be heading west to Fernie, Kelowna, Osoyoos, and the rest of our favourite BC spots. But once we started exploring, we were DELIGHTED to see what Alberta has to offer.

Each heading in this post is based on the questions you submitted via Instagram. Let me know if you have any more!

Route from Calgary

2 nights at 11 bridges in Drumheller 

Reserved one day before
Very kid-friendly, playground with swings and airplane seesaws, climbing structure & slides
Grocery store was EPIC. So many gluten-free and vegan options. It’s called Freson Bros. and there are a few across Southern Alberta but this location is like friggen Whole Foods. I hit another location up in Brooks and it wasn’t nearly as good so I’m referring to the Drumheller location only.

1 night in Dinosaur Provincial Park 

  Reserved night before online
 Family-friendly
 Very large playground, 5 slides, climbing structure

2 nights at Kinbrook Island 

this was the campground we were staying at when the Tornado warning took effect! What an adventure that was. We scrambled outta there and drove for hours to get out of steer clear of the storm until it was safe to return to the campsite.

surrounded by Newell Lake and there are bike paths to access the lake

family-friendly with two playgrounds

1 night at Little Bow on Travers Reservoir 

the prettiest spot! Think rolling hills, lakes, and natural wood playgrounds.

1 night in Chain Lakes 

This campsite was the most meh of them all. Nothing bad about it but it didn’t hold a candle to any of the others

1 night in Waiprous 

My girlfriend lives out in Waiprous so we parked on her acreage and spent the night by the campfire drinking wine and chatting.

How to book RV camping spots

There are a surprising amount of RV camping spots available. Once you start looking, you’ll start to see them everywhere. Your safest bet throughout Canada will be looking at provincial campground sites. Here in Alberta, visit albertaparks.ca . Provincial campgrounds can get booked months in advance so don’t be disappointed if there are no spots available. Keep in mind there are often last-minute cancellations and you can snag up a spot that way. This happened to us twice on this trip. Another way we’ve discovered campgrounds is simply by Google Map searching in the area you’re exploring. There are plenty of private campgrounds with RV servicing available.

Total Cost

We booked through FraserWay RV and reserved during their spring special ($99/night). For a total of 8 nights, we paid $800 plus tax. Kilometers were included and we spent around $300 on gas. I’d recommend signing up for their newsletter to hear about their deals to get the best price. This is our second time booking with them and I haven’t found anything cheaper.

Bathroom situation

This is the one HUGE perk of RVing. You have a flushable toilet and a hot shower. Ya, the space is tight but it beats using campground facilities! The kids didn’t love having a shower in the RV so after attempting it twice, we started to give them baths in the kitchen sink 🙂 We also used the shower for storage while we were driving and stored our bin of toys, laundry, and cleaning supplies in there.

Seat Belts and Car Seats

When you are booking, this is a CRITICAL question to ask: “how many anchors/tethers does the RV unit have”? I’m not comfortable just using the seatbelt to install a car seat so it was really important for me that the RV we rented had an anchor we could attach it to. Generally speaking, the larger the RV, the more anchors it will have.

Keeping Organized

The RV trip previous to this one was very stressful for me. I groaned each morning when I had to get the kids dressed because their clothes were stuffed into bags and we didn’t have a system for laundry. The biggest key factor to a successful RV trip with kids to it keep your shit organized. Before we hit the road, I mentally labeled each little cubby in the RV and meticulously placed everything. Each kid had their own cubby for clothes, we had a separate place to store jackets and shoes, and a laundry bag for dirty clothes. Do not store your clothes in a duffle bag or suitcases. Although you may think you’re saving time while packing up the RV, you’ll be doing yourself a huge disservice when you can’t find any of your belongings in a small compact space.

I also removed anything we didn’t need from the convenience kit. For example, the RV we rented slept 8 people so the kit came with 4 blankets, 4 sets of sheets, etc. I removed all the bulky extras we didn’t need and stored them in our garage to free up space for critical items like clothes and food. I also removed items like juice pitchers, egg holders, extra mugs, and other kitchen equipment I knew we wouldn’t use.

RVs also have storage accessible from the outside. Being strategic in where you place your items is so important. For example, all the kid’s outdoor toys were stored in the outside bin, while their indoor toys were stored inside the RV.

What to bring for the kids

Large bins of indoor toys. These will be used while driving, for the most part, so the smaller the better:
Silly putty
 Magnetic counting toy
 Water wow colouring books
Puffy sticker activity boards
Books
Magnetic Drawing Boards (these were the biggest wins)

Large bin of outdoor toys:
 Beanbag toss
 Frisbee
Assorted sport balls
 Bikes + helmets
 Life jackets
 Sand toys

Owning vs Renting

I don’t think it’s worth owning an RV simply due to how infrequently we use it. On average, we’ve gone once every two years. I’d much rather spend $1,000 to rent once than spend hundreds of thousands on buying, maintaining, and storing one. If you plan on living in it part-time, however, it might be the right fit for you…?

I hope this post was helpful to you! Remember you can always hit me up via Instagram DMs if you have any other questions or simply comment below. If you have a question, I’m sure someone else has the same one and I’ll be happy to answer it.

Love, peace & safe COVID travels

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  1. Very helpful indeed! We plan to take the family when kids are a bit older. I am sure I will be referring to this post in a year or two.

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