We recently returned from our annual RV camping trip with six other families.
As always, we had a blast. First of all, there’s all the enjoyment of camping in our Trail Lite Bantam hybrid RV. But, when you factor in the Group Multiplier, it’s algebraically better (RV Goodness x Number of Families = Total Fun). It’s always great to catch up with family members who we don’t get to see as often as we’d like, and the food is phenomenal.
My Aunt Diane and Uncle Tom take the lead with planning the trip. Well, to be honest, it’s Aunt Diane. Uncle Tom rides her coattails. We teasingly call her Julie McCoy, the cruise director from the old television show The Love Boat.
It’s quite an undertaking for her, as it is for anyone else who takes charge in planning a group RV camping trip. There’s choosing a campground, making the reservations, organizing a menu and planning activities. Those are hard enough on their own, but when you are also trying to please an entire group of people, well, it’s not for the meek and gentle.
But Aunt Diane is a retired school teacher. She can handle it.
So, with Aunt Diane’s tried and true tactics as my guide, here’s How to Survive a Group RV Camping Trip:
1. Seek Input, But Make A Decision
Think of all the work that has to be made: Select a destination; choose a campground; make the reservations; decide who gets what campsite; plan the menu; plan any group activities; coordinate a caravan to and from the campground; coordinate who gets to the dump station first … you get the idea.There are a lot of decisions, which can only be made more difficult if you try to make everyone happy. Of course, everyone has to agree on the destination and the campground, but the rest of the camping trip need not be so tightly planned.
You cannot expect to please everyone, but you should be able to keep the majority happy. Let people know what you have in mind, and ask anyone to speak up if they have any strong objections to anything. Try to accommodate those objections, but you’ll likely find that most people will be more than happy to let someone else make all the decisions (translation: do all the work).
I will say this: Plan your trip well in advance. Since we camp at a state park, we make our reservations six months in advance. Aunt Diane sends an email to the group a couple of weeks before that, just to make sure the dates and location work for everyone. After that, it’s simply a matter of sending a group email about the rest of the details. (Make sure people “Reply To All” so everyone’s part of the same conversation.)
2. Them’s Good Eatin’
I don’t know about you, but for me one of life’s pleasures is how well we eat when we’re camping. And the Group Multiplier makes this even better.
There’s several ways a group can share in planning a menu:
Option 1: Each family takes turns cooking for the entire group for each meal. The Verlanders will handle Friday dinner, the Avilas will take care of Saturday breakfast, the Kinslers will provide lunch on Saturday, the Cabreras will cook the Saturday dinner and the Sherzers are all over Sunday breakfast. (Yeah, I run with the Tigers.)
Option 2: Similar to option 1, but not as overwhelming. Each family takes turns providing the main dish for each meal, but everyone else chips in with side dishes for every meal. This is a great option because even if you don’t like the main dish provided by Cabreras (Pigs in a blanket? Really?), chances are good you’ll like at least one side dish and you can load up on that.
Option 3: Everyone fend for themselves.
None of these options are better than the other. Whatever works for you and your group is all that matters.
3. Don’t Force It
That’s great if you planned a group activity, such as a cornhole tournament. But don’t sulk if most people would rather go swimming instead.
And, truthfully, some of the best times are unplanned., spur-of-the-moment, I-don’t-believe-what-I-just-saw events that will became the favorite tale told around the campfire for years to come.
“Just focus on the big picture – where and when and what to eat – and Keep Calm & Camp On.”
See you next week when we talk about Making Your RV More Environmental Friendly .
Gr8LakesCamper celebrates the world of RV Camping in the Great Lakes region. Gather around the campfire and share tips, ideas and stories on RVing, camping and travel destinations. Follow Gr8LakesCamper on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and the Gr8LakesCamper blog.