24 Tips for Being a Happy Camper in 2024 (With Phil Travaglia)

The RV Atlas Podcast
24 Tips for Being a Happy Camper in 2024 (With Phil Travaglia)

Are you a happy camper? Or do you find yourself getting cranky over some of the challenges that are related to the RV and camping lifestyle? Reservations can be hard to get–and prices for campsites have gone up–and so have the prices of RVs. There are some legitimate issues and concerns out there–but camping is still awesome, right?

We think there are still an abundance of things to love about the RV and camping lifestyle–and there always will be. In fact, we think camping and RVing are good for the mind, good for the body, and good for the soul! We want YOU to be a happy camper in 2024.

It’s all about having the right mindset.

On this week’s episode of The RV Atlas podcast we welcome our friend and camping buddy Phil Travaglia back on to the show to discuss tips for being a happy camper in 2024. Phil is the perfect person for this topic because he is the happiest camper we know. On this episode Phil shares 8 tips, Jeremy shares 8 tips, and we share 8 tips from the RV Atlas Group on Facebook–for a total of 24 tips for being a happy camper in 2024.

To listen to this episode of The RV Atlas please click on the media player above–or subscribe to the RV Atlas wherever you get your favorite shows.

Or just read on right below for Phil’s 8 tips for being a happy camper in 2024!

Phil’s Tips for Being a Happy Camper

Tip #1 Do your homework – When you go camping, whether it be in an RV or a tent; spend some time looking into the area where you will be staying.  Getting a sense of the weather, the stores and amenities nearby (in case of an emergency) and having an idea about the wildlife are important.  They will help you avoid unexpected situations that may negatively impact your overall experience.  A little research (and I really mean a little) can mean the difference between a great trip and wanting a “do over”.

For example: When we go camping in Montauk, knowing the weather and especially, the wind conditions will greatly affect the trip.  If you plan for a windy weekend, the things you bring will be useful and not a hindrance i.e. portable canopies or shelters that will end up on the other side of the campground. Another example would be if the surf is too rough, I won’t bring my fishing gear.  Which can be cumbersome to have to cart around; just to not use it.

Tip #2 Take inventory – We all know that a big part of the fun of camping is picking up gear along the way.  However, this gear can really negatively impact your experiences if you are constantly shuffling it and rearranging it in the RV.  As you camp during the season, take inventory.  Keep a mental tally of the things you use regularly and the things you regularly shuffle around.  Don’t be afraid to take the cluttering items out of the RV.  Having more room in the RV and having to manage less stuff makes a huge difference in the happiness meter on a trip.  For example: cooking accessories that are not going to be used take up so much space in the RV and are a constant source of frustration.  It is no fun to have to play a camping version of tetris under the sink every time you need to get a pot or pan! If you are not planning any crock pot or Dutch oven meals during the trip… leave them home.  They’ll still be there for you when you get back. Another example is board games.  How many board games do you actually need in the camper!  Bring one or two that you know will be fun for the group on your trip.  Free up some space and have less to manage.

Tip #3 Be flexible – One of the biggest things to remember about camping is a lot of unplanned things happen.  The weather is bad, traffic on the way causes major delays… I could go on forever.  The thing to help get through these events is to be flexible.  Having the ability to modify your plans is essential in being a happy camper. We are all guilty of building up expectations and itineraries for our trips, and if they don’t go to plan, that can leave us feeling disappointed. Example: One year we were on a trip with our friends Hector and Laura in the Catskill mountain region of New York.  We wound up with a rainy and cold weekend.  Pretty much all of our usual campground activities were out the window; it was raining that hard!  Laura looked for local events that we could enjoy despite the weather.  Much to our delight, she found a cupcake festival that was on rain or shine.  Even though it was outdoors, it was under large tents. It was a blast!  We brought our umbrellas, got our shoes and trucks a little muddy, and we had a great time. The cupcake festival was never in our original plans, but being flexible, and working with what had, kept our trip fun.

Tip #4 Maintain your gear – There is a certain amount of unspoken satisfaction that every camper feels when their gear performs as expected.  Nothing can impact a trip more than having your heater stop working or your tent or lantern or stove not holding up. This is especially true when you are camping remotely (tent) or off grid in the camper.  Maintaining your equipment can make all the difference.  It also provides a way to get you through the long and depressing off season. Personally, it makes me happy to take out some of my gear in the winter time and clean and tune it up.  Getting the camping gear out in the winter keeps the camping flame burning.  It often acts to get the imagination going and motivate the planning of next season’s trips.

Tip #5 Manage your expectations – Make sure your expectations match your accommodations.  What I mean by this is; don’t go to a KOA Journey level campground and get upset that the amenities are not those of a KOA Resort level campground.  Another thing to keep in mind with expectations (especially for those new to RVing) is that camping is very social.  Unless you are going to a state park or going off grid, you will have people around you.  To me, it’s the best part of the experience.  For those who are looking for solitude, this could be frustrating.  If you know what type of campground you are going to, and keep an openness about you, your experience will most certainly be a positive one.

Tip #6 Know how social media (related to camping) affects you – This is a personal thing.  Everyone is different.  Some people can look at the endless “highlight reel” posts of amazing trips and get motivated.  Some can look at them and can’t help but compare their own experiences and feel that they don’t measure up.  To some, looking at tremendous, once-in-a-lifetime trips can lessen the value of their own trips.  Personally,  I started out in the first group, but after a while, I felt I was slipping into the latter group.  I had to remind myself that the trips we take are what we can afford and they are no less valuable than the ones I was seeing posted on-line.  I find that knowing yourself and finding a balance with camping related social media will make you a happier camper.  If looking at dream trip after dream trip (that you cannot afford) starts creating FOMO,  Look at posts related to troubleshooting problems or camping hacks.  You will find purpose in those as I am sure you all have ingenious hacks to share with the most experienced campers out there.

Tip #7 Don’t be afraid to pull the plug – Over the years, the one mistake I have been guilty of making is insisting on going on a trip once it is booked.  I would get so excited for the trip, that I was going; come hell or high water.  Oftentimes, it was the latter that I would actually run into!  Keeping an eye on the weather and listening to your gut, will provide you with more happy camping experiences than blind ambition to get out there will.  Familiarize yourself with cancellation policies and keep an eye on the weather, especially for weekend trips. It is okay to back out of a trip.  Last year, we went on a trip to meet up with some friends and we had our daughter’s friend with us as well as our 70lb dog Louie.  We have a very small camper.  We knew the weather was going to be bad for a week before the trip.  We should have gracefully bowed out while we could.    Instead, we went and needless to say, it was not the best experience.  Sometimes it’s better to pull the plug, and survive to camp happily on another day!

Tip #8 Leave the kids at home –  This one falls under the “sometimes category”, but yes, every now and again… leave the kids home.  As great as camping is for the kids, it is just as fun for the adults too.  To keep your enthusiasm for camping strong, I would suggest you  have an occasional “grown-ups” trip.  As memorable as our family trips have been, some of our weekends away without the kids have been just as memorable.  Think of these occasional trips as camping’s version of “date night”. Leslie and I look forward to our annual “grown-ups” trip to the Country Living Fair.  We get to enjoy some recuperative time together and recharge our batteries.  We also get to enjoy the fair without having to worry about how long it would take before the kids would get bored and want to leave. Also, it is a great opportunity for the kids to have some grandparent time or visit with their cousins.  Everyone wins.  These trips leave you rested and rejuvenated and ready to take on the next family adventure.

We hope that you all find your inner happy camper in 2024! See you at the campground!

The RV Atlas Podcast
24 Tips for Being a Happy Camper in 2024 (With Phil Travaglia)

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