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It was a beautiful day as we drove north on the 101 freeway towards Santa Barbara. The rugged sandy bluffs rose high along the California coast while the sunshine sparkled across the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Thing 1 and Thing 2, then 8 and 5, were trying to sit patiently in the backseat as we drove towards our campground. This was our first outing in our new-to-us folding camping trailer.

To say my heart was happy would be an understatement. I was giddy with excitement. I couldn’t wait to start making fun family camping memories. Brent and I already had so many from when we were kids and we wanted to give the same thing to our boys. Not only that, we were ready to relax for the weekend after a long week of work. We were ready to kick up our heels, sit by the fire, and maybe go on a few hikes in the Los Padres National Forest.

An hour later we arrived at our campsite and the boys jumped out of the van. They were busy checking out the campsite when I noticed Thing 2 wasn’t wearing shoes.

“Put on your shoes, honey. There might be something sharp.”

“I don’t have them,” he replied playing in the dirt.


No shoes?

Of course, he has shoes. What sort of parent forgets shoes when they go camping? I started searching the van but no luck. In our excitement to hit the road for our first camping experience, we had let him run out the door happy but barefoot.


Determined not to let this ruin our weekend, we headed up to the camp store. There we bought a pair of flip-flops that he could wear to protect his feet. We may not be going on any long hikes over the weekend but they would be perfect to wear to the swimming hole on the Santa Ynez River.

Wondering if there are things to do (besides remember your child’s shoes!) to make your first time out in your new RV go more smoothly? Read on!

Five Easy Things for First Time RVers:

Make A List

Making a list is probably your most important step. Make copies and give them to all your readers in the family so they can help pack up. Divide your lists into categories: kitchen, meals, bathroom, outdoor activities (bikes, balls, firewood, etc.), indoor actives (games, movies, etc.), pets, family member A, B, C, etc., and don’t forget to include yourself! Start packing a few days ahead of time to avoid the last minute rush. Cross things off as you pack them and just before you pull out of your driveway take a quick glance at your list to make sure you have everything.

To read the rest of the tips, read the full post at