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There’s no reason to pack up the RV for the winter, just because you want to spend the holidays with the family. Yes, while typically hosting the kids and grandkids for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner results in crowded kitchens, chaotic dining room tables and a fair amount of mess — all happy chaos and mess, it’s worth clarifying — you can make a few changes to your holiday meals to make them compatible with your RV lifestyle.
Likewise, if it’s just you and your significant other for Thanksgiving this year, you don’t need to settle for your standard campground fare on the holiday. You can still enjoy your favorite Thanksgiving foods, even though your RV kitchen may be on the smaller side.
Whoever you’re hosting, wherever you’re celebrating, here are six tips for celebrating Thanksgiving — with all the trimmings — in your RV.
Most families have a few Thanksgiving dishes that they absolutely have to have on the holiday. There’s the turkey, the stuffing, candied yams, cranberry sauce — but you’ll want to make a few adjustments before you start prepping your feast if you plan on cooking it all in your RV.
For starters, measure your oven. Many motorhomes feature ovens that are slightly smaller than your average home oven — and that means less room for the turkey. If you don’t think your oven will be able to fit the bird, you do have a few options.
If you’re not married to the idea of cooking your own turkey, you can use a caterer for the turkey and make all the sides on your own (many grocery stores and even restaurants sell cooked turkeys that you can pick up on the day of) or ask a family member to bring the turkey. If you do plan on being at home slightly before the holiday, you might also choose to cook the turkey yourself, carve it so it’s more compact, and then reheat the slices in the oven.
If you definitely want to cook your turkey the day of, consider trying out a new cooking method, like grilling or deep-frying your turkey outdoors. You’ll save space in the kitchen and may just discover your new favorite Thanksgiving recipe.
Your oven likely isn’t the only part of your RV kitchen that’s maybe smaller than what you're used to. Your RV fridge may be smaller than average, too. If that’s the case for you, you’ll want to plan for that.
That means cleaning out the fridge ahead of time so you have as much space as possible to store items and leftovers, sending leftovers home with family members and, overall, just cooking smaller portions that don’t require as much storage, both for ingredients ahead of the holiday and for leftovers afterward.
In addition to cooking your turkey ahead of time, if you don’t have much room in your kitchen, you can also cook a few other items in advance. Many home cooks already do this to make the holidays easier on themselves, regardless of whether they’re at home or on the road. Many desserts and side dishes hold up well when made a day in advance, and you’ll be glad that you took care of some of the work ahead of time, when you’re enjoying Thanksgiving with your family versus in front of the stove.
The best way to cut down on chaos? Plan, plan, plan. Put your Thanksgiving plan into place days or even weeks ahead of your RV-hosted holiday. Make a list of everything you plan to serve, everything you’ll need and in what order things need to get done. You don’t want to find yourself at the campground on Thanksgiving morning and suddenly realize you forgot the canned yams.
While your motorhome may not be as large as your actual home, you do have one great space advantage when RVing — you have a ton of outdoor space at your disposal! If the weather cooperates, plan to eat outside. You can likewise set up a serving station outdoors, beneath a canopy, so family members aren’t running in and out of the RV to snag a second serving of turkey.
Cooking a Thanksgiving meal in an RV is a challenge, sure — but if you love your RV lifestyle and want to celebrate the holiday on the go, you may just find that challenge to be worth it. Just remember, if a few mishaps do occur (and what holiday passes without them?), maybe the green bean casserole burns or no one remembers to bring the stuffing, the holiday isn't about the food. It’s all about spending a day with the people you love most.
You don't necessarily need to be in the market for a new motorhome in order to find a lot of value in attending an RV show. While RV shows do focus on showing off the latest and greatest motorhome models, they also feature quite a lot of motorhome gear and equipment that you might be interested in; some shows also feature expert panels and informational sessions, so you can learn more about trending or important topics, like how to convert your RV to solar power or what you need to know about motorhome safety as a first-time buyer.
Sound like just your kind of event? Well, then mark your calendar and make tracks to one of these RV shows taking place across the country in November.
This RV show, organized by the Florida RV Trade Association, is incredibly affordable to attend (just a few bucks per adult) and even pet-friendly. You can browse the hundreds of new motorhomes and RVs that will be on display, as well as sign up to win some cool door prizes.
The same weekend, the Florida RV Trade Association also hosts the West Palm Beach Fall RV Show. The experience is much the same, so just pick the show closest to you and head on over for a day spent browsing the latest models.
If you’ll find yourself on the other side of the country in November, head to Portland for the Portland Metro Dealers RV Show. You’ll find hundreds of RVs at this indoor show, as well as dozens of exhibitors. If you are in the market for a new RV, you can snag a special deal at this show specifically. Organized by the Portland Metro RV Dealers Association, the show’s mission is all about “exposing people to the recreational vehicle lifestyle.”
If you’re a Southwest snowbird come November, and if your outdoor recreational pursuits go beyond just RVing, then you’ll want to definitely attend the Sand Water RV Expo in Arizona. Beyond motorhomes, the expo also displays boats, ATVs and more, and extra attractions and events make the expo even more fun, like the expo’s poker tournament and the on-site beer garden.
- Plan ahead.
You could just show up and wander around, and see what you find — and while that’ll work for some folks, if you’re specifically hoping to get something out of your RV show experience, you’ll want to go in with a plan.
For example, if you’re specifically shopping for a new motorhome, you’ll want to know what you want and what you’re looking for beforehand, so you can seek it out at the show and not waste your time looking at models that just aren’t a right fit. If you’re attending to shop around for RV accessories, you might hit up those exhibitor booths first, before getting sucked into ogling all the new RV models for hours.
- Make some notes.
By the time you've looked at your tenth motorhome of the day, they may all start to blend together. Whatever you’re shopping for, take notes — on your phone or the old-fashioned way — while you browse, so you don’t forget key details about models or accessories that you like.
- Pack accordingly.
For many attendees, an RV show is an all-day affair. Pack and dress accordingly. If the show is outdoors in a sunny, warm locale, dress for the weather and bring sun protection. If the show is indoors, regardless of where it’s held, bring a jacket; those expo halls can get chilly. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a tote bag with necessary items that you might need when you’re out all day, like a phone charger.
We’ve seen a lot of RV trends arise over the last few years, especially as new motorhome enthusiasts flood campgrounds and RV parks looking for new, socially-distant ways to recreate without the need for crowded hotels or airports. The average age of motorhome enthusiasts is trending downward. RV rentals have become more popular.
But now, a new trend is on the rise, as an October Associated Press article reported: RV delivery.
Designed for travelers and RV enthusiasts who love the RV lifestyle, but hate driving an RV, motorhome delivery has become a popular option for those who want to just show up at a campground or RV park and find their RV ready and waiting — no pesky backing up, parking and re-parking or worrying about the best route required.
RV delivery is often available as part of an RV rental, through companies like RVshare. The brand told the AP that, in 2022, 40% of its rented motorhomes were delivered, versus 27% in 2021 and 16% in 2020. However, you can find other RV motorhome driver services online that will send a qualified driver to your home to drive your motorhome on your behalf; some even cover the costs of fuel, tolls and other driving-associated fees. Some of these providers, like Rented Truck Driver, only provide driving services for longer trips (like trips of 500 miles or more), but if you’re planning to take your motorhome from New England to the Southwest for the winter months, for example, and don’t really want to drive the RV yourself, they can help. They get your RV where it needs to go, while you take your time getting from Point A to Point B, simply arriving at your destination to find the motorhome waiting for you.
Of course, the process isn't always that straightforward. Some RV parks and campgrounds don’t allow RV delivery. You’re required to bring your RV yourself. Additionally, some RV delivery providers simply drop your RV and go — you’ll still have to handle set up yourself.
Have you used an RV delivery service in the past? Tell us about your experience and why you would or would not recommend it!