Are you looking for thoughtful, useful, and amazing gifts for RV families that you know? Let us help you!
As a full-time RV family, we constantly get questions from family members regarding gift-giving. “What can I get the kids for Christmas?” or “what can I get (child) for his/her birthday?” or “what things do you need for the RV?” And in the RV related Facebook groups, these same questions are asked almost daily.
When living in a house, people don’t worry too much about how much space gifts take up. Even in small houses, you have much more space to acquire things than you do in an RV. She has 20 shirts already? What’s a couple more? He likes playing with cars? Well, here’s a set of tracks and 5 more cars! You need home decor? Ok, here’s a mirror, some vases, and a few photos to hang.
Space in the RV is limited. Even more so with kids. It’s hard enough to find storage options to hold everything needed on a daily basis. So please don’t go adding STUFF to already cramped living quarters. Most RVers didn’t purge all of their belongings just so you’ll buy them new stuff.
But we know you love gift giving. We know all you grandparents want to spoil your grandkids. We know you parents want to give your kids something special on their birthdays or special holidays. And that’s ok. Just remember to think small and think out-of-the-box.
New here? If you’re interested in more RV related information, we’ve got you covered!
- Our Life Outside the Box
- The Perfect RV
- RV Mistakes We Made with Our New Home on Wheels
- Top RV Storage Ideas: Hip to be Square (Part 1)
- Top RV Storage Ideas: Hip to be Square (Part 2)
- Top RV Storage Ideas: Hip to be Square (Part 3)
- Up & Away at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (Part 1)
- Up & Away at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (Part 2)
- Up & Away at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (Part 3)
- The Crunchy RV Medicine Cabinet
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Whether it’s a birthday, Christmas, Easter, or Valentine’s Day, people enjoy giving gifts to their loved ones…even ones that live in tiny spaces. So to help you out, we’ve put together a huge list of useful gifts for RV families that will be a great resource to you at any time of year.
Most of these gifts will vary in price, but we’ve included costs on ones that rarely change. We’ve also made sure to include ideas for every budget.
Gifts for RV Families: Experiences
Obviously, experiences are highly treasured gifts for RV families. As the photo above explains, most RV families choose the lifestyle because they want to enjoy more time with each other. This creates amazing memories that turn into wonderful stories to tell. Here are some great experience-based gift ideas.
National Parks Pass
The America the Beautiful Pass is one of the most coveted gifts an RV family could receive. After all, there are campgrounds located in the national parks where they can stay, and there are tons of educational opportunities for the kids. Not to mention, national parks typically have some pretty great nature activities!
State Parks Pass
This is similar to the national parks pass and allows access to all state parks in a particular state. So if you want your RVing family members to visit you often, perhaps grabbing a state parks pass for your state would prompt them to spend more time nearby.
Cost: varies by state
Amusement/Water Park Passes
RV families are always looking for things to do as a family. Amusement parks like Six Flags, Disneyland/World, Dollywood, Universal Studios, and others are perfect for thrill-seekers. If they love swimming, maybe they would enjoy spending a day at a water park instead.
There are several camping memberships that any RV family would love to receive as a gift. Just be sure they don’t already have the membership.
- Fulltime Families – Kids want to have friends to play with and parents want adult conversation with others living the same lifestyle. This membership should be #1 on your gift list for any RV family. Cost: $65/annual, $345/lifetime
- Passport America – This is a discount camping club that gets RVers 50% off at hundreds of campgrounds. Cost: $44-$399
- Thousand Trails Camping Pass – This is a campground network membership. It allows you to stay at any Thousand Trails campground for a set period of time with no nightly fees. These campgrounds are always a hit with RV families. Cost: $585/annual
- Boondocker’s Welcome – This membership gives access to free overnight parking on private property. This comes in handy when traveling long distances over a short period of time. Cost: $50/annual
- Harvest Hosts – This is a network of wineries, breweries, farms, and attractions that have space for RVers to stay overnight for free. Cost: $79/annual
There are a ton of museums, aquariums, children’s centers, and science centers around the country. But getting a membership to just one doesn’t make much sense to a traveling family. And getting a membership to a bunch of different ones isn’t financially the best option.
Thanks to the detective work of others that have gone before us, most RV families say the Kern County Museum membership seems to come out on top. With the travel membership, families get access to hundreds of reciprocating museums, aquariums, science centers and historical sites across the country. This includes any of those institutions within the ASTC, ACM, NARM, and Time Travelers networks.
The AZA is a reciprocal membership for zoos and aquariums throughout the country. While there is a membership you can purchase directly through the AZA website, the same membership is more affordable if you purchase from Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Carlsbad, NM.
Hotel or Airbnb Reservation
Just because RV families are constantly on the move, doesn’t mean they don’t want to have a vacation away from their home on wheels every now and then. Consider paying for a couple of nights at a hotel or Airbnb in a city they love or have never been to.
Watch for special deals on cruise tickets and surprise them with a cruise. Or heck, book the trip for all of you to spend some time together.
As we said before, RV families still like to take vacations away from their home on wheels. Pay for a plane ticket to a city they’d love to visit.
Dinner Show Tickets
Will they be visiting an area in the near future with tons of entertainment? Try finding a family-friendly dinner show and purchasing their tickets to the show.
We don’t know about other RVers, but there are many times that our antenna doesn’t pick up hardly any TV channels. And we get bored with the same old movies on movie night. So treat them to a movie in the theater!
The fine arts can expand minds, touch souls, and inspire greatness in each of us. Treat the entire family, or just the parents, to a night out at a theatre. Check out Ticketmaster for events and venues all over the country.
Tickets to a Sporting Event
Americans love sports. And so do RV families. Grab a few tickets to a major sporting event and everyone will be happy! StubHub is a great place to find discounted tickets.
Adults and kids alike love arcades! Places like Main Event have something for everyone from bowling to laser tag to billiards and arcade games. There’s no doubt they’ll thank you for the fun!
If only there were such things as mini-golf reciprocal passes! This is a hit with our family. Anytime we’re going to be in or near a big city, our son requests to play mini-golf. So grab some tickets for them to play mini-golf in your town or a big city nearby.
RV families tend to be fairly adventurous and many love zip lining. Check Groupon for zip lining tickets in an area you know they’ll be visiting.
Go Cart Racing
Who doesn’t love go-cart racing? When they come to visit, pay for an afternoon/evening of friendly competition.
Rock climbing gyms are popping up all over the country. Get them a few passes to one near you.
You can just imagine that living in a tiny space has the kids bouncing off the walls. Parents appreciate having a day where the kids can get out some of that bottled up energy. Order tickets for future use or take the kids to the trampoline park when they’re visiting you.
Is it wintertime? Pay for a day of skiing or tubing. If they don’t know how to ski, pay for their lessons.
Train/Helicopter/Hot Air Balloon Ride
Children are always interested in trains, helicopters, and hot air balloons. Surprise them with a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, a trip on the Polar Express at Christmas time, or a hot air balloon ride at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Pay for an RV Rally
Rallies aren’t free, but they’re a great way to meet other RV families. Offer to pay for a rally they’d like to attend. Both the kids and the adults will be very appreciative!
Everyone loves to be pampered. Set up a trip to the local nail salon or spa the next time they are visiting you. Groupon seems to always have discounts on spa services.
Pay for Lessons/Classes
Just because RV families are on the road doesn’t mean the kids don’t want to take lessons or the adults don’t want to expand their knowledge. For the kids, you might want to pay for a music lesson, art lesson, or other class that interests them. Dad might love this RV maintenance course (use coupon code WHYNOT for $50 off until December 2nd). And mom might want to learn how to take care of her family’s health naturally.
Pay for Camp
There are camps all over the country that are fun for kids. From space camp to church camp and everything in between, there are a variety of camps you can choose from. Just be sure they’re available to attend before you pay.
Gifts for RV Families: Consumables
Consumables are items that are typically used up quickly. For holidays, most people think of CANDY as a consumable item to give as a gift. But no RVing parent has ever said, “give my kid more candy!” A tiny space is no place for a kid hyped up on sugar. Here are some other consumables that mom, dad, and kids will all love.
SHOW ME THE MONEY! MONEY TALKS! MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!
Anyone can be happy when they receive money or gift cards as gifts. This means they can spend it on things they really need or want. You can even purchase gift cards for specific places such as a movie theater, restaurant, department store, etc. Really, they’d just prefer you feed their Starbucks addiction and get them Starbucks gift cards. Right?!?
We’re not talking go out and buy them groceries. But hey, pretty sure they’d appreciate that too! Find out what their favorite snacks are, make up a homemade soup kit, or gift them a specialty spice set. Even better, take them out for ice cream!
We seem to find that many RV families stick to drinking water. It’s easy, and you don’t want a bunch of beverages taking up space in the small RV fridge. But maybe you know one member of the family is a coffee drinker or that the kids love hot chocolate. Gift them a variety pack of coffee or homemade hot chocolate mix. Do they cook with (or drink) wine? Gift them a bottle of their favorite wine.
Do you know what their favorite restaurant is? Take them out for dinner and dessert.
Put together a basket of body products. Girls love lotions, bath bombs, nail polish, facial masks, and more. And guys…well…girls appreciate when guys don’t stink. Homemade soaps, sugar scrubs, shaving cream, lip balm, and makeup are all items you could include in a body care basket.
Just like with body products, you could put together a basket of health products. A few items to consider are toothbrushes, toothpaste, essential oils, homeopathic remedies, vitamins, and more.
There’s always room for crafts! RV kids are always being imaginative and crafty. Things like colored paper, yarn, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, glue, colored pencils, and markers are definitely useful.
Bring on the batteries!!! Our children go through batteries like crazy and I’ve heard this from other RV families as well. So no matter the holiday or event, be sure to buy them some batteries!
Bubbles are a great option for young kids. Send them outside with a bottle of bubbles and they can play for hours.
These are perfect for those RV rallies. Adults and kids alike enjoy hanging outside at night and putting glow sticks together to make necklaces, bracelets, and other fun glowing fashion.
Gifts for RV Families: Physical Gifts
There are plenty of physical items that RV families need and want. While some of the following items seem like they’d take up tons of space, we were sure to include those varieties that fold up small or collapse. Some items make life a little more comfortable and others are necessary to live. So if you feel like you need to give a physical gift, here are a few ideas to consider.
Again, RV families like to spend more time with each other. But what happens when it’s pouring down rain outside? Family game night!!! And let us tell you, the same old games can get rather boring after you’ve played them for months. Add something new to their game stash.
Yes, RV families have video gaming systems. It’s not like we’re out in the wild with no electricity or modern conveniences. There are even gaming servers for full-time RV kids who want to play against each other. So find out what games the kids want and buy them a new video game.
Just like video gaming systems, RV families do have TVs and DVD players. While there are streaming services (which we’ll talk about later), some people still like to have physical DVDs to watch when internet service is non-existent. Spring for a DVD or two of their favorite genre of movies.
We live in a world surrounded by electronics. Whether it’s a new laptop, iPod, or tablet, electronics will be gifts that will be used frequently by all.
Our kids go through headphones about as quickly as they go through batteries. On travel days, headphones are a must. Each child wants to listen to something different and they definitely don’t want to listen to what mom and dad want to listen to on the radio. Yay for electronics! But boo for littles who can’t take care of their headphones.
While RV families like to keep toys to a minimum, kids do need and want things to play with. Consider grabbing small toys that don’t take up too much space. Things like small cars, Legos, or figurines are easy to store and fun to play with.
Everyone loves to read and/or write about something they’re interested in. For the readers, grab a few books in a series they love or about a topic they want to learn more about. For the writers, gift them a journal with writing prompts.
When kids are in nature, they’re constantly exploring and learning. They are curious. Feed their curiosity by giving them a magnifying glass to look at rocks and insects and more. Binoculars are also a great gift idea for anyone in the family.
RV families like to hike, so a backpack is a necessity. A good hiking backpack will enable them to carry water, first aid kits, and other items that may be needed during a hike.
Propane Fire Pit
RVers in general love to sit around the fire. When there are droughts or an area doesn’t allow you to have wood campfires, typically a propane fire pit will be allowed. We have friends who have this propane fire pit and it works extremely well and takes up minimal space.
RVers spend a lot of time outside. Good camping chairs are a must. But which ones are the best? That’s another million-dollar question. Everyone has their own opinion. Find out from the person you are gifting it to what type of camping chair they’d like.
Ok, ok…this isn’t a necessity, but it’s a pretty nice and compact gift to give.
The Clam is a popup tent that is easily and quickly assembled and collapses to fit into a carry bag. It is big enough to fit around a picnic table for meals or can be used as a play area for the kids to keep them out of the sun or rain. A working parent could use this as an additional, private workspace. It also doubles at night as a place to sit without worrying about the bugs.
Many RV families like to fish. Grab a tackle box and stock it with supplies. Or maybe buy them new fishing rods or other needed equipment.
This inflatable kayak is probably one of the most popular items for RV families. We have one and know many other families who have one as well. It’s nice and compact when deflated and nice and sturdy when inflated.
This is a no-brainer if an RV family spends any time out on the water. Whether they like to Kayak, water ski, or hang out at the beach, life jackets are a must!
Collapsible Utility Wagon
Collapsible wagons are compact yet extremely useful to RV families. They are perfect for toting needed items to the beach, for packing picnic items when visiting a national park for the day, or for carrying sporting equipment to the park.
Kids outgrow and wear out bicycles quickly. And when they are in a group with other kids, they love to ride bikes and scooters. This gift will get tons of use!
These are great safety items to think about gifting. Our kids have always loved having their own flashlights. And lately, our son likes having a headlamp. Maybe it makes him cool? Who knows, but kids love having their own lights!
Would it be camping without a lantern? Even RVers need lanterns.
Walkie-talkies are another great safety item. They are perfect when kids want to go out to play, but the parents need to work or stay around the camper. They’re also useful for bike rides or hikes when you may get separated from each other.
Most RVs have ladders built on to the back of them. But sometimes there are areas you need to get to that are too high from the ground and not easily accessible from the roof. A telescoping ladder is a perfect tool to get the job done without taking up too much room in the basement of the RV.
Wireless Backup Camera
Any primary driver of an RV would be thrilled to be gifted a wireless backup camera. It’s not only helpful when they’re backing the RV into a campsite, but it also acts as a rearview mirror when driving down the road.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Tire blowouts happen. And no one wants it to happen to them. A tire pressure monitoring system will alert the driver to any change in tire pressure or temperature before it becomes a big problem.
When your home shakes as it goes down the road, there are things that are going to need to be fixed. Get the handyman (or woman) a few compact tools that will be useful when doing maintenance on the RV.
Certain areas of an RV can get hot in the summer months. Either a free-standing floor fan or a small, compact, clip-on fan that can be used at bedtime would be a welcomed gift for any member of the family.
Rooms in the RV can also get cold in the winter months. A small heater that can heat up a small space is a gift that would definitely get used. Make sure it has good safety ratings and has an auto-off function in the event it falls over.
Women love color and love to change up their decor every couple of years. RV decor is not typically thought of as colorful so it’s very often changed out. And of course, each family likes to make their space feel like home. Find out what colors/themes they love and buy a bedding set or blanket to spice up their space.
Outdoor rugs may just look nice, but they play a few important roles in the RV family’s life. Kids get dirty outside. Those same kids track mud, dirt, rocks, and more to the camper. The outdoor rug helps to catch some of this debris all while giving them a place to take off their shoes outside the camper. This also serves as a great spot for kids to play with toys that’s not in the mud or dirt.
Vinyl U.S. Map
Have you ever seen vinyl U.S. maps on the side of an RV with state stickers over some states and not others? This is a fun way to show what states the family has visited and which ones are still on their list. Contact my full-time RVing friend, Mandie, over at Traveling Creations and she can create a map for them in colors that they love.
One of the most widely used kitchen appliances in RVs is an Instant Pot. Well, at least for RV families it is. It makes an entire dinner in one pot at high speed, which makes for easy cleanup, quick meals, and happy tummies.
Blenders are a must-have. But this isn’t just any old blender. A Vitamix can make salsa, smoothies, hot soups, ice cream, and more all with a variety of textures from whole foods. Shop their website for certified reconditioned units. We’ve always been happy with ours.
Summers might be made for grilling, but grilling happens year-round in our household. A small propane grill or a Volcano would be a perfect gift for RV families who love to cook outdoors.
RV families have fewer clothes than the average person. Many times it’s one or two weeks worth of clothes that get washed and worn over and over. This means that once this season is done, the clothes that the kids wore will either not fit the next season or they’ve worn them out. So whatever the occasion, consider the time of year that will be coming up and purchase the kids some clothes for that season.
Stainless Steel Water Bottles
Everyone needs their own water bottles for those long hikes, bike rides, or sitting out at the beach. Stainless steel water bottles make for a great gift. They are both durable and insulating and are easy to take anywhere.
Part of travel is seeing new sights. And as parents, we love to see things from our kids’ point of view. A camera is one of the best ways to capture memories of all the places that RV families will visit.
Gifts for RV Families: Other
Grandparents love pictures of their kids and grandkids. Buy a session with a professional photographer and get those family photos updated!
Offer to pay for a few apps for their electronic devices. Apps that give travel information like cell coverage maps, road trip planners, and community safety information would be very useful for an adult. For kids, they’d enjoy apps for gaming, art, music, education, and more.
One Month/Year Online Subscription Service
Online subscriptions are a great way to give gifts that don’t take up any space. Subscriptions such as Scribd and Audible would be perfect for an avid reader. A monthly or yearly subscription to Disney+, Netflix, or Hulu is something the whole family would enjoy. Or, because we know RV families order from Amazon a lot, consider gifting a year of Amazon Prime.
Education Savings Plan Contribution
There’s always the option of contributing to an educational savings plan. The kids may not appreciate it a whole lot now, but upon graduation, they’ll thank you for it!