15 Christmas Gift Ideas for RVers
(Disclosure: We’ve made a few recommendations below which are available on Amazon or other camping programs. If you choose to make a purchase, we will receive an affiliate commission at no cost to you to help us continue to bring helpful content about being an RV family and our camping adventures!)
Our first Christmas after moving into our travel trailer was tough because, while they wanted to give us gifts, our relatives didn’t want to gift us things that would just end up in storage, things for outdoor use that would take up too much space to travel with, or things that we wouldn’t get much use of while we live in our travel trailer.
Space is at a premium in a tiny home on wheels. Whether you’re buying for a family, a couple, or a single person who enjoys RV living, there are some gift ideas you can consider for your RVing friends, and items we’d recommend you stay away from.
One of the Christmas gift rules we have outlined for our family is that we don’t need gifts that simply take up space and don’t serve a purpose. We travel full-time, moving to new RV parks sometimes 2 or 3 times per week. Outdoor accessories have to be set up and put away far too frequently, and we need to store them when we aren’t using them in our limited storage space. Consider the RV owner on your gift list when you’re looking for that perfect something to make them happy – consider how their lifestyle is RVing and their limited space.
Bad Gifts for RVers
What kid doesn’t love to get a new stuffed animal? But puffy, bulky toys that take up space are not great gifts for RVers. The adult version of this bulky, oversized gift would be wall decor, picture frames, knife blocks, throw pillows and extra, unnecessary blankets, another set of measuring cups, delicate wine glasses, or a fancy dish set for 8 people.
Large items that can’t be folded for easy storage, like a movie poster, over-sized board game, or things that are heavy like a weight-lifting set or a treadmill are not great items to gift RVers for obvious reasons. Unless an RV owner specifically asks for one of these things, it’s best to go for a more practical item as a gift.
It might go without saying, but in an RV, space and weight are at a premium. Consider this before you buy the gift item: If you were receiving this gift, would you take it along with you on your next RVing trip or vacation?
For the most part, the quantity of things we have in our rig is comparable to what we would bring with us to a vacation cottage for a weekend or a week-long RV rental. All RV owners have things in their rig that they never use. It comes with the territory – it’s so easy to accumulate unnecessary stuff while RVing just as it is with living in a house. Clutter just accumulates faster in a tiny home on wheels. Here are some Christmas gift ideas that are sure to be perfect for your RVing friends and relatives.
Good Gifts for RVers
For the full-time traveling RVers on your Christmas list (families, couples, or single travelers), consider gifting them with experiences instead of things.
Here is a list of the best gift ‘experiences’ that you can give – they will create lasting memories for RVers:
National Park Pass for Canada or the USA
National Parks are all over Canada and US, offering a wide variety of experiences for all ages – hiking in the mountains, walking on nature trails in forests, relaxing by a lake, kayaking, skiing, nature-watching, camping under the stars, and exploring a historic site. With a National Park Pass, the experiences an RVer will have are endless,
On long travel days, it’s not uncommon for our family to plan area to stop at so we can stretch our legs and make the day more exciting. We look for National Parks and Historic Sites along the way, not always with the intention to spend a night, but simply to explore and take a little break. These parks and historic sites are not an additional cost to us once we have the national pass.
Provincial / State Park Pass
If you are looking for that perfect gift for an RVer who does a lot of traveling within their state or province, but doesn’t live full-time in their RV, a state park or provincial park pass might be practical and offer more access to local places than a National Park Pass would.
Gift Cards (Cue the Eye Roll)
Gift cards are one of the best RV gift ideas, but they come with a stigma – “I didn’t know what to get you, so I got you this,” They are a thoughtful gift for RVers. If you’d rather not give a gift card to grocery stores, restaurants, or gas stations, consider giving gift certificates to experiences or local attractions.
A gift card to a favorite restaurant chain or a local restaurant is a perfect gift. Again, adding a personal note with the gift card to say, “We know you love Olive Garden. Order your favorite pasta while spending a day on the road,” or “Enjoy your trip to Nashville, and go to dinner at the Rainforest Cafe!” adds a personal touch. **Bonus points: Choose Cracker Barrel gift cards, because they usually have oversized parking lots for Busses and RV owners, and allow overnight parking. Breakfast in their restaurants is perfect for RVers before they head back out on the road.**
Pay attention to where your traveling friends or family members are going next, and think about gifting them with gift cards that they can use while they enjoy their time away.
If you’re looking for a super-practical gift card with no strings attached, a gift card to a gas station is ideal, for obvious reasons. Grocery gift cards are a close second. We have used grocery gift cards for buying treats or to splurge on special food items – a dessert we don’t always buy, or that more expensive, specialty cheese we don’t normally put on our grocery list.
If you’re the type of person who wants to gift something that needs to be unwrapped (not just placed in an envelope with a card), then get create with the way you wrap the gift card – possibly in a shoebox, or gift bag, or tape it to a chocolate bar that’s gift-wrapped.
Season Pass to Theme Park Chain
For a family on the road, it may not be best to gift a local theme park since the family can only use the pass in that one specific city. However, there are few theme park chains in Canada and the USA. Gifting a season’s pass to these theme parks make a perfect gift for RVers:
Depending on where your gift recipient will be traveling, and the types of attractions they enjoy, each of these parks has a variety of activities as well as multiple locations.
For bonus points, add on the Theme Park “Dining Deal”
We have purchased the Dinning Passes for our Six Flags season passes, which allow us to simply show up at the park without packed lunches or snacks, and we don’t have to dip into our retirement savings to get a plate of nachos and an ice cream to keep us going for the day. For our family of 5, (our boys are under 12 years old right now), we purchased only 2 dining passes. Each one includes lunch, dinner, and a snack every time we visit any of their parks along with unlimited soda. Since the portions are large, this is plenty of food to keep the 5 of us going for the day.
We had considered getting each of us a dining pass, but when we are hopping on and off rides all day, we don’t want to be stuffed full of food. We just need snack-sized portions throughout the day. We We eat a big breakfast in the morning before we go to the park – 2 dining passes for us is perfect. And as our oldest son moves into his pre-teen years, we will add on another dining pass for him.
Honorable mention has to be Disney passes, but know that you’ll be paying a pretty penny for them, and their locations are localized to Florida and California.
Gym Club Membership
Depending on where your gift recipient will be traveling, and how often they want to visit a gym, a gym club membership might be a great gift. You may not have realized this, but RVers who camp mostly off-grid love having gym memberships.
While gym memberships make great gifts for those who enjoy working out, RVing families can use this type of membership to do activities geered to kids and families. Kids can hang out in classes or be taken care of while parents are working out, they can take showers, enjoy the pools, and relax in the saunas. Rather than paying a premium price for a full-hookup campsite with amenities, RVers will often find somewhere inexpensive, often without hookups, to park. They will make use of their gym membership to takes showers. The parking lots of gym clubs are often large enough for large Class A motorhomes or travel trailers to park in, which makes for a convenient stop between campsites.
Since certain chains of gym clubs are more prominent in specific regions throughout the country, know where your traveling friend is going so you can be sure to buy a membership that will work best for them.
If a gym membership isn’t a fit, consider places where kids can go to be active such as a trampoline park, or indoor gymnasium. Gift cards to access these places are so thoughtful – kids and parents love having them, especially for rainy days. Even a gift card for Chick-Fil-A can be a useful gift for RVing families with active kids – they likely visit these restaurants frequently because their kids enjoy the indoor playgrounds they offer.
Gifts to Keep Track of Travels
Some RVers will pick up a bumper sticker, a state sticker, or a sticker from a national park along their travels and stick It on the outside of their RV. However, many of us don’t want to commit to having something permanently stuck to the outside of our travel trailer or motorhome. Here are some great alternatives to keep track of travels:
Map Gift Ideas for RV Travelers:
- Scratch off US Map
- US State Sticker Map
- Pushpin Canvas Map
- Simple Cork Board US Map
- Fun US Laminated Map for Kids
Journal Gift Ideas for RV Families:
- Travel Journal for RVers
- Leather Travel Journal
- Travel Journal for Kids
- Travel Journal for Preschoolers
- Travel Journal with Prompts
RVers Camping Gifts
Here are some gift ideas for RV owners that are perfectly suited to RV camping, cooking, and RV-living:
- Collapsible Fire Marshmallow Roasting Sticks
- Portable Table Top BBQ
- Collapsible Wash Basin
- Hammock With Stand (Our personal favorite)
- Solar Light and USB Phone Charger
- More camping accessories as gifts for RVers…
Bad RV Camping Gift Ideas
This seems to be the perfect spot for a reminder that gifts for RV owners should be practical, compact, and lightweight. An inflatable hot tub might get put into storage rather than get any outdoor use while your RVing friend stays at an RV park. Even if it is on the shelves of the “camping” section at your local retailer, or is recommended by someone who camps a few weekends every summer. It is not practical for RVers.
Road Trip Travel Games
Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for a couple or a family, everyone loves activities for long road trips. And while all of our traveling styles are unique and some of our travel days are longer than others, we constantly look for fun activities to pass the time between outings at national parks, or while we are traveling from one campground to the next.
Amazon has plenty of travel game ideas for various ages. We recommend you purchase something that doesn’t require batteries. Sounds and lights from the backseat can be a distraction to the driver, especially when they are towing a large RV. Also, consider the fact that small pieces get lost easily and often make the game unplayable while in a vehicle, so look for an age-appropriate game that’s magnetic, or one without any small, moveable pieces.
Thousand Trails, Passport America, Harvest Hosts, and Boondockers Welcome RV Club Memberships
Thousand Trails is a network of campgrounds owned by a single corporation, and their camping membership gives free access to any of their campgrounds for up to 14 nights at a time, or even more! The membership is broken into zones of traveling which can be added on individually for an additional, minimal cost. While memberships can vary in price, the base level Thousand Trails membership starts at $599/year and might be sufficient for many travelers, with others choosing to add on additional zones.
Another great $44 gift option is a Passport America membership. Each campground in the Passport America program is independently owned and operated with their own terms and conditions. They offer 50% off of their rates for select nights throughout the season, and some offer monthly discounts if you have the Passport America membership.
If the RV owner on your gift list is interested in off-grid camping, then a membership to Boondockers Welcome or Harvest Hosts will allow them to have some unique camping experiences as part of their membership. Each night you stay, you’ll pick up something at the hosts’ store or leave a gift for your host instead of paying for the campsite. Hookups vary from water and electric to none depending on the host.
Click below for more details:
- Passport America ($44/year)
- Thousand Trails – Save $100 with this link (Starting at $599)
- Harvest Hosts (Starting at $79)
- Boondockers Welcome
Zoo, Aquariums, Science Centers & Museum Membership gifts for RVers
Your local zoo, museum, science center or aquarium will often have a discounted membership available through Groupon. Use Groupon to get a discount on a year’s membership, then enjoy reciprocal admission or discounts at other locations. If your local Groupon doesn’t have a discount, consider looking at the gift recipient’s travel destinations to see if there’s something nearby they can enjoy while they travel.
In our travels, we found a $35 Groupon for a one-year family membership to a small aquarium in California. It has paid off over and over since we’ve used the AZA reciprocal program to visit zoos in California, Calgary, Toronto, and Nashville, and many others. Next time we renew our membership, we’ll be checking Groupon again.
Just like national parks and theme parks, these reciprocal memberships provide a great option for RVers to help break up a long travel day with a fun outing, and help the RVing families stay on budget while taking day trips to zoos and aquariums for homeschooling outings.
Do you have something that was missed from this list? What’s the best Christmas gift you’ve received that’s fit perfectly into your RV lifestyle?
Leave a comment below so we can all learn together!