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Old 01-09-2013, 07:21 AM   #1
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How to travel w/guests and avoiding drama

Need some advise on how to make things easy when traveling with guests (aka a parent). Husband and I are traveling from Vermont to Nashville, TN this spring. This was going to be our first trip in 21 years, without kids. Over the holidays, in a moment of weakness, I invited my Dad to go on a Road trip with us, who in turn invited his new girlfriend (whom we have not met). At best (have only traveled 2k miles) our new motorhome sleeps 2 adults and our 2 teenage girls comfortably. So our plan is to give up our bedroom to my Dad and his friend and my husband and I will sleep on an Aerobed, on the floor, in the living room. I am trying to convince my husband to only spend about 6 hours/day on the road vs. the 10 hour he's lobbing for, so that should be about 2 days on the road before we get to Nashville and stay for the week. I suggested to my Dad that he might want to get his own cabin once we got to Nashville, but he didn't seem interested, he wants the full RV experience. Luckily, they will be flying back home to California directly from Nashville, so this will only be a one way road trip. Thoughts, ideas, and/or suggestions would be appreciated on how best to travel with guests? And "NOT", isn't an option!

Steve, Tami, Genneva, Felicia & Lexi
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:37 AM   #2
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Wow...that was some "moment of weakness". All I can say is...grin and bear it.

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Old 01-09-2013, 07:37 AM   #3
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I would have made it very clear that invitation was for him only. I don't believe that is a good circumstance to meet new people under. Have you traveled with your dad before in an rv that cramped? Sounds to me like a recipe for disaster. I understand the respect you are trying to show your dad by giving up your bed for him, but sometimes you need to put your foot down and tell him when you get there he will need to be squiring his own living requirements. Jmho
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:42 AM   #4
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We used to camp with our two girls plus my parents for two weeks every summer in a 21 foot pop up. Talk about stress! I don't think I would give up my bed and bedroom for an in law but then again, I never did get along with mine... hehehe. But camping with family, friends, children and now grand kids can be quite stressful, at least it was for us. We kinda get set in our ways and when you deviate from the norm it adds tension. I guess bringing a tent is out of the question huh?
Richie, Rose and our Australian Terrier Harley
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:15 AM   #5
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Hi Tami,

I can relate to your circumstances as we spent two weeks last summer in our rig with our teenage twin girls and my in-laws. Now this was our second trip with them as we had also gone to Branson shortly after we bought our Berkshire in the summer of 2010. Can it be stressful? Yes, but it doesn't have to be. Before hand we all set some boundaries of what we would and wouldn't talk about. Politics became the first non-discussion issue and then we did what we could do to accomodate the in-laws.

We did exactly as you are suggesting. We gave my in-laws our bedroom, we slept on the hide-a-bed and one of the girls slept in her bunk while the other, for some unknown reason, wanted us to knock down the table every night for her to sleep there. It actually worked out very well.

Now I have to describe my in-laws to you to add to the "fun" that this trip could have been. My father-in-law lives by his investments. He follows "Mad Money Cramer" religiously and I had to set up our Sirius radio for him to listen to Cramer every day on the ear phones. So at the appointed time every day, he would be laying in the aisle listening to Cramer and laughing at some rather odd moments for something that Cramer said.

My mother-in-law is the consumate worry wart. We stayed at "Ovens" in Nova Scotia where we were at 30 feet above sea level. You back into the site and look out over the ocean. She was panicked that there was going to be a tsunami at any moment and we would all die. Needless to say, she and we all survived.

Look at the trip this way, it is a rather short period of time and you will not have many more opportunities to be with your Dad and his new found friend and your own kids. Enjoy the journey as best you can. If everyone respects each others boundaries the trip can be fun. We are planning some more journeys with our in-laws and our twins who will be 16 in a few months.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:09 AM   #6
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We had our 2 grandsons and daughter along with us for 9 days in Sept in a 40' MH. I set some basic rules before we ever left the driveway - luggage was limited to one bag each and I cleared out a whole cabinet for their clothes. It was a pain because I had to reload the cabinets when we got back home but so worth it because floor space was clear. We unloaded their one bag each into the cabinets and put the suitcases in the stick house before we left. We did not give up our bedroom - that was my refuge where I could go and be alone when needed. My daughter and I made a menu before we left and took only what was needed for planned meals, snacks and drinks. We also agreed to take turns cooking which was great. The 2 boys slept on the sofa bed and my daughter slept on an aerobed on the floor. Headphones were the rule for the Wii and other noisy games they carried. We set up a place for the dirty clothes hamper for them so I didn't have to deal with dirty clothes everywhere. We used the MH shower so there were rules laid out for where 5 people worth of wash clothes and towels were to put, and cleaning up your stuff before leaving the bathroom. So what I am telling you is that you need to talk to his girlfriend before you leave, that is important. You need to learn something about her likes and dislikes and it helps to talk before you leave. You also need to make time for yourself and leave them behind to do their own thing when you land for the week. No matter how you love someone you can't be together that long without an eruption if you have a basic understanding with each other. It takes some pre-trip planning but it can work.
Mel (Melanie) and Harry
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:54 AM   #7
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Get you "playing" done BEFORE the trip, and use earplugs at night!
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:54 AM   #8
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Our first real trip last year in our new Motorhome was from Virginia to Maine. We elected to take my 88 year old mother in law with us, so she could see her family that she had not seen in 45 years. We did this knowing that the trip was going to add stress to my wife and I. It did, and now 7 months later we are very happy we where able to take her. Doubtful we will have her traveling with us again. the first thing we did right was to recognize as you have, that this will add stress. We then focused on what would reduce my MIL stress as anything stressing a guest will stress you. We spent time planning our daily travel schedule and tried to keep her in her routine the best we could. That also applied how we did our meal planning. Meals enroute where pre-prepared and foods my MIL enjoyed. We made sure we had thought through how she could pass time while we where on the road. Lucky for us, she uses an iPad, and I connected her iPad to my wireless hotspot. It was important that we stopped every two hours or less, to let my MIL take a stretch and prepare for the next leg of the journey. Upon arrival, we too gave her the bedroom, and my wife and I took the lounge area air bed. We kept our discussions mostly focused on the activities and sites we either where going to see or had seen. This reduced the chance of getting into any discussion ending with anyone being annoyed. My wife and I have traveled with our now 25 year old daughter in either a Class C or Class A for the last 20 years, so we are familiar with the systems on our RV. Your guests will not be. To reduce my stress, politely, we had the discussion with my MIL about the use of the bathroom, shower, galley, etc. Nothing will make the trip more stressful for you than to have a plumbing issue. My wife decided that she would be within ear shoot whenever the plumbing was being used, and I made double sure we always had empty black and gray tanks and full water. Other things I learned, is your guests may not be prepared for some of the different noises you coach will make. The first time I dumped the air and set the Jacks alarmed my MIL so from then on I always announced what I was doing. It was much different then when we traveled with our daughter ( and often including her friends). It required more patience and planning then one would believe. In the end our journey was a good one. We survived and have the happy photos to prove it. We where only at the emergency room once.

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Old 01-09-2013, 10:28 AM   #9
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Take plenty of alcohol and use as directed. Seriously, just set the rules, pack lightly and try to have a great trip. Being organized with a group in tow is the key to a peaceful trip.
2003 Newmar Kountry Star 3905, Freightliner XC chassis with CAT 330. Winnie the black lab, pretty Airbus captain wife, retired airline pilot with 11 grandkids. UH-1 pilot (Huey) U.S. Army 1967-1983. RVN 68-69. Northern Idaho my summer home.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:52 AM   #10
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Establish the rules on day one...and by that I mean talk about morning and evening routine, which meals you plan to eat together (and which meals you plan your guest to take care of themselves), whether you plan to do all sightseeing together (or some days apart), the space where your guests can keep their things (and which spaces must be cleared each day). Black and grey tank do's and don'ts. Talk about it all!!

I've found that having a clear understanding up front makes things go much, much smoother. We've had 3 guests in our MH each for over 2 weeks and always run it that way. We're early risers (for our pets) and early to bed. I tell the guests they can stay up as late as they want (as long as it's quiet), but need to clear the bed within an hour of when we get up (we always have them stay in the living room and need the space clear for our morning routine). I have the guests take charge of their own breakfast and lunch (we eat dinner together) and I always plan for some separate sightseeing ("you're on your own today" kind of thing)...you'll need those days off to stay sane. Other than that we just plan to be flexible.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:21 AM   #11
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Find campgrounds with cabins and let the kids and you enjoy the cabin. Just a couple of days and you have plenty of beds. Just an adventure. Or stay in a hotel parking lot and get a room. You have plenty of hot showers for everyone and maybe even a resturant there or nearby.

Rule 1: Don't give in to weakness. Been there did that, too many times.

Rule 2. Cocktails for 6, dinner for four, sleeps two. Get your own room.
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:16 PM   #12
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I agree with, and have learned the hard way "Set the Rules Up Front". This may be uncomfortable at first but will safe tons of trouble in the long run. For me it's not parents I travel with but friends. Everyone is always in agreement initially but it seems that the further away from home you get the more trouble people have remembering the rules. On a different note I gave up my rear (private) bedroom only once will never do it again as that is the only refuge, he who controls it always has the option to reconstitute. Not much different from extended stay (a week) or so, house guests. Usually the owner is the buzzkill! Also I might add my friends are idiots and morons for the most part but man do we have fun. Be safe and have a great time!
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:41 PM   #13
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We’ve taken trips with in-laws and friends. I agree with everyone above…STATE THE RULE UP FRONT. In our RV, guests are to pack light and keep their belongings in their area, having stuff all over the place gets on my nerves faster than anything. Everyone cleans up after their selves, there is no maid service. Make sure your guests know how to fill and flush the toilet. Showers are short unless you have full hook-ups. We did give up the bedroom once. By the time you arrive your Dad and his girlfriend may decide they want more private arrangements. Good luck and have fun.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:58 PM   #14
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I also agree get the rules down from the start. Don't do it in a "I'm the captain and here is how it's going to be " sort of way but, set down talk about what you expect and have a adult discussion about it. This opens the door to communication and communicating is what your going to need!! Be prepared that nothing is ever perfect but, the more you stress about each little thing the worse it will be. Stress comes from within. Nobody feels it but you. If you look at everything as being stressful it will be. But, if you have communication and you can look at life and laugh you might find this could be fun.

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