Don has been an avid traveler and motorhome owner for most of his life and he shares his experiences along with valuable tips for RV owners.
Gifts Your RV Friends Do Not Need
The fact that your friends have an RV tells you a few things about them that you need to understand. They have an RV, and they have used it in the past so there are a lot of things you might believe they can use that will be redundant to them in their travels.
For example, if I already have a skillet, I definitely do not need another one that will just eat up valuable storage space in my kitchen cabinets.
Standard Living Equipment
You see, your friends will already have a fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living area. They already have all of the basics needed to make living in their camper easy: pots, pans, cooking utensils, dishes, cups of every kind, towels, sheets, hair dryers, etcetera. Any of these things that you might give them will probably not end up in their RV,
Standard Outdoor Campsite Gear
The same goes for outdoor campsite gear; you should think twice before you give them items designed for use outside on their campsite.
The first problem with gifting outdoor campsite gear is that you may very likely be duplicating what they already have, and the second problem you may run into is the RV owner’s limited and dimensionally constrained outdoor gear storage space.
Many people who are not RV owners do not realize that there is very limited space for the owner of an RV to store their gear. They will have outside storage compartments, but everything an RV owner wants to use must fit into these storage spaces.
Everything from outdoor grills to chairs, tables, outdoor rugs and everything else must be measured before purchasing it to make sure it will fit into these relatively small storage spaces.
So you should always carefully consider, regardless of how nice your gift may be, that it may be left behind when your RV friends travel just because they simply do not have the room for it.
Three Things to Consider When Selecting the Right Holiday Gift for an RV Traveler
If you are an RV owner yourself, or if you have friends who travel during the Holiday season in their RV, you probably already know that getting them a gift they will appreciate and hopefully use in their RV is hard to do.
Gifting Problem 1: SPACE
The first problem everyone should consider when they are picking a gift for a friend who is an RV owner is the fact that they have very little space in their RV and the things that they actually take with them on their travels must be small enough that it takes up very little space in the RV.
Gifting Problem 2: USEFULNESS
The next problem to consider is the fact that RV owners take very few things with them as they travel that they cannot use while traveling or camping.
So, you should always consider exactly what you can give these friends that they will most likely use and not just set on a shelf and forget.
Gifting Problem 3: EXPENSE
These days, for an RV owner to take a trip that will last for days or even for weeks at a time, they need to plan their travels and entertainment carefully.
Careful planning is important because they will normally be operating on a budget due to the high costs of Winter season campsites and because of the other camping costs one has during the Holiday seasons.
Top Two Gifts for Traveling RV Owners
Don’t worry. Your RV friends may not want a compass that they can mount on their dash, or a five piece grilling tool set, or even one of those folding lawn chairs with its own awning attached to it.
But, if you want to to give them something that meets all of the criteria I have mentioned; small, useful and that costs very little, then I recommend giving them intelligently selected gift cards.
Here are some of the better gift card and reservation ideas that every RV owner will appreciate and happily use.
These are thoughtful gifts which are relatively low cost, and your friends can use them almost everywhere they go as they travel in their RVs.
The great things about these gifts are;
- You can go online and order them and have them delivered directly to your friends mail.
- They are available in different denominations that will fit any budget.
- The usually do not have end dates, so your friends can use them at their convenience without worrying about them no longer being valid for use.
- They are for use at large popular chains that can usually be found across the country, often near your friends campground.
- Some of the even have several parking spots that are designed for campers and truckers to park.
1. Restaurant Gift Cards
Most Rv owners, when they are not cooking in their campers, will often go out and sample the local cuisine. At the same time, many of the times they dine out, will be at a chain restaurant that they know and eat at often.
Cracker Barrel Restaurants
Probably the most popular restaurant chain with many RV owners is known as Cracker Barrel.
These restaurants are popular for several reasons;
1- They are numerous and can be found across the country. And they are often located right along interstate and other major highways with easy access for RV drivers.
2- Almost all of their restaurants will have around five parking spaces designed for RV and Truck drivers to access and use.
3- The menu at these restaurants are varied and include numerous popular dishes for their customers to enjoy.
4- They all have a large gift shop full of interesting gifts for the traveler to spend a few minutes shopping for gifts for their friends.
5- You can purchase their gift cards by clicking on this link to their site: Cracker Barrel Restaurants.
Other Popular Restaurant Chains
Even though Cracker Barrel may be one of the most popular restaurant gift cards used by RV owners, there are other popular national restaurant chains that you can find that have gift cards available for purchase online.
Here are just a few of those chain restaurants you can confidently give to your RV traveling friends.
Buffalo Wild Wings
BWW as it is referred to is a family oriented sports bar kind of restaurant chain that serves mostly Buffalo spiced chicken wings and other simple dishes including burgers, and a variety of popular and craft beers.
You can purchase a BWW gift card at the link: Buffalo Wild Wings.
Red Lobster is a popular Seafood restaurant chain that serves fresh seafood dishes that are priced reasonably.
You can purchase a Red Lobster Gift Card at the link: Red Lobster.
There are over 700 Outback Steakhouse restaurants in the country and you can see more details on them as well as information on reservations and Gift cards at this link; Outback Steakhouse.
Bonefish Grill Restaurant
If you're looking for a good dining experience and fresh seafood dishes then you might want to give your friends a gift card to the popular Bonefish Grill.
Carrabba's Italian Grill
If your friends want a good Italian meal and don't want to worry about service or the consistency of the dishes then get them a gift card at Carrabba's Italian Grill.
Then there are the many other great restaurant chains that have stores across the country that a traveling RV owner would love to have a meal.
You can often just type the restaurant chains name and the words "gift cards" to find a description of the restaurant and the link to almost all of these restaurants.
2. Campground Gift Cards
RV travelers always plan their trips carefully, but often, they will have situations arise where they need to stop for an overnight stay.
There can be any number of reasons for making an unplanned stop for a night, from the need to make simple repairs, to just being tired; but when one of these does happen one great thing any RV traveler would love to have is a gift card for a free night or two's stay at a quality campground.
The companies listed here have campsites across the country which are invariably clean, quiet, and safe places to camp. And, you can purchase gift cards as well as ecards for your friends to use when they need to make an overnight stop.
KOA - Kampgrounds of America
KOA is a popular campground chain whose campgrounds are usually found right off of most major highways and they usually have excellent directions and easy access for RV owners.
Theirs are family oriented campgrounds with clean amenities including; clean bathrooms, a swimming pool, easy access campsites with full hookup and usually a small store for purchasing simple food and supplies.
And, so you don’t have an RV? Most KOA campgrounds also have Cabins that are fully outfitted which your friends can easily reserve and rent.
You can purchase their gift cards and ecards by clicking on this link: KOA Campgrounds.
Reserve America is an online reservation management company that has contracted to handle the reservations for almost every state’s parks and camping areas in the USA.
They also handle the reservation management for numerous private campgrounds, so it is a great site for every RV traveler to have access to as they camp around the country.
They have certain cleanliness, safety and other standards that all of the campgrounds they are affiliated with must comply with so most savvy campers consider them a great source of campsites to have access to.
You can access them for purchasing memberships and reserving campsites by clicking on the link: Reserve America. You can go to any of the specific state park's available by typing the name of the state you want to camp in and the words reserveamerica.
Other Campground Gift Cards and Memberships
There are numerous other campgrounds that you can contact and either pre-purchase one or more campsite reservations or, as with the many large RV camping chains, you can purchase a gift card for your RV friends to use at their convenience.
Encore has several thousand campgrounds scattered around the USA that are located in popular areas for camping and their campgrounds also have the amenities that RV campers are looking for.
It should be noted that Encore also owns the Thousand Trails membership system and they have over 128 campgrounds available for members that Encore also rents to non-TT campers.
And they can be contacted online for making reservations and purchasing gift cards using this link: RVontheGo.
Good Sam/Camping World Discounts
Good Sam is actually a chain of well stocked RV parts stores which are scattered across the country and with the purchase of an annual membership you get a small discounted price on what they sell. They also sell Insurance for Roadside Assistance and other options.
it should be noted that Good Sam is affiliated with Camping World and usually the Good Sam stores are attached to the Camping World RV Sales and Service Centers.
A Good Sam/Camping World membership comes a standard 10% discount at thousands of affiliated campgrounds.
Camping World uses a strict rating system where they review and rate campgrounds so that potential campers will have a standard view of what they can expect to experience at each campground including; safety, cleanliness, amenities, and more.
Annual Membership in Good Sam, comes with a detailed catalog in physical and digital formats by clicking on this link: Good Sam Gift Cards.
Passport America is a membership club for RV travelers, The annual fee is usually only around $45 and they include over 1100 campgrounds across the USA.
PA is a good club to join of you make a lot of one or two day stops as you travel. Typically, their pricing is at or less than 50% of the full price at their affiliated campgrounds.
Often, if the campground isn't full they will eve let you stay for another day or two at the discounted prices. To get a gift card for your friends click on the link: Passport America.
There are many other campgrounds around the USA that are affiliated with each other or owned by one company, and some of them are very good ones even though they are not national but regional.
If your RV friends only camp in a certain area of the country you may want to check on them for special deals on reservations or even gift cards you can purchase.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on November 17, 2019:
Liz Westwood - Thank You for your kind words about my article. Most of my writing on HubPates is in articles where I try to help the budding camper have a more enjoyable experience.
And, so many people do not realize that the serious RV traveler is living a lifestyle that is so much different from what they have themselves.
So, Thanks again, and have a great day,
Liz Westwood from UK on November 17, 2019:
I have read your article with interest as it gives a great insight into RV life and also the different restaurant brands and camp gift cards you have available. It was like looking through a window onto RV life in the States.