It’s Not A Vacation If The Toilet Comes With You

DreamWe have now entered the summer vacation season and with that a load of RV’s and camping trailers are hitting the road. I don’t get it. Traveling as a family is already a world of fun and frustration without bringing the whole house with you, just read my daughters recent guest post: 15 Things You Learn On A Road Trip With Your Parents.

I don’t get camping. Not the pitch a tent next to a beautiful stream away from people kind of camping. But the load up your RV full of food and blankets and towels and dishes and toilet paper kind of camping.  The kind of camping where you drive your super large extravaganza of a trailer hitched by a fifth wheel to the back of a dualie or drive the full motorized behemoth.

This type of supposed vacation has always been a mystery to me.  I have had friends who do this and think it is the greatest thing in the world. So much so they have driven only ten miles away from their house and invited me to join them for campfires and s’mores.

I have arrived to a crowded, often muddy campsite, situated within feet of the next campsite. I’ve watched my friends make dinner, gather laundry, shower in a concrete locker style bath house or a shower the size of a coffin in their camper. I’ve seen them pretty much do all the things they do at home, just next to obnoxious drunken people doing the same thing and in a teeny tiny living area. These are the same people who have homes with lovely patios, decks, fire pits, and even pools. Why would you do this and think it is somehow better? Help me understand.

VacationI Need My Space

Peeing with my knees smashed against the wall and barely being able to twist enough to wipe my bits is not what I call a good time. Let’s not even talk about the fact that sometimes the shitter and the shower are in the same place, just fold up one, and you have the other. This just really seems like not a whole helluva lot of fun, but work. That is not a vacation.

Or you can take your shampoo, soap, and shower shoes to a questionable bath house to shower. Not me. Sorry, not sorry. Using a public restroom as my bathroom or sending the kids out to find their way in the dark with a flashlight ain’t happening. Not vacation, feels more like an episode of ‘Naked and Afraid’.

When The Ass and I began seeing each other again after thirty years we certainly had a lot to talk about.  The nature of vacations came up and I told him I have one very simple rule. If you bring the toilet with you, it is not a vacation.

Same chores, different locale.

It is ten times more work than just having a staycation at home. Primarily because you have to pack almost the equivalent of a whole house and then unpack it when you get home. You have to buy groceries, cook, and wash dishes. You do all the same things you do at home. Only you are doing it in a much smaller space. I have also witnessed that the men seem to have all the fun. Mom is making sandwiches and monitoring where the kids are. The guys tend to be sitting around comparing the size of their hitches and drinking beer. I can do that at home. Vacation shouldn’t be a smaller scale reenactment of everyday life.


Then add to it if it rains. You are all trapped in a trailer/RV. Sure you may have games and such to pass the time, but I can only play so many games of Yahtzee! with wet, dirty kids before I am ready to scream. I want to relax, not do laundry. I want to be pampered, not prepare meals. I want to get away from my daily chores, not clean a bathroom and kitchen. This only causes more stress, exactly what I want to get away from on vacation. stress-391659_640

Let’s add that if you are in a large RV with no alternate form of transportation, you are staying in the campground.  No visiting the sights. No museums, beaches, miniature golf, hiking. No real new experiences.

What good is it to travel hundreds of miles and then go nowhere? Now mind you, there is public transportation, or if you have a trailer, you can unhitch. However, I have known families that go somewhere and not move from that spot for a week. Sure there are activities at the campground, but I can play corn hole in my own back yard. BORING!

Call Me Spoiled, I Call It Civilized.

I love going to a hotel where someone else gets paid to take care of towels and sheets. I get to walk away. We stay in places that provide breakfast, so that’s taken care of. Lunch is usually a grab and go option and dinners are up to anyone but me. The most I may do is pull my credit card from my wallet. That is vacation. The toilet stays put and I don’t have to clean it. The towels are picked up and washed by someone else. The bed is even made when I return from a day out exploring the place I am visiting. The dishes are cleared from the table without me saying a word. Ahh, peace. I don’t have to lift a finger unless it is to call the front desk to ask for more towels.

Removing myself from the everyday is exactly why I am on vacation. Doing and being and experiencing something other than our same old same old is the whole point. That is a vacation.

Cheaper? Realldollar-499478_640y, no.

I have heard people mention cost being so much cheaper when going the RV route. They claim it is less expensive than traditional vacation. Food may be a bit cheaper than going out all the time, but really? How much are you really saving in food?

Food is always an expense and not one you leave behind no matter where you go. You still have to buy food at home AND prepare the meals. There are some great money saving tips on eating while on vacation. You can always purchase snacks at the grocery store and pack maybe some PBJ’s for lunch to keep cost down. If I am heating anything up for any reason, even hot dogs, I am not on vacation.

Based on the campground site costs, yes it can seem a lot cheaper if that is all you look at. However, the costs go way beyond the campsite. When I add up the cost of the trailer or RV if financed, plus gas, insurance, registration, personal property taxes,the vehicle to tow a trailer, you are talking an average of 5-8 thousand dollars a year. I can take a mighty nice vacation for that much and not do any work at all. Maybe even two.

I am a firm believer in “to each his own” and if you love this style of traveling, more power to ya. Have at it. Have fun. Enjoy. Just don’t ever try to convince me that it is a VACATION.

If you can explain this too me I would love to understand.  I really want to know the allure of this type of a vacation. I would like to write a follow-up with your ideas, pros, cons and thoughts on the matter from both the ‘for’ and ‘against’ camps. pun intended. Please leave a comment or contact me in email space and leave a message.

Reinventing Julie - a blog for the middle age empty nesters


About Julie Mason

Julie is a nearly fifty year old almost empty nester. Life is interesting, ever changing, fun, infuriating, and Julie wishes to share it with you all. She hopes to learn along the way as well and write about anything and everything that strikes her fancy.

25 thoughts on “It’s Not A Vacation If The Toilet Comes With You

  1. I grew up in the Midwest. Our family of 6, single income, would never have had a vacation if not for camping. We camped every summer for several years with our cousins. The memories I have of those years are cherished. And we camped…like for real camping. Tent on the ground, no toilet. Our cousins had a pop-up camper. We thought they were ballers. We camped in the UP, Canada, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois…you get the point. Our family wouldn’t have been able to travel if we had to stay in a hotel.

    My point to this is that I think camping is the bomb . com. I would spend my vacation now camping if I wasn’t single. Not in a tent of course. I’m a baller now so if I’m camping it won’t be on the ground in a tent. I love the whole experience. Cooking outside, campfires, people watching, meeting new people “Campers are the nicest people on earth”.

    So camping isn’t for everyone. In the region I love it’s very popular with the mature crowd, younger couples, and families. In fact popular campgrounds up fill up every year. People set their alarms when the state park reservation site opens for the season.

    Camping is a thing in MI and not just because it can be more economical for families to travel.

    1. I see your point and I also enjoy short tent trips that are far removed from others. Your experience has not been mine along the coastal campgrounds. Still, not for me.

  2. I am of the same opinion. And where you don’t bring the toilet with you but “the outdoors is your toilet” – I am of the same opinion as well.

    1. Somewhat in agreement on the latter. Meeting wildlife while squatting is not exactly on my bucket list.

  3. Wow! I just love your writing style. You had me chuckling a few times.

    When I was younger my family and I used to have an RV and went camping often. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spend a whole lot of time just sitting in the camper’s air conditioning…

    1. Parfum de bugspray is not my favorite scent either. I love the outdoors, but hot is not for me, I find the air conditioning as well.

  4. It definitely feels like vacation when you stay in a nice place and everything gets done for you! Sometimes it seems like that’s the whole point of a vacation to get away from the normal routine of life.

  5. I love this post! Why is it that we have a great picture in our heads, but reality is often quite different? When we rented a summer house on the beach, I cooked because it was cheaper. I brought all my favorite pots and pans because rentals have small pans that don’t cook a meal for 6+. I stopped doing that because it wasn’t much of a vacation for me!!
    I have considered RV vacations, thanks for the insights! It’s like when we go on the boat and have to bring everything with us – too much work all the time.

  6. I am riding the train and had to physically Homs in laughter! My FAVORITE part of this post…”Using a public restroom as my bathroom or sending the kids out to find their way in the dark with a flashlight ain’t happening. Not vacation, feels more like an episode of ‘Naked and Afraid’.”????
    I think we are new best friends. My friend tries to get me, the hubby and my kids to go every year with her family…. I told her, “if you invite me again, I think you don’t really like me!”
    I LOVE this post! Awesome job!

  7. OHHH MY MUTHA…a can of worms you just opened namesake…RVs, Caping and Vacation have never been used in the same breath in my world.

    Lets be clear, camping is camping, getting in touch with nature, enjoying a day/night or more out in the stars, fresh air, moonliht, grounding….(Pretty please no rain) In UK that is a real threat lol!

    An RV…well our neighbours have got one and bugger off every weekend for their time away from the adult kids who stay with their Boyfriends in the same house….am serious! (WHAT, not in my house, ya old enough to bunk together, go rent your own space and respect mine..Mom meets daughter’s boyfriend i corridor in a towel…gives me the heebiejeebies)
    I digress…

    Vacation for me is exactly as you put it Julie. That’s Why my Family are members of a Luxury Travel club for ordinary Folks who love the good life. I wrote all about it recently.
    Going away to a LUXURIOUS 5* plus piece of real estate where I can indulge in all kinds of pampered behavior, never touch a towel but to clean self, drinks on the house, food galore at every turn and I don’t have to cook a morsel! Where I can sit with the men and guzzle if it pleases me or Chill at a spa or pool, top up my tan and count my blessings one by one!

    I want my children to also get away from their daily home chores and enjoy the life of Riley. I want them to never settle for less and understand that if you work smart and hard, you can Live Life by Design!

    Now if Camping and RV-type trips 10 miles away are your thing…To each their own. BUT IN MY BOOK ITS NOT A VACATION…My two pence Julie. 🙂

    1. Thank you for your feedback. I view a camping trip, hiking out and a night under the stars as a different type of camping. The RV option as a vacation is what I don’t approve of. Neither are a true vacation, so when I hear people call them one, it sends chills. ; )

  8. This made me laugh. I feel the same way!!!!! There’s no camping of any form for my family. Give me a hotel so when we get up in the morning we can leave the beds and towels for someone else to tend to. I wanna a week of no chores.

  9. I am so with you on this one!!! You come home more tired than when you left! My husband wants to do a camping trip and I will do one for the sake of the kids, but I will not enjoy it!! I am so with you on if the toilet has to come, it ain’t a holiday! Great post. 🙂

    1. Thank you for the feedback. I have had comments on several platforms and the wives are definitely in the no camping camp.

  10. I think that the ability to save vs. overspend through the investment in camping supplies depending on the usage of them. I have family who own a camper and they spend dozens of weekends each year camping and living in the camper on vacations. On the other hand, my parents once bought a tent and haven’t used it in years. Clearly a lesser investment, but also a lesser used item!

    1. Thank you so much for your reply Katelin. I am looking for honest feedback. Something for me to think about.

  11. Totally agree, although Pete loves to go camping. I am not totally sold on renting a house instead if staying in a hotel. A few years ago we spent a week skiing in Switzerland with family and I described my vacation as cooking, cleaning and falling down!

    1. We used to rent a place when I was a kid in Vermont. It was wonderful for us as kids, but my Mom worked her butt off. Thank you for the feedback.

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