Published on July 16, 2020

It’s the summer of the RV. Companies like Escape have seen a surge in sales of the vehicles, particularly among city dwellers, and The New York Times has reported widespread interest in van life. Social distancing comes naturally when you’re on the road, after all. And it’s not too late to get in on the fun: With plenty of rental options, that dream road trip can easily become a reality.

You can consider it the perfect step up from camping. “I didn’t want to sleep in tents anymore, and I wanted more of the comfort and convenience of a home or hotel,” says Jen Young, cofounder of RV rental company Outdoorsy. In the many trips Young has taken over the years (she’s currently in Wyoming), she’s mastered the art of making a vehicle—even a short-term rental—feel like home. Here are her essentials, whether you’re renting for a quick trip or investing in a van for the long haul.

Good Bedding

Have a set of sheets you love? Use the same ones in your RV. “Everyone wants to get a good night’s sleep, and having nice linens on your bed makes all the difference,” says Young. “Just make sure you clean your feet before you go to sleep.”

A Small Nightlight

“When you’re in close quarters, more so than ever, you want to be super-considerate to the person or people you’re with,” says Young. A small, portable light—the kind you might use for reading in bed—can help with that.

Your Favorite Candle

No, you shouldn’t light an open flame while you’re on the road, but once you’re parked and getting settled at the end of the day, a bit of aromatherapy can do wonders. Young recommends investing in a big candle that will last a while and lighting it when you’re starting to wind down.

A Few Rugs

Although some RVs come with carpeting, Young prefers using rugs, as they’re easier to shake out and clean. In her travels through the western United States, she’s collected a few artisan-made ones and places them around whichever RV she’s traveling in. “Walking on a rug, especially when you’ve just woken up in the morning, is a dream,” she says.

A Full-Size Coffee Maker (or Kettle)

Young has noticed many people tend to bring small, travel-size coffee makers while they’re on the road. And while she understands the inclination, she says that scaling down isn’t totally necessary: It might not fit in the cabinets, but you can always find someplace to store it. “It’s amazing how little you need to feel at home,” she says. “You wake up in great sheets, walk on a beautiful carpet, pour your first cup of coffee into a regular-size mug—and you’re off to the races.”

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