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So, you signed up to attend an event? Now what?
Let me start out by stating that we are not “rally experts.” Technically we have only attended one FTF RV Rally with the SW 2020 Family Reunion being our second; however we have attended a handful of other events: Escapades with Escapees, Xscapers Annual Bash, and quite a few other Xscapers Convergences and FTF Meetups. With each new get together, we learn new tricks to make our life a bit easier during an event.
No matter if it’s a full week of socializing, potlucks, and activities or just a laid back-hang out for a few days, knowing what to expect and having a plan is essential to enjoying yourselves. Our first experience meeting up with a bunch of families was at Escapades in Tucson, AZ last March. To say we were excited was an understatement and we genuinely had no clue as to what to expect, nor were we prepared. The best advice is to relax and have fun, and hopefully these five tips and tricks will help your rally experience be a successful one!
- Plan out your menu. Keep all of your meals simple, whether it’s made ahead of time, from the frozen aisle, or a dump and go instapot/crockpot meal. Think easy. Most likely you will not want to spend your time shopping, prepping, cooking, and doing the dishes. Oh, and while we are on the subject, go to the grocery store beforehand and buy A LOT of snacks for your kids. At every event we have been to, our girls have only returned home when they were hungry. More like starving! I think it was at Annual Bash that we had to run to the grocery store multiple times, because they ate EVERYTHING.
- Get your Anti-Crud Cocktail Ready. Whether you believe in essential oils, elderberry syrup, or Emergen-C, get it ready and on stand by! Typically we’re not around so many people at one time, nor are we running constantly, which is why we have to take extra precautions for our immune systems. Just be aware that after events your family may be run down providing the perfect opportunity for a bug to make it’s way into your household. After a rally or convergence is a good time to rest and make use of whatever your medicine magic is.
- Siestas & Breaks for your kiddos. From dawn to dusk, your kids will be busy: making new friends, playing games, making crafts, and running like crazies. Our friends, the Nomadic Norths gave us great advice on having our kids come home in the middle of the day for a break. This will (hopefully) help reduce emotional breakdowns, exhaustion, and over stimulation. Even if it’s for only 30 minutes, this allows them time to reset. Our girls use this break time to read, chill, watch a show, and usually eat another snack. Now in regards to school, we have had events where we didn’t do school work and others where we did. If we haven’t seen families in a while, we allow more time for socialization with friends as there are usually field trips, crafts, and other learning opportunities happening. During events where we have to do work, we place a “Do Not Disturb” sign on our door until we are done. This helps the girls stay focused which allows them to get outside ASAP. Either way, do what’s right for your family. BONUS TIP! Depending on your children’s ages, they most likely will be running around the venue with their friends and you will want a way to get in touch with them or vice versa. A few great options are a cell phone, a Gizmo watch, or walkie talkies.
- FOMO- It’s a real thing! Just don’t let it influence your decisions, especially when you need your own time. Mama Says Namaste podcast said it best with, “It’s important to balance being “on” with down times incorporated to allow you to recharge.” Personally, I have to make time for myself, whether it’s going for a run or by meditating (aka napping). If you need time alone, as a family or as a couple, take it! Stay in for the night and watch a movie. Allow yourself to decompress and reset. I promise you will not miss out on anything.
- Participate. Are you new to attending rallies and are hoping to make friends? Sign up to volunteer! It’s a great way to meet people in a relaxed scenario. Not into volunteering? Host a fire or invite your neighbors over for happy hour, whether this means serving alcohol, coffee, or your favorite tea. The best part of this lifestyle is that we all have something in common! Strike up a conversation about the amazing destinations you have been to, living small, or your favorite gear. If all else fails, the black tank always makes for a fun topic! Before the event starts, look over the schedule and decide what you definitely want to do. Decide what you will bring to the potluck, because there is always at least one! Planning to enter the Chili Cook-off, etc? Great! Grab all that you need beforehand and maybe even extra, because you don’t want to run out early. Whether you are a newbie or a pro at events, it takes participation to make great memories and friends.
Once the event has ended and all the goodbyes are said, you will probably want to sign up for another event. Do it! Make sure to connect with all of your new friends, whether it’s through social media or by exchanging phone numbers. If you’re traveling in the same direction, make plans to meet up. Most importantly, after the event is over, take time as a family to rest, be together, and to share what you loved most about the event.