Why Going Full Time RV With Kids Is the Ideal Family Life
There’s not much that sounds more romantic and quixotic than chucking your dead-end office job and becoming a full-time RVer. You give up property taxes, non-essentials, and work stress in exchange for freedom and the open road. If you have children, you may wonder if it’s a wise choice. The answer is that it’s an excellent way to build strong and loving relationships with your kids.
About 1 million people have taken the plunge to become full-timers. It’s not just retired folks, either. Generation X and Millennials have also made their mark with some of the highest rates of RV ownership. According to the RV Industry Association's Trends In RV Ownership report, over 50 percent of individuals are considering buying an RV. That sets the stage for families on the move.
Motivation to Become a Full-timer
You needn’t look further than the reasons that people came to determine what motivates someone to ditch their regular life for RVing. Everyday stress is the primary factor. The research supports the conclusion that time with nature can provide a welcome relief. What parent would not want that same benefit for their children?
RVers have the answer. Traveling with their kids in tow is the best way to go. These so-called Active Family Adventurers are the ones considering and buying RVs. Their rigs provide the ideal setting for capitalizing on the benefits of camping with children.
Families can spend more quality time together, building stronger relationships. The convenience of an RV means that you can get up and go for spur-of-the-moment weekend trips. It doesn’t matter whether you have a travel trailer or a well-appointed motorhome. Adventure awaits. There is, however, another more practical consideration.
Traveling by RV is, by far, the most economical way to vacation with kids. Parents can save over 60 percent on expenses. You can cook meals in the camper and get the kids involved too. It’s also more convenient and quicker to pack up the RV than break a tent camp. Everyone can spend some time outdoors and enjoy the mental health benefits that it offers, along with a hefty dose of activity.
Don’t forget about boondocking. It is the practice of dry camping at sites without hookups like a parking lot of a business. Many are RV-friendly, including Cabelas, Target, and Marriot Inn. You can also find space at undeveloped campsites on BLM land or US National Forests. Some have other restrictions about where you can set up and what activities like campfires are permitted.
Some of these federal sites will allow you to stay a limited number of days which varies with the park. Imagine spending a night or two at Grand Teton National Park. Some state parks are equally as accommodating. If you want to be sure of a camping site, check out the ReserveAmerica.com website to secure a space.
Also, consider finding a place to stop on private lands through a site such as RVShare.com. For a nominal fee, you’ll get a campsite far from the crowds and noise. It’s an excellent way to teach your child about the value of the quiet so that everyone gets a good night’s sleep. Boondocking is a thing. You and your family will likely find others who share your passion for traveling light.
Challenges of the Full-Time RV Life
Many of the issues with making this lifestyle choice involve the same things you’d encounter on any camping trip. Sometimes, it’ll rain and ruin your plans. You might get a flat tire, or the mosquitoes may have declared war on your campsite. These things are manageable. Perhaps one of the greatest obstacles rests with education.
It’s one thing for you to quit your job and find gigs to make ends meet. It’s quite another to take your children out of school. That’s where homeschooling comes into the picture. About 2.3 million kids receive parent-led education. It offers a lot of advantages over the traditional way. Parents have a direct role in what their children learn and how they learn it.
Many homeschool students do better socially and academically. After all, there’s an excellent reason why student-teacher ratios are essential. Children receive the benefit of one-on-one teaching and support. It’s also an outstanding way to strengthen relationships even more. Parents also benefit with the knowledge that they are providing a safer learning environment without risk of bullying or violence.
A full-timer homeschooling or roadschooling their kids can take them to Gettysburg or the Washington Memorial to give them an interactive history lesson like no other. Family time can become an ongoing learning experience.
The full-time RV setting is an ideal way to teach kids about running a household. Instead of raking leaves, they can help out with the regular maintenance that goes with owning a rig. It’s also an opportunity to foster environmental awareness and a sense of purpose that children may not find any other way. There are a few things you need to know about roadschooling.
Even though your RV is your residence, you still need to have a home state. Then, you’ll have to follow the laws for that area. It’s a wise course of action anyway in case the full-time RV life doesn’t pan out for you and your family. It could help explain the number of RVs for sale.
Remember that homeschooling has its share of costs too. You’ll have to get things like a curriculum, school supplies, and stuff for special projects. You can also take advantage of savings from the local homeschool co-op, which makes having a home base even more beneficial.
Unless you have an endless supply of cash, money is another struggle. However, many full-time RVers manage, giving rise to the term, workamper. You can get WiFi with many newer motorhomes so that you can work remotely. All kinds of online opportunities exist from website design to content creation to virtual assistants.
Some individuals find temporary work with companies such as Amazon or through contacts on sites like Workamper News. There’s no reason why teenagers can’t find a job too. Many find one-off positions at the campground in which they’re staying. Others barter with the locals or other RVers. All these activities teach children additional life lessons of determination and perseverance that are priceless.
Keeping Children Engaged While Fulltiming
Raising a family in a small space like a motorhome has the additional difficulty of making sure everyone gets along in close quarters. A string of rainy days will convince you that it takes some planning. On the positive side, you can follow the pleasant weather so that at least the kids can play outdoors. Also, you can seize opportunities for impromptu lessons.
A walk on a nature trail can provide chances to discuss wildlife, identify flora, or explore geography with activities like geocaching. Parents can put together a slew of games to play when someone complains about being bored. Some fun choices include:
● License Plate Challenge
● I Spy
● 20 Questions
● Travel Bingo
The local library is your friend. You’ll find plenty of free resources to add some variety to the mix. Online curriculums also provide other ways to keep everyone happy with other educational activities to reinforce your lessons. These opportunities can explain the higher academic performance that homeschooled children enjoy.
You may find it helpful to assign your children special camp duties each week. One time, one child could be in charge of setting the table for meals. Another can dry dishes. You could have another one make sure the chairs and other things you’ve used that day are put away in their correct storage spaces. Following this kind of plan can help create a sense of ownership in the kids.
Other Essential Points to Remember
It’s crucial to understand that full time RV with kids is not a lifetime commitment. Sometimes, it doesn’t work out for a myriad of reasons. There’s no shame in putting your rig on the lot with the other camping trailers for sale. Life happens.
If you have doubts about the long-term prospects, try it out for a couple of weeks or even a month. Take note of the overall experience, paying attention to what worked and what did not. You can keep a daily journal. Then, make the necessary adjustments and try it again.
Bear in mind that going full-time is a significant undertaking for you and your kids. There will be rough patches, the occasional fight, and bellyaching. Anyone who has taken up this lifestyle understands the ups and downs of this choice. The critical thing is to remain flexible and resourceful. Make it a game to find a solution to a problem and get everyone’s input.
Often, children will embrace this opportunity to be like the grown-ups and part of the group’s decisions. It’s one thing to go full-time with only your significant other. With the family, you have three or more people to consider—including yourself. Be an example to your kids about the importance of getting along and compromise. Your choice will create memories to last a lifetime.