RV travel is only right for some families — the ones who want to save money, eat healthier, find adventure and bond with one another. So says this full-time RVing mom of 12, who shares her 10 reasons why RV travel is the best way to vacation as a family.
Disclosure: RVshare paid a sponsorship fee for this post because the company believes that every family should try an RV vacation. The enthusiastic support for family RV vacations included in this post are solely those of the author.
Living the RV Life
Our family of 14 (Mom, Dad and 12 kids ranging in age from 4 to 23) spends 9 or 10 months per year living in our RV, traveling North America. We much prefer the freedom, family friendly and lazy ways of RV travel to the more chaotic, time crunched way of travel. As we travel, I compare our leisurely departures with those of my friends, frantically chasing taxis to make their flights, hungry and tired kids in tow.
But, I especially notice those driving the most luxurious of coaches. Mostly because in 2015, we had the opportunity to demo a luxury 44-foot RV for 5 months. Oh man, it was amazing. Luxury RV travel, though, isn’t all that much different from our modest RV travel, surprisingly.
Here are my 10 reasons why RV travel is best for families:
1. It’s Easy to Clean
We travel in a 1999 Georgie Boy that we remodeled in 2016 to suit our family’s needs. Our RV is mostly a travel vessel; we spend our days outside, hiking, biking, climbing, whitewater kayaking, surfing, etc. We don’t typically hang out in the RV, though my husband does have a pseudo office rigged in the back bedroom.
Everything in our RV breaks down into a bed. The sofas, the dinette, everything. Our kids also love sleeping in hammocks under the stars, or in tents. On nights when the weather isn’t favorable, they crash indoors, in the climate controlled oasis that is our RV.
Our kitchen space is small, but it is serviceable. We have all the appliances, all the cookware, and nearly as much storage space we have at home. We cook on the grill or over the fire, and of course, we have an Instant Pot, which makes cooking on the road a breeze!
The space inside is small, but that is actually just another thing about RV living that I love. My time isn’t wasted cleaning house; it literally takes 10 minutes for us deep clean the space. All my time is devoted to my family and the fun things in life.
2. You Can Make Your Own Schedule
Over 7+ years of RV Travel, I can honestly say I can’t imagine hitting the road and traveling the continent in any other way. We are able to incorporate adventure in our daily lives, home school our children, make memories and live truly wild, and free lives.
Our days aren’t governed by a schedule. We wake with the sun and retire with the moon.
Our family has never been as close as we are today. The gift of “getting away” whenever we desire, produces a relatively stress-free, worry-free, life. Whether you are a weekend warrior, a summer vacationer, or an extended RV traveler, being in control of your own time and destiny is a wonderful thing!
3. There is an RV for Everyone
It’s truly remarkable to me that there is an RV for virtually every budget and need. For proof, all you need do is check out the RVshare website. RVshare is a sort of Airbnb for RVs. The company pairs people who own RVs with people who want to rent them. The website offers, literally, hundreds of thousands of RVs around the country, from huge motorhomes to small tow-behind trailers. You can filter search results by type and location. You can even choose to rent the RV at your destination (although my family thinks the journey is part of the joy!)
4. It Can be a Luxury Travel Experience
RV Travel is luxurious in that if you want to brew a cup of coffee, make lunch or even take a nap, you are 100% able to do so. The utter convenience of RV Travel cannot be overstated. And as more and more families discover RV Travel, the need for a vacation after the vacation will end.
5. It’s Always a Budget Friendly Vacation
For those of us who live life on a budget, where eating out for three meals per day, plus hotel rooms, gas, adventure activities, and more, would send us to the poor house, traveling in an RV is a life hack. We are able to cook all our meals in the RV, eat healthy and have money left over for the really fun stuff … the reason for our travels: the adventure!
Campgrounds are, literally, hundreds of dollars cheaper than hotel rooms and gas doesn’t compare to airfare. Which means there is much more money left over for fun.
6. You Can Bring the Pets!
Do you realize how mainstream animals have become, in America? They are everywhere. According to the American Pet Products Association, a whopping 37% of owners travel with their pets and that number is expected to continue to grow!
They are so beloved, they go everywhere with their owners, even on vacations. We travel with our mini Goldendoodle, Eddy, and our cat, Mia. There is no way we could or would leave our beloved pets behind. Yet most other forms of travel nearly dictate they do. Not so with RV Travel.
Eddy goes just about everywhere with us. When we are going somewhere he can’t, like paddling whitewater, Eddy hangs out with Mia in our climate controlled RV. With RV travel, there is no need to seek out pet-friendly hotels and pay extra fees to do so. And there is no need to stress out your pets by boarding them!
7. There’s No Need to Rush
As all families with kids know, getting out of the house and getting anywhere on time is nearly impossible. That’s another reason RV travel is so perfect for our family. We leave when we are ready. There’s no rushing to get through security, no lines, no stress. We are the captain of our own ship.
There are no worries about baggage fees or limits. We don’t have to worry about what we are taking and how much. All we have to do is stretch out, kick off our shoes and relax as we leisurely drive down the road to our destination.
8. It’s More Comfortable
One of the things I like the most about RV travel is that we get to enjoy the outdoors, spending all day on the river, the beach or climbing or biking. But when we come home, exhausted and tired, we really are coming home, to our own things.
We have climate control, a fridge, a kitchen where we can fix healthy meals, comfy couches, our own blankets and pillows. Even our own beds.
And, while our humble RV doesn’t have any bells and whistles, we have toured RVs that have bunk rooms, washer and dryers, heated floors, multiple flat-screen TVs, even dishwashers. You can literally find an RV with every luxury imaginable — many of them available for rent via companies like RVshare.
9. You Can Bring as Much Stuff as You Want
Seriously, you can bring every important piece of equipment with you. From bikes and kayaks, to longboards, camp chairs, tents, hammocks and more, you can bring the house!
With 14 people traveling with us, we have to be a bit more careful. But we still manage to bring 20+ Jackson Kayaks, and all the gear that goes with them! We have surfboards and crockpots, cookware, all our toiletries, board games, toys, and a plethora of clothing.
10. You Can Travel Healthy
One of the biggest pitfalls of travel is hitting restaurants for every meal. It’s not budget friendly and it’s not healthy. I take great pride in feeding my kids healthy, home-cooked meals, even on the road.
We are able to keep a few days of food for our crew, even with our tiny fridge. We supplement with delish organically grown local produce. Our meals range from fish tacos to huge chef salads, and everything in between. And, of course, dessert, which often is S’Mores around the fire.
RV For Everyone
Bob Dotson, from American Story, once said we would “be the first in line on the Oregon Trail.” We are definitely trailblazers, adventurers and we love to challenge the status quo. This is why the full-time RV lifestyle has suited us so well. We can go anywhere at any time on a whim. And if we ever are at a loss for a destination, we either check out awesome sites like Pinterest, or TravelingMom for inspiration or we simply drive, destination unknown.
I’ll tell you a little secret …we have two regrets in life. The first is that we didn’t home school our kids from the beginning. The second is that we didn’t start RVing earlier. We got the jobs, bought the house, the cars, did the commute and the 9 to 5, the two weeks of vacation. And we uttered the letters, TGIF. The debt, the colossal debt drowned us. Being free of the mortgage, the car payments, the stress allows us to breathe.
Of course, perhaps, the full-time lifestyle isn’t for everyone. That’s the way it is for the majority of RVers. They are weekend warriors, hitting the road for adventure on their days off of work and school. Or they are summer vacationers, heading to the beach, to the mountains for a stress free time with their families. Maybe they are grandparents with grandchildren in tow. Or young couples with dreams of a future filled with joy. Or families hoping for one last hurrah before school starts in the fall. Heck, we know a few families who pile their kids into their RV and head to the ski resort at the first sign of a powder day.
The point is there is an RV and an RV experience for everyone. No matter who you travel with, where you go, what you do, RV travel will always be the best way. Always.