My husband did a lot of family RV trips while growing up. His family loved exploring the country and National Parks and other outdoor spaces with an RV, and he has fond memories of those times.
My family, on the other hand, would drive the family car on shorter road trips and fly to India to see my relatives. I’m confident I didn’t even know what an RV was until I was in high school.
Since it was so foreign to me, I just couldn’t really imagine our own family starting to RV with kids. How would we work? Where would everyone sit/sleep? How would we drive such a big vehicle? What would we do about the bathroom situation? Wouldn’t we all lose our minds with seven of us in such a small space? I was sure it was fine for other families, but figured it would NEVER work for our own.
Getting Started on Our Family RV Adventure
Well, never say never, because unusual times call for unusual measures. (Read all about how our family started RVing with kids!) Much to my astonishment, I became a first time RV buyer! Who would’ve guessed? (Certainly not me.)
When we first got going, my husband was definitely the one pushing to try it so we could introduce our families to our newest baby. But as we’ve continued on over the last few months, no one has been more surprised than me to find how much I’ve loved it, too! I truly thought we’d drive out, visit, drive home, sell it, done.
RV Travel Convert
Well, we’ve now completed 3 months with our RV and I’m a convert. I’ve surprised no one more than myself with how much I’ve enjoyed this journey, and how the things I worried about aren’t that big of a deal. From someone who was totally skeptical at first, I’m now a big fan and could not be happier that we made this leap.
Are you also intrigued by family RV travel but don’t know how you could ever make the leap? Here are 8 advantages of family RVing that I’ve appreciated in our first few months!
This post on the advantages of family RV travel contains affiliate links, but all opinions are 100% my own. That means I earn a small commission if you purchase through my link, but doesn’t change your price.
From Skeptic to Convert: Advantages of Family RV Travel
Benefit #1: Our family RV has the comforts of being our home on wheels.
Generally, while traveling, especially when camping, you learn to make do without a lot. I would never take multiple laptops for school and work, a full tube of hair cream, or a blender on most trips. And we certainly wouldn’t bring a comfortable mattress. And yet, those things are definitely convenient to have! Since our RV is our home on wheels, we can make it into a, well, home.
This means we have both the space and the justification for bringing items that we don’t necessarily use multiple times every single day, or that are a little heavier or bulkier. We can make our RV into an actual home with many of its conveniences.
Benefit #2: Packing is easy.
The number one benefit of RV life for me is that our home is literally always with us! We’ve traveled a LOT with kids; in fact, our oldest (9 years old) has been to 43 countries. And still, one of the most stressful parts of traveling is the packing.
We’ve managed to streamline our family packing over the years, but it still takes a lot of effort. In fact, I think packing light usually takes much longer than overpacking because you need to narrow down the exact items that will give you maximum flexibility.
Then, once you’re traveling, it can get stressful to constantly be packing and unpacking and counting the number of bags and making sure you didn’t leave any of those precious few articles of clothing behind.
While in a family RV, we literally never need to pack and unpack! It’s okay to have more than 4 or 5 sets of clothing – 6 or 7 feels downright luxurious! We never need to count our bags to make sure we got all the suitcases and the car seat and the various backpacks (our favorite folding, packable backpacks)! It’s such a relief to have everything contained. We just keep the kids stuff in packing cubes (I prefer this one that zips on top) and everything stays organized in the cabinets.
Benefit #3: It helps us live minimally.
Though this is our temporary home and we can add comforts to it (see benefit #1), it still teaches us to live pretty darn minimally. There are, after all, 7 of us living in less than 300 square feet. There’s only so much we can have in here.
So the kids learn to wash dishes right away so we can use them again for the next meal. We rewear the same 5-7 sets of clothes. We each have 2-3 pairs of shoes that fit in our shoe hanger, and we find the most versatile ones that work for many occasions. We use kitchen equipment that serves multiple purposes. We find the things that are the most functional and make do, happily.
Benefit #4: The outdoors becomes an extension of our home.
Even while we’re at home, we try to spend a lot of time outdoors. We love hiking, biking, and just being outside, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that we need that fresh air and thrive in it.
With a small space, we’re forced to use the outdoors as much as possible. Our kids can’t run around like monkeys inside because there just isn’t enough room! So instead they head outside soon after they wake up. They get exercise and fresh air before we start homeschooling or learning or practicing instruments. The outdoors are basically part of our home, where we play and move and hike and even work/learn, and it’s wonderful.
Benefit #5: It allows us to be spontaneous.
Pretty much I’m the least spontaneous person on the planet. I love to have things planned well in advance. For most of our trips, I have all the hotels, rental cars, activities, and even restaurants planned well in advance. But that’s just not always possible with the RV, and even when it is, it’s nice to not need to.
Sometimes, the baby has a blowout and we get delayed. Sometimes, we just really love a place and want to spend an extra day. Sometimes, we decide to take a detour because we heard of another cool activity. Or sometimes we change course entirely because we decide we want to take a different route. And it takes us an extra 2 months of travel.
But we can do that, and it’s not stressful!
With a family RV, the biggest logistical challenges of where to sleep and what to eat are largely taken care of. We can shop at grocery stores and always have our beds and our stuff available to us. It facilitates flexibility and spontaneity because we always have our home with us.
Benefit #6: It lets us stay close to places we want to explore, even remote locations.
One of the best part about RV living is that we can stay close to the places we want to explore. As we find amazing outdoor spaces for adventure, we can usually stay nearby, either in a campground or dispersed camping. We don’t need services every night, and can easily go at least 3 days without refreshing, which gives us flexibility to stay close to places whenever possible.
Moreover, we have all our supplies with us. We don’t need to stop for food every day, nor do we need to haul everything on our backs. We don’t need to spend tons of money to stay in fancy on-site lodges or pay for full restaurants because we have our supplies with us. And it allows us to explore further-afield, more remote locations.
Benefit #7: It allows us to feel fresh and clean while traveling.
This might seem silly, but it’s truly one of my favorite things about the RV. How many times have we gone to the beach or on a muddy hike and ended up with filthy kids after? Then those filthy kids need to ride home in our car, which then becomes filthy, and then they end up forgetting their filthy shoes/clothes in said car. Why?!
With RV travel for families, whenever the kids get filthy (as they are bound to do on a daily basis), we just bathe them! In our vehicle! Before they get their car seats/beds all messy! And before their filthy feet climb all over or before they even need to walk through the entire house to the back shower. It’s truly delightful. (This is the inexpensive but effective showerhead we use.)
Benefit #8: We always have our stuff with us for any adventure.
Sometimes, we realize there’s an adventure somewhere but we don’t have the right gear for it. We forgot our swimsuits! We didn’t bring hiking shoes! We didn’t bring enough food or water to do the longer hike! Or we didn’t pack enough diapers!
The great thing about RVing with a family is that we always have our stuff with us wherever we go. If we find a hot spring, we can pull out our swimsuits and towels (we like these quick dry ones for water activities, and these cute and colorful and also fast-drying ones for our everyday shower towels – everyone gets their own color!). If we find we have a tired kiddo who needs to get ready for bed sooner, we have jammies (the very best ones) with us. It allows us to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.
Benefit #9: It teaches skills to all contribute, but it’s not overwhelming.
The thing about a small space is it’s easy for it to get untidy and dirty quickly. But that also means it’s easy to clean quickly! Because it’s tiny living, it’s simple for us all to pitch in and have it spotless in under an hour, while our permanent home takes an entire morning to really scrub. It allows our kids to take responsibility and lead, without it feeling disheartening and overwhelming and annoying for everyone.
We can all contribute, and we can all feel the success of finishing quickly and going to do something else fun!
Benefit #10: RVing with kids saves money.
I’ll be honest – I wasn’t sure one of the advantages of RV travel would be saving money. After all, renting one can get pricey, and so can buying an RV. In fact, as a first time RV buyer, it seemed like we were spending quite a lot!
But we quickly realized that we hit the break even point for buying versus selling pretty quickly, and especially with our extended warranty, we haven’t had to pay for any repairs! That is such a gift.
And because we have the RV, any extra travel is only marginally more money. We basically just pay for gas and some services. No hotels, no extra food if we don’t want (we can just buy the same normal food we’d buy at home and cook it). We pay a few campground fees, but do quite a bit of dry camping, and can pay a nominal amount to fill up water/propane and to dump. The marginal extra cost is quite minimal! And because of that, we can do MORE travel without feeling like it’s going to be a huge extra cost burden.
Benefit #11: RVing with kids facilitates homeschooling.
While in the RV, the world is our classroom! We do our normal math, STEM, and other homeschool curriculums, and read and listen to lots of books, but we also learn by doing. We explore national parks and other outdoor spaces. We observe like true scientists and learn about insects, trees, indigenous cultures, history, and more. We always do the Junior Ranger program books and attend ranger programs when we can.
One of the major benefits of RV travel is we can learn about science, history, practice writing/reading, social science, and make connections between them all. We are able to learn based on interests and excitement, and it’s delightful.
Benefit #12: We could eat healthfully while traveling in an RV.
A big advantage of RV travel is that it allows us to eat much more healthfully than other types of travel. It’s not like camping, where we’re just packing what we can for a few nights. And it’s definitely not like airline travel where we can’t take very much and need to buy a lot of meals since we likely won’t be able to prepare them (either due to not having a kitchen or not having time).
Instead, we can prepare most meals in an RV as we would at home. We have a little oven (that even fits a 9×13 pan!), a microwave, a stove, a sink, and a refrigerator/freezer. It’s plenty for our everyday needs. We stock fruits and vegetables, milk, yogurt, spices, and more. We love being able to eat healthy food while traveling!
Benefit #13: Family RV travel allows us to travel slowly.
So often, travel can feel rushed. We want to see and do so much, and take full advantage of the places we go. And that’s wonderful! But since we’re fortunate enough to work remotely and homeschool, we have more time and can take things a bit more slowly. We’re flexible on our timeline, so we can take an extra few days to enjoy a place in between our responsibilities.
It’s really nice to be able to settle in a bit more to a place, or stay longer if we choose. I love that RVing for families allows that!
Benefit #14: We can wait out bad weather in the RV, and we have plenty of entertainment options.
Often when we’re traveling, especially if we’re on a tight timeline, we just have to go out in the weather. And there’s something to be said for just enjoying ourselves and not waiting around for perfect conditions. But it sure is nice to be able to wait a bit longer if it’s pouring rain.
And while we’re waiting, we don’t all have to be stuffed into a car! I don’t have to get my back soaked while going around to the side of the car to get the baby unbuckled! We have plenty of room inside to relax, read books, play a game, work, school, rest, or even watch a movie (with our TV and soundbar) while we wait. We’ve had a few rainy days on our RV adventure and it’s actually been really fun to hang out inside.
Benefit #15: RV travel encourages a lot of family time and connection.
Of course, this can get a bit much at times. And stressful and chaotic. But it is also really, really special. We’re together in a small space for much of the day every day. The kids giggle as they chat in bed, which is sometimes annoying but also really sweet. We read and listen to books together. We eat together. We even play games together!
One of the biggest advantages of traveling in an RV is that it becomes a special, sacred space, not in spite of its size, but because of it. I hope my kids’ relationships are blossoming.
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