You’ve seen other RVers travel full-time with their family. Now you’re wondering how they did it. Before you jump in and sell everything you own, let’s look at how to travel full-time with a family. Then you can decide if you want to join the thousands of families across the country and even more across the world who travel full time.
Full-time travel looks different from family to family, but you’ll find plenty of families who call their RV home. Some have given up their sticks-and-bricks houses, while others choose to return every so often. Some have sold their houses and left very comfortable lifestyles while others rent their houses out. Families of all shapes and sizes are making this lifestyle work for them. Here’s how they do it!
What Are the Benefits of Traveling Full-Time with a Family?
Many families choose this lifestyle because of the freedom it offers. They aren’t tied down with meetings, after-school activities, or HOA parties. That includes freedom from material possessions. When families choose to sell most of what they own, it can be cathartic.
Other families choose this lifestyle because they want to see the world. They don’t want to wait until they retire. Roadschooling becomes part of this desire as parents seek to educate their children with real-world, hands-on experiences. Instead of reading about Fort Sumter in a book, they take their children to Fort Sumter.
Are There Any Downsides to Full-Time Family Travel?
Full-time family travel is stressful. RVs can be low quality, so something is always breaking or bursting or coming apart. Traveling with kids can make situations like a tire blowout or water leak much more stressful.
Getting along with each other 24/7 is also a challenge. Some families struggle to make the transition between their sticks-and-bricks life to RV life because there’s very little privacy or “alone time.” It can test relationships. Finding space for privacy, including for work, can be a challenge. Taking a call or attending a meeting can present a challenge, as can simply getting ready in the morning without waking the whole family.
How to Start Traveling Full-Time with a Family
If you’re ready to start traveling full-time with your family, you might not know where to start. Let’s look at exactly how to travel full-time with a family.
Start Researching Full-Time Family Travel
The best thing you can do as you wait is plan. Even before you’ve made the decision, start researching full-time family travel. Read blogs of families who’ve been on the road for years. Watch YouTube videos of families who tried it and decided it wasn’t for them. Attend online conferences and read books by RVers with children. Many RVers are willing to share their stories to help other families considering full-time travel.
Find Remote Work
What will you do for income? How will you pay for your travels? Some people live off of their savings or live off of the sale of their sticks-and-bricks house. But eventually, you’ll need to find remote work. Do this before you hit the road. Search for companies that hire remote workers, be willing to change careers if needed, and learn what transferable skills you have. If you do this before you set off for your adventure, you’ll already have an income stream in place.
Numerous websites help people find remote work. Check out websites like CoolWorks.com, Workamper.com, FlexJobs.com, and RVerjobexchange.com. Use LinkedIn to help you connect with other remote workers and find companies looking to hire remote workers.
Make a Plan for Roadschooling Kids
Some families who’ve been on the road for a few years will suggest starting homeschooling before you start traveling. Get into a routine and figure out the needs of each child if you have multiple children. It can be very beneficial to pull your kids out of public school and start homeschooling before you hit the road.
For some families, this isn’t possible. You should still make a plan. Your homeschooling will morph into roadschooling. What will that look like for your family? Each full-time traveling family does roadschooling differently. Sometimes remote work dictates where you travel. If you know ahead of time where you’ll be for the next six months, make a roadschooling plan around that. If you have a more flexible remote work schedule, you can also be more flexible in your planning. Plan as far out as you can to ensure your children learn all they can as you travel.
Buy a Family-Friendly RV
Do your research before jumping into a purchase. Talk to other families who travel full-time. Consider your budget and needs. Is a washer and dryer a must-have? Is an outdoor kitchen a must-have? Where will everyone sleep? What works for one family might not work for yours, but talking with others who have lived the travel lifestyle will help in your decision-making process.
Focus on buying a family-friendly RV and not the bells and whistles a salesperson may throw at you. Consider what size refrigerator your family needs. Consider how many bathrooms your family needs. Think about living in the space and not just traveling in it.
Prepare to Downsize
Another step in how to travel full-time with a family is preparing to downsize. It’s not just selling or renting your house but getting rid of all of the stuff inside of it. This can be a very difficult process. How will you decide what you keep, what you sell, what you donate, and what you trash?
Getting a storage unit can help. It will give your family comfort knowing that everyone doesn’t have to get rid of everything. Keepsakes and heirlooms will have a place. And maybe traveling full-time doesn’t work out, so you keep some of the more expensive furniture items just in case. However you go about it, be gentle and patient with each other. Some members of the family may breeze through downsizing while others may not.
Set an End Date
Set an end date or launch date and stick to it. Then you’ll be able to plan accordingly. What do you need to do this week? What do you need to do next week? When do you need to purchase your RV? Will you move into the RV while you still own your house? You can answer all of these questions more easily when you have an end date.
Make a Budget (and Stick to It!)
In order to learn how to travel full-time with a family, you have to have a budget. Make a list of all of your expenses during your sticks-and-bricks living first. Then figure out which will transfer over to full-time travel.
Most of the time, your budget will be fairly similar, though allocated differently. You may not have an energy bill to pay any more, but you’ll probably pay more for gas if you’re not stationary. You may not have a mortgage, but you’ll have campground fees.
This is also important when choosing a family-friendly RV. Know your budget. What can you afford? Don’t let a salesman pull you into something that you’ll regret later.
Hit the Road!
Finally, hit the road and enjoy the journey! Go make memories, share amazing experiences, and learn new things. Fear is natural. It will keep you on your toes and ready for when something unforeseen does happen. But don’t let fear keep you from finding freedom through family travel.
Manage Your Expectations
The last thing to remember as you figure out how to travel full-time with a family is to manage your expectations. Most influencers on social media aren’t showing you the bad and ugly. Keep that in mind when you start to compare your travel adventure with someone else’s.
Don’t expect campfires and roasted marshmallows all of the time. You’ll be exhausted if you’re constantly trying to achieve a photo-worthy campsite. You’ll also miss out on the day-to-day connections with your family. Take breaks. Have do-nothing days. And be prepared for slide outs to malfunction, the roof to tear, and the drawer handles to break.
Is Traveling Full-Time with a Family Worth It?
This is something you’ll have to decide for your family. It certainly isn’t worth it for everyone. But it’s worth it for a lot of families. Imagine the memories and educational experiences you’ll share with your kids. Even if it’s just for a short time, it will be time well spent. If you’re considering jumping into full-time family travel, consider the benefits and downsides and weigh each of those against the values and desires your family has. Will you be taking the plunge and hitting the road?