One of the best, most fun ways to create memories as a family is by traveling together.
Travel pushes everyone out of their comfort zone a little, and as a family, you have to work together to get places, prepare meals, and even entertain each other! It gets rid of the daily distractions at home and plunks everyone down in a new environment together. It also creates touchpoints and stories and memories that only those traveling with you during that time will have. Some of my best childhood memories, and some of my favorite memories with my own kids, have all been travel-related.
RVing is a Great Option For Traveling Families
There are so many reasons why seeing the country by RV is a great vacation option. Here are a few:
1.) You only pack and unpack once
Let’s face it – kids need a lot of gear, and babies need even more! On a road trip, where you’re stopping at hotels on the way, having to load and unload everything you’ll need for your stay can be an exhausting chore. Managing all that gear on a plane trip is challenging as well. If you rent or purchase an RV, you only have to load everything once and then you have it at the ready for your whole trip.
2.) You can see and stop more places
An airplane trip takes you just to your destination, but an RV road trip is part of the destination! Your vacation doesn’t start when you land, it starts the minute you leave your driveway. If you’re headed to a final spot like a beach, you can still stop off or even detour to see state or national parks, museums, and other sights along the way. You can even be spontaneous and decide when you get up in the morning if you’d like to see something nearby or continue on your journey.
3.) You have less exposure
Traveling through airports and checking in at hotels can mean you’re around other people at a higher rate than you will be if you travel with your family in an RV. You won’t even have to use public restrooms when you stop and you can keep exposure to germs much lower than if you travel by car or plane.
Even if you do meet new people, chances are it will be outside at your campground where you can all stay well-distanced from each other while you chat.
4.) You have a home base
While younger kids like new experiences and the fun of vacations, they also like to have a routine and a little bit of normalcy. RVs can offer both! Unlike car trips where you’re changing hotels, traveling by RV means you have a familiar spot for tired kids to nap at any point on your journey. They also know where they will sit to eat, and there’s room for them to bring their favorite books, stuffed animals, or other comfort items from home.
Traveling by RV also means you have an easy way to wash bottles or dishes, and a convenient place to store snacks.
5.) You can make your own meals
While it’s fun to try new foods when you explore, it’s good to combine that with some tried-and-true family favorites especially on days when you know your kids will be tired and possibly cranky. You can even bring along an RV slow cooker and start a meal before you head out for the day.
6.) You can bring your pet
Many RVs are pet-friendly, so you don’t have to leave an important part of your family at home while you travel! If you are renting an RV, you’ll want to make sure the owner allows pets. When you’re searching for campgrounds, look for ones that have pet amenities like dog parks or areas for them to run. You may also want to consider getting a hose to hook up outside your RV, or see if the campgrounds have pet wash areas if you plan to take your furry friend hiking or to the beach.
7.) You can learn along the way
Many families have taken this last year as a chance to reimagine school and work for themselves, and roadschooling is on the rise! With a lot of kids still in virtual school, it’s easy to take them on the road for a few days, or a week, without missing their classes. Many campgrounds have also been upgrading their WiFi and making other improvements to accommodate the increase in people working from the road.
If you do take a vacation with your family, it’s easy to work in some educational stops while you travel. If your child is learning about your state’s history, or the history of the country, you can plan to visit parks or national monuments to bring their studies to life. Science classes also come alive when you visit nature centers, or an observatory or museum. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, you could even let them plan part of the trip! Kids are thrilled when people pay attention to their ideas. One of our favorite family trips was to Bryce National Park, at the suggestion of our eight-year-old who saw a picture of it and announced we should go there.
Which RV Do You Need?
There are three basic RV sizes, and several options for trailers that you may want to consider the size of your family, the activities you’re planning, and where and how long you intend to travel as you choose the best one for you.
Class A motorhomes
Class A RVs are the large bus-style motorhomes you see going down the road. They range from 21 to 40 feet long and can sleep anywhere from four to ten adults. They usually have many of the comforts of home including at least one (sometimes more!) bathroom, a kitchen, comfy chairs for lounging and watching TV, and sometimes even laundry machines or fireplaces. Generally, Class As are the most expensive motorhomes.
Class B campers
Class Bs are campervans. They are between 8-20 feet and can sleep two to three adults. Because of their smaller size, they’re easy to drive. If you’re intimidated by the idea of driving a large trailer or motorhome, a Class B may be for you! Sometimes they have a small cooking area in the back of the van, and they can even have a very small bathroom.
Class C campers
Class C campers are built on a truck chassis. They’re the Goldilocks of RVs – not as big as the Class A nor as small as the Class B. They usually have bathrooms and a kitchen and they’re between 20-38 feet long. Class Cs can sleep from four to eight adults.
Fifth Wheel Trailers
Fifth-wheel trailers can provide a surprising about of room. They’re from 22-40 feet long and can sleep up to eight adults and sometimes even more. They have bathrooms, a kitchen, and sometimes room for extra amenities. If you’re considering a fifth-wheel, you’ll want to make sure you have a vehicle big enough to tow it – in most cases a 1-ton truck.
Toy haulers are great if you want to bring along your own bikes, kayak, or even ATVs or dirt bikes. They are 20-40 feet long and sleep four to six people.
Pop-up campers are a fun option that combine the ease of traveling in an RV with the fun of camping in a tent. They’re about 8-16 feet when they’re closed up and 16-32 feet when they’re completely set up. They can sleep two to four adults.
Finally, if you’re planning a family trip, be sure to check out our RV travel checklist to make sure you have everything you need!