Traveling with the whole family can be an amazing adventure! Having your kids or grandkids on the road with you is such a rewarding experience, but it requires a little bit of planning ahead to make sure all parties are happy and enjoying the RV life. In this blog, some of our affiliates will break down some tips on how to travel with kids. Trust us, they know what they’re talking about!
These expert RVers have been on the road with their newborn baby for a couple of months now. If you find yourself giving the excuse that traveling with kids is too hard, think again! While traveling with kids can be challenging, it’s not unattainable.
“If you’re traveling with a baby, the best thing you can do is to strategically plan your travels with nap time. Babies will take at least two naps a day for their first year and if you can coordinate your driving with nap times, you will get where you are going so much faster. We learned this quickly in Italy while we were RVing with a four-month-old. We would explore, let her nap, eat lunch, and hit the road when she was wide awake. She would scream and just want to get out of her car seat so she could roll around! We switched up our plans, timed the naps, and now she is 100x happier in her car seat.”
What can I say about traveling with kids? I could give you the cliché, it is the best experience you will ever have! You will never look back on it with regrets! You will grow closer as a family, how could you not? While all of the above statements may be true for us, it doesn’t mean that achieving that positivity didn’t come without a LOT of work! There is a reason why the phrase trial and error is so popular. All that to say, traveling in an RV full-time is definitely a labor of love, and if you’re willing to put forth the effort, it is an extremely rewarding lifestyle. I’d love to give you my top 3 tips for traveling full or part-time with kids!
1) Always be kind to yourself – You are just as new to this lifestyle as your children are. You WILL make mistakes, it’s inevitable, but give yourself grace. Voices will probably be raised more than once, tears will most likely fall, and like any parent in the history of ever, you will question if you made the right decision. Know that you made the right decision for your family, you’re just working through the learning curve. Don’t beat yourself up for the failures of one day. Take a step back, learn from the mistakes of the day, and continue on! Something I always tell new full-timers with questions is “You got this!” I know they need to hear this because it was something that I repeated to myself every time I felt like I might have failed. So, for those who need it….You GOT this!
2) Patience – This is not just something you learn as a child. This is something you learn to perfect as a parent. Patience is not always going to be easy, even as an adult. But unlike when you were a kid or a carefree, childless adult, you can’t always walk away when your patience runs thin. However, there are three main things you need to remember about patience while traveling. 1- Be patient with yourself, there will be days you will handle things that come your way with grace and elegance like that of the Queen of England herself. Then there will be other days where you want to pull out your hair if you have to say stop kicking the back of the seat one more time. Everyone has their days, so be patient with yourself. 2 – Be patient with your kiddos. They are learning how to adjust to this lifestyle, just like you. They will not always have the patience for hours of driving or having to share a room with their sibling. They will watch you for guidance on how to navigate these new roads of life. Do I yell because I’m mad? Or do I take a deep breath and keep pressing on? What did Mom and Dad do? Be the example you want them to emulate, and when you fail (as we all do) talk to them about how you see that and how you are going to tackle that problem the next time. They will come to you with frustrations, listen to them, and help them work through whatever issues they may be having. Find time to talk to them about how they are feeling, and really listen to their concerns, and, if need be, help them find solutions. 3 – Be patient with other drivers. Other people can be jerks. We all know this. However, we must have patience with those we share the road with, even if we would rather give them a rather unfriendly wave.
3) Try to make the best out of every situation (yes, even the bad ones) – This one is definitely a hard one to follow. When you are caught in a major storm, or your dirt bike falls off the back of your RV on a highway, or your husband nearly takes off his finger, or…or…or… I definitely have a lot of “Oh crap” moments, however, sometimes those moments make the best memories. I’m not saying that I love when unexpected things happen to us, but what I am saying is that I sometimes look at those moments as an opportunity to teach my children how to act when things don’t exactly go your way. Life is not always going to be perfect, but those hard times are what can help bring a family closer together. For example, we got caught in a tornado warning near Tulsa. We had never experienced this before (tornados aren’t usually a thing in Oregon). We asked for advice – it wasn’t the greatest – and were told to wait it out, it was probably nothing. While in the RV, we were hit with a torrential downpour and hail bigger than we had ever seen before. The gusts of wind that came with it were enough to make opening the front door difficult. However, we had to keep a level head in order to make sure everyone stayed safe. We shoved the girls into the truck, lifted the dog into the backseat as fast as we could, and headed to a nearby building for shelter. Were we scared, of course! However, trying to keep a positive note and something for the girls to think of with humor rather than fear, we laughed about how we almost had to swim to the truck. We made light of the fact that we would no longer be requiring showers since the rain-drenched us from head to toe in the few seconds that we were out in it. I guess the final thing I will leave you with is this, are you going to have bad days? Absolutely! For us, the good always outweighed the bad. Full-time traveling might not be for everyone, but it was perfect for our family. As we always say at the end of our vlogs, “just be sure to stay positive! Get out there! Life is an adventure, so make some memories!”
Marc and Tricia Leach, creators of the YouTube channel Keep Your Daydream (KYD) have been traveling with their three kids for years! They share some tips on how to get along while on the road. Being with your family full-time can come with its own set of challenges. There is no shame in finding some helpful ways to have a stress-free trip with everyone on board.
1. Stay Fed
No one wants to travel with hangry people. Staying fed while on the road will ensure that everyone is energized and happy. “Carry a cooler or backpack every time you head out on an adventure. You will not only save money but also keep up your endurance.”
2. Solution Based
Things might not always go as planned, especially if you’re traveling with kids. That’s why it’s important to stay focused on solutions when life throws curve balls at you. Getting too emotional or worked up will not help you but instead, make things more complicated. “Keeping the focus on the problem and not on the person is helpful in finding a solution.”
Keeping things light and having a sense of humor will boost your mood. The point of traveling with your family is to have a good time, create great memories, and laugh! “Keep jokes on the situation and not targeted attacks on each other. Taking cheap shots at your travel partner is a recipe for hurt feelings and a weakened relationship.”
4. Escape Route
Once you have been traveling with family for some time, it’s important to decompress and give each other some personal space. Seeing each other every day for weeks at a time can sometimes become overwhelming. You want to enjoy each other’s company and not get on people’s nerves. “Travel can sometimes be exhausting and we need to hit the refresh button. It’s okay to go for a walk, listen to a book with earphones, or take a nap without anyone interrupting you.”
5. Body Language
When you’re on the road, it’s important to read the body language of the people you are traveling with. If you notice that someone is frustrated, not engaging in activities, or not having a good time, pull them aside, and have a conversation on what’s wrong. “Travel presents many opportunities in a day to complement one another. Take as many times as you can to appreciate, show affection, and acknowledge positive outcomes with your travel partner.”
Letting your teens and experience some freedom with the outdoors is great character building and is great for their self-esteem. If you would like more information on traveling with teens, check out this podcast!
If you can’t take a big family trip, try going on a beach camping trip. Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy some time away with their family. Planning a trip to the beach can be easier and more accessible for some. Teach your kids about “leaving no trace” when they interact with nature. Take the time to coach some swimming techniques and practice pitching a tent in the sand. The beach can be full of activities for young ones that don’t always include the water. Find junior ranger park programs for the educational aspect of your trip. Kids can learn about a specific region, geography, plants, and unique animals in that area. Click this link for more fun beach bingo, word search, and coloring pages.
Packing the Necessities
When you’re traveling with younger kids, it’s natural to overpack and want to bring every toy imaginable to keep them entertained. But remember, you’re traveling to be entertained. We know it’s easier said than done, but pack only what you’ll be needing. Plan out what you and your kids will wear each day and pack just that (with the exception of one emergency change of clothes.) Let your kids pick one toy or item they want to bring. Letting them choose one item will reduce the number of things you pack. You can also bring other things that are easier to pack like Crayons and puzzles for quieter times during your vacation. One great rule to follow is the “one-bag” rule. This rule is exactly what it sounds like! Only pack and take the things that will fit into one carry one. For more tips on how to pack click here!
Traveling with your children can be a great bonding moment that creates memories that they will remember for a lifetime. Taking this special time away from home will remind you how magical travel can be with your kids and teens. Do your best to plan and go in with a positive attitude. And if plans change, be flexible. The unexpected can always happen but take that with a grain of salt.
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