If you're considering taking your family on a long RV trip, and you're wondering if even the thought means you're a little bit crazy, have no fear! You're not alone!
Notice I didn't say you're not crazy ;)
Luckily for you I have just recovered from a 17 day RV trip with my husband and four young children (3,5,7 and 9) and I'm going to tell you everything I learned.
Our trip was from Singapore, where we currently live, to Perth, Australia. We rented a campervan and drove it down and around SW WA. For a complete overview of our journey, please visit my previous post here.
Quick Answers: Would I go back and do this trip again? Yes absolutely. Would I plan another trip just like this one in the future? No I would not, and here's why.
I loved our campervan explorations for 12 days. On day 13 I got a little weary of jumping directly from sandy beaches into the room where we slept. I was over packing up a bed, locking up all our loose items, and re-installing car seats in order to drive to whatever activity we had planned for the day. I was still having fun, but the fun was no longer completely overshadowing all that work nor the yuck factor of sleeping in a perpetually sandy bed. There were moments when I would have paid someone a lot of money to exchange the RV life for Airbnb and rental car life for the last 4 days.
I'm fairly certain that one thing could have solved all my woes: a trailer RV thingy (I don't claim to be an expert, y'all). Simply being able to detach a truck from our little house would have been excellent. No packing up every day. No searching for RV parking in small towns or parking lots. And there would have been at least one barrier between the beach and my bed. I'd much rather leave all that sand on the floor of a car than on the floor of my bedroom.
I guess I won't know until we try it again, likely with our own trailer since I'm not sure you can rent those, if that would have been the perfect vacation. Part of me still thinks Airbnb hopping would have been more relaxing. But, I will say that there's a certain novelty and closeness in the experience of living out of an RV. We cooked a lot of meals in RV park camp kitchens surrounded by other very diverse and friendly campers. We fell asleep every night at the same very early hour, and woke up every morning also at an early hour. There's something to be said about stepping out into fresh morning air just minutes after you open your eyes for the day and hearing the birds chirping in the trees.
The kids also really enjoyed watching my husband empty the "pee pee tank."
In an RV, as opposed to a rental house, I couldn't escape my kids. I was surprised to find that I never wanted to, whereas normally at home I need a few minutes of "mommy time" in a quiet room. We really enjoyed our time together on this trip. That could be because I had my husband along for the whole ride and normally it's just me managing our little monkeys all day long. But It was also just sweet, and fun to be so close and relax into each other for a while.
I think everyone who is interested in RVing with their family should give it a go at least once. After that you can make adjustments for future travels. Just remember to enjoy the time you have while you're making mental notes for how to do it better next time!
-Pack or buy on arrival a good floor mat to wipe feet on when you get in the RV.
-Make sure your toiletries/shower bag is made of wipeable fabric.
-Bring plenty of clothes pins for drying your clothes!
-Resign yourself to lots of sunscreening. This is going to need to happen constantly. Try not to let it get you down.
-Pack Clorox wipes for the floors/bathroom/counters. You're going to want to clean things up often!
-Establish rules from the get go with your kids about taking shoes off before you get in the RV and wiping feet before climbing into beds. I'm telling y'all, the sand really got to me!
-Plan your stops ahead of time (don't listen to your husband if he says that's not necessary)