Challenges of RVing with Kids

“How hard is it really to do the RV-thing with a family?”

Challenges of RVing with Kids

I get this question (and all sorts of variations) several times a month from blog readers and friends.

Many times, when we decide to take a path that is different than the norm, we ignore the negatives.  We rarely discuss the hard parts or challenges.  We’re pumped and we become our own cheerleader.

Now let me say right off the bat, I’m GLAD we moved our family of 6 into the RV.  We learned so much about ourselves and were stretched.  We got to enjoy the perks of living with less.

But today I’m going to share the challenges of RVing with a family.  Many times, experience is the best teacher, but hopefully this will help some count the costs of full time RV living before they take the leap and move their children into an RV.

Challenges of RVing with Kids

  1. Limited Space.  No kidding right!?  This is obvious but it’s something to consider.  As a full-time RVer you’ll be in a constant state of purging belongings.  You’ll have to get creative with gifts (if gifts are your thing) and you’ll have to deal with not having space to retreat to when you (or your kids) need some quiet.  Which leads me to…
  2. Homeschooling Woes.  Every family has their own set of challenges as far as homeschooling goes.  For us, it was the 2 littlest kids, (1 and 3 years old) and occupying their time.  There is no solice during school time and it seemed for our family, the smaller quarters made for more frustration and distraction for learning.  Also, I had to limit our school books and learning kits.
  3. No Kitchen Helpers.  Before we moved in the RV my 2 oldest kids were my kitchen helpers.  Once we were full-time in the RV, I had so much less space and more often than not, I refused their help.  Honestly, it was difficult to cook by myself much less with little helpers that were not so skilled in the kitchen.  I know some full time parents do have their kids work in the kitchen.  The mess/clutter aspect is something I wish I would have gotten over.  But I didn’t.  *sigh*
  4. Nap Times are NOT so Peaceful.  We have been blessed with light sleepers. <that may be slightly sarcastic> Every noise and movement of the camper affected the sleep of my kids, but nap times were especially trying for us.  Any jumping at all during those times resulted rocking.  If your kids sleep like logs, you may not have this concern one bit.  I found myself getting onto my kid’s, (mostly my oldest son’s) case about jumping around.  So my solution would be to send him outside during naps.  But there was a problem with that idea….
  5. Nosey Neighbors.  Just in case you didn’t know, some campgrounds are not so friendly.  The last campground we were at had a rule that any kids under 16 had to be supervised at all times.  Don’t misunderstand me, I wouldn’t send my kids to the pool by themselves.  But when my kids were playing beside our camper, in an empty site, the neighbor came out and told them they couldn’t play, (even though I could see them the whole time).  That’s annoying.
  6. Less Chores.  Less space, less room for error, less work for the under 12 crowd.

Can you do it?  You betcha you can!  Those are just some of the things we hadn’t really thought through before we moved our family into the RV.

Hopefully this post gives you a view into some of the not so glamorous parts of RVing and children and helps you not just see the lifestyle through rose-colored glasses.


8 thoughts on “Challenges of RVing with Kids”

  1. We are a full time RV family of 5! Our RV is smaller than yours but we’ve found several ways to make it work for us. I LOVE how you’ve decorated your rig!

  2. we are planning a year travelling around Australia in a converted bus with our four kids under 8. Im looking for all the help in planning. this post was very helpful. thankyou!! it hasent deterred me but will help me plan for the challenges.

  3. Yes we shopped a minimum of once a week when we had the RV. It was tough to keep fresh produce and we couldn’t bulk shop (something we had always done before). It can be done, just an added challenge.

  4. I’m thinking of taking my two kids around the US alone. My hubs is stuck in one location with his job, but I’m a photographer so I am location independent. I’m a little nervous about traveling alone with a 2 and 4 year old, but it’s been a dream of mine for years. I’m in the planning stages now. Any advice would be greatly appreciated’1

    • I don’t know how to advise you Amanda. I know it is a dream of yours but I personally could not imagine undertaking traveling the US with little ones without my husband. It is almost always the very best for families to be together. My one recommendation for you would be to see if you can find a way to do it together, with your husband. Career change for him? Or maybe wait a few years and work toward that career change.

    • Let me tell you a little about our experience. We moved from a 2100 sqft house that was my dream house. Granite, slate and travertine throughout. Floor to ceiling stone fireplace in CA. I was not happy to move into a camper in KY with 3 kids 1-5. Not to mention one that wasn’t taken care of and lived in for a year with 4 kids by previous owners. We put it on a piece of land with electric, sewer, and city water in place. The rain that summer was the worst locals had seen in a long time as well as the winter. There were times the winds were so high (on top of a hill) that the camper was rocking. We feared it rolling down the hill. My husband had to go out and tie it down with heavy anchors. Every 2 weeks the toilet would smell to high heaven and he would have to bring in a hose to clean it out. Pipes froze in the winter. Went 3 days without water. When I pipe burst on the back of the toilet he had to replum it. The lock broke so we couldn’t get in one day and he had to replace that. The walls sweated so badly in the winter that many things mildewed. We found that putting plastic film over them helped along with buying a dehumidifier and storing bowls with strainers and rock salt in cabinets, storage areas and under furniture to absorb the moisture. Homeschooling was hard for all the reasons Julie mentioned. Nap times were non existent for the same reasons I couldn’t send my 3 and 5 year old out alone and rock a baby to sleep. Lots of filthy wet, muddy, urine soaked laundry piled up till we could get to the laundromat which was pricy and rough with 3 littles. So I say all this to shine some light on the challenges you may face that will be that much harder traveling without your husband. And don’t forget, traveling and not parking for extended time means possible vehicle trouble, flat tires and such. Kids have to go everywhere with you since you have no one to let them stay with. Gas stations, potty, stores. I’m not trying to talk you out of it, but I personally hated my husband for the year we lived in the camper. I felt like he ignored my protests of how much I knew I couldn’t do it before he bought it. I hated being cooped up in bad weather with streaking little people under foot (headphones and iPod helps btw, LOL). I felt like I missed out on so much. That my kids lacked room to be kids. Room for their toys. I felt like I lost a year of my life. I’m claustrophobic so I know that played a role in my woes. I also was made to live in a camper for a year when I was a kid in a family of 7. My parents just married, each having 2 of their own and a new baby together. Life with steps that I barely knew and cramped in tight quarters made me loath ever living that way. Just keep in mind it’s not all rainbows. I know people who are doing it or have done it and were and are fine with it. I’m not that person. Good luck. I hope you are able to plan ahead and make it an enjoyable experience. If it becomes too much you can always return home to hubby ? Maybe make it shorter trips if you have to ?


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