Full-Time RV Travel With Kids – Are They Crazy?

Posted On Jul 24, 2020 By admin With Comments Off on Full-Time RV Travel With Kids – Are They Crazy?

Hey everyone! Today, I have a great article from Jacob Wade on how to become a full-time RV family. I’ve known him for years and it’s been so much fun watching him and his family on this RV adventure that they are on. Jacob Wade is the budgeting expert who started iHeartBudgets, a plaza where Millennials and young categories come to learn EXACTLY how to build a budget that Task. Jacob quit his job in 2018, sold his house and 95% of everything they owned to taken away from on an adventure of a lifetime. He is now on mission to spread the content of Financial Freedom around the country, and cure others build a “Freedom Plan” of their own!

Full-Time RV Travel With Kids – Are They Crazy? #fulltimeRV #fulltimervfamily #rvlife #vanlife

18 months ago, I quit my job, we sold( roughly) everything we owned( including the house ), and we touched the road with 3 girls, 6 and under!

Hello Making Sense of Cents family!

I’m Jacob Wade, Founder of iHeartBudgets.net, and Michelle was kind enough to let me share our storey with you penalize tribes today.

I know Michelle has shared all about her undertakings around the U.S. in an RV( and in her sailboat !), and I as I’ve read through her stories, I witnessed myself gesturing my principal the whole way through.

There is something about giving in to your sense of adventure, having a curiosity to explore and taking hold of the FREEDOM that is right in front of us!

We’ve had such an incredible journey over the past 18 months, and get SO MANY questions about what it takes to up and leave EVERYTHING.

So today I’ll talk through the details of HOW we saved for and projected our adventure, what it looks like to sell EVERYTHING and downsize our pedigree into 300 sq. ft ., and the working day to daytime of traveling full occasion WITH KIDS.

And hopefully invigorate some of you who feel “stuck” to run a risk at something BIG!

advocate National Parks

But why become a full-time RV family?

There were several contributing factors to exterminate “peoples lives”, and I go into MUCH more detail on that in THIS POST, but eventually we didn’t like where our life was headed.

I had a job in sales that required too much travel away from my family, and we had a few family medical things that stopped us in our moves and had us re-thinking what we were doing, and what was most important.

We were just about to pull the trigger on a residence twice the size of our current one, with twice the land( and coincidently, twice the mortgage ).

But one day, disheartened with life, I said “what if we just sold everything and traveled instead of getting a bigger house? ”

Once the words came out of my mouth….there was no going back.

Related content 😛 TAGEND

Becoming an RV Family- How We Travel Full-Time With 4 Adolescents and 2 Dogs How This Couple Bought an $11,500 RV, Traveled To All 50 Government, and Built A Thriving Business How This Couple Does Van Life with A Baby( and a pup !) How Much Does It Cost To RV ? Common Full Time RVing Questions- Don’t You Hate Each Other Yet ?

Make A Plan To Go Full-Time RV

When we first told beings we were going on this crazy adventure, most everyone was supportive, but would ever have a comment like “wow, that’s huge if you can afford it! ” or “I wish I could do something like that! ”

I always adored examining their well-wishes. And I wanted to show them that for some, traveling full time IS policy options, if you make a plan! But in our charge to leave, I never got the chance to write down what it looks like to plan for a journey like this.

So here are the details of OUR plan to go on this amazing adventure.

Timeline: 6 months to launch

Full-Time RV Travel With Kids – Are They Crazy?

Trailer vs. Motorhome: The WHY

Once we had the idea in our brains, we promptly hopped on YouTube to see what other houses were doing.

First, we were ASTOUNDED at how many kinfolks were traveling full term( some with 4 boys of more !). It gave us some confidence that this was NOT some far-fetched idea, and people were to be all right with more minors AND less infinite than we are also able.

We eventually find a duet with 4 teenagers who were towing a trailer that had bunk beds in the back chamber, a separate living space, and a master bedroom with a door.


We also acquired a few Facebook Groups for “full-time families”, and asked why some would choose towing a trailer when they could have the amenity of self-contained motorhome.

Bottom line: Motorhomes are less safe for kids in a hurtle, and the seatbelts for most of them are NOT bolted to the frame of the RV. Too, being in the same place as ALL YOUR STUFF when in a crash is MUCH more dangerous, especially for the boys in the living are of the motorhome.

So trailer it was!

And we established our trailer hand-picked by visiting a local RV show, researching through EVERY model, and at the end, we felt the mannequin that we had seen on YouTube, and it was love at first site!

Finding The RV

We knew we wanted to buy USED, because brand-new trailers are a hassle.

No earnestly!

We read horror story after repugnance storey of people buying brand-new, taking their first week-long trip, and coming back to the dealer with a 67 -point checklist of issues with the trailer. Then the trailer would sit in certificate repair-land for 6-9 months.

Apparently, most trailers are made cheaply, and you want to buy something exerted so the first proprietor can deal with all the warranty repair work, AND take the HUGE depreciation hit!

We examined on Craigslist, Offerup and Facebook Marketplace for our specific pose, one that was about 5-7 years old.

After a month of examining, we found one that seemed predicting, but I was traveling that week. So my partner dragged the 3 adolescents out to check it out that very same day, and then announced me and said “we need to buy this one! ”

Not wanting to get ripped off, we hired a neighbourhood “Mobile RV Inspector” to have a look. Best $ 300 ever spent!

Though the owner was SUPER sketchy( and we find last-minute, lied about a LOT of things ), the inspector was able to show us a handful of difficulties, tell us what repair would look like, and then told us “at the price they are listing at, I would buy it myself. It’s worth it.”

So the next day, we gathered out $15,000 currency from savings, and obtained our new( to us) 2011 Keystone Cougar 31 SQB travel trailer!( indication: these go for about $ 40,000 brand-new ).

But dwelling

Finding The Tow Vehicle

We had 3 kids, so we settled on buying a heavy-duty SUV that could tow over 9,000 lbs. There was only one option that we thought was “affordable”, so we purchased a 1999 Suburban 2500 with the 7.4 liter engine. It was merely $5,000, and on paper, should have done the job.

I say “should have”, because though we discontinued thousands in mends to make it road-worthy, it was better blew the transmission 1-week in to our trip.

You live. You Learn. Then you do diesel.

Our 2nd vehicle was a 2000 Ford F-2 50 turbo diesel for $14,000, and we’ve since employ 20,000 miles on it!

But there are always repair expenditures when you are towing your room all over the country. We’ve removed $4,000 into parts and pieces of that truck as well, but it has confidently trawled us anywhere we want to go, including off-road BLM land( will talk more about that last-minute ), and up 8% elevation evaluates with no issue.

But Wait, Where Did You Get The Money For This?

I seem to have put the cart before the pony here, so let me explain HOW we saved for this magnificent adventure.

We had been living on a budget for years( hence my website refer ), but with my spouse staying at home with the girls( which we Desire ), we weren’t able to save much. Around 2015, I was able to secure a few cases advertisings( not by luck, mind you, there was plan and desire behind this ), and we were able to start saving some coin.

We put most of it back into the house, but since the Seattle area residence grocery was going NUTS, we knew there was sweat equity in the DIY progress we were doing.

Eventually, we stopped the home betterments, and started putting away( up to) 40% of our income, as I latched on the FIRE movement( Financial Independence/ Retire Early)

Side note: It’s funny, because though I wanted to retire early, we were also looking to double our mortgage. And though I’m not retired right now, we are completely debt free, and closer to FIRE than had I maintained labor. Weird how “whos working” sometimes …

We had put aside about $25,000 in usable savings( the respite was invested) when we had this CRAZY traveling idea. This was hardly enough for a year on the road( though now encountering a few families on the road, it may have been possible with less RV and a few cases more frugal choices ).

We knew we needed to sell the house.

And since I was gambling my occupation and discontinuing my work, might as well extend ALL IN and sell everything we owned extremely!

We money this expedition through home equity “that weve got” built over 8 years of its ownership. We fucking walked with only under $200,000( like I said, Seattle housing is NUTS right now ), and this is helped us take a year off and store our brand-new business venture.

Related: How To Make Money While RVing

Hitting The Road

Now that we had the RV and tow vehicle secured, we needed to knock out a few things on the to-do list.

Timeline: 2 months to launch

You know, only a few minor things 😛 TAGEND

Remodel the Trailer( and fix ocean detriment we discovered) Finish all live projections( including trimming, openings, and depict the WHOLE HOUSE) List and Sell the house Get storage gang for keepsakes and some furniture Sell everything else( Facebook marketplace, 2 massive yard sale, and goodwill operates) Order responsibilities for towing the trailer( tires, hitch, etc .) Pack the trailer with our nonsense

Long story short, we ended everything and left on August 17 th, 2018.

We said goodbye to our friends, family, neighbors, drew away from the only house we’ve ever owned and left on the adventure of a lifetime!

Looking back, I don’t certainly recommend constricting the timeline like we did. If we had a few more months to devise, we probably wouldn’t have had so many grey-haired hairs.

But we knew we needed a deadline to actually do THE THING, so it worked for us.


Preparing To Travel With 3 Children

We really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.

Like, I had never towed ANYTHING before. We had never tented in an RV in our LIVES. We didn’t even know how to hook up the RV until our first night in the RV( which is a terrible fib for another time !).

But man, it’s crazy how much you can learn from YouTube, amirite?

Truly, I tell people that YouTube is my second dad!

Living in an RV was going from 0- 100 mph for us as their own families.

But prior to our escapade, we did a few purposeful things to ensure we could endure 365 daytimes living on the road with our young kids.

We traveled with our teenagers at a young age. We had always affection movement, but more in the’ hop on an airplane, get a rental car, stay in a hotel’ type of travel. And we are all familiar with many young genealogies are startled of drawn-out their adolescents on a trip like that, so they simply DON’T TRAVEL until they are older. Or just do small artery journeys. We LOVE facing things psyche on, so we were intentional about putting our children on an airplane at a young age( usually before they turned 1 ). And this included hauling the carseats, double-stroller, parcel n’ play and all our luggage through international airports. We was like a move circus demonstrate! Sure, it was stressful, but we wanted to make the road less traveled( pun proposed ), so our babies knew that hurtle was not only possible, but important! This helped our children get be applicable to long orders, being stuck in their set for Hours, and feel inventive ways to get their energy out WITHOUT losing their minds in public! We lay out a store called the “Adventure Jar.” Part of the stress during the transition was selling all of the kid’s toys( well, most of them. We continued their favourites and some works ). To help get them involved and EXCITED to part with their belongings, we created the “Adventure Jar.” This jar was our savings account for EVERYTHING we sold( besides the car and residence ). The sole purpose of this fund was to pay for FUN ADVENTURES on the road. While on the junket, if the boys said “hey let’s do that merriment thing! ”, we said “of course, it’s part of the Adventure Fund.” When they sold a doll, or furniture, or anything, we make them articulated the cash in the pot, and become part of the contribution to our upcoming adventure. We determined over $7,000 selling our material, which is over $ 500 per month for adventures in that first year! We concealed old-fashioned dolls and volumes for a few months. Ok, this sounds weird, but disguising toys and diaries from babies is AWESOME! Not exclusively do they are usually forget they had it, but when you making it out again, it’s like going it new all over again. We took journals and playthings they are able to experience( while being strapped into their carseats ), and employed them away in the garage, merely to load them into the car when we left and catch the minors.

By the time we launched with our house in tow, the boys been waiting for the escapade, and us mothers still had no idea what we were doing, HAHAHA!

Traveling With Kids: A Day In The Life

There are a few things we’ve learned along the way as we have gotten into our “travel groove.” Traveling with adolescents is different than going on a road jaunt with your marriage or friends. And choosing to embrace those limitations and difference starts life a WHOLE LOT EASIER.

Here’s what a typical epoch of RV travel looks like for us 😛 TAGEND

The epoch prior- try to pick up the RV as best we are able to. Pick up and put away all outside parts( motorcycles, table, chairs, playthings, mats, etc .). Are sleeping at a rational hour 7am- Wake up, coffee on, immediate yogurt and result breakfast for the girls. 8am- Once kids are out of bunked, start picking up their chamber, close in the “slide” and the office is then OFF LIMITS 9am- If needed, throw on a Tv prove to keep adolescents occupied while we continue preparing for travel. If it’s nice, they play outside. 10am- Finish securing EVERYTHING so it doesn’t get hurl around the RV. Hook up trailer to the truck, pack up the minors and pull out on to the road( typically around 11 am ). 11am- Once we made the superhighway, we frequently bust out the first round of snacks 12pm- Snacks depleted, minors may be get restless, put on a kid’s podcast( we like Story Pirates, WOW In The World, or Circle Round) 1pm- three-year-old asleep, more podcasts, more snacks

Side note: we use a bluetooth loudspeaker( our truck is old, has a tape player merely ). We side the speaker to the boys, turn the magnitude to a reasonable tier, and then the adults can have a conversation without bawling. THIS is when we talk life, projects, etc. Very good strategy for( predominantly) uninterrupted 1:1 season with your collaborator.

2-3pm- Arrive at new camping spot.

There are a few things that make this day get A LOT SMOOTHER. Think of this as a “traveling with teenagers CHEAT SHEET.” This can be applied to ANY road trip!

Snacks. Pack a variety of healthy snacks, and ration them depending on your section of tour. We spend money for organic, healthy menus, so snacks do balloon our budget a bit, but are HIGHLY worth noting. Shorter tour daytimes. This is KEY. Don’t force a 10 -hour, 500 -mile travel day to try to get somewhere quicker. This is where meltdowns occur, stir-crazy babies get wound up, and no one is happy at the end of the working day. In reality, you didn’t save a date of wandering, because the whole next day is shot merely RECEOVERING from the travel day.

We shoot to travel about 200 miles or less( only over three hour MAX ). Bathroom undermines, lunch, gas, etc. determines these days longer still, so don’t push it. If needed, find a halfway pitch( Walmart parking lot will do) and ballpark for the light. TRUST ME ON THIS!

Undertakings and records. We ever have puzzle journals, reading works, activity bibles and a few select toys in the truck. Adolescents have so much better exertion, and hiring their mentalities in an activity can help them use that force and learn at the same time. No TV. Period. I am not a parent that adjudicates beings that give their boys watch TV. Heck, our babies affection educational substantiates and animations on Netflix, and sometimes it helps our normality to be able to have a 30 -minute uninterrupted adult communication! But we have a “no TV in the car” policy that we will not budge on. Ever. Our adolescents are so imaginative, and when they are in front of the TV, we don’t get to experience that( and neither do they ). Our babies know not to say “I’m bored”, because we’ll ever tell them “only boring beings get bored! ” Instead, they even up floors, playing with their swine, or simply look out the window and experience this beautiful country.

Living In The RV: How We Make It Work

Our family lived in a 1,500 sq. ft. room prior to this adventure, and we were feeling CRAMMED. The homes we were looking to buy were typically over 2,500 sq. ft ., with 4 bedrooms and a 2 or 3 vehicle garage.

We felt like we needed MORE SPACE.

But instead, we substance our home of 5 into a 300 sq. ft. rolling live! HAH!

To make this work without stepping on one another and LOSING OUR MINDS, we were very specific in our RV choice.

In addition to the safety concerns mentioned above, you just plain get MORE space in a passage trailer or 5th wheel. You don’t lose 20% of your living space to a driving place, hence earmarking a larger layout.

We tow a 35 ft. trailer, and here’s what it looks like on the inside 😛 TAGEND


Jacob Wade


Ok, for those of you who Really want to know what it looks a lot like, here’s a full video walkthrough of our remodeled trailer!

Related: For more info on this trailer, check out the specs HERE.

The “slide out” double-faceds the dimensions of the our front room, the boys have their own room in the back with 3 bunk beds, and “were having” our own room in the breast with a solid grove sliding door.

Our room has basically ONLY space for a king mattress, but the kids room has good floor space for them to play in, and the living space is enough to cook, dine, watch a demonstrate, etc.

And the real key is that WE LIVE OUTDOORS!

We always say “we transactions in our 1/4 acre backyard for a BILLION ACRES of territory to explore! ”

As much as possible, well outside the RV. I BBQ out there, we eat outside, and the girls move and play outside the RV. This builds extending our 300 sq. ft. of living space much simpler, plus it’s the reason we are traveling, to enjoy brand-new places.

Now, when the forecast is bad, the girls often play in their apartment, but sometimes we’re merely stepping over one another, and that’s just life.

And to be honest, I “ve never” was almost like I wanted to buy a home merely to get more gap. I like ever being within earshot of my wife or girls. I like being involved in the day to daylight minutes that are frequently missed when we are in separate rooms.


Day to epoch life is much the same as at our previous house, except we are CLOSER as a family( physically and relationally ).

Here’s a typical period in living conditions of a trip household:

7am- Wake up, chocolate on. Some gentle age before kiddos get up( if possible) 8am- Breakfast on. Yogurt and result breakfast for the minors. Or bacon and eggs. 9am- Generally bundling up for a date undertaking. We peculiarly enjoy National park. We compress lunch and snacks, and spate of ocean. 10am- Hop in the car and intelligence into a common. 11am- If a National park, often punched the Visitor Center firstly, get the boys Junior Ranger program( one of the purposes of our homeschooling/ roadschooling ). Learn a bit about the common, ask for hikes or sightseeing recommendations 12pm- Arrive at sightseeing/ hike spot, eat lunch. 1pm- 4pm- Go on hike/ adventure. We commonly keep it 3-4 miles, but our kids have propagandized through 6 miles before. All depends on what we’re feeling up to. We take Piles of pictures, and just take in the knockout.

Side note: I can’t recommend National Parks fairly. They are truly unique, and impressive. The appeal of this country is understated in any drawing that you attempt to capture. There have been dozens of literal jaw-dropping times on our journey, and most of them occur at a National park.

5pm- Try to make it home with time to whip up dinner. Everyone is worn out, but glad. 7pm- Start bedtime routine. THIS IS IMPORTANT!

Side Note: We were TERRIBLE about this for the first few months, and bedtime was a nightmare. Our adolescents were trying to adjust to the brand-new speed of life, and not having a consistent bedtime routine didn’t help. Once we were diligent about the chore( snack, brush teeth, narration, prayers ), bedtime was less of a struggle.

8p m( ish)- #adulting 11pm- Bedtime

Side Note: This was normal of our first 12 months on the road. Our “Off” dates include homeschooling and daily chores( laundry, cleaning, errands, etc .). I made 12 months off, but now my daylights including working from 10 -5, and sometimes in the night. And we’ve slowed down our tour quite a bit, so less “Adventure” eras, and more at home days.

We try to plan one day on, one day off. Our “outing” eras are wearying( in a good way ), and trying to do multiple dates in a row boundaries up TERRIBLE for everyone.

Here are a few panoramic depicts from our undertakings 😛 TAGEND




Lessons Learned After 18 Months On The Road

We’ve grown and modified a WHOLE LOT after traveling the country for 18 months.

But since this post is already REALLY LONG, here’s a short list of ” lessons after 18 months traveling with adolescents:

We are so much closer as a family. Something about living in a minuscule home, away from extended family and friends raises the family closer together. We communicate on a much deeper level as a duet, we are all familiar with our kids’ hearts and brains MORE than we would have ever imagined, and we feel SO MUCH CLOSER as a family as a result of this errand. Which, if I’m honest, is my# 1 rationalization for quit and spending the money to take this year off. This is still life. And Life happens. But you deal with it better. When talking with other( non-traveling) folks, we find that most people just think of this as a trip. And it is, kind of. But most vacations are an attempt to escape from “real life”, and currently, this is real life. We have arguments, things separate, designs reform, parties get disheartened, stress happens. But living on the road FORCES you to deal with things immediately. There is no option of isolating yourself, or internalizing your publications. Everyone is here, so all issues are on the table immediately, and worked to resolution MUCH FASTER than or aged life. It’s expensive. Many dream of traveling the country. And there is a misconception that traveling in an RV is WAY cheaper than regular life. It’s not. We had to shell out about $35,000 just for the RV and Truck( and dead Suburban ). That’s a fairly steep roadblock to introduction. For the first 12 months, we still depleted about the same amount per month as we used to( about $5,500 per month ). Part of it is that we are splurging on adventures that we wouldn’t be doing ordinarily. Division of it is we don’t have predictable numbers, and we can’t buy things in volume( household components, meat) because there’s nowhere to store it. But overall, at least the method we are managing our commerces, RV travel costs about the same as our age-old life. Now, could we optimize this lifestyle a bit more? Sure. And we have been more recently( free camping on BLM public shore chipped our payment statement in half ). But knowing ourselves, we spend on what we deem important, and don’t waste money on what is not( intentional expend ). And so far, we aren’t saving a ton. Side Note: After 12 months, we been slow a LOT, and our current budget gives us a little bit closer to $ 4,000- $4,500 per month, so it is actually a bit cheaper now. We can do anything. There’s something that changes inside you when you give up everything you ever knew. All of your restrict faiths will be eliminated, and you recognize how much you were propping yourself back from being YOU. My wife and I have done something super unnerving( discontinuing hassle, selling everything, moving) and we are still alive. In fact, we are more alive than we have ever been! We now feel that we can tackle any challenge, truly, is everything, and we are no longer stopping ourselves from improving a life we want.

Would We Do It Again?

Looking back at all the obstructions we had to overcome to get here, sometimes it’s a wonder we ever made this happen. I’ve “wasted” more coin this year than any other time in my life. And the stress of the months leading up to departure literally stirred my wife’s hair come out!

But there is no job , no amount of money that I would sell for the experience we have had this past year.

And I don’t hesitate to advise ANYONE who is looking for a change of tempo to consider go for any period of age.

I ever tell people “A Budget is a Dream with a Plan.”

No matter what you want your life to look like next year, 3, 5 10 times from now, you need to WRITE IT DOWN. Build a project, and make it a reality.

And I absolutely speculate the best way to do that is with a simple budget.

If you have ever dreamed of leaving it all and punching the road, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Dream large-hearted, make a plan, build a budget, and start taking steps TODAY to get you from where you are, to where you want to be!

Are you interested in becoming a full-time RV family?

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