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Make time to plan out your adventure.
Many families dream of embarking on big RV Adventures but are at lost for information on how exactly to make their awesome dream into their new reality. Hitting the road fulltime as a traveling family doesn’t happen by accident. In fact, there is a lot of research, planning and number crunching that comes before launching the big adventure and even more to successfully keep it going. Having a plan in place is the only thing keeping your family on the right side of crazy and chaotic- although there are bound to be moments that will blur that line entirely!
Setting yourself up to be successful is the best way to ensure you succeed. To do that, you’ve got to be able to answer basic questions about your choices, what you’re doing, where you’re going, and be able to explain your reasoning. Try making a list of questions that you would likely ask if given the chance to interview a nomadic family… then answer them honestly.
Each list will be different, but here are some questions to think about:
- What made you decide to live in an RV with your family?
- How do you homeschool your children? Where do you store the supplies?
- What did you do with all your stuff?
- Do you have a permanent home? Where do you call home?
- How do you get your mail? File Taxes? Vote?
- Will you only stay in campgrounds or is boondocking an option?
- What did your extended family think about this idea?
- Will your travels be weather dependent? Is your RV suitable for winter conditions?
- How much will you have to save to start the adventure? How long will that take?
- Are you guys together all the time?
Planning the Adventure:
Soon after discussing this epic trip with your family you’ll notice the ever increasing urge to whip out the map and start planning. This is honestly one of the best tools an RV traveler can have! Map skills are a must- start teaching yourself, then your spouse and then the kids how to read a basic map. Let’s just be honest- sometimes stopping for directions is just not an option!
Brainstorming is always the key! Get a few large poster boards and pin them to your living room walls. Organize your family’s goals, thoughts, expectations, and fears on colored post-it notes (use one color for each family member) and allow the entire family enough time to read and reread the boards for several days. As things change rearrange the post-it notes. Notice common factors, both good and bad, this will help you when narrowing down what exactly the trip will entail.
After giving everyone enough time to get all their thoughts together, whip out the map! Sit everyone around the dining table, or even better clear out some space on the floor, bring over the poster boards for guidance and start planning where your family will go! Obviously, you’ll be starting in your current location but where will you go from there? I suggest starting your adventure with a destination close to your home- to test the waters, but the choice is yours!
Placing stickers on the points or places that your family has agreed upon is a great way to start. Once you figure this out, you’ll begin mapping a trip to and from your points on the map. Aside from the weather, another major consideration, your family might want to think about when planning your route are holidays. Having a clear picture where you want to be on big holidays, birthdays and even anniversaries, can play a big part in how you decide to map out your road adventure.
What’s next? We’re glad you asked!
After you’ve made a clear plan or at least the start of a clear plan, it’s probably time to start directing your attention to your new home! If you already have an RV this step will be a breeze- but for many families, this is the hardest decision they’ll make.
What will your family be traveling in?
Buying the RV:
Deciding which RV is right for your family is a tough decision- one that several families have made a few times. If you’re lucky, you’ll get this right the first time, but keep in mind as your needs change or the family grows there may be a need to renovate or even find a new RV altogether.
Starting your search at a nearby RV Dealership will give you a great idea of what you’re looking for! The first time you go- take the whole family! Let the kids go inside every model! Let them test whatever they want! This will get their dreams racing and give you a picture of what it will be like with your family inside such a small space!
After your first trip to the dealership- make a list of the good, the bad and the ugly! Pick the items you must have, want to have and things that would just be awesome if you could have. How many sleeping areas do you really need? Will you really need the extra space from a slide out? How long of an RV do you feel comfortable driving? Will you tow a vehicle- if not you’ll have to drive your RV to the grocery store…. Really sit and think about all the things that your family would have to have, in order to make this work! Once you know your comfort zones- shopping for an RV that meets your needs and expectations, inside your budget, will go a lot smoother not to mention bringing you one step closer to reality.
After you’ve successfully completed asking the right questions, planning your adventure and buying your RV, it’s probably time to address the elephant in the room…
What are you going to do with all your belongings?
Very few things are needed but for some reason our houses a full of items we’ve purchased for reasons that all seemed legitimate up until this point. Generally, RV’s will not be able to offer this type of storage capacity, especially if you have a large family. Sure you’ll have space for clothing, shoes, personal items, a few books, and your kitchen necessities, but there’s just no way around it, you can’t take it all with you! So really there are only two questions you need to ask yourself….
- What are we taking?
- What are we doing with everything else?
Take a piece of paper or your tablet and make a three column list. Use your first column for the ‘item name’, the second for the ‘current location’ and the third for the ‘RV location’. As you go through each room- pick the items that are definitely going into the RV and add them to your list. Keeping track this way will make things much easier when it’s time to pack up your new home.
As for everything else, the two most popular choices are storing it or donations and garage sale. We recommend donations and garage sale. As you go through your home, make a pile or put a big box in each room to fill with the items you’ve decided will not be coming. Sort your items and price accordingly. Host a garage sale one week from your departure date, to try to earn some last-minute cash and then donate what is left over.
Stay positive when things aren’t picture perfect.
Making your RV dream your new reality can sometimes be a roller coaster full of ups and downs. So buckle in and tackle the big hurdles first so your family can fully enjoy the adventure, without any added stress. Once you’ve addressed the major concerns on planning for your family’s fulltime RV adventure- you’ll have a much clearer picture of what needs to be done, where you’re going and how to get there. Keep in mind, planning can take anywhere from a few months (if you’re lucky) to a few years. Just don’t get discouraged- just keep moving forward until you’re ready to make the leap!