7 Things We Hate About Full-Time Family Travel

1. Leaving Family and Friends

We wrote a dedicated post on this one (The Hardest Thing About Life On The Road) and this still is and will always remain the #1 thing we hate about full-time family travel. It is definitely something we question. Living nomadically was never in our plans, then all of a sudden, it was.

The thought of leaving our friends and family behind made us sick to our stomachs. Yet once we had this idea in our head we knew we would regret it if we didn’t try. I wouldn’t say that over the years it has gotten easier, but I will say we have gotten more used to the good-byes. Maybe it is because we know how much fun it is when we see each other again. Or maybe because when we do see friends and family, we cherish the time we have together more!

Another thing that came from this that I wasn’t expecting was this fear of the unknown of what our future looks like with our kids when they grow up. Will they end up living all over the world and never have a home base where we all celebrate holidays together? Will they live a constant life of wanderlust?

Both Craig and I grew up in a typical lifestyle with the picket fence, going to school, doing sports/activities, having lots of family and friends around. So we’re not sure about the future we are building for our kids living our life this way. We are excited yet nervous about this, but also know that Craig and I will follow our kids wherever they go – and will always be sure we are in their life.

2. Not Having Your Own Yard or Kids Bedrooms To Mess Up or Decorate

I actually noticed this one right when we moved into our first location at a Jellystone Park when we started full-time RVing over 2 years ago. We used to live in a house on a half-acre with a fenced in back yard and we let the kids paint on the fence or play with shaving cream on the deck. We also had a large sandbox, put in a pool, a trampoline and a swing set. We were planning on adding in a mud pit and playhouse.

Needless to say the kids had lots of room to run and lots of freedom to kind of do what they wanted. When you move into an RV park, all of a sudden you are living on someone else’s property . . . and they may not want you painting all over their picnic table or even coloring with chalk on their cement.

This has definitely been an adjustment and has had to change our parenting style in a way that we didn’t really want to but had to in order to be living this lifestyle. We still try to find opportunities when we can let the kids play the way they used to, but it takes a lot more planning now.

PaintingByRV

As for the bedrooms, we choose for the kids to each have their own bunk beds so this area could become their space. We had them pick the color that they wanted the walls painted and also put stickers up. This has helped give them their space but they don’t have much room to leave things like completed Lego creations or a doll bed out.

Not having a bedroom means everything always needs to be cleaned up and put away. Since there just isn’t room to leave things out. With a bedroom or basement you could shut the door and forget about it. Not so much when you are living in such a small space.

We have chosen to give these things up in order to live this lifestyle. Our kids did not choose this, yet we ask them often if they want to keep traveling and almost 100% of the time the answer is yes they want to keep traveling. But that doesn’t mean they don’t miss these things because they do. However they have done a great job moving on from it and letting it go.

3. Moving Days

Moving Days . . . the days Craig and I always question what we are doing . . . until we get to a new place and realize how cool it is and get excited to get out and explore a new location! Over the years we have gotten better at moving days and are hoping when we downsize that we can simplify it even more.

Having a rig with 4 slide outs and beds that have to be put away and set back up each time we move definitely adds to the frustration. Plus having to move car seats in and out of the rig. Then there is the actual driving . . . 

Driving a rig that is almost 40′ long plus towing the car and weighs over 32,000 pounds is no stroll in the park. Not that I drive it 🙂 but I ride in it and I am aware of how big we are and it is stressful! I swear we are going to hit mirrors with every semi we drive past.

Then the kids in the back yelling for food, that they have to go the bathroom, they’re hot, they’re cold, everyone with kids totally gets the ups and downs of a road trip!

4. Missing the Familiar

There is definitely comfort in the familiar. We gave most of that up with living a life of full-time family travel. Yes, the rig is familiar which is awesome as our home base and why we like this style of traveling vs. hotels, house swapping, or AirBnB’s. However each time we get to a new location we have to learn where we are and what the lay out is for the city.

Driving in the car with kids used to be my downtime since I knew where I was going. I didn’t have to concentrate on directions. Not the case when you are in a new location. Visiting all these new places is part of the reason we do this, but it does mean it is always easy!

Being back in Wisconsin after 9 months on the road reminded us of the familiar and how good that does feel. But it doesn’t stop us from wanting to hit the road again. But now we just enjoy the familiar of being home and appreciate it more!

5. Grocery Stores

Craig laughs, and I know I have mentioned it before, but man this is so true!! You know how you have a favorite grocery store, maybe the prices are right, the produce is great, whatever it may be. Boy, do I miss that. Now I am going to a new grocery store multiple times a month and it is like starting your first day at a new school.

I don’t know where anything is. They don’t have my brands. Things cost way more than I am used to. Trying to feed a family and stay on a budget is not easy when you are in an unfamiliar grocery store. The cool part is they usually have a local speciality – like fresh picked cherries or Huckleberries so I try to take advantage of those.

When we went back to Wisconsin last time I happened to run into my sister at our favorite grocery store back home and we both were like WOW it is so cheap here! Did you see the price for avocados?? It was too funny :).

6. Never Ending Wanderlust

Wanderlust

We have awakened this never-ending wanderlust that we seriously didn’t really know we had. Having lived this lifestyle for a while now, I don’t know if we could ever go back to a normal life.

Our eyes have been opened to this amazing world and we want to see more, touch more, smell more of it. And man we live in a big and beautiful world so there is so much to see.

As I mentioned above, this does scare me a little bit because our kids are eventually going to grow up and go out on their own. Have we awakened this wanderlust in them so we will have to work hard to keep track of them when they leave?

We joke that either they will buy a house in a city and never travel or they will end up sailing down the Amazon river and exploring even more and deeper then we ever have. Only time will tell!

7. Close Neighbors 

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This is a tough one. We aren’t perfect, our kids aren’t perfect. We yell. We cry. We laugh loudly. The kids wrestle. And our neighbors are 10 feet away . . . when the windows are open, the noise travels quickly. This is hard with kids.

We definitely feel embarrassed and worried that everyone can hear everything that goes on in our rig and that it isn’t always pretty. We have to tell ourselves that when people stay in an RV park they expect that. We also are as considerate as possible, but there are just times when the kids are going to breakdown and cry, and cry, and cry.

This took getting used to, but it is part of what we have to be OK with if we are going to travel the way we are. Yes, we could go boondock in places where no one else is around and we may end up doing that. But for now, we aren’t.

Almost 8. 1 Bathroom For 6 People

To be honest, when we first started, I thought this would be on the list since we were leaving a house with 3 full bathrooms and 1 half bath. The reality is, it really isn’t as big of a deal as we thought.

Yes there have been a few times we have had to take the boys outside (I mean in the bathroom at the campground . . .) to pee or to rush someone through going the bathroom so someone else doesn’t poop on the floor, but for the most part it isn’t an issue.

And guess what that means? 1 toilet to clean not 4!! That is a win in my book.

We were never under the impression that this lifestyle was going to turn our life into a perfect life that had no issues. So we are OK with these challenges and continue to work on making them less of a challenge. But hey, like with anything things are never going to be perfect and we focus on accepting that and enjoying all the amazing things that full-time family travel brings to us and our family.



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23 thoughts on “7 Things We Hate About Full-Time Family Travel”

  1. Gosh Bryanna, it looks like you’re on an amazing adventure! It looks like fun and there are some great tips here. Is taking off in a giant motorhome for months at a time pretty common over there? By the way, your dog looks pretty comfortable on the couch.

    • Thanks! Not to common but there are a group of families that do it full-time and it is becoming more popular. Yes the dogs have made it home :).

  2. It sounds like there are so many challenges with long-term travel, especially with kids, yet so many benefits. I’ve done a lot of travelling and lived abroad and definitely miss the familiar yet crave seeing more of the world too 🙂

  3. Great post Bryana. Moving day is tough for us too. With the little guy getting older it is more work getting everything together.

  4. It seems funny but I do miss my close supermarkets when travelling. Or let’s say I just hate finding a good one when I need it. I am sure travelling gives you so much more adventures and memories than staying at one place!

  5. What a great article on how lovely is to travel with your family. I can’t wait to go on the road with my wife and little boy. We’re actually thinking on buying a camping car also… Haha Never Ending Wanderlust!!! I’m sure your kids will be full time adventurous people! I particularly love this one. I’m going to share this article it’s great! thank you

  6. What an amazing adventure! I like your mention of the things like grocery shopping, because in my experience, those little things really make a difference. Props to you and your family for continuing this adventure.

  7. May i ask, How do you make income on the road? Maybe your just already blessed financially? No offence I have often wondered how we could do the same lifestyle and make it work. Thanks

    • No worries! We know people wonder. We have started an online business and before that my husband had a job that let him work remote. We wrote about how we afford it here: http://www.crazyfamilyadventure.com/afford-full-time-family-travel/ Things have changed since my husband doesn’t have his old job anymore (by our choice). We will be updating this post in the next few months. We know it is important for people to know how we make it work and we also like to show people that it is possible!

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