When was the last time everyone in your family gathered around the dinner table together? Or for that matter, the breakfast table? Or all said goodnight at the same time and woke at the same time, with the sun, refreshed, energized and excited for the day ahead? With the TGIF syndrome, I’m betting it’s been a VERY VERY long time since you’ve woken totally psyched for another day? It might be time to recharge …
Life was meant to live and to enjoy, but so many of us get stuck in a cycle of work, eat & sleep and there just is no time to have fun. We are such a busy culture. Rushing from one appointment to the next, shuttling our kids to keep up with their overbooked schedules, nary a moment to breathe.
What are we doing to ourselves and our families? The fine art of chilling has been totally lost, we think we have to keep our kids busy, busy, busy to ensure they stay out of trouble, but all you need to do, really, is supervise them, be with them, engage them and help them find things they are passionate about.
Here are the biggest perks in an RV Family Vacation …
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner together, as a family. This, my friends, is a lost art, and that’s is a travesty for families. We tend to be a “more is good” society — more activities, more friends, more money, but when it comes to family time, we tend to shrug it off thinking we’ll have the opportunity later. Trust me when I say, later is never coming. As your kids grow, their time becomes more valuable to them, they have friends, they have jobs, they have passions that they want to pursue …
Meal time is the perfect time for everyone to come together over a home cooked meal and discuss their day. I have yet to meet a teenager who doesn’t love to eat … it’s the best laid plan, folks!!
Since most families are totally starved for time together, a family meal can bridge the gap between siblings and parents. You put down the cell phones, the work laptop, even schoolwork and you just talk, plain and simple. It’s a very special time, and RV’ing definitely provides the perfect environment to begin or continue this family tradition of eating together! Not to mention the fact that when everyone sits down at the table to eat, you tend to eat a heck of a lot better, no?
Your Time is Yours
A leisurely vacation is what family’s dream of, the night before they have to rush to the airport, endure security checks that confiscate baby bottles, try to make it through a flight with their young kids without driving other passengers crazy, find their rental car, hit a fast food restaurant because blood sugar levels are hitting an all-time low, get to the hotel in time for bedtime, except the kids slept in the car on the way to the hotel and so, yeah, they aren’t tired.
On the flip side, an RV family vacation allows you to leave when you want to leave, stop where you want to stop, detour where you want to detour, eat whenever the kids need recharging … it’s a total and utter relaxing vacay! I can’t tell you how many times we stop at random parks or at a lake or somewhere just to get out and play.
And since the travel is so relaxing, we actually spend it with our kids instead of simply doing damage control. Reading books, playing cars or lego’s, coloring, playing playdough … whatever, it’s just a smaller version of home & the smallness actually helps with the bonding!
I’m going to drop a proverbial RV bomb, but I am NOT a fan of RV rentals. First, they aren’t “affordable” by any stretch of the imagination and they nickel and dime ya as bad, if not worse, than car rental agencies. So … get your own RV. You can find them for less than what a new Suburban will cost, and more than with the suburban, an RV will be an investment in your family.
This, seriously, might sound nuts, but I am totally serious. Your first RV family trip could honestly cover the upfront costs of an RV, or you could go the luxury route, purchase a Newmar Dutch Star and love it more than your home. (we do). RV’s are tax deductible as second homes, you can take out a 25 year loan (maybe more) AND vacations are WAY cheaper in an RV than your traditional vacay with hotels, restuarants, flights, etc!
In fact, the RV industry claims and RV vacation can cost a family of four up to 59% less than other modes of travel. Plus you can tack on more savings by bringing your bikes, surf boards, snowboards, SUP’s, kayaks, dirtbikes and ATV’s, golf clubs, bowling balls … even dumbbells. No lie, we actually travel with a set of Bowflex Selecttech Adjustable Dumbbells.
And, as I’ve been shouting from the rooftops to anyone who will listen, you save tons of money on food because you never EVER have to eat out, which is not only good for your wallet, but your health as well!!
Plus, BONUS: owning an RV means every weekend or holiday can hold the promise of a vacation … allowing quick getaways with minimal preparation!!
Gets You & Your Kids Unplugged (at least while outdoors)
Are you finding it increasingly difficult to carry on a conversation with the people in your family because they are always on their laptops, tablets, phone or playing some stupid video game? Then you need an unplugged vacay!
I wrote a blog about my 6 favorite family vacations that get you unplugged and focused on each other for TravelingMom.com. It really got me to thinking how awesome RV’ing is for that, especially for us. It gets you to where you are going, gets the family outside charging some great hike, floating some amazing float, climbing, biking, whatever and then in the evening, everyone sits around a campfire.
Most nights we are too tired to even think about screen time, let alone actually engage in it. That’s what the outdoors do to you, refresh your mind, revive your soul and exhaust you physically!! That’s a win/win for parents!
Life Slows Down
We are big on the boondocking, you know, going out into the middle of nowhere to find a place to camp, typically by a river or at least some body of water. Here life slows to a crawl. Camping is funny that way. We play games, we go for hikes, we explore, we kayak, we SUP, we read, we set up our Slack Line, we stargaze … the list is endless, but we don’t leave and we are together and time slows down to a crawl. The lazy days of summer, is what we are after when we boondock.
If totally roughing it is not for you, then check out a KOA Kampground, they have full hook-ups, are kid and dog friendly, playgrounds for kids, a dog-run for your pup, and often have extra amenities to make your stay uber fun, like a pool, a hot tub, and more. There are many people whose vacation destination is a KOA campground because they focus on the outdoors, with a flair of luxury …
RV’ing gives you the permission to leave everything behind … work, school, soccer, piano lessons, and all the other distractions and just focus on each other. It’s such an incredible thing, to really connect with your kids, that you won’t want to return home. I know, it happened to us. 🙂
Make Memories with Your Family
So many parents send their kids to summer camp, or away for a weekend of boating with their friends family, or for a month or more for hockey camp in Canada because they can’t take the time off of work to go. It’s understandable, we all have to work to make a living, I totally get it! But you are sourcing out your kids’ memories.
What you’ll hear down the road are all the memories your kids made with other people’s parents and the memory they will have of you is one of paying for their tickets, driving them to the airport, waving as your kids’ friends’ family car barrels down the street toward epic fun. Paying for your kids to travel is NOT the same thing as traveling with them!
That is not what family memories are made of. Your kids should have memories of vacations with you and that’s what RV vacations specialize in. I’ve said this before, but I think it begs to be repeated; we thought we were a close knit family before, now it’s off the chart! 🙂
It seems most things these days are aimed at separating the family, for a whole host of reasons, why not take a break from that and truly take a family vacation? Mom, dad,kids. There are so many great, amazing places that are suitable for everyone at any age. It sounds impossible, but your teen can have fun on the same trip as your toddler or your parents! Nature is an equal opportunity enjoyment place. A family vacation really doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, it just needs to be relaxing, fun and offer an opportunity for everyone to reconnect!