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Van Life With Kids: Tips for Fantastic Family Van Travel

Camping With Kids Can be a Blast

Sharing your love of travel with your kids can be a blessing. Showing them the joy of being on the open road and experiencing new places daily can be gratifying and strengthen family bonds.

However, this satisfaction comes with hard work and thorough planning before embarking on a van life adventure with kids. Organization, planning, and patience can make your family comfortable during each van camping trip.

This article will outline some tips and suggestions to keep road trips running as smoothly as possible.

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Van Life with Kids

Traveling with older kids can be easier than with a toddler or a baby, but it still has its challenges. While a young child needs lots of supplies to be comfortable, the same is true for older kids. Instead of diapers, a playpen, and lots of baby food, older kids may need a phone, tablet, and snacks for your tween or teen.

One main point to mention is maintaining a sense of routine and structure while on the road. Sticking to a schedule on bedtimes, amount of screen time and similar daily activities is equally important for toddlers and teens. In other words, the same rules and time frames should apply whether on the road or at the house.  

The other main concern for kids and teens is having enough room for all necessities. Organization is key to providing enough storage space without shorting the van of comfort. Some vanlifers use color-coded duffel bags and storage cubes to be able to store things easier. A duffel bag can sometimes hold more clothing which can be folded, pinched, bent, and stuffed into an area easier than a hard suitcase. With each family member having a specific color, gaining access can be much easier.

Pairing down and only taking the most necessary items is an obvious suggestion, but one that can be overlooked once the van loading begins. Making a list of ‘must haves’ for each family member will help make packing and loading the van much easier and more effective.

How to maintain a sense of routine and structure while on the road

Choosing a set amount of hours for driving is an important step in providing a routine that mirrors home life. If dinner is always ready at 5 pm, ensure your driving day is finished around 4 pm. Arriving at the RV Park by this time will allow time for setup and having dinner ready by 5 pm. After dinner, there can be some exploration around the park before showers and bedtime.  

Prepping snacks and even meals for the next day can be done the night before. Rationing a proper snack amount for the younger kids will save time and energy the next day.

Van Life with Babies and Toddlers

Traveling with babies and toddlers can also be a rewarding situation. But it may take more planning and thought on your part. Baby-proofing the van and being able to fasten in a car seat properly are the two biggest parts of preparation. The next important point is where the bundle of joy will sleep. While some vanlifers create a small cubby of space out of a partitioned seat, others use the car seat and then co-sleep with the baby at night. For the individual comfort of the baby, many recommend this child-sized sleeping bag.

For those opting to let the baby day sleep in the car seat, plan on stopping every two or three hours to allow the baby to be free of the car seat for a bit. In the United States, babies are recommended not to remain in car seats for longer than two hours at a time, and there should be frequent breaks.

Products to Include in Trips

We all like to stay plugged in, and while it might be more of a “have-to” for teens, adults like to share pics on social media as well. In case of a weak signal where you are camping, be prepared with your own personal Wi-Fi hot spot from a brand like Solis. Connect up to 10 devices and use the portable hot spot as a power bank for extra charging power. If you will be on the road for an extended trip or full-time, a more robust internet solution from Mobile Must Have may be the way to go.

To keep an eye on the baby while driving, bringing the Tiny Traveler Monitoring System on board is ideal.

Tiny Traveler Monitoring System

Mounted on the dashboard or front windshield, the camera can record videos and snap photos and can also be set up as a split screen to keep an eye on two tiny travelers.

LAKA Coolers would come in handy for carrying the essential drinks, veggies, and sandwich meat for the trip. Choose the size that fits your needs: 20, 30, and 45 quarts.  

LAKA Cooler in a van

With a telescoping handle and one model with wheels, transporting to and from the van doesn’t have to be a struggle. The thick wall design keeps ice cold for up to 10 days.

Thinking of Full-Time Van Life With Kids?

Want to learn from the experts how to be ready to road school for the remainder of this school year or the upcoming year? Sign up for the RV LIFE Masterclass. This course is Included with an RV Life Pro subscription and part of the RV LIFE Pro Member Bundle. Learn more about the RV LIFE Pro Masterclass Member Bundle here.

Want to learn about all the advantages and tools that RV LIFE Pro Members enjoy? Click here to learn more!

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