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Exploring America: The Joys and Challenges of Camper Travels with Kids

Our family has embarked on three memorable camper holidays so far, and America has always been our top choice for these adventures. We’ve explored the wonders of West-America, journeyed through Mid-America, and last year, we took our camper to Florida for our summer holiday. Our kids, Lotte and Floris, are huge fans of the camper, or as they affectionately call it, “the campervan”. Floris even suggested that we sell our house, buy a camper, and embark on a never-ending holiday. As tempting as that sounds, it’s not quite feasible at the moment. However, it could be an exciting prospect for our retirement years.

Traveling with kids in a camper has its perks, but it also comes with a few challenges. To help you weigh the pros and cons, I’ve compiled a list based on our experiences.

The Advantages of Camper Holidays with Kids

1. Explore More, Stress Less

For me, the greatest advantage of traveling with a camper is the freedom it offers. It can be a hassle for parents of young children to constantly pack and unpack suitcases, or to search for a bottle or diaper while on the move. With a camper, you unpack once at the beginning of your trip and repack at the end. It’s a convenient and stress-free way to travel.

2. Immerse Yourself in Nature with a Camper

For those who crave the great outdoors, a camper is your best travel companion. Unlike car trips where you’re confined to hotel rooms, a camper allows you to sleep under the stars, barbeque in the open air, and enjoy a glass of wine in the heart of nature.

3. Enjoy Consistent Comfort with Camper Sleeping Arrangements

Traveling with children like Floris and Lotte, who are sensitive to changing environments, can be challenging. However, a camper offers the same sleeping spot each night, eliminating the uncertainty of hotel cots and cleanliness. This consistency ensures a peaceful night’s sleep for everyone.

4. Save Money and Stay Healthy with Camper Meals

Dining out every evening can be expensive and less healthy, leading to those dreaded holiday pounds. With a camper, you have a fully stocked fridge, a microwave, and often an oven at your disposal. You can enjoy homemade sandwiches or salads in picturesque locations. Preparing meals in the camper also ensures your kids get nutritious food every day, making it a less stressful holiday experience.

5. Find Your ‘Me Time’ with a Camper

Traveling with kids can sometimes be less relaxing than you’d like. One of the best aspects of camper travel is the opportunity for some much-needed ‘me time’. Once the kids are tucked in, you can unwind by the campfire with a good book.

6. Turn Travel into an Adventure with a Camper

Long-distance travel can be tedious for kids, but a camper transforms it into a grand adventure. The elevated seating offers a great view, and the onboard table is perfect for activities like drawing or using the iPad. Suddenly, those long trips aren’t so bad after all.

7. Effortless Packing with a Camper

Traveling with kids is a different ball game compared to when it was just the two of us. Gone are the days when we could just throw our backpacks in a corner of a hostel and grab what we needed from it occasionally. With kids, especially little ones, you’re probably the one packing and unpacking every time, which can be quite a task. Searching for that bottle or clean diaper, or double-checking to ensure you haven’t forgotten anything can be nerve-wracking. However, a camper solves this problem instantly. You only need to unpack and pack your stuff once. It’s a game-changer!

8. Convenient Bathroom Breaks

Young kids often have trouble holding their pee. If your kid needs to pee while driving, simply stop the camper, let them have a quick pee, and drive on. It’s as simple as that.

These are some of the key advantages of a holiday with a camper. However, as a wise man once said, “every advantage has its disadvantage.” So, you may need to consider the cons of a holiday with a camper too.

Cons of a Holiday with a Camper and Kids

1. City or Nature?

A camper is ideally suited for travels where you have a lot of nature planned. We’ve had our share of challenges while traveling through Florida in a camper. For instance, finding a parking space in Miami or getting a ticket for parking in the center of Key West where it wasn’t allowed.

2. Flexibility

One common reason people hesitate to travel by camper is the perceived lack of flexibility. It can be frustrating to realize you’re out of bread and need to go to the supermarket after you’ve just settled in at the camping site. However, this isn’t as bad as it seems. We always plan our next day and ensure we have everything we need before we enter the camping site. And if we do forget something, it only takes about 3 minutes to get ready to go; unplug the electrical socket, the water and sewage, throw stuff lying around in the sink and off you go.

3. Considerations for Camper Travel: Fuel Consumption

Camper vans are large vehicles, which means they consume a significant amount of fuel. While gas prices are generally lower in the United States, these vehicles still consume a lot. For instance, during our last trip in a 30ft Road Bear camper, we noticed increased fuel consumption when driving in the mountains or accelerating on the highway. Filling up the tank could cost up to 200USD, which can be a bit of a shock.

4. Seasonal Considerations for Camper Travel

Before booking a camper, it’s crucial to consider the time of year and the season. Altitude can also affect your travel experience. In colder weather with potential frost, your camper may need to be de-iced to prevent pipes from freezing and causing damage. This could mean you won’t be able to use water facilities, including the toilet and shower.

So, what’s your take on a camper holiday with kids? Do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?


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