Four years ago, I (Kate) read about a family that sold everything to travel the US in an Airstream. At the time I had never heard of the lifestyle, but as minimalists, we were very intrigued by this unique way to travel while living “normal” lives. We had seen very little of the country at the time, my husband worked nonstop, and we craved a close family connection. Since our kiddos were young, we hoped to create a tight family bond from the get-go rather than needing to repair those connections after they had been damaged by a typical, busy lifestyle. We hit the road in March 2018 with a 10-month-old, 4-year-old, and a 7-year-old with the desire to live more simply, see the country, and visit family and friends.
We have three kiddos and wanted a bunk set-up without having a really long travel trailer or a 5th wheel, so we bought a Lance 2185 26′ travel trailer paired with a Tundra Crew Cab SR5 truck. We value being able to tow easily and fit into smaller campsites, and the Lance 2185 is the only travel trailer we could find with triple-stacked bunks in a relatively short trailer. The bathroom door swings open to close off the bunk area for privacy, and our bed is on the other side of the trailer from the bunks. It’s a great set-up for a family of 5!
Our Work Life On The Road
Before we started traveling full-time, my husband worked as a Speech Pathologist at a hospital, and I taught online for a university while homeschooling the kids. Now that we’re on the road, my husband takes contract travel Speech Pathology rotations. These are 13 weeks long, and we are able to choose where we would like to go. I continue to teach online, and I also launched the Streamlined Life, my own motherhood coaching and education business along with my solo podcast, Streamlined Motherhood.
The Best Celebration Yet
We’ve had so many amazing experiences, but my favorite was celebrating our youngest’s first birthday in Monterey, California. We had a seafood feast on the beach, went whale watching on the Pacific, and played at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was such a special way to celebrate his birthday, and we would have never been able to have those kinds of experiences if we didn’t move our family life onto the road.
Oh, Hello Black Water Tank
We made so many mistakes! I think one of the worst (that my husband will be so mad at me for admitting) was when he tried to dump the black water tank late at night and the hose wasn’t connected properly to our camper. It made a big mess of him, and he had never been so well acquainted with the contents of our toilet until that moment!
Less Is More
My advice for traveling with babies and children is to take the least amount of items you can think of and then cut that amount in half again. My kids rarely play with toys and instead, engage in imaginative play outdoors. You can always find stores to buy the essentials if you run out, but if you start on the road with too much it will only get more cluttered and chaotic from there.
Taking Your Time Is Cheaper
Stay away from California, it’s so expensive! No, in all seriousness, it’s important to treat traveling full-time as a normal life and not a vacation. It’s fun to do touristy activities when you can, but do too much and you will blow your budget. Campgrounds and RV parks are cheaper the longer you stay, so if you’re trying to save money, don’t move campgrounds every few days. We’ve been able to work out discounts of 50% or more just by staying a month in one spot.
Having A Schedule Is Still Needed
My husband and I work full-time on the road, and the way we make it work is by treating our travels like our normal routine. He goes to work during the day, and I stay home with the kids to care for and school them. I work primarily in the evenings and after the kids are asleep. We stick to a normal routine during the work week and then adventure in the evenings and weekends! We wish we were 100% digital nomads, but the silver lining of our situation is that the kids are better able to stay in a routine by not moving around so much.
Cheers To New Adventures
We are planning to wrap up our travels in the next few months but will continue living tiny for the next year or so. Our next adventure is city life, community building, and pursuing our side hustles. My husband is an incredible musician (check him out: Kirk Saffle), and settling in one place will allow him to focus on his music career. I will be growing my motherhood coaching business and helping build a community in the city we are moving to. We are excited for this next phase and can’t wait to share it with you all!