We are the Boudreaux’s: Doug, Harmony and kids Brittany, Anthony, James, Colin, and Emmett. We have been on the road full-time RVing since September 2016. We started full-time RVing to spend more time with our children. We were both working full time and lacked real “family” time which we all desperately needed. My [Harmony] dad was a pioneer in full-time RV traveling with kids, Rving for 5+ years back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s with my 2 younger brothers. Doug and I had a long drawn out plan (including the birth of our youngest and adoption of one of the others) to get on the road and executed it over a 19-month time frame.
Our Home Sweet Home’s
We chose the Toy Hauler 5th wheel because of its size, and its self-sufficiency. We originally set out in a 32′ travel trailer with a large SUV, and quickly decided that there wasn’t enough space for all of us comfortably, so we upgraded to the 5th wheel.
We chose the Winnebago also because of size. But size in a different way. For our trip to Alaska, we wanted to be able to camp just about anywhere and unfortunately, the 40’ 5th wheel just isn’t as easy to get in and out of tight places. In addition, since there are 7 of us, we didn’t want to have to bring the minivan, so a motor-home was the best choice for this adventure. We bought the classic motor-home, and did some basic renovations, and brought it into the 21st century with Solar power.
How We Got On The Road
Doug worked for a machine shop doing online sales and social media marketing while I ran an in-home daycare. We were lucky enough to have no debt before launching, and after selling a house, business and a lot of other stuff, we were able to scale back how much we needed to work. This gave us time to work on our blog and YouTube Channel which have grown into an income. In addition, since we were renovating the Winnebago in the Seattle area for several months last winter, Doug took on a seasonal holiday job for extra money.
Finally Getting A Washer And Dryer
We started traveling when our youngest was 10 months old and we chose to use cloth diapers. Cloth diapering was both good and bad. The good side is there was no additional cost involved, diapers are very expensive. But until we got the washer/dryer in the RV, doing laundry was a chore. Adding the washer/dryer to the RV was an absolute game changer, it allowed us much more time together without those many trips to laundromats.
Choosing To Have No Pets
We had 4 dogs before we launched, but we chose to re-home them. We didn’t want the added responsibilities, nor was it fair to have them cooped up in a small space all the time. We would recommend traveling without pets. When exploring places, sometimes we are gone 8+ hours and having to bring them along is as inconvenient as having to race home to let them out. In addition, depending on climate, you have to leave on an air conditioner or heater for them.
Internet In Our Home
We use Verizon’s standard unlimited plan and honestly do not see a need to go beyond that right now. We do not have a TV in either of our RVs and we aren’t the type of people that spend time streaming Netflix or anything like that. We use our internet to upload our videos to YouTube and the unlimited plan works great, even when throttled down.
What Works For Us
Our first year and a half we used campgrounds and RV parks. It works well and we are members of Thousand Trails and a couple other memberships that help make it affordable. During our current trip to Alaska, we are mainly boondocking and love it! We definitely plan to do more of it from now on! For a family planning to hit the road, we would definitely recommend Thousand Trails. Not only is it affordable but its a great place to connect with other families living the same lifestyle.
Being Mindful With Our Money
You cannot approach this lifestyle as if its a vacation. If you live life as a tourist, your bank account will disappear very quickly. This is life, not a vacation. Although we set up a budget, we haven’t always done the best at following it. If you are going to set a budget do your math and figure out what you think you will spend based on what you currently spend on food, clothing, etc…then add 20%. Prices vary from region to region on everything from gas to groceries and things are going to break or need repairs and maintenance. Give yourself a buffer on your budget, especially for the first 6 months, until you can get a baseline and then adjust.
Getting To Know Our RV’s
RV repair shops are usually busy and not budget friendly. The more you can do on your own, the better off you will be. There are many forums, facebook pages, and places that offer information and support for your specific make and model. I have also found that Amazon has almost all of the parts we have needed, with a better price and quicker turnaround than the RV part stores. You should also carry some general tools. You never know when you might wake up and have no power, water leak or something else. Having a tool to make a repair in a pinch might save more money for future repairs.
What Our Future Holds For Us
We have the next couple years carved out in the sand and after that, we have been thinking about doing some “Part-time” travel. Maybe set up a home base back in Montana, do summers there and winters in different a region. We love the national parks and want to spend time exploring several of them more thoroughly. Beyond that, we really have no idea what the future holds for us and our travels. As our kids get older, we will want to put ourselves in a place to better position them for life out of the nest.