Last Updated on 11/23/2023 by Glynn Willard
There’s no question, the van lifestyle is growing (rapidly). And for good reason.
But is living in a van full time a good idea for a family?
That is certainly up for debate, but I think a family with a camper van has a lot of options.
Although, I’m not so sure I totally dig the term “vandweller” being the phrase associated with my family.
Regardless, it’s in our pipeline.
Are you considering camper van life, but you have kids?
Is Van Life Suitable For A Family With Kids?
Yes, you can you live in a van with kids.
I suppose you can live just about anywhere with kids. I mean, where there’s a will, there’s a way, right!?
And yes, there are plenty of manufactured and custom campervans that can sleep up to 4 people.
There’s more set up involved than a large RV. But oh how wonderful the agility of a van is in tight spaces in a town a city!
Shoot, you can stealth camp almost anywhere!
Let’s not forget the improved fuel economy! We spent A LOT on diesel when we towed our travel trailer.
If you do go down the “vanlife with a family” road, I list the tips below to make your time in a van or any RV more fun and safer.
What About Living The Van Life Part-time With Kids?
This is the direction we’re going. After two years fulltime in a travel trailer, it’s time to transition to a Class B.
We no longer fulltime, but part time with a home-base.
Honestly, it’s what a lot of fulltime family’s actually do anyway.
Having a campervan is the perfect solution for a part time RV family with kids (as long as it sleeps 4).
There’s the benefit of using it for:
- A daily driver with a bathroom.
- Short trips for 1 or 2 days with all your amenities.
- Trips to sporting or entertainment events.
- Anytime your destination involves a wait in the car, why not be comfortable?
Bottom line, a camper van may be less accommodating than a big RV, but shorter trips (1-4 weeks out) are tolerable in almost any circumstance.
15 Tips For Van Life For A Family With Kids
- Plan for emergencies:
- Pack apple juice in case someone is nauseous or has diarrhea. It’s the best way to maintain blood sugar and electrolytes when someone’s dehydrated. It’s also good if someone is hypoglycemic.
- Always have a first aid kit on board (to state the obvious).
- First thing when you arrive to a new location, learn the location of the closest emergency medical service.
- Find a safe location for kids:
This applies to both campgrounds and boondocking.
- Avoid campgrounds with shady long term residents or loud “partyers”.
- When boondocking, avoid locations with dangerous terrain (if they play outside alone) or parking near any questionable boondockers. Trust your gut.
- If boondocking, look for big spaces.
A lot of space for kids to run and play is crucial when being cramped up in an RV or a camper van.
- Set screen rules in advance.
- Even though there’s usually beautiful scenery on the drive, it gets boring for kids. So let the Mine Crafting begin!
- We also work time into the schedule for screens mixed into school time, outdoor time, exercise, meal time and family time.
- Limit your travel days to arrive before 3PM.
This allows time for dinner preparation and relaxation. Rushing sucks the fun out of RV or campervan life!
- Plan your travel days around the weather.
Driving in storms or heavy rain is not worth the risk if you can be flexible. Also, for most RV’s or camper vans are ill equipped to navigate unpaved land in the mud. Ask us how we know!
- On travel days, plan a meal on the way.
Van life and RV living means you have a kitchen in your camper. Ease your stress and stop along the way for lunch.
- Do your grocery shopping along the way on travel days.
We always love stopping in a Walmart parking lot and having lunch. Then I’ll run in and grab all the groceries. There’s a lot to be said for being satiated, peed out and resupplied part way through the moving day!
- Plan locations around roadschooling.
- Many boodocking locations turn geology into a tangible lesson.
- Historical locations teaches historical event lessons that won’t be forgotten.
- There’s a museum for just about every subject in locations all over the US.
- Find boondocking locations near trail heads.
Hiking with kids over dynamic terrain makes for some great exercise. And hopefully, it becomes a lifelong love.
- Your water capacity is your limiting factor when boondocking.
- Consider additional Gerry cans of water to prolong your stay.
- If your van doesn’t have a lot of storage, consider a 2nd vehicle to carry supplies and additional water.
- When boondocking as a family of four, we average 10 gallons of water a day.
- Turn water and electrical conservation into an educational lesson.
No matter where we are, our boys take fast showers, and respect the amount of electricity used.
- Use the close proximity to strengthen family bonds.
Some might consider the close proximity a problem, but it’s really helped us bond as a family.
- Plan a lot of different destinations.
The “Wow” factor never gets old when your kids are constantly visiting different places and enjoying new experiences.
- Build and nurture friendships with like minded people.
Attending van life or RV living meet ups is a great way to meet like minded people for both you and your kids.
Takeaways For Van Life With Kids
The agility and stealthiness of living the van life cannot be beat!
If you’re looking to go part time in an RV, I encourage you to consider a van as a worthy option.
It’s the time with your family and the memories you create that take priority. And camper van life give you that opportunity!
Again, a camper van may be less accomodating than a big RV, but shorter trips (1-4 weeks out) are tolerable in almost any circumstance.
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