June 19, 2022
What We Learned from 5 Years on the Road with 2 Kids
Guest post by the Fites, a nomadic family of 4
Are you considering living on the road with kids? We're all for it! It might be challenging at times, but it is an unique way to spend more quality time as a family and show them the outdoors. It is a great opportunity for them and you to create new memories, and learn about the world in a different way. With a little bit of planning and a lot of patience it is possible!
The Fites are a family of 4: Mars, Ash and their two kids Everly and Atlas. The four of them and their sweet pup Beirut live in a beautifully self converted Ford transit that they named Edison. We asked them to share their experience and give us some tips for living on the road with your little ones. We hope this will help those of you who are considering taking the leap!
Five years on the road as a family
We’ve been traveling on the road full-time with our kids for the past five years. Our children are eight and two! Our oldest was three when we officially moved into our van, Edison, full time in 2017.
Vanlife with kids has given us incredible highs as well as unique challenges. But we’ve made every landscape our home, and our kids have been on countless adventures.
Living life in a van is also very much like living in a house — just smaller. Our two year old has tantrums, there are chores to do, routines to (try) to create and homeschool. Believe it or not, there are still dirty dishes, even in Vanlife.
Involve your kids
Communication is key. Between us as a couple, as much as with children. They are also a part of the conversation. We are a whole unit working together.
Of course, there are particular things Mars and I handle on our own, but including the kids in decision making - especially where we get to explore next - makes this life more enjoyable for them as well.
GAMES FOR THE ROAD
Shop our selection of National Parks-themed toys and games
National Parks Monopoly
Education Outdoors - National Park Puzzle
National Parks Monopoly Jenga
Education Outdoors - Smokey Bear Plush
Take time for yourself, and your couple
The past five years have made us incredible at conflict resolution, listening to each other’s needs and respecting each other. I know we wouldn’t have gotten to this place so early in our relationship, without the opportunities for growth we’ve had over the last five years.
Being able to respectfully tell your partner you need space and be allowed to have that is really vital. There is no room for resentment.
Living in a van causes everything below the surface to rise.
Also, as a couple, getting alone time has to be seen as a creative adventure. Like two kids in high school trying to sneak away to be together — except in our story, we are sneaking away from our kids. Haha.
We've put together a reading list for those long hours on the road
How To Play In The Woods - Robin Blankenship
Education Outdoors - National Park Puzzle
Camping Activity For Families - Linda Parker Hamilton
National Parks of the USA - Kate Siber and Chris Turnham
"Vanlife will teach you not to sweat the small stuff and make your life incredibly richer — if you'll allow it."
If you’re considering life on the road as a family, just remember this: the perspective you have on everyday things changes everything. You’ll need to look at challenges as mini-adventures. The good, the bad and all the in between is a part of the story. Vanlife will teach you not to sweat the small stuff and make your life incredibly richer — if you'll allow it.
Happy travels, see you on the road!
More things to consider for your van kids
KEEP THEM ENGAGED WITH NATURE
You're giving them the experience of a lifetime,
give your kids the means to learn as much from it as possible!
Coghlan's - Kids Binoculars
Little Naturalists: The Adventures of John Muir - Coombs & Lucas
GET THEM USED TO REUSABILITY
No better place to teach your kids sustainable habits than in a van.
You never know what can happen with little monsters on the road. Leave prepared!
Coleman - Family Tin First Aid Kit
Adventure Medical Kits® - Backyard Adventure kid-friendly Medical Kits
Adventure Medical Kits® - Adventure First Aid Family Kit
Ruffin' It - Pet Hair RollerAll Terrain - Herbal Armor® Kids Spray