In summer 2015, we sold our house and made plans to move abroad. We thought of Bonaire, one of the Dutch Carribean islands, but after spending a holiday there, we decided this was not our place to be. We had already sold our house so we needed to come up with a better plan very soon. My husband and I sat near the swimming pool at our apartment on Bonaire, while our baby was napping inside when my husband said out of the blue: why not traveling full time in a caravan?! I was instantly enthusiastic!
We had plans to move abroad for years but just couldn’t decide where to go. We had also said many times to each other that Europe still has much to offer (see our travel with kids wish list for Europe). So when my husband came up with the idea for traveling full time in a caravan through Europe, we knew this was it!
Traveling full time in an RV or caravan: we are hooked
We have traveled six months in our caravan through Spain and Portugal before we went back to the Netherlands rather last-minute. We’d just found out I was pregnant and there was a very big chance I would suffer from pelvic instability and throwing up several times a day. So we headed back. But in those six months, we experienced living in a caravan for real and we were sold.
If you have doubts about living in an RV or caravan with your family, let me tell you about the reasons why you definitely should!
An RV or caravan provides stability on the road
When we thought of traveling Europe, we couldn’t imagine going from AirBnB to AirBnB. I got exhausted by the idea! With a very curious and active baby in tow, I didn’t want to make every apartment babyproof before settling in. Also, we would probably get annoyed with the unpacking thing very fast. So a room where we had our belongings in a fixed place, which we only needed to make babyproof once, sounded like a great idea. And it was!
It was amazing to see how our baby could play freely in our caravan. He learned walking very fast because he wasn’t afraid to try walking loose: there was always something to get a hold on nearby. OK, the area was small, but he only played indoors when we had really bad weather, and that only occurred a few days in those six months.
Another big pro: our baby had his own bed in the same spot, even though our caravan was settled in different places. In this way, we provided recognition and familiarity to our baby.
RV fulltiming is a flexible way of traveling
Don’t you like the campsite or the area? Tired of those noisy neighbors? Just pack your things and get going! We got very lucky with the campsites. We stayed on 25 different campings in six months and only one was terrible. Of course, we left this one as soon as was possible! And when we truly enjoyed a campsite, for example, because we met very nice people, we just stayed longer.
Many affordable super campsites in Europe
In Europe, family camping is widespread. Especially in countries like France and Spain, there are many beautiful campsites with children facilities. When you travel in the low season, you won’t even pay so much per night (approximately € 15 to € 17 per night, as you can see here in my overview of our monthly expenses). For this low fee, you get a swimming pool, playgrounds, sports area, a supermarket, and sometimes even free WiFi.
On a campsite in Spain, Andalucia, having lunch
You live more outdoors
When living in a house or staying in an apartment, you are probably inclined to stay indoors when it is a bit cold or cloudy. On a campsite, while living in an RV or caravan, you will go outside every single day, even when the weather is bad. We ate outside with 15 degrees. Of course, we prefer 20 and higher, but 15 was doable with an extra sweater and scarf. When I look back at the pictures of those six months, I see healthy faces with skin sun tanned. Also, being outside all days gives you lots of energy.
And most importantly: you’re kids will love it! Playing outside is a great way to get rid of some energy. It makes them tired, but in a good way so they sleep well. And they learn so much from playing in nature.
It is orderly and structured
When we moved from 150 to 15 square meters, we had to minimize a lot. We were forced to really take a good look at what stuff we needed. In the end, we only took the essentials with us. Now we know that even this was too much! Minimalism is a process. You cannot minimize in one step, so when we leave again in hopefully a few months, we want to take a second good look at how essential everything really is. We continue doing this until we really only have stuff we use and need.
Also, the stuff we took with us, was all well-organised in boxes. There was no room to make a mess. Once you leave things lying around, you will get annoyed almost immediately. And there is no way around it because of the limited space. Of course, you can minimalize and be well-organised in a house as well. But living on 15 square meters instead of 100 forces you to really keep it up.
Enough reasons to start traveling full time with an RV or caravan, right?! I hope this inspires you! If you have any doubts or questions, please feel free to leave a comment! I will gladly answer your questions!
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