Over the past 2.5 years while living full-time in our Vacationer we have seen more and more families take to this nomadic lifestyle. Even in the past 6 months we have met numerous families just starting out, making us look like the seasoned veterans. Which is kind of ironic since we feel like newbies again venturing out with a newborn!
Of course, we learned so much in our first few years with our son who was 3 when we departed, but a newborn is quite different from a mobile, potty trained toddler. In addition to all the memories and experiences, it’s been rewarding to watch our son grow and evolve within our Vacationer. When we first set out, our son slept on the bottom bunk, was just about as tall as the countertop, and could barely open up the refrigerator. Now he sleeps on the top bunk, accesses the fridge with ease and can wash his hands in the sink without his step stool. We can’t wait to experience milestones like these with our daughter too!
Making the decision to sell it all and travel the country in our RV has been the best for our family. We have enjoyed a deeper family connection, met so many wonderful families who became friends, watched our son thrive and supported hundreds of small businesses along our travels. This time together is our greatest gift and we absolutely knew we wanted to continue this lifestyle once our little one arrived.
One thing living on the road has taught us is that there is no reason to rush. We have found ourselves much more relaxed in our daily lives as well as in our future planning. Which has been refreshing compared to previous years when we were caught in the hustle and bustle and missed being in the moment.
So, when it came time to prepare our rig for the baby, we took our time, did research and made intentional decisions on what we needed. With our son, and being first time parents, we had “all the baby things” and found that we didn’t even use half of them. Now, living in a smaller space, making efficient choices on what baby items to get became top priority.
We were determined not to make that mistake again so we made a few lists of necessity items. Kind of obvious, but the basics are a place for her to sleep and an area to change her diapers. Then there was the logistics of shuffling items around to make space for some baby clothes, diapers, blankets and small toys.
Thankfully, the floorplan in our 2017 Vacationer seemed like it was designed for exactly what we needed. Our rig is a bunk model where our son now sleeps on the top bunk and our daughter on the bottom. After extensive research, we chose the Halo bassinet. It can be used with or without the stand, which makes it perfect to lay on the bottom bunk. The Halo also has one of the highest bassinet weight capacities for a baby and our hope is that she can sleep in it for a year. Our goal was definitely to get what we need but also plan for it to last a while, so we didn’t need to constantly swap out baby gear.
Our full bath in the back of our 36H Vacationer has a spacious countertop where we were able to lay a full-size changing pad. Next to the pad we even have room for a little diaper caddy too.
Under the bunk area are two small drawers which previously held our son’s books and monster truck collection. We needed to use one of the drawers for our daughter’s clothes and decided to remove his books. After a little creativity we utilized an open wall near the bunks to create a book wall for him. It turned out great and is one of our favorite areas in the RV!
With the two major necessities figured out, the next was to determine her method of travel and where she might spend some time. Typically, you would have a car seat and stroller (possibly several of each). We lucked out and found the Doona. It’s a traveler’s dream offering a sleek minimalistic stroller and car seat all in one! It works perfectly taking it from our toad vehicle to the RV on travel days, and it easily converts to a stroller with the push of a button so we can push her around through campgrounds, stores and towns.
Believe it or not, that’s all the baby gear (besides a wearable baby carrier) we headed back on the road with when our daughter was two months old. In addition to the gear, we did make a few cosmetic changes to the kid’s area. And added several more hooks around for towels and wet clothing. Like we said, we decided to take it slow and add items we find we need along the way versus all at once and hope we use them.
After a few months on the road with our newborn daughter we have added additional baby gear items. We found we needed an area for her to sit, something for her to play on and a baby bath. We only focused on items that were collapsible to help us save space. When our son was a baby, we were given a baby camp highchair that was fantastic. We loved it so much we got another one for our daughter. It’s great because the height is great for our dinette, it can be used outside, it’s lightweight and we can easily pack it up to store or take along on our adventures. Another great indoor/outdoor item we found is a collapsible bouncer with a sunshade. We love setting this up for her to play. Its great because it keeps her happy and entertained when we are trying to cook, clean or work on Adventure School with our son. The baby bath we chose isn’t as minimalistic as we would have liked, but it will last longer than other options. Thankfully it does collapse and hangs well in our shower.
All in all, we have had a great experience so far traveling as a family of four (well, five, counting our massive golden retriever). For families wondering if it is possible to travel with a baby, the answer is YES!
We have seen all kinds of families embracing this lifestyle. Some have a few kids, and some have many kids. Kids of all ages, pets and no pets. Each family finds what works for them. And you can always modify how you travel and live on the road with your kids season to season.