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Fulltime Families DIY Kids

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Fulltime Families has an exciting new program which is great for kids ages 10 and up! Here is the review from our DIY Kids Coordinators Chris and Dawn Jacobs.

The Jacob’s Family visiting the DIY headquarters

Our family  has been involved with DIY.org for almost six years.  We are excited to introduce it to our Fulltime Families community so we can expand how our kids can interact with other kids in the smartest of ways!

What do DIY.org and Fulltime Families kids have in common?   By DIY’s own definition: “Awesome Skills for Awesome Kids; DIY is a safe online community of creative kids to discover new passions, level up their skills, and meet fearless geeks just like them.”  Basically, it’s a chance for kids to discover new skills, try 100s of challenges, get peer feedback and earn patches.

Patches

DIY encourages kids to be creative and share their projects they did on their own, hence the name DIY.  It’s fun, it expands their interests; it develops skills and the kids earn rewards (and patches) for their efforts!  Fulltime Families now has a way for our FtF kids age ten and over to be more interactive with each other, sharing and learning together with DIY!  

On the Facebook group Fulltime Families DIY Kids, parents can let other parents know who their kiddos are by sharing their DIY names.  They can also ask questions, share and see what others are doing, and be recognized for their progress.

Example of Challenge 

There will be skills to do together as a group; both independently and some collaborative skills as we gather at hang outs or rally’s.  Many skills could apply to the upcoming FtF STEAM [https://www.fulltimefamilies.com/events/roboticsontheroad/] Rally this August in Michigan!  For example, to earn the patch for Mechanical Engineer, kids choose at least three of these challenges to complete the skill that earns the patch:

* Build a Simple Machine

* Build a Catapult or Trebuchet

* Make Real Gears

* Build a Hydraulic Device

* Build a Vehicle

* Build a Stirling Engine

* Make a Rube Goldberg Machine

* Make an Object in CAD

* Create a Gear Ratio

* Build a Robotic Device

* Make a Kinetic Machine

When the DIYer clicks on one of these challenges, they are offered video instruction that will teach everything they need to know to complete that particular challenge.  [As a parent, I appreciate that these videos are already curated from YouTube by the DIY Moderators so kids don’t have to search in multiple places or bump into material that doesn’t apply.]  

In our example, let’s choose Make a Rube Goldberg Machine.  The challenge is explained: “Make use of the Six Simple Machines by combining them in creative, complicated, and comical ways to perform a simple task.  You must have at least 5 different mechanisms. Capture your best run with a video.” Along with the instructional video, there will be the videos of other DIYers that have completed the Make a Rube Goldberg Challenge.  

How amazing will it be to have our amazing FtF kids building a Rube Goldberg machine TOGETHER!?  THAT is why our family is so excited to share and bring DIY to the Fulltime Families community and we are eager to encourage your Awesome Kids with Awesome Skills!

Connecting to FTF DIY Club

Once you create and/or log in to your DIY account on the website [DIY.org] check the bottom of your Settings page, look for a section titled “My Connections.”  Click the “Connect an Adult” button and enter DIY@fulltimefamilies.com  address into the form. You will be automatically connected to the Club account. There is no limit to the number of adult dashboards you can link to your kid account.

DIY.org is built to be website driven so the changes in the settings, etc, must be on the website but the DIY App is available to upload videos to share completed challenges.

Summer Savings on all Fulltime Families Memberships

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For a Limited Time, Fulltime Families Memberships are on Sale!

THIS ONLY HAPPENS ONCE A YEAR!

From now through Midnight July 16th,2018  Fulltime Families Annual Membership are 25% off!  That brings an Annual Membership to below $40!

For just $33.75 you get access to savings on:

  • A Free Year of Escapees and Good Sams*
  • RV Health
  • Educational Courses
  • RV Service and Supplies
  • Homeschool Classes
  • No Kid Tax at Participating Campgrounds

Plus, find travel companions with our easy to use Fulltime Families Family Finder and join us at Upcoming Events!

There’s even better news for current members! Upgrade your membership during the month of July and save 25% off your upgrade!  To upgrade your account and take advantage of this limited time offer, send an email to jill@fulltimefamilies.com.

We’re excited to offer many new discounts for our membership and more to be launched soon!  Don’t miss out on these great deals!

TIME IS LIMITED

Don’t miss out on this deal!

 

 

This Offer Expires July 16th, 2018 – After your payment processes, your PayPal Account will be credited with the discount rate.  $11.25 for New and  Renewing Members. A custom invoice will be sent for Lifetime Memberships. 

*Offer valid for New Members of these organizations only.  Sorry this offer can not be combined with other savings offers.

Let the Summer Camping Season Begin with Fulltime Families

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Are you finally camping this weekend, after a long winter at home, and wishing you could do it more often? Fulltime Families supports traveling families by providing community, education and discounts. If you RV travel with kids, either full-time, on weekends, for vacations, or even just dream to in the future, Fulltime Families is here for you!

Join us today to find your traveling neighborhood, get discounts, and learn how to become location independent before retirement.

Camping on a Budget with Thousand Trails

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As you plan your full-time adventures, you are probably wondering how to make the lifestyle more affordable. Campgrounds can be incredibly expensive, with nightly rates ranging anywhere from as low as $20 to over $100 a night. Some campgrounds offer weekly or monthly discounts for people who want to stay longer and save  money, but even with these discounts camping costs add up fast. Weekly rates tend to start at around $250 a week , while monthly rates vary from $400 a month to $1500 or more, depending on the location and park. A fellow traveling family recently shared that they just paid $25,000 for an annual camping site at a park near the beach in South Carolina. That’s over $2000 a month!  On average, a traveling Fulltime Family may spend $800 a month on campground fees, which is almost $10,000 in just one year. Thankfully, there is a better way.

Yosemite Lake RV Campground

So what is this Thousand Trails membership you keep hearing about?

There is a lot of information about Thousand Trails on the internet. While most of it is good, some is bad and some is outdated or inaccurate.  Thousand Trails is a group of 81 membership campgrounds across the country that are all owned by a company called ELS. There are two different types of Thousand Trails memberships available, a yearly zone camping pass or an upgraded membership.

The Zone Pass – Camping Pass

For the Zone Pass, Thousand Trails divided the country up into five zones. Members choose which zone(s) they want, and then pay yearly membership dues, currently $460 a year for a 4 year term or $575 for a yearly term,  and can purchase extra zones for $49 per zone, per year. The membership allows you to stay for free at any of the campgrounds in your zone for up to 14 days at a time. After each stay you have to be out of the system for 7 days before you can go to another park and stay for another 14 days for free. These memberships have a 60 day reservation window and are renewed yearly.

Upgraded  Memberships

The upgraded memberships give you access to  all of the zones, which is 81 campgrounds that are spread across the entire country. It has a one time purchase price and then members continue to pay yearly dues. One of the biggest benefits is that  members have longer stay times (21 days or 28 days) and the ability to go park to park with no time out of the system. A member could essentially stay in the system 365 days a year and never have to pay a nightly camping fee. There are 3 types of upgraded memberships: the Elite Basic, Elite Connections and the Ultimate Odyssey.

In addition to these memberships Thousand Trails has come out with a new Encore plan, called the Trails Collection, that you can add on to your Thousand Trails membership. The Trails Collection allows you to stay at 89 Encore parks for free and an additional 18 for only $20 a night!

Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort

Have More Money For Other Things

When families are able to stay for free at Thousand Trails campgrounds it gives them more money to spend on other things that are important to them.  What would you do with the extra money that you save? Would you spend a week or two in the Florida Keys, or take the family on a cruise? Maybe buy the whole family a year long pass to Disney World? You could take a summer vacation up to Canada, or simply enjoy more of the everyday things along your journey without being worried about money all the time.  A Thousand Trails membership gives you freedom to explore your world with all the money you aren’t spending at campgrounds! Think of how much more you could do with your family if you were no longer paying nightly camping fees.

More Than Just Monetary Benefits

Thousand Trails campgrounds are very family friendly. They allow up to 10 people per campsite, so you will never be charged for your children to camp with you. The memberships also have great family benefits that make it easy for your extended family to enjoy camping too. All of these benefits are great, but there is so much more! One of the best things about a Thousand Trails membership is all the amazing people you will meet. Thousand Trails parks are a great place to connect with other traveling families that are doing the same thing you are doing, leading to lasting friendships and wonderful memories.

Gettysburg Farms RV Campground

How to Get a Thousand Trails Membership

Getting a membership is easy because we have our very own dedicated Thousand Trails representative who is a member of our Fulltime Family family. Alisha Deschene and her family have been on the road for over 3 1/2 years. She is a wealth of knowledge and has helped so many other fulltime families understand the programs and get their memberships started. She will answer all of your questions, help you decide which membership is best for your family and get you the very best deal possible to save you even more money.

And, as an added benefit, Fulltime Families members who use Alisha to purchase their Thousand Trails membership will receive a rebate from Fulltime Families as our way of saying thank you! You can reach Alisha at 207-270-1121 or by email at alishaplus8@yahoo.com   If you aren’t already a member of Fulltime Families, we have many additional benefits you can see here https://www.fulltimefamilies.com/joinftf/benefits/. At Fulltime Families we connect and support traveling families by providing encouragement, community and discounts, and we hope to meet you down the road!

 

Fulltime Families visits the Escape Code

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This spring, 50 traveling families headed to Branson, Missouri, in the Ozark Mountains, to host the Fulltime Families Showbiz Rally.  While Branson is popular for its entertainment theaters, it has a wide variety of other attactactions to choose from. Ranked as one of the best escape rooms in the country, the Escape Code was top on our list.  This was our first visit to an escape room, so we were all very excited for the experience. The children spent considerable time volunteering their strengths before attending. The 5 year old volunteered to fit into small spaces.  The 12 year old volunteered to do all the reading. The 11 year old volunteered to yell very loudly. The 9 year old wanted to be master of the keys.

 

The Escape Code, 4560 North Gretna Road, Branson, MO 65616,  is located in the Shoppes at Branson Meadows complex. When we arrived, we were greeted by the staff and explained what was about to happen.  After signing the waivers to play, we chose the “The Guest House” experience. Tasked with solving the mystery of a houseguest who disappeared.  Once we were ready to play, the staff lead us to a large open room with couches and puzzle games to watch a video about the experience we had chosen.  

 

As we entered the room, we were handed a note and a key to get us started. The timer began when we closed the door.  With the experience we chosen, we had an hour time limit to complete the game. The room was small and filled with all kinds of items. During the first five minutes the kids turned over anything that could be moved and tried all the keys in every padlock. After that, we figured out a better strategy and began to work as a team. Everyone was able to participate on some level.  Our kids are ages 12, 11, 9, and 5.

 

Each of the kids took turns figuring out the clues.  Our daughter was really good at the color clues and our oldest son really was excited to crack codes of letters and numbers. “ I told you” was our 9 year olds favorite line.  Our youngest, just wanted free clues, of which were unlimited but in order for your time to count on the leader board you needed less than 4. The time passed very quickly. As the clock kept running down, everyone became a little more concerned we were not going to escape.  But with only three minutes remaining, we escaped!

 

The Escape Code is a perfect family and team building experience.  As a family, we especially enjoyed the experience together. Not only are children 5 and under free, but the games are perfectly sized for a family.  Our family of 6 received a dedicated game room, and really enjoyed it. For the hours and more details check out https://www.escapecode.tv/.  Fulltime Families is a membership organization that connects and supports traveling families by providing community, education and discounts.

 

Top 10 things to do in Branson Missouri for Families

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Branson Missouri is the Live Show Capital of the Midwest.  A micropolitan area of 83,000 people, with 11,000 living in the city of Branson.  Branson is a destination area catering to tourists, starting in 1950 with square dances hosted in the Marvel Cave.  Branson has hosted two Fulltime Families rallies and provides many enjoyable activities. The following places have been used by other Fulltime Families and are easy to recommend to other traveling families.     

Branson Landing

Perfect for an evening out or an afternoon adventure. The water shows start on the hour, and are similar to the famous Las Vegas water shows.  The Outdoor mall space at Branson Landing has plenty of shops and restaurants. Visit the arcade for a chance to encounter Zombies, Werewolves, or Mechanical Bots on the 7D laser ride. (Recommended by other FTFs)  Stroll along the riverfront and enjoy the watershow.  (Free)

Hiking

There are several good hiking trails in the Branson area.  The Branson Waterfall hike is a .8 mile hike to a waterfall following a river.  Great hike for families with small kids with great photo opportunities. The Homestead Trail is part of the Ruth and Paul Henning State Forest.  This trail is a 3.5 mile loop rated as a moderate hike which has some elevation change and small waterfalls. A fun hike with older kids.

Pickin Porch Restaurant

Friendly Staff and amazing food. Try a Burnt End sandwich if they haven’t run out. Kid friendly seating in a unique market atmosphere.  Free live music on weekends. A new favorite BBQ place.

College of the Ozarks  

Don’t miss a tour to this unique educational experience. A beautiful campus where students work to pay for their education.  Try some ice cream at the creamery or splurge on a delicious meal at Dobyns Dining Room. The food features farm to table food, all prepared by students at the college. (Free to tour)

Escape room

Challenging but fun! If your family likes to work together to solve things, this place is for you.  No matter if you break the code or not the Escape Room will not disappoint. Family friendly.

BillyGail’s

Do not miss this hidden treasure of the Ozarks with pancakes larger than platters. Come with a empty stomach and leave with a smile.

Country Market

This local grocery store in Branson has everything you will need.  

iMax Branson

Visit iMax Branson for a look back at the Ozarks in pioneer days with Ozarks: Legacy & Legend or see the latest Avengers movie in 3D.  Branson’s #1 ranked cinema is family friendly.  Stop by McFarlain’s Family Restaurant located in the same complex for lunch or dinner.

Dolly Parton Stampede

This dinner attraction will not disappoint. If you only do one live performance while in Branson, the Branson Stampede is a must.  An amazing extravaganza joining horse stunts, musical productions & special effects with a home-cooking dinner.  Come hungry and get ready for a lively show of live animals, special effects and a some humor .  Perfect for all ages.

America’s Best Cafe @ ABC Campground

If you want a delicious meal for a great price this is the place for you.  This delicious cafe is walking distance from ABC campground, co-located at the Celebrity Station.   From Burgers to Mexican, Cheese It Up will not disappoint. America’s Best Cafe is open most days for Breakfast and Dinner.  Prices are already incredibly low, for a tourist town, but Paul and family is especially kind to other Families. Mention Fulltime Families!

Which RV Membership is Right for You?

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One of the top questions that we receive on the forums is “Which RV memberships do you recommend” and with so many out there offering so many different benefits it can be quite confusing to determine which are the best ones for you.  Hopefully this will shed some light on the top 6 most popular memberships for Fulltime Families and help narrow it down.

Thousand Trails

Website: https://www.thousandtrails.com

Thousand Trails is a membership based campground system with 81 member parks and 100 additional parks available through their sister program, Trails Collection.

Leavenworth Thousand Trails in Leavenworth, WA

Photo Credit: thousandtrails.com

Benefits

  • Free nightly stays at member parks (some charge $3 per night for 50amp service)
  • 81 Campgrounds available nationwide
  • Up to 20% savings at Encore Parks
  • Membership Rebate available for FTF Members

Cost:

  • $575 annually for a single zone
  • $49 for each additional zone
  • $199 for the Trails Collection
  • Additional membership upgrades with extra benefits are available

The Pros to Thousand Trails

One of the biggest perks of the Thousand trails system is the pricing.  After the initial membership cost and annual dues, members can stay at the 81 parks for 2-3 weeks at no cost.  This is why we consider the Thousand Trails system very budget friendly and a good place for many traveling families to rest for a period time after more expensive explorations.

Another wonderful benefit of the system is the convenient online reservations.  You can make reservations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can change them at anytime with out a cancellation penalty.  We have found this to be very convenient as it allows us to be flexible but still have reservations, so we are never with out a place to stay.

Our favorite benefit with Thousand Trails though is one that isn’t listed anywhere on their site and that’s the opportunity to meet fellow Fulltime Families!  Many of our families use the system so there are wonderful opportunities for meet ups and play dates while staying in the system. So many use the system in fact, that we have a meet up group dedicated to the Florida parks, simply because in the winter they are hopping with FTFs!

South Jetty Thousand Trails in Florence, OR

Photo Credit: thousandtrails.com

The Cons to Thousand Trails

One con that we hear from time to time is the parks are out of the way or not near a major city.  We have found this to be true in some areas and in others, found them to be in the perfect locations.  For instance, TT Diamond Caverns is located in KY and while it is technically out of the way, it is at the entrance to Mammoth Cave National park.  We really enjoyed our quiet stay there and it made exploring the National park a breeze. Another great location we have enjoyed was TT South Jetty, nestled in a tiny coastal Oregon town, we were just outside the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.  TT Williamsburg is also another amazing location, located in the historic triangle in VA, you are close to Yorktown, Jamestown and Williamsburg while nestled in a gorgeous tree filled park.

We have also heard complaints of the quality of up keep at some of the parks and have experienced this ourselves on occasion.  Overall, we feel that the price we pay is on par with the quality we receive. We always have a safe place to stay for the night and we have seen them working steadily at improving the parks since we joined several years ago.  This year we saw them upgrade more sites at TT Orlando to 50amp and add a new pickleball court, work on leveling sites at TT Oaks, new playgrounds and fire pits at others and many other improvements.

The memberships can be confusing!  Over the years, Thousand Trails has had many different membership levels with many different benefits.  This creates a sea of confusion on the internet and even when discussing amongst members. The best way to overcome the confusion is to work with a member specialist who can help you navigate to the best membership for your family.  We recommend working with Alisha Deschene, Fulltime Families dedicated Thousand Trails representative. She can be reached by email alishaplus8@yahoo.com or by phone at 207-270-1121.  Working with Alisha not only guarantees a smooth transaction but qualifies you for the FTF rebate on your membership.

Orlando Thousand Trails in Clermont, FL

Photo Credit: thousandtrails.com

Is Thousand Trails Worth it?

For most Fulltime Families, absolutely!!  Between the benefit of low cost camping, ease of changing reservations and opportunities to connect with other traveling families, it is a no-brainer to make this one of most used memberships in your arsenal.

Passport America

Website: http://www.passportamerica.com/

Discount programing saving you 50% off campgrounds in their network.

Benefits

  • 50% off Campgrounds
  • 1800+ Campgrounds
  • Basic Route Planning to show member parks on route
  • FTF Members receive a discount

Cost:

  • $44 annually
  • $79 for 2 years
  • $109 for 3 years

The Pros to Passport America

The low cost of this program and potential savings are the biggest pros.  With most campgrounds in their network costing an average of $35 a night, this program takes those nightly rates down to $17.50 a night.  This means that the return on investment will be realized in just 3 short nights.

Another benefit to the program is the volume of parks that participate, with over 1800 parks across the US, Canada and Mexico, meaning that there are plenty of places to choose from.

The Cons to Passport America

One of the biggest cons are the rules for the discount are set by the campgrounds.  Some of them are very generous while others only let you stay a night or 2 at the discounted rate or the rate is only available on week days.  Be sure to read the rules for the campground you are looking to stay at, to ensure there are no surprises in cost.

We have heard also complaints of the quality of certain parks.  We find using RV review sites helps us to better pick parks and we have stayed at some really cool and interesting ones, like Faywood Hotsprings, a RV park and Hotsprings resort.

Faywood Hotsprings in Faywood, NM

Photo Credit: Instagram.com/theroaminghome

Is Passport America worth it?

If you are traveling, absolutely!  Since it’s so quick to pay for itself and there are so many locations, we highly recommend it.

Good Sam

Website: https://www.goodsam.com/club/

Discount programming saving you at campgrounds, Camping World and Pilot/Flying J

Benefits

  • FREE SHIPPING at CampingWorld.com – No Minimum Purchase Necessary
  • Save up to 10% Every Day at Camping World SuperCenters! Plus, Members-Only Specials & Double Discount Days
  • Save 10% on Camping World Installation Fees
  • Save $10 on the Posted Hourly Service Rate at Camping World SuperCenters
  • Save up to 10% Every Day at Gander Outdoors Retail Locations! Plus, Members-Only Specials & Double Discount Days
  • Save 5¢ off gas & 8¢ off diesel instantly at select Pilot or Flying J locations
  • Save 10% off Good Sam Campgrounds
  • FTF Members receive a 1 year membership for free

Cost:

  • $27 annually
  • $50 for 2 years
  • $79 for 3 years

The Pros to Good Sam

One thing we love about this program is its FREE for one year when you join Fulltime Families!  And who doesn’t love a free membership! But seriously, the biggest pro to this program are the discounts and free shipping from Camping World as well as the discounts on gas, diesel and propane.  While the campground discounts are nice, your return on investment if you were to buy this one would be longer if you only used it for the camping discounts

The Cons to Good Sam

As we mentioned above if you are only using it for the camping discounts, it won’t save you as much but as travelers the savings on the gas or diesel and the savings at Camping World make up for it.

Is Good Sam worth it?

Maybe, since you receive a free year of it with FTF memberships its worth seeing if it would pay off for your family.  For ours, most years it does based on the shopping discount at Camping World alone.

 

Escapees

Website: https://www.escapees.com/

A support network for RVers

Benefits

  • 10-50% Discount on club affiliated parks
  • 19 Escapee parks that offer low member only rates
  • Discounts on mail service that provides a domicile address
  • FTF Members receive a 1 year membership for free

Cost:

  • $39.99 annually
  • $895 for lifetime

The Pros to Escapees

Many Fulltime Families use their mail service and address as a domicile.  They offer addresses both out of FL and TX and you must be an Escapees member to utilize their mail service.

Other benefits we love are the private Escapee parks, while there aren’t many of them, they are well maintained and we have found the staff and other campers to be very welcoming to families.

The discounts on the club affiliated parks are also a nice perk, just be sure to check with each park as they set their own prices

The Cons to Escapees

Isn’t that the club for retirees?  Yikes! we have heard that one a few times over the years and while yes for years Escapees served mostly those who were retired, they are now embracing the younger generation with their Xscapers club.  Membership in Escapees gives you access to both and the Xscapers are an active group hosting rallies and meet ups themselves.

Is Escapees worth it?

We feel it is, for those looking for a trusted domicile and mail handling but also for those looking for education, weighing services and for the park discounts.  Members of FTF receive their first year free with Escapees

Harvest Hosts

Website: https://harvesthosts.com/

Harvest Hosts overnight stays are a special opportunity to meet people and enjoy wine tastings, farm tours and museum visits.

Benefits

  • Free overnight stays with hosts listed on the site
  • FTF Members receive a discount on membership

Cost:

  • $49 annually ($45 if you sign up for auto renewal)
  • $115 for 3 years
  • $300 for lifetime

The Pros to Harvest Hosts

Gorgeous settings for overnight stays are certainly a big pro for Harvest Hosts.  Instead of camping in a Walmart parking lot for your quick stop over you can settle in between the grapes for a quiet nights rest.  

We also love that we get to support small businesses and learn about their business. We have found them to be very welcoming to our family at all the hosts we have stayed with and loved chatting with everyone we met.

Harvest Host site in Virginia

Photo Credit: facebook.com/theroaminghome

 

The Cons to Harvest Hosts

Harvest Hosts may sound like a dream, free camping and wine tasting, what’s not to love right? Well some of our members have mentioned that having to arrive during the businesses operating hours can pose a challenge on long travel days, if you aren’t an early riser.

Others have mentioned that its not technically free as you are asked to support the business with a purchase.  We don’t really see the con in this as even if you aren’t a wine drinker, most sell other locally sourced products to purchase.  We enjoyed blueberry pie at one, scored some delicious wild flower honey at another and dined at a café at another.

Is Harvest Host worth it?

For our family it has been worth it.  We spent last Memorial day bouncing around California’s wine country, avoiding the crowds and spending time with some amazing winemakers.  FTF members receive a discount off of the annual membership and with the cost around the price of a single night a resort, it pays for itself quickly.

Fulltime Families

Website: https://fulltimefamilies.com

Fulltime Families is the only RV organization dedicated to support Fulltime Families in their unique journeys.

Benefits

  • Private members only forum
  • No Kid Tax (extra fees for children) at 350+ campgrounds
  • Planned events, rallies, meet ups and hang outs
  • Family Finder, locate other traveling families
  • Discounts on accounting, doctors visits, and much more
  • Free year of Escapees and Good Sam’s
  • Discounts on Harvest Hosts, Boondockers Welcome, Passport America
  • Rebate on Thousand Trails
  • Over $1000 in value

Cost:

  • $45 annually
  • $295 for lifetime

Photo Credit: fulltimefamilies.com

The Pros to Fulltime Families

We may be a little biased but for fulltime families the pros of the Fulltime Families Membership is numerous!  First you receive both Escapees and Good Sam memberships for the cost of your FTF membership. This is a $67 value you right there, but then you also receive discounts off of other popular memberships like Passport America, Harvest Host and Boondockers Welcome, plus FTF gives you a rebate when you purchase a new Zone pass or upgrade your Thousand Trails membership with their dedicated TT rep, Alisha Deschene!

Another perk that can’t be translated into a dollar figure is the support that families can receive both in person through the many events they host annual but also online in the private member forums.  In the forums you can pick the brains of those with experience and make lasting friendships. FTF hosts several in person events each year all over the country, from large rallies to smaller hang outs to field trips.  After attending these events most families find that they have made friends for life and have started to establish their mobile neighborhood.

If you can’t make it to an event or if you are just wanting to see if there are other fulltime families around you, we have a tool for that….the Fulltime Families Finder.  You can update your location and share a little bit about your family and then see other members locations. You are always in control of your information so you can share the exact park or just the city you are in and because its only available to other FTF members you don’t have to worry about prying eyes knowing your location.

Photo Credit: fulltimefamilies.com

The Cons to Fulltime Families

Could FOMO (fear of missing out) be considered a con? Perhaps, I know it’s something we experience.  Seeing all the amazing pictures of our friends in other gorgeous locations, knowing that time won’t let you make all the rallies and meet ups (though some of us try really hard) can cause those feelings.  

Or perhaps that you might have to drop your very well-planned route, cancel all your reservation and head in the exact opposite direction to meet up with friends or attend an exciting event.

Is Fulltime Families worth it?

We absolutely believe it is, there is over $1000 in savings if you take advantage of the benefits but even if you didn’t the social aspect alone is worth it we believe.  Finding the connections on the road, meeting a circle of friends who can become your traveling neighborhood, those people you can meet up with every once and while, or caravan with all the time, whatever is your style, is priceless. 

19 Ways to be Prepared for your First Fulltime Families Rally

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Are you getting ready to attend your first Fulltime Families Rally? Or, are you thinking of signing up for one but do not know what to expect? Our traveling family of 6, just attended our first rally and had the time of our lives! Yet, we didn’t quite know what to expect. So, I wanted to help you get a jumpstart and share with you 19 ways to be prepared for your first Fulltime Families Rally.

  • Join the Facebook group specific to the rally you will be attending.

If you use Facebook regularly, you will most likely see there is a Fulltime Families public page, a Fulltime Families Members page, and several other smaller groups and topics. Yet, if you are like friends of ours and choose not to use Facebook at all, then you will miss out on a wealth of helpful information before the rally. So, I suggest setting up a Facebook account and joining the specific group to the rally you will be attending such as ‘fulltime families 2018 east coast “under the sea” rally attendees’.

  • Book camping at the location of the rally for at least a few days BEFORE the start of the rally and at least 1-2 days AFTER the rally ends.

We did not do this and missed out on opportunities to meet people before the rally began. You see, once it begins there are so many amazing things on the schedule that there isn’t a whole lot of ‘down’ time to just hang. If you want that opportunity, then I suggest arriving early and staying later as some families do. 

  • Take off work for the entire rally!

Whether you work a 9-5 job remotely, or you are an entrepreneur and can set your own schedule, I suggest that ALL parents take time off work during ALL the rally days. Not only is it worth it for everyone to participate in the amazing events, but it can also get a bit hectic with the kiddos. Having an extra set of hands from a second parent, if available, will make your experience less stressful and so much more fulfilling.

  • Make meals ahead of time and freeze them.  

You will be very busy with events, activities, games, campfires, coffee talks and more during the rally. Or, you may find a new family that you want to talk with for a bit longer than it give you to make a meal. This leaves little time to do things such as cook, do dishes, clean up, etc. So, think of quick and easy meals that you can have each day, or make some things ahead of time and freeze them. We had chili and chicken tikka masala in our freezer ready to go and I was so glad that we did!

  • Buy paper products and snacks ahead of time.

Stock up on paper products to help decrease how much time you need to spend doing dishes. Also, do a quick Costco run to bulk up on produce or snacks that are easy to grab and leave little mess. Life can get so busy, in an exciting way, that you are not going to want to have to run to the grocery store while at the rally. 

  • Take a week off your homeschooling, worldschooling, roadschooling etc.

All the families that I spoke to at the Madison, FL rally took the week ‘off’ of school to enjoy themselves. There just isn’t time and the kids are learning so much anyway. From great social skills to arts and crafts, the kids learn a great deal at the Fulltime Families rallies.

  • Use radios, walkie-talkies, watches or cell phones for the kids – Or be ready to follow them everywhere.

During rally-time, there are many opportunities for kids to run off and play together. From hanging at the playground, to playing a game in the field, to playing Legos together at a picnic table, they will be busy playing if there isn’t a planned activity.  We used walkie-talkie radios to keep track of our 9 -year old while we were at the rally.

Having 4 kids with different ideas of fun things they want to do can sometimes be a bit challenging, so we found our radios very helpful.  When our son wanted to play Ga-Ga ball and I wanted to attend a coffee talk about Kombucha, my husband stayed with the girls while they did a craft at the back of the coffee talk room and held a radio to listen in if Riley needed anything at Ga-Ga ball. Another great option is to purchase one of the several watches you can get for your children that connect to your cell phone. I saw several children wearing the watches at the rally. Those would have been really helpful too!

  • Increase vitamin C and probiotics – Boost those immune systems.

Late night campfires, all day of running around, swimming until their lips are blue, and eating foods at the potlucks that we are not accustomed to made me so thankful that we decided to boost our immune systems before we arrived. Extra vitamin C such as Elderberry syrup or Vitamin C powder mixed into spoonful of honey are the way our family supplements with vitamin C. We also drink kombucha daily. I know there’s many other ways so do what works for you family to help everyone stay healthy during a fun week at the rally.

  • Adult Marketplace – Think about participating!

I loved attending the adult marketplace at the rally. I visited tables from other traveling parents with goods and services such as essential oils, cupcakes, cleaning products, jewelry, and marriage and family coaching. It was a great way to connect with other fulltime family members and show each entrepreneur support. Do not hesitate to participate if it’s your first rally. It’s a great way to market your good and services, and make those connections I keep talking about.

  • There’s a Kid’s Marketplace too – Get creative and think ahead.

We had no idea what to expect. But wow, it was a huge turnout of children selling their goods! Anything from homemade jewelry and cookies to selling their toys or painting your nails for you. Be creative and get involved if this is offered at your next rally. The kids LOVED the market place and talked about it well after it was over. 

  • Save your ‘giveaway’ items to include in the Swap table.

Do you often go through your RV with a plastic bag grabbing things left and right getting ready for a Goodwill donations run, or is that just me? Living in such a small place we all know that we need to purge quiet often. Yet, it sure is nice to find the next size up in jeans for your kiddo or a new screen door handle for your RV door. The Swap table is set up one day of the rally for everyone to bring things to contribute and take things as they like or need. It’s a great way to help a friend out and find something that you may not have been able to find during your last shopping run.

  • Attend the Coffee Talks – You learn so much!

The coffee talks were a great time for adults to get together and listen to a fellow fulltime family parent speak on a topic of interest. From talks about making Kombucha to tips on keeping a marriage strong while traveling fulltime, I walked away from each coffee talk with so much more knowledge than I expected.

  • Potluck – be ready to contribute if you want to.

Look on the Facebook page or watch for a message to be sent your way from Fulltime Families about what to pack and bring to the rally for the potluck dinner. They usually assign you to a potluck group so that you can plan what meal you will contribute. Everyone does their best to help accommodate food allergies and preferences too. 

  • Wear your nametag!

I found it SO helpful when I was speaking to an adult and he or she had a nametag on. You will be meeting so many new faces that it can be embarrassing when you forget their name. Yet, if they have a nametag on you are golden. Also, you will earn rally cash if you are caught wearing your nametag!

  • Get rally cash!

Rally cash is used on the last night of the rally to put into the raffle drawing for awesome prizes. The prizes included children’s toys, essential oils, free camping passes to campgrounds, discount on FTF memberships, and donated items such as the chainsaw art that we won at the rally in Madison, FL!!

Rally cash is given out to adults and children throughout the entire rally for all sorts of good deeds. If you wear your nametag, help clean up, volunteer, or just overall do a good deed then you will earn some rally cash! You then put your family’s last name on the back of each ticket before arriving at the raffle to put the tickets (cash) into the different drawings. Many families work hard to earn their rally cash and a lot of kids get really into it.

  • Enjoy the dance and feel free to dress up!

Along with the raffle, there is a dance the last night of each rally. Many kids and adults dress up to follow the theme of the rally. Feel free to brainstorm fun ways to get all glammed up, or just come as you are ready to dance. Just be aware that the evening can run long for the little ones and you may not be able to stay to the end of the dance if they woke up early that day ready to play like mine did.

  • Be flexible with bedtimes at the Fulltime Families Rally.

This one was hard for us, as our kids really were wiped out and ASKED to go back to the RV so they could go to bed by 8:30 most nights! The days are packed full of fun and excitement, so I totally understood. Yet, it was hard on us parents who were looking forward to the bonfire conversations that evening.

My husband Tony and I took turns going back with the little ones so the other could stay out a bit longer to visit with the other adults. However, if your kids can keep going then I suggest pushing the bedtime and staying out to socialize. Make connections with other families so that you can plan to meet up again down the road!

  • Plan for a lot of visiting time with new friends.

If you are an introvert, it’s okay. Just know that we extroverts will be open to walking up and introducing ourselves at your picnic table to start up a conversation.  Rally-time is a time to meet new friends, reconnect with old friends, learn together, and grow those connections with other families that are SO much more like us than we realize. We may live in different priced or sized rigs and have different religious or political beliefs, but we all understand what life is like living in an RV with kids. We are all fulltime families and it’s SO great to connect with others who just ‘get you’.

Pro Tip: It’s okay to let your RV be off limits to visitors inside. If you need a ‘sanctuary’ to go cool off for 30 minutes, then take it. Do not sweat about a messy home. We ALL have messy homes, especially during rally week.

  • Parade of Homes – you can participate but don’t feel obligated!

The parade of homes is an opportunity to show off your rig and help inspire other families with ideas on fun RV hacks and remolding tips. It’s also a great time to NOT show off your home, but instead just walk through other’s knowing that yours is a hot mess. Oh wait, that was me.  

If you do not feel up to keeping a tidy place ready to show, then don’t sweat it. Just know that we are all curious as everyone’s rig is set up a bit differently for a family. From homeschool areas, to kitchen set ups, to custom made bunk beds, it’s fun to see what others do to their rigs.

If you haven’t experienced a Fulltime Families rally, I hope my tips will help you to decide to do so. You will drive away feeling so glad that you did! Be ready to meet some great people and build some amazing friendships.

Feel free to connect with me, Jill Greising-Murschel, at Let’s Travel Family if you have any questions or have any concerns that I did not touch on here. I’d be happy to help! Or, connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter.

Things to know about Fulltime Families Facebook participation

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The Fulltime Families Facebook group is sponsored by Fulltime Families, LLC, a company that connects and supports traveling families by providing education, support, discounts, and community. This group is a small part of the resources Fulltime Families provides to families living or seeking the fulltime RV lifestyle.

There are many Fulltime Families groups, including several dedicated groups for paid Fulltime Families Members, including a general member group, consisting primarily of traveling families, a bookclub, and a boondocking group.  Some other Facebook Groups sponsored by Fulltime Families, and open to all, are dedicated to Special Needs, Military Families, Solo Parents and more.

We appreciate that the members of all our sponsored groups are kind, respectful, helpful, and show restraint when necessary. We are more than a group about travel or living in an RV, so we allow conversations that aren’t specifically related to those things. However, to keep the atmosphere positive, we will not allow religious or political debates, cursing, or belittling fellow group members. In addition, there are a few topics that we will allow to be discussed for informational purposes, but as soon as they become debates or opinion based will need to be closed for comments. Those topics are traveling with guns, car seats, and safety of motorhomes.

We do not allow our groups to be used for advertising, sales, or market research. If you would like to partner or advertise with us please email info@fulltimefamilies.com. Please do not private message other members or ask them to private message you as a method of selling or obtaining sales people for your organization. If you want to post a job opportunity or fundraiser please private message a group administrator for approval.

If you are looking for information on how we can all afford to travel fulltime, what various acronyms mean, and other FAQs, check out our FILES section.

We’re so excited to have you as a part of our community.  Please review all these tips, enjoy the community and help here, and consider taking the next step by becoming a Fulltime Families Member. We hope to see you down the road!

 

 

Fulltime Families Rally Instructions and FAQs

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How can I reserve my spot?

Go to the link for the event you are interested in registering for on Our Upcoming Events Page  to reserve your spot.

Does the price include camping?

Your rally fee DOES NOT include camping.  Please make your camping arrangements directly with the campground hosting the event.  This information and their phone number will be listed on your Event Registration Page.

What Utilities are Included on my site?

Please consult the campground directly regarding available utilities.

Are Cabins, RV Rentals and Tent sites available?

Most of our Fulltime Families Rally host campgrounds offer alternative accommodations.  Consult the campground regarding these options.

What happens after I reserve my spot?

24 – 48 hours after we receive a notification from Paypal, you will get an email from Fulltime Families with additional registration instructions.  This will be sent to your Paypal Email Address. Upon completion of the form, you will be added to the dedicated Facebook account for this event.

What days should I plan to arrive and leave?

Please plan to arrive early to a Rally.  Some Rallies run from Thursday to Sunday, and most people arrive between Sunday and Wednesday.  Please be aware that each Rally has a “Pre-Rally” leading up to the Rally.  This usually takes place 2 to 3 days before the actual Rally.  This is the time when many optional events occur:  Field Trips, Mom’s Night out, Dad’s Night Out, campfires and Meet&Greets. Many plan to stay a full week. If you’d like to do this, it’s customary to stay Monday – Monday or Sunday to Sunday.

I’m a Charter Member.  How do I get my special discount? 

Charter Members will receive an email from Jill@fulltimefamilies.com when the rally is announced.  If you missed the email, contact Jill for the discount code.

I’m a Lifetime Member and I always receive a discount off my rally rate. How do I do that?

Lifetime Members will receive an email from Jill@fulltimefamilies.com when the rally is announced.  If you missed the email, contact Jill for the discount code.

I’m a current Annual Member and I’d like to upgrade to a Lifetime Member. How do I do that?

Current Annual Members who are interested in upgrading to the Lifetime Membership option and receiving a one time $50 rally credit can email Jill directly.

What will we be doing at this “rally”?

Fulltime Families Rallies are 4 to 7 day family friendly events full of fun and fellowship (that’s a lot of f’s;). Schedules include a variety of family game times, arts and crafts, educational opportunities, seminars, campfires, socials, and big time fun!

What’s Included in my Rally Fee?

Your rally fee pays for all the supplies, staff, rental fees, event insurance and administrative costs required to host the event.

Who can attend a Fulltime Families Rally?

Fulltime RVing Families, Part-Time RVing Families, Weekend Warrior Families and Dreamers are all encouraged to attend Fulltime Families Rallies!  We offer both FtF Member and Non-Member Rates as well as a limited number of day passes.  Not a member yet? Join Now!

Do you offer scholarships for this event?

Yes, we have a limited number of scholarships. To apply for an Fulltime Families Event Scholarship, complete the Application Form.

Are there opportunities to Volunteer at this event?

Absolutely, Volunteers are the life blood of Rally events. To be connected to the organizers group and find opportunities, you send an email to Jill@FulltimeFamilies.com. We also have a Volunteer Board posted during the event.

What are we eating?

Some activities will include corporate meals (pot luck), other times you will be eating on your own. It’s best to go food shopping and plan quick and easy meals while you are attending the rally, as you won’t want to miss a minute of the fun!

Do families Roadschool during the rally?

While there are many educational elements on the rally schedule, with so many kids and so many fun things to do, doing school during your time at the rally may be challenging. Many families suspend their studies during rally time.

How can I prepare my children for this event?

Rally is a fun time, but it can also be overwhelming for new attendees. It’s a good idea to review the schedule with your family so you can mark off activities you don’t want to miss.

What are the cancellation policies for this event?

Please refer to the Registration Page for your event for cancellation dates and policies.

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