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Growing Up Roadschooled - How Homeschooling on the Road changed her life

10 Reasons I Loved Growing Up Roadschooled

Jill GM No Comments

Compared to most other kids, I had a pretty unique (and dare I say awesome?) middle school and high school experience.

This unique experience involved traveling around the country full-time in an RV from ages 11-17 with my parents.

Growing up roadschooled was an amazing experience. True… things were a bit different, especially since I went to public school all the way through 6th grade. Instead of hanging out with friends every day at school, I had friends in different places across the country. Instead of being in a band, I played my own songs at open mic nights. Instead of going to a biology lab, I went to anatomy camp.

See what I mean? Now that you have a little taste of my roadschooling experiences, let me tell you why I really loved my roadschooling childhood.

(This is a guest post from Kelsey Henry at PositivelyDelighted.com) 

10 Reasons I Loved Growing Up Roadschooled

1. Flexible Schedule

RVing and roadschooling complement each other really well because together they give you the ultimate freedom. By having a flexible schedule, I could do my school work whenever, based around trips, events, family or friends visiting, and spontaneous opportunities for adventure.

2. Time For Adventures

Visiting Europe as a worldschooling familySpeaking of adventures, roadschooling gave us the flexibility to go on so many trips, including a few abroad. When we were downsizing and preparing to buy an RV, we sold our house quicker than we expected and ended up staying in a hotel. While we were at the hotel, my parents found our fifth wheel online, flew to see it, and bought it. As we were planning to move in, my Dad got the opportunity to take a temporary assignment at work… in Paris.

Hitting the road as an RV family
Our schedule was super flexible (and we were already living out of suitcases!), so we spent the next 5 weeks in France. To save space, we only took my history textbooks, so I studied world history the whole time. I would read about French history, and then Mom and I would go explore the Louvre. Nothing brings history to life more than being where the history happened.

3. Time To Explore My Interests

When you grow up roadschooled, you have a lot more time to explore your interests than other kids. The beauty of roadschooling and homeschooling, in general, is that you can get your studies done as quickly as possible and have time for other activities, interests, or adventures.

Being Singing in my prom dressroadschooled meant that I had so much time to play music. If it weren’t for RVing, I may never have learned to play guitar. A couple was performing at our RV park outside of L.A. and my mom signed me up to take guitar lessons from them. They taught me how to play all the chords from the song “Imagine” by John Lennon and I’ve been playing ever since.


Songwriting became a musical diary of my time on the road and roadschooling gave me the freedom to work on my music whenever inspiration would strike. If I was frustrated over boy troubles and dating, I could take a break from school work, head out to the picnic table outside, and write a song. Then, get back to school with a clearer mind and a new tune!

I’m pretty sure they don’t give you hall passes for music inspiration and broken hearts in high schools!

4. Unique Experiences

It’s hard to grow up roadschooled and not have some unique experiences and stories to tell. During middle school and high school, I participated in many of the “rites of passage” that my public schooled friends did… just with a little twist.

Field trips: Studied U.S. history in Virginia, toured presidential homes, colonial Williamsburg, and Jamestown.

Dating: Met my first boyfriend at a Civil War reenactment in Indiana. Then, participated with him in the reenactment the next year. My mom even made me a ball gown.

Homecoming: Went to a dance in Indiana and then another one in Texas.

Performed in a songwriting competition in Virginia (in my prom dress and cowboy boots). Immediately after, went with my friend to her prom (who also surprised me with a last-minute blind date).

Driver’s Ed: Graduated from Skip Barber Racing School in Vermont. Voted “Most Cautious Driver”.

Driver's Ed while homeschooling and traveling full-time

Additional Driver’s Ed: Riding in various types of airplanes at homeschooling events and airplane conventions.

Learn more about my roadschooling education, how I taught myself social skills, and other frequently asked questions in my ebook “Growing Up Roadschooled: Lessons Learned From a Roadschooled Kid”.

5. Made Friends Of All Ages

I didn’t have an awesome organization like Fulltime Families when I was growing up on the road, so I had to work harder in this department. I learned to make friends of all ages wherever we went. I met my best friend in California while riding bikes around the RV park, met friends at peace camp and anatomy camp, and even made friends while traveling through National Parks.

I made friends with neighbors at the RV park and the people in my mom’s photography group. Some of my best friends were my cousins and other family members. I may not have seen the same friends every day, but friends were never far from where we traveled.

6. Control Over My Education

I didn’t quite realize it at the time, but I had SO much control over my education. From 7th-11th grade I followed a pretty strict self-taught roadschooling curriculum and studied “fun” subjects on the side. Sometimes I’d be pretending to study my grammar lessons, when really I was reading a book about forensics, mythology, or investing (or the Twilight series… let’s be honest).

Learning on the road as a homeschooled student_
When I was 16, I discovered the concept of “unschooling” and it changed everything I thought I knew about my education. My parents were afraid to stray from my curriculum (there wasn’t much about roadschooling online when we hit the road back in 2005) in case it jeopardized my chances of getting into college. So, we made a deal. If I took the GED exam, I could finish high school early and study whatever I wanted with my free time.

Roadschooling Adventures_
Okay… actually, the deal was that I had to take the SAT exam (and then take it again) before I could start studying for the GED and be finished. I ended up getting my GED 7 months before heading off to college, so I was free to spend my time traveling, reading, and playing up to 5 open mic nights a week.

7. Learned How To Learn

Learn how to Learn as a homeschooled kid

One thing I started to notice more as I got into college was that I had a good knowledge of “how to learn”. Being self-taught meant that I knew how to get to all my classes on time, take charge of my studies, and prepare for exams. Not only that, but I was quick to notice when I was struggling with a subject and sought out extra help.

Teaching myself Algebra was really difficult and when I ran into this subject during my first semester in college, I really struggled. I worked with my professor every week in tutoring sessions and did all the extra credit opportunities to get an A in the class.

Many family members (including my older brothers who were out of the house by the time my parents and I hit the road) were concerned about how I would do in college. I felt the need to prove myself and get the best grades possible to show that my roadschooling education was valuable. I graduated with highest honors in my major and was chosen to represent my graduating class for being a roadschooler.

8. Prepared Me For College

College Graduation of a Roadschooled student

In addition to preparing me for my college studies, roadschooling prepared me for many aspects of college life. I’d never been surrounded by so many people my age before. It was a bit overwhelming, but it was also exciting. There were so many friends to be made and so many student organizations to join!

I looked at student organizations as another form of creating my own classes. I joined a photography club, e-commerce and merchandising club, and even started my own organization called Bored in Denton (BID). For three years, BID put on events around campus, including music concerts, student-written musicals, and fundraisers.

9. Gave Me A Taste Of Freedom And A Love Of Travel

As I transitioned from college into my adult life, I started to notice some identity conflicts between who I was grooming myself to be in the workforce and who I wanted to be. My childhood was full of so much flexibility and freedom, which I continued into college as I picked an interesting major in Digital Retailing, created my own schedule, and ran my student organization.

When I got into my first job out of college, it felt like I had immediately given up my freedom. The work was very interesting, but my life had suddenly become very structured, full of commutes and very little free time. I had a lot of questions running through my head… Am I lazy to complain about a lack of flexibility? Isn’t working hard at a corporate job just a part of life? Why do I deserve something different?

Growing Up Roadschooled

I didn’t even know what that something different would be. All I knew was that I didn’t feel like me and that something had to change. I pushed past those fears of whether I deserved something different and over the next few years created a business that allowed me to travel and have freedom.

It’s certainly not always easy (like working on a project at midnight in a remotely located McDonald’s with no outlets to charge my laptop), but I’ve never felt more like my roadschooled self. The challenges are all a part of the journey!

My song “Free” is an anthem for the type of life I want to live. A life where I am free to do what I want. Free to be myself completely.

10. Prepared Me To Run A Business And Live My Best Life

Homeschooled student learns to play guitar

Roadschooling prepared me to run a business in so many ways. It taught me to how to learn, create new skills, be open to opportunities, and how to create a life around my values. I am not ashamed to say that freedom and travel are huge values in my life.

I’m not living in a fantasy or stuck in a daydream. I don’t see myself as ungrateful, immature, or lazy. I see myself as someone who knows who she wants to be and is working every day to be that person. I’m learning every day how to prioritize these values in my life, while also learning how to run and grow my business.

Someday these values may change and I might want more structure in my life. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there and be open to those opportunities and changes.

>> Want to learn more about Fulltime Families Membership? Head here for more details and learn more.! <<

I Loved Being Homeschooled On The Road

Growing up roadschooled is pretty much the best thing ever and made me the person I am today. Without those experiences… I don’t know who I would be.

The best contributions I can make to the world come from being the best version of myself.

Roadschooling taught me how to do that and it’s a philosophy I plan to live by the rest of my life 🙂

Kelsey Henry - A Roadschooling StoryKelsey Henry is a singer/songwriter, digital nomad, and host of The Positively Delighted Show podcast at PositivelyDelighted.com. From ages 11-17, she traveled full time in an RV with her parents, documenting her adventures of travel and roadschooling through music. You can now find her traveling around the country in her glamper CR-V, running her podcast production and Pinterest consulting business on the road.

Preparing Taxes for full time RV living families

Top 5 Tax Questions for Fulltime Families – Preparing Your Taxes

Jill GM No Comments

As a tax preparer for many digital nomads particularly full-time RVers, I get asked lots of questions from current and prospective clients. As we start the latest tax season filing tax returns for 2018, I thought I’d answer the most frequently asked questions especially as it relates to any tax law changes beginning in 2018.

(This is a guest post from Heather with Tax Queen) 

1. Is there a tax savings strategy specifically for full-time RV families?

The short answer here is no.

However, there are some deductions available if you are a business owner. This includes writing off cell phone and internet costs, mileage and possibly some travel expenses. Travel expenses can only be taken if they directly relate to your business and you have kept a good log. This can include attending conferences or travel to meet with clients.

Also, as a self-employed individual, you can possibly deduct health insurance costs, health savings account contributions and even retirement contributions. To max out savings for your personal situation, I highly recommend meeting with a tax professional to go over your exact numbers and situation.

Tax tips

2. What are examples of common tax deductions for Fulltime Families?

The most common tax deduction I see for fulltime families is the child tax credit. In 2018 this credit amount has increased to $2,000 per child (prior to 2018 it was $1,000 per child).

Again, If you also own a business, then there are deductions available to your business. To get the deductions it’s important to track anything you buy which is used in the business. This can include a computer, desk equipment, software, internet, education, conferences and other items that are necessary for your business.

Also, for those families who add solar to their RV, there is a residential energy credit available. For 2018, it is 30% of the total costs of installation including equipment and labor. This is a great credit to help offset the costs of solar installation.

3. Is the 2018 tax law reform a benefit for Fulltime Families?

Taxes for RV living

There isn’t one answer here. Some may benefit while others will not. It varies according to income level and also deductions available to each individual family.

Again, the biggest change will benefit those who own a business and it’s the qualified business income deduction. This deduction is up to 20% for all income derived from a pass-through entity including sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S-Corps. It is limited to 20 percent of the taxpayer’s taxable income minus net capital gains.

There are limitations if you earn over certain income amounts ($315,000 for married filing jointly) and if you have a specific service business. If your income is below the $315,000 threshold then there will be no limits on the deduction. If your income is over the threshold, then your deduction starts to get limited until it is removed altogether. This new deduction can be complicated depending on your income, so I advise you to talk with your tax adviser to see how it can help you.
Taxes for RVers

The other benefit is the reduction in the tax rate of the 7 brackets. The following are the new brackets for 2018. The tax rates have dropped a bit for many which should help some families.

In 2018 you will notice a change to the look of Form 1040. While the first page is shorter (remember how the government talked about a postcard size), there are new schedules that have been added to account for all the deductions and credits allowed on a return. While it might appear simpler at first, it is actually more complicated with more forms necessary for credits, deductions, self-employment income and more.

4. Can I take the home office deduction?

This is usually a big NO. The IRS defines a home office as a completely separate space from your living area. It must be used 100% for business purposes. How many people can say that about their RV?

I have seen a few exceptions if you have a toy hauler with office space in the garage or possibly a bunkhouse used as office space. As a family traveling I’m not sure you can really qualify using any space 100% for business use.

I urge you to take precaution if you want to take this deduction. An RV is a small space and honestly, I’m not sure how much savings the home office deduction would even offer in such a tiny living space. Did you want to take a $50 deduction, but raise a red flag? This puts you at a much higher risk for an audit. You decide if it’s worth it or not.

>> Want to learn more about Fulltime Families Membership? Head here for more details and learn more.! <<

5. Can I deduct travel expenses?

The answer is complicated and depends on each families particular situation. If you’d like to read a full post on this, you can do so here. 

For now, let’s explain in a little more detail about travel expenses.

Because you live a nomadic lifestyle the IRS officially calls you a transient or itinerant.

What is a transient or itinerant?

The IRS defines transient workers as a “taxpayer with no regular place of business and maintains no fixed home, each place the taxpayer works becomes the taxpayer’s tax home. Therefore, the taxpayer may not deduct any travel expenses.”

It may be possible to deduct mileage for using your tow or towed vehicle if you use it for business meetings. For example, if you are parked in a state park, but drive your towed vehicle to a client meeting in town. Those miles are business miles.

It may also be possible to deduct some travel expenses if you maintain a sticks-and-bricks home somewhere and your living expenses are duplicated because of this. This means when you travel in your RV it could be for a business purpose.

If you do plan to deduct travel expenses, it is important to keep a detailed log of all travel expenses, the purpose of the travel and miles (the IRS WILL ask to see this if you’re audited). Again, travel miles are only deductible if you are duplicating living costs.

Preparing Your Family’s Full-Time RV Living Taxes

As you can see, there isn’t a specific tax benefit to being a full-time traveling family. I usually remind my clients of the freedom and special experiences that this lifestyle brings to your family. Also, many travelers find their costs to be less than living a traditional home, so enjoy that benefit as well.

If you have further questions or a complicated situation, I highly recommend working with a tax professional who can understand your unique situation. Since you are ultimately responsible for the numbers on your return, you should make sure to keep good records. This will also allow your tax preparer to help you take all the deductions that fit your unique situation.

About the writer – Heather Ryan, EA

Heather Ryan - Tax Queen for RV familiesHeather is the owner of Tax Queen LLC which specializes in taxes for full-time RVers and digital nomads. As a full-timer herself, she understands many of the unique tax situations created by travel. She serves her clients completely remotely using technology to provide top-notch customer service to all her clients. Heather travels with her husband and two dogs and has been on the road since September 2016.
EXCLUSIVE FTF MEMBER OFFER: Current FTF Members should provide their FTF membership number at the time of your initial consultation for a $25 discount on your first invoice for services.

Different Types of RVs

Making Sense Of The Different Types Of RVs

Jill GM No Comments

If you are relatively new to RVs it can be very overwhelming to make sense of the different types of RVs.  There is a lot of new terminologies you may be unfamiliar with and much to learn about how to choose the right RV for your needs.  

Nothing hurts your ability to buy and negotiate on an RV more than being an uneducated buyer. So before you even set foot on an RV dealer’s lot, you’ll want to start your search by understanding the many different types of RVs available. In this article, we give you an overview of the main points of difference, with photos, to quickly bring you up to speed.

(This is a guest post from Marc and Julie with RV Love) 


This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.


What Are The Different Types Of RVs?

First, let’s separate RVs into two primary categories – Towable and Motorized – then give a brief description of types within those categories.  We’ll also cover price ranges of new RVs, but keep in mind that you can purchase any kind of pre-owned RV for much less. This is important to remember as all RVs depreciate, just like cars, only worse! Which is why it’s important to make a sound choice before signing on the dotted line.

Are you ready? Let’s jump in!

Types of RVs

 

Towables

When we refer to towable RVs, we are talking about any RV that is towed behind a vehicle.  Towables can range from very small lightweight trailers that can be towed by regular passenger cars, all the way up to huge trailers that require heavy-duty semi-trucks.  Towables make up over 80% of the RV market as most RVers use their RV for occasional getaways and otherwise spend significant time in storage. Towables also offer more living space for the price compared to motorized RVs. Of course, that depends on what you may need to spend on a vehicle to tow it.

Pop Up Trailers (also known as tent trailers)

Pop Up Campers

These trailers are generally small and lightweight as the majority of the trailer is made up of tent material that folds out when setting up, and folds down for transportation and storage.  They generally have limited floor space but substantial sleeping space.

Some pop-up trailers are small enough to be towed behind a regular passenger car, and some are large enough to sleep a family of 6 people towed behind a larger SUV or truck. Pop-up trailers are popular as an entry into RVing, as they are relatively inexpensive and can often be stored in the garage at your home which avoids paying to store it, and easy access for short getaways.  

These trailers are mostly meant for short trips and vacations, not intended for extended travel, and can’t carry much cargo because when folded down to transport there is very little space remaining.

Travel Trailers (teardrop, regular and toy haulers)

Travel Trailer camper

More suitable for longer stays and larger families, hard sided travel trailers are the most popular types of RV.

Hard-sided travel trailers can vary dramatically in size from a 15′ teardrop shaped trailer that can be towed by a small SUV, to a 40′ long trailer with a toy hauler garage in the back requiring a big truck. Most commonly seen in the 20-30′ length, with hard-sided walls they will have more cupboards and storage and will be better insulated than a trailer with fabric walls like in pop-ups.

A hybrid trailer is a type of hard sided travel trailer which has fabric walled extendable areas to increase sleeping space, similar to a pop-up trailer, except predominantly a hard sided trailer.

Some travel trailers have sections of walls that slide out to create a more roomy feel. Note that when you see the length of a travel trailer that length will include the length of the ‘A-frame’ hitch area in front of the actual box that contains the living space. That area is about 3-4 feet, so if you have a 23′ travel trailer, the inside area of the trailer will be less than 20′.

Travel trailers can weigh up to 11,000 pounds so be sure that your towing vehicle has the capacity to tow the trailer you choose, all your passengers and their gear.

New prices typically vary from $6,000 – $60,000.

5th Wheel (Regular and Toy Hauler)

5th wheel camper

Fifth wheel trailers get their name from their hitch type (how they attach to the towing vehicle).  The hitch connects in the bed of a truck, not at the bumper, more like a semi-truck. Therefore, you will definitely need to have a truck to tow a fifth wheel, and likely need a 1-ton truck or heavier duty if purchasing a large fifth wheel.

Fifth wheel trailers are very popular with full-time RVers, but can, of course, be enjoyed by folks using them for shorter trips. They are great for larger families because they offer the most living space of any RV of similar length, because the hitch is mounted below living space, and you don’t lose living space to a driving area as with motorized RVs.

Fifth Wheel Campers

Fifth wheels range from 25′ – 45′ in length and tend to feel very homey inside because of the taller ceilings and the floorplan/layouts offered. Many have sections of the walls that slide out to expand the living space when parked, and some have garage spaces for carrying large motorized toys and might even have elevated deck areas when setting up at a campsite.

Some fifth wheels come with two bedrooms, and many families will convert the toy-hauler layouts into a second bedroom with bunk beds.

Prices range from $20,000 – $200,000, but remember you will likely need a substantial truck to pull it as they often weigh over 10,000 pounds and can weigh over 30,000 pounds. And trucks can be expensive!

 

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Motorized RVs

Motorized RVs – also known as motorhomes – have an own engine and chassis, therefore, you don’t need a separate vehicle to tow it.  One exception to this in the list below is that we have included truck campers in this section because it’s mounted onto a vehicle.  Depending on the type of motorized RV you are looking at, you may also choose to tow a vehicle behind it, which means you can leave your RV behind in a campsite and explore the local area – usually in a smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicle.

Class A Motorhomes

Class A RV

Class A motorhomes are the motorhomes that look like buses. Class A gas motorhomes are generally smaller and lighter than diesels. They range from 26′ to 38′ long and are usually built on chassis ranging from 19,000 lbs to 26,000 lbs gross vehicle weight capacity.

Class A diesel motorhomes generally have the engine mounted in the rear of the vehicle, thereby creating the term diesel pusher. They range from 28′ to 45′ long and are usually built on chassis ranging from 24,0000 lbs to 54,000 lbs gross vehicle weight capacity.

Many newer class A motorhomes will have slide outs that can expand the living space when parked, and some may offer toy hauler or two bedroom floorplans. Class A motorhomes offer more living space per foot than other types of motorized RVs since the ceiling height is consistent throughout.  

New Class A motorhomes generally cost between $60,000 and $600,000 (and can even go higher) depending on whether gas or diesel and can vary substantially in quality and amenities.

Class B Motorhomes

Class B RV

Class B motorhomes are much smaller, starting with a van chassis and building in an RV kitchen, bath and sleeping areas. They are very nimble RVs as they drive like normal vans, but their size will also limit the living space inside.

Their limited size can make it a challenge for more than two people for extended periods, but may be suitable for shorter vacations, or are great for road trips to destinations with additional sleeping areas. Fuel economy will be far superior to Class A motorhomes due to their smaller size.

New prices vary from $40,000 – $200,000.

Class B+ Motorhomes

Class B + Camper

Class B+ RVs are slightly larger van conversions that will have a higher roofline, and might be slightly wider than a normal class B, but are still built on a van chassis. Their larger space allows for additional sleeping areas and more living space, thereby making them a better fit for more than two people or extended travel than traditional Class B RVs.

Class C Motorhomes

Class C RV

Class Cs are a popular type of RV and probably the most common motorized RV you’ll see out on the road. Most of the rental RVs that you see with rental company branding are Class C motorhomes. They start with a cab and frame of a truck or heavy duty van chassis and add a wider and taller RV box behind and above the cab area.

Class C RVs have a sleeping area above the driving/cab area of the RV. They range in length from 20 – 31 feet in length. Newer model Class Cs will often have slide outs to increase the living area. Some have dedicated bunk areas for larger families, and most all will have areas that convert to beds in need.

Prices on new Class C RVs generally range from $50,000 – $150,000 so they are one of the more affordable motorized options and are therefore a common entry into motorized RVs.

Class Super C RV

Super C RV

As the name implies, a Super C is a large C Class motorhome. It is built on the same principle as the regular Class C, but on a larger and heavier capacity chassis with more powerful engines and higher towing capacities.

New prices of Super C RVs range from $160,000 to well over $500,000 for luxury units built on semi-truck chassis.

Truck Camper

Truck Camper

Truck campers slide into the bed of a truck. Some might be as basic as a shell, but we are mostly referring here to the larger units that allow you to stand up and have kitchen, bath and sleeping areas. Some lighter weight versions have fabric areas of the walls that allow you to lift/pop-up the roof when set up (like the one pictured). These also allow a lower height when traveling for better fuel economy and to allow you to drive into areas with lower height restrictions, for example, if you were going off-road in areas with trees.

Living space, and especially floor space is typically limited, and therefore not a great fit for most families.

They generally weigh between 1,000 – 4,000 pounds and are offered at prices between $8,000 and $50,000 new.

There Are Many Types Of RVs

Of course, there’s a whole lot more to learn about and understand before you make your RV buying decision, but this gets you well on the road to becoming more familiar with the many types of RVs and making sense of the sea of choices available.  We do a much deeper dive into the many important RV buying considerations in our book Living The RV Life – Your Ultimate Guide To Life On The Road and guide you through the RV buying process through our online courses and workbooks at RV Success School.

https://www.radfamilytravel.com/home/best-vacations-usa-2019BIO/ABOUT: Marc and Julie Bennett are full-time RVers, YouTubers, and co-authors of “Living the RV Life – Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road” (Adams Media/Simon and Schuster). They are in their 5th year of full-time RVing and have visited all 50 USA States – plus Canada, Mexico, and Australia – while working full-time. They share as “RVLove” on their blog and YouTube channel, and appear in the RV Nomads movie. They offer online courses, private consulting and coaching at their popular RV Success School and are regularly invited to share their knowledge and insights with the media and at RV industry events.


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What is RV Skirting?

What Is RV Skirting And Does My Camper Need It?

Jill GM No Comments

There has been an increase in people leaving the brick and mortar lifestyle and enjoying the simplicity of living in a camper full time. But not everyone is living in an RV, traveling the United States, and escaping the harsh weather.

Many families who work in the pipeline or welding industry are discovering that living in an RV is much easier than trying to find a small apartment or house to rent every few months. But how are they able to survive in states such as Ohio, West Virginia, and Michigan, where winters often provide freezing temperatures?

RV Skirting is how!

(This is a guest post from RV Skirting Pros)

It has been around for decades and has gained popularity as more and more families are selling their homes and moving into an RV. They are realizing that RV skirting makes it possible to live in a camper fulltime in colder climates.

Camper Skirting

What Is RV Skirting And Why You Might Need IT

RV Skirting, also being called “windskirting”, is simply material placed around the bottom of the camper. The main reason it is placed is to keep the undercarriage protected from the colder temperatures. It is a great way to keep you warm in the winter months, but many are starting to buy them to keep cooler in the summer as well.

Skirting your RV provides a barrier from the cold and wind. There is so much heat loss through the floor of RVs that having the underneath sealed up traps the heat that escapes, leaving your floors feeling warmer.

The small investment in skirting will have a huge return when your propane costs are lower and you aren’t paying for busted water lines. I have seen it way too many times where a camper thought they didn’t need skirting, but then temperatures dropped below freezing and they no longer had water because their lines froze.

(Related Post: Top things you need when living in an RV.)

There is no way to unfreeze water lines without having it all sealed up and protected from the harsh elements. (If they do freeze and you have skirting, simple place a small heat lamp or heater underneath to get them to thaw out).

>> Want to learn more about Fulltime Families Membership? Head here for more details and learn more.! <<

Options for RV Skirting

There are many ways to skirt an RV. Some of the popular ones are:

  • Vinyl material
  • Plywood
  • Insulation Boards
  • Straw/Hay Bales
  • TarpsRV Trailer Skirting

Many of these have pros and cons, but I highly recommend Vinyl skirting. I know some of you might be thinking, “Of course you are going to think that! You sell it!” BUT for real…

Plywood is hard to manage and cut. It also cannot be taken with you if you move.

Insulation boards are easy to manage and cut, but again, if you need to move the ground levels will more than likely be different so your boards won’t work.

Straw/Hay bales will help but attract mice and other critters who are also trying to escape the cold and keep warm.

Then you have tarps which are thin, rip easily, and are time-consuming when installing them.

Now do you see why I recommend Vinyl?

Vinyl Skirting Is The Best Choice

Vinyl Skirt for an RV

With our Skirting/Track system, it is super easy to install and durable enough to last you year after year, all while keeping the purchase cost lower than a custom skirting.

Did I mention that there is no need to worry if you have to move? You simply slide the panels off, fold them up, and slide them back on when you arrive at your new destination! Our panels are plenty long, providing you with enough extra length for those different ground levels.

An RV Skirt provides wind protection, extra enclosed storage, insulation with decreased heating and cooling costs, tire protection, improved appearance (meeting new campground regulations), and undercarriage protection, making it a practical and wise decision.

So are you ready for your camper to wear a skirt?

You can visit our website to get yours today!

Use the coupon code FTF10 to receive 10% off your purchase!! 

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Workamping With Kids

Workamping With Kids

Jill GM No Comments

(This is a guest post from Sharee at LiveCampWork.com.)

Back in 2013, we hit the road with 4 kids in tow to live a life of RV travel. If you’ve been a Fulltime Family for a while, you know that there weren’t nearly as many folks traveling or workamping with kids on the road!

In fact, we were one of just a few families traveling full-time in an RV with sights set on Workamping. Back then this segment of RV life was still thought of as something for retirees or folks who just wanted to Camp Host in exchange for a free site… but this wasn’t really what we had in mind.

Our Ticket To Travel

Our adventure started with a desire to explore and big intentions on seeing and doing things that were outside the box from what we considered the norm. We wanted to take our kids on a great road trip and since we didn’t have a business with reliable income to keep our adventure afloat, we knew early on we would have to work along the way!

Workamping was our ticket to travel. It allowed us to go now rather than later, and even though we didn’t have a big fancy rig to travel in… we chose to go for it and see where the road would lead us.

The first stop was Camperforce, a program designed for RVers to work the holiday season at Amazon, helping them deliver holiday orders in record time. Not only was this totally outside of the box for us, but it was also crazy hard work and tested our determination on if our RV adventure was meant to be. We pulled through more tales to tell than we would have imagined- but it taught us that we could do anything we set out to do, and we needed that vote of confidence!

Over the past 4 years, my family visited about 30 states, as we slowly worked our way up and down the east coast and then eventually out west. We help positions ranging from campground managers to park rangers and just about everything in between- which we soon found out was just the tip of the iceberg. Workamping can be literally anything and everything you want!

The adventures are unlimited and the number of employers who hire RVers is not that far behind.

Workamping even led us to my current position working behind the scenes for Workamper News, the company who started it all 30+ years ago, and most recently to writing my first printed book, Live.Camp.Work: How to Make Money & RV Full-time.

Workamping with kids

A Best Selling Book

Live.Camp.Work. was released earlier this year in October and it was truly a labor of love. Stressful love… but love still the same!

I decided to write the book on July 4th weekend when I was talking with a few friends about upcoming projects and what I wanted to accomplish this year. I accidentally set the deadline for my birthday (just 3 months away) which led to hard work, sleepless nights, and maybe even some dramatic breakdowns as the final product was being proofed by a team of 300 fellow Workampers who volunteered to be on my Book Launch Team and help me bring the final product to print.

In the end, it all came together, and the book hit #1 on Amazon in more than 5 categories in just 2 days, with over 7,000 downloads!

I set out to write a book about Workamping to give information to people who needed it. What I ended up doing was writing a reference guide to Workamping complete with 1000+ employers who hire RVes.

Head to my website to grab a free copy before December 31st.

It’s only available for a limited time, before going back exclusively on Amazon.com- so make sure you grab the PDf while it’s available! Click here now.

Workamping With Kids

If you plan on working traditional Workamping jobs like we did, there are some things you’ll need to know before you set out to find that perfect job. After all, Workaming with kids in tow is slightly different than just going as a couple or a single for that matter, and it’ll be easier if you know the answers to the most commonly asked questions up front. It’s also a very different experience to workamp while RV living with kids, then working other digital remote jobs.

While there are almost no two situations that are alike, here are the top 4:

1. Can Both Parents Work?

Regardless of whether you need child care for younger children or not, both parents are able to work while traveling. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways and all revolve around what you find comfortable. For my husband and I, we choose to work opposite shifts, so we could easily work for the same employers. We would line up employment at various places and ask if one of us could work in the morning and then the other would work at night. We weren’t particular about having the same off days, as we knew this would only be temporary, and to our surprise and enjoyment, it turned out to be a welcome change to those who wanted the same shifts. It always worked out for us!

A Few Things to Note:

  • A normal schedule included about 20-30 hours per person. We only worked 40 hours (or more) while working for Amazon Camperforce.
  • We made the most of our hours work, by only accepting jobs where the campsite was offered for FREE.
  • Working opposite shifts gets old quickly. Not having the same off days as your partner in addition to starting your shift when they are ending their shift means you will not see each other very often.
  • Scheduling our stays at 4 months or less for these job locations made it more manageable.

2. How Much Will I Make?

I like to be very upfront and honest about this topic and may have said it before, but you will not get rich Workamping. You will make a decent wage and sometimes be provided a FREE site if you snagged a great position, but you will not be adding to your savings account or retirement fund by any means. If Workamping is your only means of income and you have kids in tow, money will be unreasonably tight, and the adventure will be overshadowed by financial woes. Do yourself a favor and find ways to earn extra income through a well-planned small business or income-producing hobby, also known as a side hustle.

3. Is It Harder Finding Jobs?

Full-Time RVing With kids

I can’t say it’s harder, because I never actually had a hard time. I can’t say it’s easy because it took a lot of well-crafted emails to get the jobs we wanted along with a great interview. Workamping with kids is different from those who do it without. So, you have to attack it differently and master how to pitch yourself to be successful.

For instance, when you see a job posted for a campground position you need to react a little quicker than usual. You don’t have time to think about every detail. Give the employer a quick look, decide if it’s something doable and then apply. You can do more research later, after your application or resume has been submitted.

In your email to the employer you’ll need to craft a very polite and cheerful introduction including how you are excited about the possibility to join the team at a family friendly establishment, some details about the adults looking for work, maybe a recent accomplishment, and then mention you are part of a traveling family with x number of kids.

Let the employer know about your experience and why you’ll be a great addition to the team. I usually added a sentence about how we did not need the same days off, but alternating shifts were preferable. Include pictures of yourself and the family as well as your RV or insert a link to your blog where they are welcome to go ‘meet’ your family.

Attach your resume with relevant work experience or just the previous positions that would highlight your skills. When it comes to family Workampers, I find it’s better to show a severe over qualification than to send too little information and hope they will ask the right questions.

>> Want to learn more about Fulltime Families Membership? Head here for more details and learn more.! << 

4. Can Kids Come To Work?

This is such a tricky question and one that I think cannot just be left to common sense and good judgment. Bringing small kids or even younger teens into the workplace requires many things, but at least three to integrate seamlessly, which is usually just not the case.

  • You are assuming they will behave, be helpful and stay content throughout your shift without needing constant supervision or for you to hover over them.
  • Your employer, if they are okay with this, is assuming your children are well behaved (according to the employer’s standards) and that they will not interfere with your work and in some cases may be able to help.
  • Everyone is assuming that the kids are aware of how to behave in the work environment, understand their role and the expectations set by you and your employer.

So I guess it just really depends on what you’re doing, where you’re employed, and what the rules of the property are. Keep in mind it could also be doable on one day and then a totally unrealistic request on another.

I advise going into the situation with an open slate. If having the kids come to work with you is the only way to make it work, be upfront and honest with the employer from the beginning. You never want to travel any distance with the looming possibility that you may be turned away or asked to leave earlier than expected.

Workamping With Kids – Summed Up

I hope these 4 FAQs helped answer some of the questions you have regarding Workamping with kids! This is just a small snippet of the information I provide in my book Live.Camp.Work. so make sure you grab the PDF download while its available. It’s packed with ideas, information and contact information for employers you might consider positions with later down the road!

Head to my website to grab a free copy before Dec. 31st!

It’s only available for a limited time, before going back exclusively on Amazon.com- so make sure you grab the PDf while it’s available!

Tips for Visiting Ingalls Homestead

Tips For Visiting Ingalls Homestead – Roadschool Guide

Jill GM No Comments

If you are looking for a great place to take the family that is both historical and educational, then check out the Ingalls Homestead in South Dakota. At Fulltime Families, we help provide ideas for not only RV living and traveling with kids but also homeschooling tips and field trips. Check out our latest roadschool guide below.

Visiting Ingalls Homestead

Location: De Smet, SD

Website: www.ingallshomestead.com

Reciprocal: None

Full Price Admission Cost: $15 for adults and kids; 4 and under free; multi-day tickets available

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is the land of Ma and Pa Ingalls’ homestead in De Smet, South Dakota. You will step inside the home they lived in, experience a sod house, explore the barn, and meet a teacher at the one-room schoolhouse to learn about education in the late 1800s.


This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.


Inside The Ingalls Homestead

In addition to everything there is to see, there is so much to do. From making a jump rope and a corn cob doll to take home, to pumping water by hand or riding a pony, you certainly won’t get bored here. Visitors even have the opportunity to drive a covered wagon across the prairie to the schoolhouse.

Driving a wagon at the Ingalls Homestead

If you’re a fan of the Little House books, this is a can’t-miss opportunity to walk on the same ground as the Ingalls family. However, even if you’ve never read the books, Ingalls Homestead is a fascinating trip back in time to see how pioneers lived during the time of westward expansion.

For young children, there are plenty of hands-on activities and outside space to run and play. Meanwhile, older kids and adults will love the history behind the place, making this a great all ages activity. Such a great roadschooling field trip!

Quick Tips

  • Open May to October.
  • Ask for a multi-day ticket if you’ll be in the area for several days.
  • Other Ingalls homes in De Smet require a separate entrance fee.
  • Overnight accommodations include a 4-site RV park, covered wagons, a bunkhouse, and tent sites.
  • Prepare to walk on grass, as there are few paths.
  • Private parking lot with room for one or two RVs.
  • Picnic tables and some packaged snacks available.

Little House on the Prairie

Books To Read

For Littles

For 10 +

For Everyone

Videos to Watch

For Everyone

Other Resources

Activities to Do

Things to Discuss

  • If you lived on the Ingalls Homestead, which chores would you like the most? Which would you dislike?
  • Why do you think the Ingalls family chose to travel westward? Would you be brave enough to be an American pioneer?

Other Area Attractions

Below are some of the other great attractions in this area. We try to keep things affordable, sticking to free and cheap attractions and/or museums and zoos on reciprocal lists. If an attraction is affiliated with a reciprocal program or offers free admission, I have noted that beside the attraction listing. To learn more about saving money using reciprocal programs, see this post.

Closest Places to Stay on a Budget

For information on camping memberships, see this post.

Related Attractions in Other Areas

For more great roadschool guides, have a look around Wonder Wherever We Wander.

 

>> Want to learn more about Fulltime Families Membership? Head here for more details and learn more.! <<

Ingalls Homestead Homeschool Trip


Fulltime Families is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.ca. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

How to become a full-time RV Living Family

How To Become A Full-Time RV Living Family

Jill GM No Comments

Do you dream of traveling the USA, but feel like you need to wait until retirement? Did you know there are many full-time RV living families who decided not to wait? Yet, they started out wondering how they could become a full-time RV living family.

If you think that you would like to join them and become a full-time RVing family, then keep on reading. We want to help you make that dream come true! There are many families that decide to start full-time RV living with kids and here we going to go into some of our top tips here.

First, can you live in an RV?

Yes, you really can! Although, you do need to have a legal mailing address and pay taxes to a particular state. Yet, you absolutely can live and travel in an RV with your kids!

Many of our members join Escapees with their first year of their Fulltime Families membership, which is FREE when they join Fulltime Families.

As an Escapees member, you can join their mailing service and pay a small fee each month to have all of your mail delivered to an address that is assigned to you. Then you pay taxes in that state and have your mail forwarded to the campgrounds that you stay at.

How does a family live in an RV?

How does a family of 3, let alone a family of 8, live in an RV and fit? Well, most of our members will agree that there is an adjustment period. Yet, we’ve all made it work!
How to live in an RV full-time

It’s all about the mindset. Living in a small house on wheels often means taking on a minimalist lifestyle. Buy only the things you need to live in an RV and find ways to live simply.

Do you really need 20 sweatshirts for one member of your family when trying to live the RV life? Think about living with the least amount of ‘stuff’ as possible, and then donate even more.

What’s the best RV to buy?

Deciding on your family RV is different for everyone. Many Fulltime Families members travel and live in a fifth-wheel. Yet, others have found a travel trailer, Class C motorhome or Class A motorhome to work well for their family.

What type of RV is best will vary based on family size, traveling preference, whether you want to move right in or individualize, and much more. If you want more help deciding which is best for your family, we recommend this course by Less Junk, More Journey.

What is the cost of RV living?

One of the most common questions we get asked is “What is the real cost of RV living?”Living in a camper full time

This is a tough one. We have members who get by on very little income, while others spend quite a bit to live the RV lifestyle they want. In short, anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000 per month could be argued as ‘needed’ to be a full-time RV family.

You will need to figure in the cost of a truck and camper, or a motorhome and a vehicle to tow. There are expenses such as campground fees, gas, activities, and national park passes.

How do you earn money while traveling?

There are many ways that full time RVing families earn money on the road. Start by thinking about what skills you have that can be translated into a remote or work-from-home job?

Our members have a variety of jobs. Some work remotely online, while others work on site at a location for a period of time and then move according to their job. We have members that take on short-term jobs at places like the Amazon Campforce, theme parks, or retail work.

There are full-time RVing families that earn money from renting out their homes on Airbnb, and others that trade their labor for free camping by workcamping.

Members of our main Facebook group have access to a file listing income sources for many families.

How to become a full-time RV family

How can we keep our RV living costs down?

A great way to keep your RV costs down is to minimize campground expenses and spending at each new location. To learn all about the top camping memberships, check out our blog post on Which RV Membership is Right for You as well as an in-depth explanation of Thousand Trails.

Most RV parks offer weekly and monthly rates, which provide savings over daily rates. While some private RV parks charge extra fees for more than 2 adults, Fulltime Families members get those fees waived at our Family Friendly Campgrounds.

State and National Parks are less expensive than private RV parks, but often don’t have all the amenities such as water, electric, and sewer hookups at your campsite.

Boondocking, or dry camping, is another option. It often entails staying for free generally with no hook-ups, but often with more space and better views than RV parks provide.

What about school?

Most Fulltime Families teach their kids through Roadschooling, a form of homeschooling that takes advantage of the opportunities presented by traveling. Many zoos, museums and science centers are part of one or more reciprocal programs.

Homeschooling on the road

Fulltime Families provides Roadschool Guides for a variety of educational attractions. Our guides include a review, visiting tips, supplemental materials, things to do and discuss nearby attractions to visit and more.

When we say most, we don’t mean ALL members roadschool. Some families register their children to online school programs, follow a specific curriculum, or unschool their children. The best place to find out more about what each family recommends is to connect with other families in our private roadschooling facebook group. You receive access to this group with your membership to Fulltime Families.

How do you make friends on the road?

One of the primary missions of Fulltime Families is to provide a community for full-time RV living families. As a member, you have access to the many private Facebook groups, branches, and future events.RV life on the road with friends

Many families plan their travel around meeting up with friends or spending a season, often winter, in one location with other families.

We offer several events throughout the year and across the country, from week-long rallies or weekend hangouts to one-day field trips.

>> Want to learn more about Fulltime Families Membership? Head here for more details and learn more.! <<

Are you ready to hit the road but want some additional help?

If you are new to RV living with kids or haven’t even launched yet, then be sure join Fulltime Families! You get access to our many members’s only Facebook Groups, the ability to register for our rallies, hangouts and field trips throughout the year across North America and a community of like-minded friends waiting for you.

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