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Thinking about full time RV living? If you have a teenager, this can be a little bit tricky. Young children are generally happy to tag along with their parents wherever they go. They rarely have the super close friendships teens tend to have, nor are their hobbies and passions as deeply rooted. 

Teenagers, on the other hand, have had time to build connections with their classmates and teachers. They have likely found deep interests that they have invested time into. Most teens aren’t going to be quite as eager to get up and leave all of that behind for a life on the road. 

All that said, full time RV living with teenagers is totally possible. Not only that, it is 100% possible for the entire family to be happy while living and traveling in an RV!

The trick? Finding ways to ensure your teenager’s needs are met. Below are our top tips for doing just that. 

Teenager doing online school

School When You Full Time RV with Teenager Travelers

One of the first things that most parents think of when considering living in an RV with teenager travelers is schooling. After all, teens are nearing college age, meaning they should be preparing for college, trade school, or any other kind of secondary education they might decide to seek out. 

The good news? Schooling on the road—also known as roadschooling—is definitely a valid option. Not only that, homeschooling is becoming more and more popular all the time, meaning there are plenty of resources out there to help ensure your child gets the kind of education they need. These include online schools, private tutoring online and/or in person, traditional book work, and more.  

Before you jump into full time RV living with teenagers, we recommend having a chat with your teens to find out what they plan to do after high school. From there, you can decide what style of roadschooling and curriculum best fits the needs of your family. 

Fulltime RV Living with Teenagers: Pursuing Passions

As mentioned above, your teenager likely has at least one thing they are passionate about. This is fantastic! Passions and hobbies are incredibly important and will help your teenager find out who they are while building essential life skills. That said, when you RV with teenager tag-alongs, pursuing certain passions can be difficult. 

Before you go RVing with teenagers, make sure you discuss their hobbies and passions. Find out which ones are most important to them, and then get creative in finding ways they can continue to learn and grow in their hobbies while traveling full time. 

Depending on the hobbies your teens have chosen, this might mean traveling slowly, ensuring they can be stationary for certain seasons in order to participate in a sport or rehearse for a play. It could also mean finding online classes and supplementing with short-term, in-person classes along the way. 

You might also find that your teens find more things they are passionate about as they travel. We recommend taking advantage of the fact that you are traveling in order to introduce your teens to things they might only be able to do in specific places. These activities might include skiing and snowboarding, scuba diving and snorkeling, surfing, and rock climbing. 

There are plenty of ways to go about ensuring your teenager can pursue their passions while you RV, but this is something you will have to work for. Do it. It’s well worth the extra effort you have to put in. 

Teenagers running together

RV with Teenager: Social Life

Even the most introverted of teens needs a social life. Many people believe that when you RV with a teenager, you are taking this social life away. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Not only can your teenager make sure to keep in touch with their friends “back home”—and we do recommend making a point of going back to visit those friends as often as you can—but they will almost certainly end up creating a whole new circle of friends out on the road. 

That said, you will probably need to make an effort to find those friends and stay in touch with them. To get started, we highly recommend attending some Fulltime Families events to make connections. Once those initial connections have been made, build your travel schedule to include seeing those friends as often as possible.

You might be surprised how quickly your teenagers make deep, long-lasting connections with their “road friends.” 

Finding Work on the Road for Your Teen

The vast majority of teenagers out there are eager to get out into the world and get a job. This allows them the freedom to spread their wings. It also gives them an opportunity to learn about handling money before they’re living on their own. 

The problem? Teenager jobs typically include things like working at fast food joints. Obviously, this isn’t a very mobile occupation, meaning you’re going to have to think outside the box to help your teenager find employment while traveling. 

Fortunately, there are options. One thing that many families with teens do is head to an area with seasonal employment and sit still for the season in order for their teens to work. Theme parks are fantastic for this, as many are only open for the summer season, and most are happy to hire younger employees. 

Another option is to find your teenager some sort of online work. This could be freelance work—a fantastic option if they are looking to improve their writing, coding, or graphic design skills—or it could mean making a physical product and selling it on Etsy (or a similar site).

Finally, there is the option of sending your teenagers out into the campgrounds you visit to find work. This works especially well if you’re in campgrounds that cater to full-timers and stationary campers. Many people are happy to pay a teenager to walk their dogs, take out their trash, or watch their kids. To advertise, you can put up flyers or join the campground Facebook group. 

Clam Screen Tent

Image source: The Possibilitarians

Full Time RV Living with Teenagers and Privacy

Privacy is incredibly important during the teenage years. Unfortunately, finding privacy when RV living is difficult. Still, you can take some steps to ensure everyone in your rig has as much privacy as possible while full time RV living with teenagers. 

Some things you can do to offer your teens privacy include:

  • Buy a big rig. Many fifth wheels are made for families and offer two bathrooms and several separate sleeping spaces. 
  • Set up a tent. Clam tents are great for this. They provide a place for people to relax without being in the RV, and can be excellent teen hangout spots. 
  • Use your vehicle. If your tow vehicle or toad is big enough, consider setting up a place for people to hang out in the back. This works especially well in vans or in trucks with truck bed camper covers. 

This article offers more suggestions for finding privacy when living in an RV 

Other Considerations When You RV with a Teenager

We covered all the biggest stuff above. That said, there are a few other things you might want to keep in mind when RVing full time with a teenager. 

Travel Planning

As we said above, it is important that you plan your travels around your teen’s passions, friends, and work. This might mean you have to sacrifice some things in order to meet your traveling teenager’s needs, but compromise is going to be necessary if you plan to RV for long. 

Another thing you’ll want to do when planning your travels? Getting the teens involved! Get their opinion on what they’d like to see and do. This will make the adventure more fun for them, and will help them be excited about this new lifestyle. 

On top of that, getting the kids involved in travel planning can be an excellent roadschool lesson that involves budgeting, map reading, scheduling, and more.

Braces

Many teens need braces. Unlike regular dental cleanings and doctor checkups, appointments for traditional braces happen often, meaning it won’t just be a matter of heading home once or twice a year to get the braces tightened and looked at. 

What’s a traveling family to do? For many, the solution is Invisalign. This is a perfect option for travelers because the system is all sent through the mail and doesn’t require in-person appointments. 

Launching Your Teen

Lastly, if you have older teens, you will want to think about what launching your young adults into the world will look like. Most RV families remain stationary for at least a few months after getting their older kids set up to live on their own, and some choose to remain in place for a few years as their young adult children settle into adult life. 

That said, this is a very personal decision. Some teens choose to live in college dorms and don’t require that their parents are nearby. Others might even choose to get an RV of their own and travel alongside their parents for a time.

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