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Old 02-25-2021, 02:43 PM   #1
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Are long trips relaxing or stressful? How about with kids?

I got a lot of great feedback when I posted about how you make long trips and that gave me a good idea about it. Seems like a lot of you were retired so I am just curious about trips with kids. I know now when we go to a campground for 4,5,6 nights, it is pretty relaxing. Takes a bit to set up everything with the popup but once it is setup, there is a lot of time spent relaxing. I guess I just want to hear more stories if you didn't respond to the other one. Is it important to spend more than one night in places so you are not constantly on the move? To remind you, we have two middle school aged kids and have had a popup for 4 years are thinking of upgrading. I tend to take forever to reach a decision anyways so while I am figuring things out, it is nice to read stuff. I know we will use a new trailer since we enjoy going, but it still makes me a little nervous about going all in with upgrades to both a trailer and a new truck! But I also feel we should do it soon before the kids are too old and don't want to go anymore. Put me at ease please! Haha
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Old 02-26-2021, 09:10 PM   #2
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When my new 3 months pregnant wife and I got transferred to Juneau, Alaska from Elizabeth City, NC, we took our pop-up and had 30 days to get to the ferry at Prince Rupert, BC. She started struggling, and we had to stop camping when we got to Grand Teton NP. I was able to get a room at the Yellowstone Inn. We were able to find rooms all the way up the Rockies, even though we seriously busted our moving budget and finances. Ended up selling the pop-up in Juneau because space on the ferry was so difficult to reserve (and expensive).

When we had our pop-up in California, we went group camping with our church up at Lake Tahoe every year for 10 days. We drove 2 cars, and our 2 kids usually brought along a guest or 2 each. It was a blast, and we did it every year for 7 years.

When I got transferred from Kodiak, Alaska to Alameda, California, we drove all the way (except for the ferries from Kodiak to Homer, Vancouver to Victoria, Victoria to Port Angeles), tent camping most nights. Broke down and did motels on occasion for sanity. Took 4 weeks to go 8,000 miles. Kids were 5 and 3 at the time, both born in Juneau, Alaska. Because my assignments were in Juneau and Kodiak, the kids had never been in a car for more than 2 hours at a time up to that point. So spending most of the day, everyday in the car (target was 250-350 miles per day) took some adjusting for the 1st week. As did pulling over and peeing in the field/forest for my 3 year old daughter. It was a great adventure, and we saw many places we'd love to visit again.

We drove through Hudson's Hope, in northern BC. A very beautiful town in late June, flowers everywhere, beautiful mountains, and lake. Stopped at the library/tourist info. The librarian asked if I would interested in a teaching job there. I was thinking seriously about the offer as we slowly drove out. Wife noticed a long, low building near the road. I turned off to see it - it was the town's hockey rink. Wife asked why they needed to play hockey inside. Then we both realized that winters were too cold to play outside. That ended my hopes of a teaching job in Hudson's Hope.

We saw the fireworks on the 4th at the gardens just outside Victoria - the most spectacular fireworks show I had ever seen.

In another words, it was an incredible trip. Did we fight on occasion? Yes. Were we getting tired of the trip by the end? Yes, especially when we got to Oregon, and Northern California.

Hope your trips are the memories ours are.

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Old 02-26-2021, 09:47 PM   #3
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I think that's a question only you can answer. I find camping to be like life in fast forward. There are 10x experiences vs what happens at home. If you embrace the different experiences, relish unexpected events, and enjoy telling the "would you believe what happened to us" stories, camping is great. If the unexpected and unplanned is not enjoyable for you, camping is probably not for you.

Especially with kids, be sure travel days have a reasonable time & distance. 300 miles works for us except first and last days where we may push it a bit more and try to have a no more than 2 travel days in a row. Then plan on several days at a destination.

Finally, I have a system where I know what I want to unpack for 1 night vs 2 nights vs full week or more. You'll want to avoid a big set up and tear down for just a night or two.

Hope that helps.
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Old 02-26-2021, 10:17 PM   #4
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Personally, long trips with a pop-up is stressful. All the taking down, setting up, worrying about mold on the canvas, etc.

A TT is the way to go with kids. Get there, back the camper in, connect the utilities, everything has it's place, go to bed.

I've done both and I really wish we would have bought the TT sooner.

Headed out to Glacier this year from Georgia. Never would have attempted this with a pop-up.
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Old 02-26-2021, 11:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dm6 View Post
I got a lot of great feedback when I posted about how you make long trips and that gave me a good idea about it. Seems like a lot of you were retired so I am just curious about trips with kids. I know now when we go to a campground for 4,5,6 nights, it is pretty relaxing. Takes a bit to set up everything with the popup but once it is setup, there is a lot of time spent relaxing. I guess I just want to hear more stories if you didn't respond to the other one. Is it important to spend more than one night in places so you are not constantly on the move? To remind you, we have two middle school aged kids and have had a popup for 4 years are thinking of upgrading. I tend to take forever to reach a decision anyways so while I am figuring things out, it is nice to read stuff. I know we will use a new trailer since we enjoy going, but it still makes me a little nervous about going all in with upgrades to both a trailer and a new truck! But I also feel we should do it soon before the kids are too old and don't want to go anymore. Put me at ease please! Haha
I used a pop up for 8 years and decided a smaller size travel trailer would be better suited. I only wish I made the decision sooner. Its nice to park the camper and 5-minutes later everything is set; no time consuming pop up to set up. Going for two days or ten days is the same minimal prep.

Just my .02... the time to make a change was yesterday, because everyday that passes by is day of memories lost forever.
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Old 02-27-2021, 03:27 AM   #6
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I can't speak from experience, but we have friends that bought a class C for long trips. They carried bikes for the four of them for exploring.
They bought the C for about the same price as a new truck and trailer.

They'd tried pop up, and trailers but like traveling in a self contained unit. (Didn't need to stop for bathroom breaks and the kids could sit at the table and play games, etc.) They sold it when the oldest started colleg and they didn't travel as much.
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Old 02-27-2021, 07:35 AM   #7
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The only long haul we did when we had a pop up was a few years ago. We left it at home and stayed at campgrounds with cabins.

Now that we've got a Wolf Pup, we're gong to be able to camp a lot farther.
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Old 02-27-2021, 08:01 AM   #8
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When we started out, we bought a 6 sleeper hard top camper. My wife had never camped before in her life. We had 3 kids and she said we would not go camping until the youngest was out of diapers. He was 3 years old then. So we bought the camper and went out west. That's a 2000 mile trip from here. It took us 3 days to get there. I drove some long days back then and the rest of the family to this day has never let me forget it. My bladder was like a 45 gallon drum. I hated to stop for potty breaks. Therefore an orange bucket was used. We only had a certain amount of time to get there and back and enjoy the time we had there. From then until now we have gone from that camper to 2 different TTs and then to a 36 Ft 5th wheel toy hauler to the present 35 ft 5th wheel that is only comfortable for 2, lol. My three kids all have trailers and enjoy camping. We all would rather boondock than go to campgrounds. Now that trip out west from here takes my wife and I, 7 days to complete and my bladder has shrunk down to pint size. My wife makes fun of me and says paybacks are a *****. So in my instance I could probably say that a long trip, back then, was very stressful on my wife and kids because potty breaks were a long time in between. Now that was 41 or so years ago. When we did stop and stay in one place for a while it was relaxing and enjoyable. By the way we still have that orange bucket and I often ask the kids if they want to borrow it. They are very polite with their answers.........Oh and as the kids got older they got their own apartments(tents). Like I said we boondocked about 96% of the time and with other friends of ours who had kids, so they all grew up with that happening in their lives. We had fun and to this day we still enjoy camping, especially in the Rocky Mountains.
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Old 02-27-2021, 10:16 AM   #9
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We had a small trailer, very small, when we started our family. Oldest boy was fine. Would stop when we told him to. Like running to lake, stream, river, road ect. Then the girl came along about 3 years later and same thing, she would listen. Then our youngest, most interesting boy came along about a year after the girl. With him not so much on the "Get back here now" front. With the three young ones and one with an issue following directions, we decided to sell trailer and forgo camping for about 3 years. Then back to tent camping. Had a blast as we got this giant tent at Costco that fit all 5 of us. Then we got the pop up. It was great it just seemed like every time we went out it would rain (We live in the Pacific Northwest) so the pop up was open at home more than camping. Our oldest was finishing up elementary school and growing like a weed. Almost 6 foot at that time and those rainy weekends in the pup were getting to be not so fun so we moved to a bunkhouse trailer. We do mostly weekend camping and for 2 nights try to stick to an hour drive. We will pull to the ocean for a 3 nighter. The bunkhouse was great as the kids could bring a friend or cousin as it had 4 bunks. We also pulled it to Yellow Stone and Disney three times. Of course the kids continued to grow as they tend to do and the oldest moved out, the other two did not always want to go. (Well the girl does) and so when we decided it was time to find a trailer for us we picked the Lacrosse. No bunk house but it does have a real hide a bed, and lots of room for a cot or 2. The first and so far last big trip we took with it was to Disney, all 3 Kids and oldest sons, to be wife came along. A little crowded but all had a blast. Can't wait for DW's health issues to clear up as well as this Covid so we can get back out there this summer. When ever you make the upgrade you will love it.
Oldest son did get hitched and they presented us with a granddaughter almost a year ago. Looking forward to taking her with us.
Happy camping.
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Old 02-27-2021, 03:04 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Skip12 View Post
I think that's a question only you can answer. I find camping to be like life in fast forward. There are 10x experiences vs what happens at home. If you embrace the different experiences, relish unexpected events, and enjoy telling the "would you believe what happened to us" stories, camping is great. If the unexpected and unplanned is not enjoyable for you, camping is probably not for you.

Especially with kids, be sure travel days have a reasonable time & distance. 300 miles works for us except first and last days where we may push it a bit more and try to have a no more than 2 travel days in a row. Then plan on several days at a destination.

Finally, I have a system where I know what I want to unpack for 1 night vs 2 nights vs full week or more. You'll want to avoid a big set up and tear down for just a night or two.

Hope that helps.
I agree completely. For me (not so much for my DW), RVing is an adventure. Even the rare bad parts like breakdowns etc. are challenges and sort of fun to overcome. But don't expect answers in this forum to specifically apply to you and your family. Your questions can only be answered by you...based on your experience, attitude, stress level, etc. My advice...just go with the flow, enjoy the experience, deal with the challenges, and try to relax. A glass of bourbon helps too.
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Old 02-27-2021, 04:59 PM   #11
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Well, we took our honeymoon in a slide-camper. Two years later we dry camped off logging trails in Canada. DW would not ride with me across some of those crude bridges. And, she often reminds me that she was expecting our first child at the time. We moved up to a Winnebago Class A and the first born had a front row seat in the bassinet.

Now, a family of 4, we were back to another slide-in and then to a new Class C. Our parents (both sides) thought the investment was beyond our means. We persevered and used the Class C for 13 years-and a ton of wonderful memories. Seems that when the in-laws saw the benefits, they bought their own and camped with us.

We looked at it this way, the kids enjoyed camping and dry camping was cheap. The kids would be grown before we knew it. We used it weekends, mini vacations, longer vacations, lodging when I traveled for schooling, and a permanent residence while we were building a house as a family. DW even took it shopping. What experiences we would have missed if we waited until we could afford it. And after 13 years, we nearly got our money back. Was it a bad investment? Our son is looking for a TT.
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Old 02-27-2021, 05:04 PM   #12
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Long Trips with Kids

My wife and I have been camping in one form or another almost since the day we were married 49 years ago! We started with a little Chevy Surfer Van with padded cargo area and no other seats. We graduated to a little pop-up trailer a few years later, then a second, larger pop-up after our two daughters arrived along with a bigger Van with lots of seats. We camped with pop-ups for nearly 10 years, and often brought each of our girls a friend along for the trip. Rigged a 12-volt TV and VHS player behind our front seats so the girls could all watch a movie or two on our longer trips. We live in Long Beach with most of my wife's family in the bay area. If we arrived at Grandma's house before the second movie was over, we would drive around the block until it ended!!

We also carried a porta-potty in the back of the van for emergency use.

We never made many long trips with the pop-ups so we wouldn't be burdened with constant set-ups and tear-downs for just one night at a time.

When we moved up to our first TT we began making longer trips since it was so much easier to setup for one night at a time. We made several cross-country camping trips with both girls before they went off to college. Great memories!

We recently moved up to a luxurious fifth-wheel, and have made several long trips lasting more than a few weeks at a time, but without our grown children. We are in the process of introducing our two little grand-daughters to the joys of local camping here in So-Cal. We park our 5-er, and then set up a huge tent for our daughter's family!!
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Old 02-27-2021, 06:24 PM   #13
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Long trips for my late wife and I were never stressful unless we had to keep a schedule.

Being able to amble along at a comfortable pace, able to stop and enjoy whatever you encounter along the way, and only plan where you are going to stop for the night around 2 PM is fantastic.

When kids were younger and I was still working, we all had to be back to work at the end of the vacation so stress levels were a little higher, at least for me---the driver.

For me, now being a lone camper, there's nothing more restful and stress free than hitting the road for a month.
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Old 02-27-2021, 06:39 PM   #14
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I will agree with the majority above....long trips in a popup are a lot of work.

We did a 45 day excursion into the Northeast. It was DH, myself and 2 daughters, who were about 8 and 11 at the time. We left home, camped outside Washington, DC for 3 days and "did" the Smithsonian and all the touristy stuff.... cemetery, White House, etc. Moved on to Hershey, PA and stayed there for 3 days. We used one day to do laundry, clean, rest and just chill, the other 2 days, we visited the amusement park. Then, on to Connecticutt, just because we had never camped there. Found a nice little park and spent a couple of days there. We headed to Maine and did Old Orchard Beach, then on up to Acadia and surrounding area. That was about 10 days. Then headed back south. We camped in Rhode Island at a fabulous campground with a lake. I think it was in Foster RI; then to NYC to Liberty Harbor for 5 days; then we headed on south and ended up at Hunting Island, SC for a final 10 days on the beach. We always stayed at least 2 days, but usually 3-5 days.

We were in a travel trailer and unless we were staying 5 days or more, we didn't really set anything up outisde. We had our chairs to sit under the awning and that was it. Most of the cooking was done inside the camper and it was used much like a hotel room instead of a camping unit.

Was it stressful? Pulling our TT through parts of Massachusetts in 105 degree temps on a Friday afternoon was not really relaxing; nor was pulling across the George Washington Bridge heading toward NYC.

We really had no definite plans to be anywhere at any specific time, so if we didn't quite reach where we were planning to go by 3 pm we just got on the phone and got a reservation closer to where we were.

Our only reservations that were made prior to was at the beach in South Carolina and we were meeting others there.
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Old 02-27-2021, 10:55 PM   #15
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#1 reason I changed from a 5th wheel to a Class A was our three teenagers. Cramming them into the back seat of a pickup was not fair for them and a recipe for disaster. After a few hours all I could hear was, "Hey, your foot is on my side, or "Mom, he pinched me...did so...did not...did so, etc. No room for them to have their space, no room for food/snacks, games, flat surface, etc. Now, with a class A, they're in the back somewhere, sleeping, playing a game, eating etc. DW makes me a sandwich or whatever, while I drive, etc. It's a whole different experience. Started with a gasser which met our needs very well for the time and then moved up to a DP only after we saved and could afford it.
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Old 02-28-2021, 06:40 AM   #16
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I've never owned a pop-up, but I camped in several of my friends. They are much harder to set up, and everything has to be moved to store it. We have a hybrid, which gives the feel of a pop-up with more space, but is much easier to set up. We took the grandkid to Yellowstone twice and loved it. First trip in a slide in camper on the truck. I found out Google drivers drive a lot faster than I do, and apparently don't stop to pee. We planned 4 hour drives, that ended up being 6. Next trip, we got it right. We camped outside Yellowstone and stayed 4 days in one spot. Very relaxing. I'd get up in the morning and take the canoe out on the lake. Then when the rest of the family got up, we'd make the short drive to Yellowstone.
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Old 02-28-2021, 04:54 PM   #17
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We had a 17ft Shasta from 1978 to 2008. Boys born in 1977 and 1980. Many trips with infants to teen years. Longest trips were about 2 weeks due to limited vacation time.
Some of our best times as a family! Many beach trips in SC,NC when we lived in the East.
Beach and mountains (Yosemite, Sierras, Oregon, CA Coast, Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon) when we moved West.

Mostly we kept drive times less than 6 hours, but had occasions longer. Seemed to work out without to much sibling dynamics!

Pace yourself and have fun!
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Old 03-09-2021, 08:01 PM   #18
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We are retired and generally travel by ourselves, we do travel with grandkids and found it pleasurable as long as you don't push it and get in a hurry. We tried to keep it to 250 - 300 miles a day and stop at parks with a pool and playground. We travel in a motorhome so the bathroom stops weren't an issue and they watched movies on the TV with the dvd player. We went from New Orleans to Yellowstone, Yellowstone to California where we dropped them off.
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Old 03-10-2021, 07:13 AM   #19
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Not sure how the pop up came in to your question but traveling with kids is like watching a circus while high on Meth! Kidding, well, about the Meth thing as I don’t know, those folks are just my clientele on my job. Kids are little crack monkeys running wild and from one thing to another. In my day as a kid, give me my Matchbox cars or Lincoln Logs and I could amuse myself for hours! Now days, they are, well, like crackheads running around. I love my kids. But they have a way of draining your energy.

That said, hopefully they like board games and such to pass the time. Our family cycles so that expends a lot of energy. Video games are the worse thing ever for kids. Rots their minds and they get fat sitting in one place eating Ho Ho’s all day drinking soft drinks. I hate government intrusion into our lives but I wish they would outlaw video games for sure! Too many kids that are only concerned with electronic media all day.

So plan trips that are centered around getting their sponge brains away from those devices. You will be happy you did. I miss my youth where you came home from school and the neighborhood kids rode bikes, played in the woods and creeks and climbed trees and got dirty the old fashioned way.

But to go to the defense of the kids, it’s the parents fault. Lazy parents find laptops and iPads make great baby sitters. We should indict parents and send them to prison for that junk!
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Old 03-10-2021, 08:30 AM   #20
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We have been doing long trips with my daughter since she was 5.

Our first was from West Texas to Southern Oregon to visit dad. Did it in our Chrysler minivan. Learned a valuable tip that trip by accident. I had lots energy and couldnít sleep so we rolled out at 2am was able to make Blythe CA by 1 pm local time wife and kids slept most of the way. Felt trapped in the hotel pool appeared to be dirty so no swimming 8 hours to burn began normal bed time. Up early the next day could made home but wife made reservations in Redding . So another early arrival, but this time we did some exploring Shasta and town of Redding plus had a pool. Took both tent camping while in Oregon and they were hooked, except for sleeping on ground.

Our next long trip was with a TT, most RV parks we didnít feel trapped able to get out walk around had pool or walking trails ect. Then when we spent the 10 days in Oregon dad had his privacy, we had ours and the daughter had her space as well. Wife was hooked again.

Depending on goal/ purpose of the trip depends on how hard I push to get there. I enjoy driving and sightseeing so long days donít bother me the family prefer the shorter days but I want to get there and have more time to enjoy the destination. Iím lucky the wife and daughter like to read or sleep so Iím able to get long days but if we pass thru a place we want to see we do make those accommodations before and stay an extra night.

Anyway overnight departures and long days driving may not be for everyone but they work for us
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