If you dream of a life of travel, perhaps you’ve thought of living in a camper and living on the road full time. As with any decision about your living arrangements, it’s a big one – especially if you have a family.
So, can a family of 4 really live in a camper? Yes, It is legal in the United States for a family of 4 to live full-time in a camper. With a properly sized camper and good organization, this can be a wonderful way of life that will create memories to last a lifetime.
Let’s dive into some of the pros, cons and overall advice for anyone considering this lifestyle change.
Benefits of Living in a Camper
One of the major benefits is saving money. With most families spending thousands of dollars each month on housing, living in a camper can save you a lot of money. You will still have some bills and fees that vary depending on where you decide to travel, but you’ll have a lot more flexibility and options from month to month.
Another substantial benefit is the ability to travel more. A camper allows you to go anywhere and see anything without worrying about hotels or paying for amenities you don’t have access to. Plus, the freedom of being able to stop when you want is priceless in itself! The lifestyle is incomparable to anything else.
Live a Simpler Life
Many full-timers also enjoy the minimalist lifestyle. In a camper, you only have so much room. You need to be a lot more mindful about the items you own. Since you are living with less, there is much less to clean and care for. Many people find this aspect liberating and appreciate the less materialistic lifestyle for their children.
Challenges of Living in A Camper Full-Time
While living in a camper has a lot of great benefits, it’s not always easy. There are some challenges to think about before deciding to live in a camper with your family.
You might be wondering if it’s legal to live in a camper, especially if you have kids. Fortunately, there are no nationwide laws against living in a camper in the United States. There are, however, a few things you need to consider.
Some areas will have laws that don’t allow you to stay in certain places. Most cities, for example, won’t allow you to camp on the street.
Be sure to research the specific laws for your state or wherever you’re traveling to understand where you can and can’t stay. When it comes to children, there’s nothing illegal about housing them in a camper in and of itself, but it is important to make sure all of their needs are met.
Since full timers can often be unfairly scrutinized because of their lifestyle, it’s wise to have proof of schooling and medical care readily available so you can avoid problems.
If you’re concerned about security when living in a camper, don’t be. There are many options for securing your vehicle so you can sleep soundly at night.
Motion sensor lighting, video cameras, and alarms can all give you extra peace of mind. Of course, high quality locks are a must. You might also consider having a personal security dog.
It’s not a bad idea to have a personal protection device of some type available, but make sure it’s stored securely and out of reach of small children. Pin lock safes are secure and provide quick access to your device.
Laundry is a big challenge for many families, since there’s no washer and dryer in most campers. Some RVs do have hookups for them, but the machines that are available are small and not ideal for families. You’ll probably have to plan to use laundromats and visit campsites that have laundry facilities available.
Cooking inside can be cumbersome if you’re not used to it. No cook meals and meals that only require 1 pan are game-changing. Of course, there is the small space which can be a blessing and a curse. Being cooped up together will ensure that your family has a tight bond, but even the most social among us need space sometimes. That can be difficult to achieve when you’re living in a camper.
Unfortunately, there can also be a stigma against families who live in a camper full time. Some people will judge you for the way you are living, even if you all love it.
Tips for Living Well in a Camper
If you’re going to live in a camper with your family, here are some tips to make sure that you all stay happy and healthy. First, keep the bathroom clean at all times. Because this is an enclosed space without ventilation when closed up, there can be odors if not properly cared for.
Fortunately, camper bathrooms aren’t large, so cleaning them can be done pretty quickly. Get in the habit of wiping the bathroom down daily with a deodorizing cleaner – maybe even twice. Be sure everyone is helping with this, as well as getting involved in cleaning other parts of the camper.
Second, be mindful of noise levels since you will be living in such close quarters with your family. Everyone should take responsibility for keeping quiet – whether it’s coming in late at night or watching loud TV shows together and talking over them. Consider quiet hours, too.
Purge clutter often and ruthlessly. Nothing will destroy your happiness like a bunch of junk cluttering up your small living space. Get rid of extra items any chance you can, whether that means donating them to a charity in the area you’re traveling in, or just throwing them away. Only keep the items you love and need.
The last thing to consider is your family’s financial situation. Before taking off, you’ll need to carefully examine your budget and determine whether or not you can afford the expenses that go along with living in a camper.
Depending on your income source, you may need to make some changes, whether that’s a new job that you can do online or creating a passive income source that’s more hands-off.
If you use a local bank, you may also want to consider switching to an online bank or a national bank that has branches all over the country so your money is more accessible.
As you can see, living in a camper with your family of 4 is definitely possible. The tips we’ve provided should help you get started thinking about how you can live well and affordably while traveling with your family.
Up Next In Travel Trailers:
Erick is a freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast. Growing up in Nairobi Kenya and now calling Glasgow, United Kingdom home. Sipping on homemade spiced swahili tea and enjoying a good book is his idea of bliss.