How We Met & Our Motivation To Start Traveling TogetherWe met through a mutual friend. We actually went to the same high school. My husband jokes that had we known each other in high school we would have never dated. He was always a little more rebellious than I.
We didn’t start traveling much until we had kids. We both worked to help the other get through college. My husband has always been very adventurous and persuaded me to go to Italy after he found cheap flights. I said I would go but I wanted to take the kids. After that trip, I was hooked and knew I wanted to show everyone how fun traveling with your kids can be despite the naysayers.
How We Decide Our Next Destination
We base a lot of our travels around the United States on chasing good weather. We love spending some of the winter months in Florida and Arizona as a break from the cold, winter weather in Idaho. We also love visiting the ocean so we visit the coast as often as we can.
We also base our travels on places we haven’t been to before.
We are usually gone on a trip for 1 month to 3 months at a time. The first thing we decide is if we are driving our motorhome or flying. Then we will set out our itinerary – where we are visiting and for how long. When we went to Florida, we traveled all around the state, so we had to decide our itinerary.
Then we work on booking campsites or AirBNBs. If we have points, we will stay in a hotel for shorter stays or where we can maximize our points the best but find it much easier to stay in AirBNBs for the extra bedrooms and full-size kitchen.
Our Must-Haves To Pack Before Traveling
I am very detail-oriented. Because we travel often, I have a list of almost everything we need when we are traveling. I will print the list and slowly gather the items and then check them off.
If we are going in the motorhome, it is easier to pack because we can take way more and keep everything separate compared to taking a few suitcases. We also have lots of items we just use for the motorhome.
One of the must-have items we use is our Yeti backpack cooler. We take it everywhere. We fly with it as a carry-on so it doubles as a backpack and then when we get to our destination we have a great cooler.
Our other must-have is a versatile backpack. We really like our Tom Bihn backpack. It has pockets for water bottles and a great bottom pocket for diapers, but it is not a diaper bag. A good bag or two is essential to carry the gear you need to have a successful adventure. Without the correct gear or planning, you are setting yourself up to struggle.
Our Favorite Memories Of Meeting New People & Exploring With ThemWe love meeting people everywhere we go. We meet so many nice families. Having twins also makes for many fun conversations. One of our funniest stories was when we were on the Oregon coast. We were sitting outside and a lady with twins in her stroller passed by us. As she passed by she said, “I did not expect having twins would be this hard.” She kept going before we even had a chance to respond. We then when to the park where she passed by again and stated, “and you kept going, wow.” Having twins can be challenging. I am sure she was having a bad day. That is not the funny part. It was funny how she just kept going and didn’t stop. Typically, everyone wants to talk or at least get a response.
Another fun experience was when we were at Disney World in Florida. The twins were only four months old, and we wanted to get out for a bit. On our way there they were a little fussy. One of the flight attendants held one of the twins for a bit to keep her from crying. It really makes me happy to see others caring about people they just meet.
That same trip while at Disneyland we were waiting in line for a ride and a lady came to talk to us. Her first words were “those are definitely not Florida babies” she was referring to the t-shirts we were all in since the weather there was much warmer than our 15 degrees in Idaho.
How Much Does It Cost To Travel In A Self-Converted VanWe have actually been remodeling our Motorhome. We decided early on that a van would not be big enough for us so we went with a Motorhome. We looked at converting a school bus but decided against it. Most of the costs are the same as your typical camper or motorhome other than the remodel costs.
What Are Some Surprise Travel Expenses
Campsites and fuel are definitely costs that have caught us off guard. Sometimes you think you can camp anywhere for really cheap. This is not the case. Some areas do not have many campgrounds or RV parks and the ones they do have can be fairly expensive still. Some of this also depends on where you start and end. For example, if you go from an Oregon RV park to a San Francisco RV park you will see three times the price.
Fuel is also a surprise sometimes. When traveling you don’t always know where to stop for fuel. One time we didn’t stop and we should have. We almost ran out of fuel because of the huge gap without a gas station. The only gas station was charging over $6 a gallon, which was double the current fuel prices.
Inspiration To Start The Blog
Our blog was started to show others that the average family with kids can travel. Life can be about more than spending all your days working and watching Netflix.
Exciting Trip Of Ours
The world is full of so many great places. We see these places in many of the movies we watch but we never actually see them in real life. Seeing the Grand Canyon
, the Sistine Chapel or Yellowstone National Park
is a totally different experience than when you see it on TV. Their beauty is stunning. Our kids see a scene with one of these locations and they ask when they can go back or when we are going on another trip.
Exploring The United States Together
We have not counted all of the states and countries we have visited at this point. We have probably made it to more than 75% of the United States. The pandemic really put a pause on some of our travels out of the country and we are starting to ramp up or schedule some trips out of the country.
Two of our most remarkable adventures were when we traveled the east coast and the west coast. We went from Georgia to Maine and we did all the west coast. Both were amazing trips.
The girls screamed while eating their first lobster in Maine. It was a little embarrassing when everyone laughed at us but what can you expect from a bunch of Idahoans.
How We Juggle Our Job & Travel Commitments
This is a bit of a challenge, and it comes in two parts. First, most of it comes from being able to manage our finances well.
Coltin used to work as a financial planner, and this has really helped as he saw where many people make mistakes with their budgets and how a lot of people financially function in a similar manner preventing them from achieving the freedom they are looking for.
The second part is, work in general. If you work from home or if you work in an office, you can still find many opportunities. We first traveled while Coltin worked in an office full time. We would travel over long weekends and when we had Sage, we took an FMLA leave and were able to spend over a month traveling in our motorhome. We eventually both worked remotely, and this really freed us up to travel.
Major Obstacles That We Faced
Finances, work, and career goals are definitely obstacles.
Advice For Travelers Looking To Buy Or Rent A Self-Converted Van
If traveling is something you plan on doing and you are going to do it for extended time periods we would not recommend renting. Renting an RV or a van is very expensive. We would recommend renting to get a feel of what you want to purchase or to see if it is something you want to do more often.
Be prepared, plan and do it. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is hard but it is worth it. Fear holds us back so much in life. Being able to learn how to step outside of your comfort zone is something that will help you forever.
Lessons We Have Learned Through Traveling
We wish we knew how awesome it was sooner. We didn’t really see how great it was until we jumped into going somewhere we never would have thought to go. Once we did what we were like, we could go anywhere. This big world is waiting to be explored.
Other exciting travel stories you might enjoy!