Are you ready for some travel tips? It's Travel Tips Tuesday and I'll be sharing my travel tips about living on the road. I would love to hear your tips for how you make travel work for you! Link up at the bottom.
That might seem like the world’s biggest oxymoron, but it is actually possible to find personal space and a wee bit of privacy in a camper or RV full of people with some advanced planning and discussion.
The advanced planning is the key. Let’s break it down: Our camper-which is large, by camper standards-is just shy of 300 square feet with the slideout. (For those of you with no camper experience, a slideout is a part of the camper that extends after you are stationary to create more width in the camper. We don’t have a twirly slide in any part of our camper, although that would be so cool.)
At 300 square feet, that gives us each 50 square feet to claim if we are going to split it up even steven. Not too bad for a camper, but in the real world, 50 square feet is just not that much space. And we can’t really divide the camper up into equal parts. Most of our areas are communal areas, which means we will have to work hard at getting along without a lot of space and privacy. Still, we have found some ways to give each person some personal space.
~The Boys Dormitory~
- Sleeping spaces and living spaces are separate. Many travel trailers will allow you to convert your dining table and your sofa into sleeping quarters for the evening, but if you have young kids, that means that the grownups would need to vacate the “living area” so that the kids could go to sleep. We wanted a more usable set up for our family, so one of the “must-haves” for our camper was a quad bunk house. Each of the kids has their own bed in the back, so we can have keep our living space for TV watching and working in the evenings. The downside of this is that we needed to have a much longer camper, which we pay for every single time we back into a parking spot. But, at least we don’t have to sit outside swatting bugs while we wait for the kids to fall asleep inside.
- Give each person a private space somewhere. With only 300 square feet, this is a real challenge. We solved this problem, by allowing each kid to create a sacred space in their bunk. My mother- in- law sewed curtains for each of them, so they can close themselves into their cocoon if they need some privacy. Each bunk also has a magnet strip, so that they can personalize their space, as well as a bucket on a hook, so they can collect things that are meaningful to them.
- Create rules that foster respect of the communal areas. Of course, we do the same things in our brick and mortar homes, but these rules are so important when space and privacy is at a premium. Common areas must be kept clean and tidy so that everyone can find a space. The bathroom is also a big area where rules help keep things pleasant. Any “lengthy” bathroom visits are probably best done in a nearby bathhouse, rather than right next to our kitchen table.
- Create private spaces outside the walls of the camper. We have a great hammock that is a regular part of our campsite setup that makes a perfect place to getaway by yourself for a while and enjoy the space around you. The kids will often make a perch in a tree or a fort made out of a tarp nearby, and those are good private spaces, as well.
- Take time to be alone. Sometimes we get so caught up in all this family togetherness that we forget how important it is to take time alone until it blows up in one big ugly meltdown. Scheduling time to be alone or connect with just one child at a time can be the key to making together time a positive experience. Before we even pulled out of our driveway, I had already put together some Mom’s Night Out plans with blogging friends across the country, so that I would have a chance to get away. Likewise, one of the boys really needs more downtime and alone time, so we are building in chances for him to stay back at the camper with dad while the other boys and I sightsee. Although he will miss out on some of the traveling, it will allow him the chance to unwind and make the trip more pleasant for all.