Interview With Kimberly Travaglino of Fulltime Families
Kimberly, please give my readers a background about yourself.
I am Kimberly Travaglino, a wife, mother of four crazy kiddos, author, editor, and serial entrepreneur.
What made you want to blog about your full time RVing adventure with
In 2007, my husband Chris brought home a pop-up camper after he attended an RV show. We had NEVER camped before - nor even discussed the idea of camping... but when I stood inside it, I was struck by the simplicity of it. Everything I needed to raise my family was in there. I walked back into my 2700 sq ft home and only saw waste! Wasted space, wasted money and most importantly, wasted time!
I immediately formed a plan to take my family back by moving us into a camper, and hitting the road. My husband wasn't signed on at all.
So I started looking for information about other families doing it, and although I found a few resources, most of what I found was for retired fulltimers. So I put out a request for writers and started Fulltime Families Magazine.
The writers were families, living the dream, so the articles they created were both inspiring and educational. The addressed the issues that our retired counterparts don't have... like road schooling, large families living in small spaces, organization strategies, celebrating birthdays and holidays on the road.
In 2010, after the birth of my 4th child (a week after to be exact) we hit the road and we've been touring the US for the past 18 months to date.
What's the most difficult part about full timing with your kids?
I think the most difficult part of full timing with kids is getting them used to the constant change. Little kids like mine crave predictability and in the first few weeks or months, when you're in 'vacation mode' life can get hectic and exhausting for everyone. Slowing down and settling in an area for a while can really help establish a routine. Having your house and all your stuff with helps a lot.
What's the most enjoyable part?
The most enjoyable part is definitely being on this adventure with them and seeing it through their eyes. They get excited about the funniest little things, things I would not have even noticed. Being with them, and experiencing this journey on their level brings much more enjoyment to us all.
What are some of the costs associated with RVing full time?
In "How to Hit the Road" we discuss all the costs and even included a printable budget with line items you may not expect. Laundry adds up, eating out can get expensive, and repair and upgrade costs for the camper can really put a wrench into your budget. Anticipating these and other expenses that you don't have in a house, helps you make sure you are not caught by surprise while you're on the road.
What are some ways a family or couple can save money while RVing?
Getting out of debt before you hit the road is a big deal. I know a lot of families just want to get out of their sticks and bricks and deal with the debt later, but in my opinion, this can put a family in a vulnerable financial position. Owning your RV and your vehicle makes a huge difference.
We also bought a Thousand Trails membership - which was a big initial outlay of cash, but has paid for itself in just 6 months.
Can you give a few RV safety tips one should always be aware of while
Definitely have fire drills!!!! Make sure if the smoke alarm goes off, everyone in the rv knows the fastest way out for them. Also, make sure your kids know how to dial 911 on your phone. All the cell phones these days are different and making sure your kids can get help if you are incapacitated could mean the difference of life or death.
Have you ever been boondocking?
We do occasionally boondock in Walmart parking lots. Its ok for an overnight. When we went to the Grand Canyon we boondocked in the National Forest and we really enjoyed that. It was close to the park and the natural surroundings really added to our enjoyment of the trip.
What advice would you give a "newbie" family,couple, or solo full timer
who may be looking to buy an RV for the first time?
When we bought our full time rig (which was our 4th camper) we kind of winged it. Since then, we have partnered with the Mobile RV Academy to develop a program for individuals to be able to perform their own RV Inspections. The four hour, online - on demand course will help to make RV buyers make informed decisions, save money and time associated with repair costs that could have been avoided if you knew what to look for.
What should they do?
Shop around a lot - don't let your RV be an impulse purchase.
What shouldn't they do?
If at all possible, buy a used rig in good condition. Don't pay all that depreciation expense on a new rig. You've never lived full time in an RV before and the chances are good that what you first buy will not meet the needs of your family. If you buy a new one, you may be stuck in it for a long time. If you buy a used one and you don't like it, you can probably trade it for exactly what you want / need down the road.
Since you've been full timing what's the most exciting destination
you and your family have visited?
The most exciting destinations have been the ones where my family could explore - like a small beach in Oregon that was loaded with tide pools. It was completely blissful.
What destination has been a disappointment?
I really did not like the weather in Pacifica (just south of San Francisco). It was so cloudy, cold and damp. San Fran was interesting but we have found that we prefer the National Parks and wide open spaces to big cities.
One piece of advice that I would give a family looking to get their life off hold and on the road is dedicate time to being prepared.
Prepared financially, prepared emotionally, and prepared as a family. Read as much information that you can get your hands on, have a plan and align your life with your new goals.
I've seen too many families who didn't prepare get "stuck" and that's not a
good place to be.
Kimberly Travaglino is the author of "How to Hit the Road", a comprehensive step-by-step guide for making your family's full time RV dreams a reality. She also serves as the Editor of Fulltime Families Magazine, a company that supports risk takers, pioneers, and enlightened families blazing their own path across the country.
Thanks Kimberly for the interview. Visit Her Blog @ Fulltime Families !