23 answers

Motorhome Trip with Kids

We are planning a motorhome trip this summer with extended family. I had vacations as a kid in motorhomes and loved them - I am excited for my kids to have the same experience.

Here's the dilemma...
I am very nervous about traveling with the kids in the motorhome. I would like to take a car in addition to have the kids in their car seats while actually traveling. I feel torn about this though. Part of the appeal of a motorhome vacation is that it isn't such a chore to get there. Plus there is the added expense of not only gassing up the motorhome, but the car as well...

Our destination is 7 hours away and that is a very long time for a 3 year old and a 6 year old to travel and maintain sanity in a car seat.

Has anyone traveled with young kids in a motorhome? Did you use your car seats?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

We travel with my inlaws and my sister in law... she has two kids 6 and 5 and we have a 8 month old. We travel in a 40 coach (RV) and love that the kids can sit on the floor and play, eat, use the potty or sleep. As long as driver is carefull and goes speed limit I always feel safe!

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More Answers

My husband has been investigating vehicle collisions for over 15 years and he just told me that he's never investigated a collision involving a motor home. Statistically you're less likely to be involved in an accident in the motor home than in the car. He told me that he can remember three or four motor home collisions that have happened that others investigated. In one case the driver was drunk. In another case they believed the driver fell asleep at the wheel. In a third case it was an elderly driver who drifted across the line into oncoming traffic. He thinks there might have been a fourth but he can't remember the details. No children were involved/were hurt in any of the cases he remembers.

He said that if we were traveling in a motor home he would want to take the car seats for containment purposes . . . in case the little monkeys got out of control, and in case the motor home breaks down and you have to switch to a rental vehical, etc. But he thinks the motor home is safer than the car.

(This is the guy who came home after investigating a nasty collision involving a Honda Accord and insisted that we go out and buy one immediately. He is VERY safety conscious!)

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Hi B.,

Two years ago our son informed us that we were going to be kidnapped. His family of 4 daughters himself and wife and the two of us were going on a trip in their motor home. I was wondering how we would all manage in such close quarters for several hours. It was a joy as we were able to play cards and if the kids were hungry or thirsty it was all right there. They could even stretch their legs if needed. They slept alot and even watched movies. We did a lot of talking and watching the world go by. When they had to go and use the bathroom it was there too. We would stop for gas and they each would head for the mini mart and buy a treat. There was a lot of laughs and I would not have traded that time or the memories for anything. Our son had rented a beach house so we did not have to spend all of our time in the motor home but traveling was wonderful.It was a go with the flow trip. You will not enjoy it as much if you are worried about them being seated all of the time.

Yes gas is very expensive and a lot of people are getting rid of or parking their motor homes but it is a great way to travel with children.

Hope that you have a wonderful family trip as those are memories that will live with them for ever.

1 mom found this helpful

Last summer, my husband and I took our 1 1/2 month old and our 2 year old on a road trip . . . the first leg was 21 hours of DRIVING. The second leg was about 20 hours and then we had to get home . . . about another 20 hours.( We went from Cheyenne, WY to Seattle, WA to Palm Desert, CA, and back to Cheyenne, WY)
I say this because . . .
If it makes you feel better to have them in their carseats in a car, do it. I really don't think 7 hours is that long for a 3 and 6 year old. It may not be really fun, but they'll manage and so will you. :)
There are pros and cons to everything. I think that whatever makes YOU feel less anxious about the trip (leave money out of it!) is the route you should go.
Good luck and I hope you have a GREAT vacation! :)

1 mom found this helpful

My parents take our daughter with them on trips and they always attach a car seat in for her. In their new one, it is a the table (there are actually seatbeats at the table!).

They enjoy the trips and I know she is safe and not running around while they are traveling down the road.

If you are renting or already own one, check for seatbeats at the table. It lets them have a place to eat, play, drink, watch TV, etc. If our daughter has to go to the bathroom, she is asked to hold it until they get to a rest stop (if you're concerned about that).

Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

We bought a 1995 motorhome in April and took it on spring break all the way to the Oregon Dunes with 4 kids (17 and 19 year old boys, 6 year old boy and 4 year old girl) the next week. It is 9 hours each way. It was AWESOME! Much better than strapping them into car seats with hardly a break for so long in the suburban. We had them in their car seats of course but they could get up to go potty or for a snack break, etc. It was a wonderful way to travel. They so loved it and so did I. Then Dad can do his "no stopping, we have to get there" and I can take care of the kids much better. It was great great great all around. My big boys followed us in our truck towing the 4 wheelers as we didn't know the motorhome that well yet but next time we will all ride together which is part of the whole idea to me. On a trip that long, the journey is then part of the fun instead of to be endured until you get there. We took my Mom too and it was so much fun. We were down 8 days and loved it. It was really nice having the car seats for the security feeling for them while winding on those little roads out to and down the coast. It worked out very well. Leapsters, workbooks, etc that they can hold to keep them busy are so helpful too. They thought it was so awesome as they have made the trip several times without being able to get up so much, lol. Have fun! :-)

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I have done two motorhome vacations, the first we drove from Orlando to LA over 17 days with two boys aged 4 and 2 and a one year old baby. The second trip was for two weeks from Seattle to LA up to LV and by this stage, I had my 4th baby who was a llittle over one at the time.
Take car seats - yes. If the kids fall asleep, they will be secured properly. They will more than likely be seated at a table, and can therefore, draw, colour, snack, build small legos models, play games - lots of things to entertain themselves. Not just be restricted to the proverbial portasble DVD to watch movies.
7 hours is a piece of cake in a motorhome! You can pull over any time you like and get out, stretch your legs at a park you discover, or lake etc. You can snack / eat to your heart's content, and don't have to hunt for a family friendly place - or always end up at a Fast Food place. Because the distance we covered each trip were extensive, we travelled a few hu dred miles a day, but broke this up with sightseeing. We stopped for dinner at night, bathed the kids and then settled them down for one more hour of driving. Invariably, they'd fall asleep and we would then park for the night and lift them to bed. There's no carrying luggage in and out of hotels, no excuse for not having fresh food at hand.
I'm not sure why you would need a motorhome if your distance is only 7 hours however. I have done many road trips with my kids (now aged 8,6,4 &2)and the same system applies. Break up the driving with stops to stretch your legs at parks etc, take books, play I spy and other car games. Talk about the journey. My kids love knowing if we are going somewhere (RV park or hotel) with a pool and help them keep their eye on the prize at the end of all that driving.
Frequently, my kids are asking for another RV trip. We almost booked one to go in May (from Dallas Texas, to Denver Colorado)! It hasn't worked out this time, but my whole family can't wait for another opportunity.
Good luck, plan well and have a great time! Cheers,

1 mom found this helpful

Hi B.,

I am a SAHM of four, two of each, ranging in age from 5-20. Prior to having #4, my late husband and I traveled with our older three in a motorhome. At the time our youngest was almost 3. It was absolutely fantastic. I just used a tall pet gate to gate off the door area and let my littlest know that if he wanted to walk around while we were moving, he would need to ask so that I could help him. It was fantastic. We played movies the entire time and I was able to fix meals and give snacks while my late husband drove. It is a different type of travel, but it was very memorable and all went very well. Our trip was also at least 7 hours away.

Good Luck and have fun!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi B.-
I think I'm in the minority...I have traveled several times in a motorhome with children and don't use car seats. Different age stages...9 months-5 years. I understand people might freak out, but I don't. The first trip was when my daughter was 9 months. 14 hour trip and I was nervous about the whole car seat thing and asked several people including the person's motorhome we were going in. None of them used car seats and they have children as well. What about school buses? They don't have seat belts yet we put our children on them. We don't let the kids play at the front of the motorhome...they have to stay back on the couches or at the table or back on the bed. That's for everyone really in the event the driver has to slam on the brakes noone goes through the front window.

So, I think you need to do what you think is best and makes you the most comfortable. While I was nervous the first time, I'm not worried about it anymore. I wouldn't take a car as well...sort of defeats the purpose of the motorhome. Does the motorhome have seat belts? Our last trip was in my cousin's brand new motorhome-top of the line and the only seatbelts were in the 2 front seats. Even if I wanted to use a car seat I wouldn't have a way to strap them in. There weren't seatbelts in the other ones we've traveled in either. So, if you don't have seatbelts the car seat won't be an option for you.

I hope whatever you decide you have a safe and wonderful trip. I think a motorhome is a great way to go!

1 mom found this helpful

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