Vacations and getaways, long or short, are essential to a balanced life. It somehow recalibrates our sense of being and reminds us that life is not all about work, but that we need time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and that spending quality time with loved ones makes us richer in ways that our jobs are not able to. Growing up my parents never took us on any vacations. They simply could not afford it. That does not mean I did not have a great childhood, I have wonderful memories of my childhood. But when I became a mother and had a family of my own, I wanted to give my children what I did not have growing up. Not just material things, but things like new perspectives and experiences.
In 2011 we took our first family trip off the Island of Oahu, aside from our neighboring islands, to California. We went to Disneyland, Legoland, Sea World, Universal Studios, and did little tours around the Los Angeles area. We had a great time and made so many memorable memories. After that year, we began to make vacations an annual family tradition.
The following year we went back to California, this time north, and visited family in San Jose. From there we visited Napa Valley, Yosemite, San Francisco, Sausalito, and skied/snowboarded for the first time at Lake Tahoe. This was the year we all saw snow for the very first time.
The snow had us dreaming for more and in 2014 we decided to go further and went to Washington State and Idaho. There we visited the city of Seattle and all it had to offer, then took our very first road trip and headed to eastern Washington and Idaho where we skied and snowboarded to our heart’s content. We had such an amazing time that I started to think about moving to the states and being just a drive away from so many places. We saw so many RVs and travel trailers on the road on this trip and I was eager to know what this type of travel was all about. We stopped at a Cabela’s in Idaho and walked through a few travel trailers to see what it was like inside. I could not believe how spacious, convenient, and well equipped they were. They are like tiny homes on wheels.
When we returned from our trip I found myself researching all about the RVing lifestyle and I was enthralled! Year after year we had spent so much money on this new family tradition and although I wanted to keep this tradition going, it was hard to do so without breaking the bank or saving for the entire year just to go on this one vacation. And living in Hawaii did not help at all, especially because we had no choice but to fly out. There is no alternative route to get to the other 49 states.
The next year, in 2015, I somehow managed to convince my husband, a true island boy, to uproot our family and move to Washington State. Do not ask me how I did it, but I did, and I’m glad I did. Our first summer living in the states we rented a travel trailer and traveled even further and went to Montana. The summer after that we went to Wyoming’s infamous Yellowstone National Park and Devils Tower and as far as South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore National Monument in a travel trailer.
Taking vacations through the RVing lifestyle has saved us a lot of money compared to flying. With that extra money, we were able to see and do more things. We did not have to pay per seat, per passenger, or per luggage for airfare. Instead, the four of us and all of our luggage all traveled on a tank of gas. We prepared and cooked all of our own meals instead of eating out. For a family of four, eating out three times a day can be very expensive. We were also surprised to find the prices per night to stay at a campground were a lot less than any hotel or motels out there.
Staying in a campground is not all that bad either. There are many campgrounds that have resort-style amenities such as a pool, wifi, etc. should you want that. But the best part of what campgrounds have is the direct access to nature right outside your door. As John Muir said, “everybody needs beauty as much as bread, places to play in…where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.” Campgrounds are also ideal for places like American’s national parks, where you can find a campground right in the heart of the park. You can find a campground near most major attractions just as you would with other lodging. But imagine having the comforts of your own home every day while you are on vacation and not living out of your suitcase going from one hotel to the next. Everything, from your belongings to your kitchen, your bedroom, and your toys (bikes, kayaks, fishing poles, skis, surfboards, etc.) will be right there along with you and you won’t need to spend money on renting or buying such items to enjoy some recreational fun.
For our family, we have made a lot of new memories year-round traveling the RV lifestyle. We not only go on family vacations once a year but rather take small vacations throughout the year because it’s budget-friendly. This vacation lifestyle also offers the opportunity to constantly spend quality time together as a family year-round. We look forward to going to someplace new almost every month. All in all, it makes life a lot more balanced and we are constantly replenished by taking these smaller vacations and we go to work happier because we got to take a break, and not wait a whole year to go somewhere special.
The only exception is that we still fly home to Oahu every year to visit our family and to get our dose of vitamin sea from the warm Pacific Ocean and vitamin D from the hot Hawaiian sunshine. Unfortunately, there is no other alternative to get to Hawaii. However, If I had known about the RVing lifestyle while I lived back home on the islands, I would have opted to rent an RV and vacation that way. The cost of lodging and car rental for the price of one with a small budget for food because I’d prepare all of our meals are just incomparable.