If you’re looking for ideas to maximize tiny or small RV living space for travel life with kids or family, I’ve got ideas for you.
When you’re full-time living, slow or extended traveling by motorhome, camper van, or RV with children or as a family, maximizing tiny or small RV living space is essential.
I know. I spent much of a year on the ultimate USA roadtrip by RV, living in a motorhome with my four children.
The #1 Way to Maximize RV – Camper Van – Motorhome Living Space
I recently received a note from a mom wondering how to accommodate her family of three children (including 2 teens) in a small Airstream on a USA adventure. Could she make do with the Airstream or should she rent a larger camper?
Perhaps the bigger and more straightforward question is… can you live in the small space of an RV with kids?
Small Space RV Living
When you’re living in an RV, adapting to tight quarters and lack of space can be a challenge. However, there are pluses to small space living. I happen to be a fan of tiny living. My kids have spent their childhood traveling and living in tiny apartments, condos, AirBNBs, hotel rooms, gites, hostels, a tiny NYC apartment–and of course, much of a year full-time living in an RV.
Even our current home in the mountains is small. Small enough that the neighbors have asked about our space situation and whether we are all comfortable enough in there because it’s not that big.
That curiosity might stem from the fact that we are an American family; American’s stereotypically live in big houses. It might also have something to do with the fact that our family has four kids–a big family by most measures where we’re living.
Size Doesn’t Matter…Or Does It?
The size of your RV matters, but it also doesn’t really matter, at least not as much as you think it might.
You certainly want to live and travel with enough space to be comfortable. However, nearly everyone moving into an RV, motorhome, camper van, or Fifth Wheel is going to have to get used to living in a smaller space. A space adjustment and mindshift (or re-thinking about space and the meaning of it) is practically necessary.
If you’re RV Shopping or wondering if your RV will fit you or your family, you’ll need to balance space and value (cost & what you’re getting for your money).
I opted for a Class C RV with an awesome rear bedroom (for me!), a loft space above the driver/passenger seats, a convertible couch, and a convertible table. The rear bedroom and loft were key to our family comfort because they helped to create three distinct living zones.
So Back to That Mom’s Question About How to Accommodate Her Family…
I think making do with the camper she has is a good starting point for a family adventure. Once on the road, if the space doesn’t work out, she can always rent a larger camper or improvise.
But Here’s The Secret to Making the Most Out of Small RV Space…
It goes back to the zone living concept I mentioned above.
To maximize small RV living space with children or family, this is what you do: you make zones in outside living space. This concept can also come in handy with tiny house living.
Here’s what I suggested to that mom.
Save the cash for now that you’d spend on a larger camper.
Instead, bring along a small tent or two for the older kids to set up outside next to the camper, in case they want their own personal living space–or simply a private retreat space during the day.
Also pack along space saving outdoor chairs, an outdoor rug, or furniture (and decorations too!) to create a cozy outside zone(s) to maximize your small RV space living. When you arrive at your campsite, pull these items out of storage and set up your outdoor living space.
The outdoor living space might contain a “table” (campground picnic table) eating/homeschool classroom area. Some chairs or inflatable couch and outdoor rug might create another “living room” zone. A small tent or hammock might create one or two additional child-friendly or private zones, that create “space” for people to enjoy in small space living apart from one another.
So, there you have it.
Of course, don’t stop with zone, indoor and outdoor living in your RV, camper van, motorhome, or Fifth Wheel. Don’t forget the importance of tiny home organization and clutter minimization–that is, pack light. 😉
Happy Adventures, Julie
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