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Family RVing: Tips from a Camper Mom

RVing with young kids can be a great experience.

Just ask Seattle, Washington artist Judi Ciucci, who made her maiden RV voyage in 2018 with her two daughters, six-year-old Paisley and two-year-old Clementine.

“We were avid tent campers for a while but it can be difficult with young kids, especially if one is potty-training. Going out in the dark in the middle of the night is not an option!” said Judi. “Growing up I’ve always wanted a teardrop camper so I took the plunge and began our new adventure over the summer. I had zero experience towing or RVing, but the appeal of the Tab was that it was so manageable for me to maneuver.”

The trio and their dog Marley, a ten-year-old Australian Cattle dog (also known as a Blue Heeler), spent a little over four weeks exploring Washington State in their new TAB.

“Since this was our first year having it, I wanted to explore Washington in a way that I had not been able to experience it before. We stayed in the state and checked out familiar locations as well as new ones,” Judi said. “We really enjoyed staying at Alder Lake, near Mt. Rainier. The location was perfect for us — they had a playground and a lake, and it was a short drive to Mt. Rainier as well as the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park.”

As a first-timer, Judi did experience some “learning moments.”

“It took a few trips to figure out what we really needed to pack and what wasn’t even necessary,” she admitted. “When it comes to kids, you tend to over pack for ‘just in case’ scenarios, but we soon found out that random stuff was taking up precious space. Toward the end of our camping season, we had gotten the packing and unloading down to a T. What used to take a couple of hours was whittled down to a mere 30 minutes.”

The experience was a positive one for all involved, noted Judi, with the girls now wishing they could live full time in a RV/tiny home because life is more enjoyable. “I’ve always taught the girls to be close to nature and that you can learn so much from something so simple. They’ve always been drawn to the outdoors, so being able to live ‘part-time’ on the road was magical for them. The simplicity and fulfillment from traveling has really opened their eyes and brought a new sense of awareness and appreciation of the world around them.”

Another benefit, said Judi, was that “the girls learned to work together as a cohesive unit with minimal to no fighting (yay!). Even at a young age, Clementine learned the simple rules and routine quickly.”

RVing also gave the girls the chance to broaden their circle of friends. “Paisley has always been a social butterfly, so meeting friends while traveling has been easy for her. She’s realizing her group of friends now spans continents. It’s inspired her to learn about other states and countries now that she knows a few people that live there.”

For parents who are traveling with young children, Judi has some advice. “You don’t need as much as you might think you do. So much of our daily lives can be consumed with constant activity and the need to always be ‘plugged in.’ Traveling reminds us that life opens up when we just take a step in a different direction. Camping with young kids can be intimidating, but allowing them to experience it in their way—even if it’s hanging out at the campsite for an entire day playing in nature —can help shape how they perceive their little world for the better.”

Looking ahead to 2019, Judi said she and her daughters have already made their RV plans. “Next year, we’d like to try to make our way down to Colorado, and visit as many National Parks along the way so Paisley can add to her Junior Ranger Badge collection.”

Visit Judi’s Instagram page (judicriso) for pictures from their trips.

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