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Old 03-15-2015, 07:52 AM   #1
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Question Traveling with baby/kids, living in bus full time

Hi all!

My boyfriend and I are hitting the road this summer in our skoolie and we have a new addition to the family this year. My little guy is only six months old. BF has a 9 year old who will be with us here and there as well. I'm curious if any of you have traveled with littles and have some advice? I've read stories online about families getting their kids taken away for really stupid reasons, so we're slightly concerned about 'living on a bus/no permanent address' being one of those stupid reason. Any tips, experience, and stories are welcome!


- R
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Old 03-15-2015, 08:31 AM   #2
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People travel with kids and often home school them.
Deadheads have been doing this for decades. But I have no personal experience with kids, I don't have any and no plans to do so. ;)
There are some large families that do the fulltime bus things though. I'm sure some family folks will chime in.
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Old 03-15-2015, 01:38 PM   #3
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You did not mention if you were going to stay on the road year round or just for the summer so a few thoughs on both.

First if it is for the Summer you should have no worries from the authorities as it is a non school season unless something bad happens. Just be sure you let thoughs who are to take the children in case of an emergancy know where you are going and keep in touch with them as you go.

If you are hitting the road for longer, contact a homeschooling group in your area and talk to them about the older child and see what they suggest. Or if you even have to worry about it.

And lastly appearances of your bus has a lot to do with what the police will think as you go down the road.
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Old 03-15-2015, 03:19 PM   #4
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We have 3 kids with us full time and two from a previous marriage: 11, 7, 7, 4, and 1. (Modern family: "yours, mine, and ours.") We're going to be hitting the road next year after we finish our own conversion, and have planned through a lot of this.

First, I can't even imagine a situation in which you'd have your kids taken away from you just because you're traveling. You have the right to live anywhere you want. 3 days vs. 3 years isn't up to somebody else's opinion. Know your rights. There are media stories all the time about people getting in trouble for leaving their kids unattended, but that's a different story. Traveling a lot isn't child-abuse.

If you plan to home-school there are a million things to talk about. That's more important for your 9-yr-old than your 6-mo-old, but still. That takes a fair bit of research to do well, and it's a lot of work - but rewarding, too, if you're willing to put the time into it to make it work out.

Research, research, research. Feel free to PM me if you want to talk to me or my wife about our own plans - we've collected way more information than we can post here in a message thread. But start with research. There's a huge amount of information available online - about your rights, what others have done, what works, what doesn't, etc.

The issues you'll run into are mostly logistics - health insurance coverage that isn't focused on one state, for example.

But there's absolutely nothing wrong with it.
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Old 03-15-2015, 04:02 PM   #5
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We've been on the road for the last um five years in the bus, 18 RVing altogether.
Most those stories you hear about people screaming child abuse or neglect are due to other parties objecting to the lifestyle. Exwife doesn't like it. Mother-in-law hates the idea (or maybe hates you so this is how she can get under your skin). Grandparents. Social workers with over active imaginations (or REALLY limited ones).
It hasn't been a problem for us for the most part. Now and then we get picked on for having a child out of school, so I advise carrying whatever your state requires for homeschool proof (if long term travel) or school information if traveling during the school year.
We did find some trouble the last couple years when my oldest went onto disability aid. They had hissy fits over the idea of a handicapped-disabled-etcetc not having a brick-house to live in. We settled that by resetting our residency to a state that doesn't mind continuous travel residents.

Some tips:
* Teach your kids to stay out of, don't walk through, other people's campsites. It really is just plain rude. And face it, there are some wackos out there, so don't piss them off.
* Have some way to reach the kids if they are not at the campsite and vice versa. At 12 my son was often off at playgrounds, skateparks etc at the parks we stayed at. Several phones were required to keep us in contact.
* Teach your kids about dogs. Like the huge variety of people you will find at campgrounds, you will find every type of dog and dog owner.
Once, a large black lab-ish dog came barreling out of the screen-closed RV across a meadow from where the four of us were strolling. It went straight for my daughter, which forced me to pounce it to pin it down (and dog-eared it) until it backed down and the owners showed up. The owners were terrified. Swore their dog has never snarled at anyone ever and was glad I could restrain the animal, no one hurt, etc. No harm done, but my daughter is now 10x more afraid of dogs.
Many times we've had people that refuse to keep their dogs leashed, on trails or at campsites, which is the law in most places we've been. This leads to them seeing our pets in the windows and thinking they can just wander inside our bus (we've since put up a heavily boarded screen door barrier), sometimes friendly, many times to attack our pets. Even had one man scream at us to contain our animals and **** like that wouldn't happen. O.O
Yeah, dogs are great, but the owners that don't train them well, safely, etc are the worst!!
* Always carry some type of pepper or dog repellent spray. We've used it on snarling dogs, a freaked out racoon, and a weird seagul that insisted on dive bombing us.
* Watch your kids toys outside and in strollers. Some people teach their dogs that toys are toys... yours belongs to them and they will come get it, especially if being waved around by a cute baby or tossed around by kid.
* Don't let the kids play in the road. Most people drive the little ole 5 or 15 mph in parks but they don't always pay attention.
* Teach the kids to be aware of how their voice (and games, toys, movies) travels. In the early years with kids we were asked to leave a park because my little one played too loudly. Now days they're older but their games (video) do carry, so they were earbuds now.
* On the same note, expect to hear EVERYTHING the neighbor says or does. Some parks are jammed together type, so I can hear that old man taking a leak or that lady over there when she cusses up a storm. And the partiers!... sleepless nights due to party music sucks. We now search and pay more for private sites. lol
* Prepared or easy to eat snacks. Nothing screws the day of travel like having to find a store or bake when we have to be PointA by Xoclock. The longer the travel that day the more food I prepare ahead of time. Hungry kids get on my driving nerves = bad driving. Same for restless kids, so we try to stop at rest areas every hour or less for a short walk.
* We've made it a rule that in sticky driving situations or cities, NO one talks but the driver and sometimes the navigator when he must discuss the route. No radios, movies playing, travel verbal games. This came about over the last couple years due to me noticing a trend. People and noise when traffic is bad, whether or not in new terrain, results in far more red lights ran and brakes slammed.
* Oh and diapers... definitely dump them every stop you got 'cause that smell adds up in an RV fast. lol We treat it like used tissues... eeww icky germs, smells! Out it goes as often as possible. Small spaces makes shared germs easier.
* Locks on the windows and door and cabinets before that little one hits toddler. We were in a travel van back then so wasn't such a big deal but dang I can't imagine riding in a full RV/bus with toddlers. Also watch what is above the baby when riding. It might seem secure but one fast turn or bump and down it comes. I've the head injuries to prove it.

Off hand that's all I got.
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Old 03-15-2015, 04:42 PM   #6
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Partner reminded me of another point with kids and skoolies:

You and your bus will attrack attention!!! Cops. Kids. Adults. Strangers. Friendly people. People that think you're all hippies.

So, be ready for people (kids and adults) approaching your kids (and you) with comments or questions. School them in how to handle strangers and police.

We have a sign that says "No Tours" but not sure that helps. lol Yes, people ask for tours.

Bus conversions at playgrounds gets the locals panicing and the police come calling. Never had this problem with our class A, etc., but sure do with the skoolie. We have had long talks with cops, talking about our travels, how the kids love the park, etc, only to have every single cop tell us to not stay too long and go find a campground. o.O We're just letting the kids play for the afternoon!! geeze

Consider the color of your bus! Check the counties and states you plan to visit and see what color and type their prison buses are, because the wrong color will get you discriminated against. We've had campgrounds and even a restraurant tell us we couldn't park because the bus was colored like a prison bus. We've since repainted, but turns out that doesn't matter in some places. *shrug* We're Rustoleum aluminium with black rub rails, rims, bumpers and details. We keep it clean and shiny, with nothing hippy looking on it, no chipping paint, etc.
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Old 03-15-2015, 07:43 PM   #7
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Speaking as someone who grew up on and off the road: As Seeria said, don't say you live in the bus, just say you're travelling, on vacation or something like that. The whole "kids getting taken away" is quite real and it is scary. I can't count how many times CPS threatened to take me away simply because we(my mom and I) lived on the road. Also, don't leave the kids alone in the bus if you're in a city/town, THAT is what draws attention from authorities. Otherwise, living on the road was fun for me. I got to go to museums, all sorts of bookstores(including libraries), trek through thick forests, bare deserts, and had a lot of fun at various beaches. I swear I learned more on the road than I ever did in school.
"Courage is not the absence of fear. Many couragious people have been terrified out of their wits. They are just tired and can't take anymore" Cptn. 'Hawkeye' Pierce.
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baby on board, child safety seats, family, skoolie, traveling

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