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Road Trip Realities: The Logistics (laundry, meals, clothes and more)

    I had no idea what to expect as far as what day-to-day life would look like as a family of six traveling around the country.


    We’ve camped before and we did as much research as we could to see how other families did similar trips and we knew that it would take just jumping in to really figure out how this life on the road thing works.

    I’m all about sharing the pretty places we visit, favorite restaurants, what we did, where we stayed and I hope you are enjoying seeing the stops along the way. For those of you who are curious about what the normal stuff looks like, this behind the scene post is for you.


    Over the past five months, we’ve been putting together our list of stops.

    The first step was brainstorming top places around the country we wanted to see. The kids gave their input; Ryan and I tossed in our picks. We used a combination of the Roadtrippers app and Google Maps to chart our course. When marking down stops, we took these things into consideration:

    1. At least one full day with two overnights in most spots
    2. No more than 3.5 hours of drive time between stops

    Some places have much longer than one full day (like our two full days in Yosemite or five days in New York City) and there are a few drive days that are longer than 3.5 hours (like the nearly nine hour drive from Albuquerque, NM to Broken Arrow, OK – yikes!)

    We’re mainly keeping to the perimeter of the US and hitting as many National Parks and big landmarks as we can. There are several places we are not going to see: much of Southern California, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota. Of course we’d love to see all of America, but we had to limit the stops at some point. I have a feeling 3.5 months will fly by and we’ll wish we had longer.

    Once we had our list of places to visit, we created a spreadsheet with a row for each day and we just started filling it in.

    There were a few places we wanted to be on certain days – like San Antonio on the last day of school to surprise our best friends, Washington D.C. on July 4th, and our last stop in Walla Walla, WA for the annual Jones family vacation. These helped us narrow down our timeline and figure out what stops we could or couldn’t fit in in the time we had.

    Then we started booking our overnights. We looked for rv campsites with full hookups (water, sewer, electric) and campgrounds with extra amenities like swimming pools, little markets and laundry facitilies won us over.

    In a few places, we decided to book hotel rooms. This gives us a break from trailer living, a bit more room to stretch out and works great for bigger cities where towing a giant airstream trailer through town sounds very stressful. On nights when we’re overnighting at hotels, we also had to book a place to keep the trailer (like a local campground).


    Packing for me and the kids took up a big part of my brain before we left. Petty, perhaps, yet it felt like a big deal. We have a very tight space and an entire summer’s worth of outfits to fit. Each of the kids have a plastic bin to hold their clothes; Ryan and I each have small wardrobe closets.

    I was super picky when packing clothes. We wanted multi-purpose, quality, washable, non-logo items that could mix and match. I didn’t mean to, but almost all of our clothes are in the blue/gray family. I looked around at us while on a hike yesterday and sort of laughed at how coordinated we were in our blues and grays and chambray :)

    Each of the kids have a pair of tennis shoes and two pair of flip flops, one cheap pair and one nicer.

    Each has a thin rain coat, which has been so perfect for some of the colder, wetter weather we’ve had on the west coast (see how our coats were especially helpful in this cute video Ryan posted).

    Because once we cross over into Arizona (in just a few days), we’ll be in hot, humid weather for the remainder of the trip, I totally under-packed warm clothes. We’ve been wearing the same sweatshirts over and over again since day one. I stressed out for a bit a few days ago feeling like I just didn’t pack right, but we’re dealing.

    I’m still trying to figure out the best way to share what I packed for me, but hopefully I’ll get to it soon!



    We deliberately picked campgrounds with laundry facilities. I wasn’t sure what the cleanliness factor would be, but so far, so good. I sat reading the other night for about two hours while the loads went through the washer and drier. You have to stay in the laundry room while your clothes are washing, so it’s a little inconvenient, but it gives me a chance to catch up on alone time and reading – two good-for-me things :)

    When stopping to visit friends, I will take full advantage of their laundry rooms.


    Ask me in a few weeks how meals are going. We’re still figuring out what works, how often to eat out, when to grocery shop.

    Our family loves eating good food at great restaurants and we want to experience local food everywhere we go. But … eating out for a family of six is expensive and not always the healthiest.

    Breakfasts are easy in the trailer – oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, granola, scrambled eggs, etc. Lunches are usually snack lunch food – cheese, meats, crackers, veggies, fruit. When hiking, we’ve packed sandwiches and snacks to eat along the way. We’re sticking to simple dinners in the trailer – grilled chicken + salad, burrito bowls, burgers, pasta.

    Dining out could easily be our biggest expense if we let it, so we’re trying to find a balance between eating out and in. And, actually, cooking in the trailer is not as difficult as I thought it would be.



    We were very uncertain about how much we would be able to access the internet, and how good of a connection it would be especially in places somewhat off the grid.

    Ryan researched and found a few solutions that have worked so well for us. We both brought along our laptops, we have our phones and we have kindles or ipads for the kids that we’ve been able to use at each stop.

    Most campgrounds offer free wifi, but because we are running our businesses from our computers and often log in to personal info, we have avoided using the wifi as it is not very secure. We’ll (and by we’ll what I really mean is Ryan) will put together a post with all of the gadgets that have been helpful for us. Perhaps for Father’s day?

    We did cruise through our data on our phone plan and had to up that by about day 3, but otherwise, we’ve been able to get online and keep up with work while on the road.

    Are there any other logistics you’re curious about? We’re always happy to talk about this!

    38 thoughts on “Road Trip Realities: The Logistics (laundry, meals, clothes and more)”

    1. I found you. I’ve been a regular follower for quite a while and then you disappeared…and I couldn’t find you on your blog or use templates I like. Glad you’re having an adventure.

    2. make sure to pick up a national parks passport for all of your travels to national parks! it’s so sun to get all the stamps and cancellations at each park, which includes the date you were there! it’s only about 8 bucks and they have the cancellation station at each national park!

      one of my biggest regrets (which sounds silly) is not getting one because i’m so sentimental, but we did get one for our daughter and are excited to see her fill it up!

    3. I am loving this! I can’t wait to catch up on your other road trip posts, but I really love hearing about the logistics.

      On my family’s cross country trip last summer, I spent all day every day researching places to eat dinner on yelp. Eating dinner out was a huge highlight each day. Also, for NYC, it might be a good idea for you to park outside of the city someplace and take a train/bus/taxi to the hotel you plan to stay at, traveling in NYC I think necessitates traveling light.

    4. I just love seeing this whole adventure!
      Seriously something most of us have dreamed about or maybe fantasized is a better word (the fun of it not the logistics of it).

      I’d love to hear more about the trailer! How you came about it, what model, what decisions went into it (other than adorably cute), how “used” was it and how it’s working out for 6! Is it hard to maneuver in unknown territory, plan for campgrounds with it, etc. I’ve only heard of friends who had something similar for lengthy stay while doing a remodel, not for more than just trip.

      P.S. I love it. The adventurer in me can’t get enough of your insta feed! -achefswife

    5. What in the world will you be doing in broken arrow? I was really surprised to read that, too (along with the previous commenters), and am excited to see what fun things you plan to do. I live in Tulsa and I am always wanting to learn of new things I can do with my family (they all live in Louisiana) when they visit.
      Your family is more than welcome to come take showers/do laundry, etc at our house while you’re here if you want. I have 3 little girls (7, 5, and 2.5) who love playing with and making new friends, too. You can probably get my email address from this comment, but I’ll try to figure out how to email you my info just in case you can’t.

      1. We’ll be visiting friends (Ashley from under the sycamore and Lesley from Recipe for Crazy). Can’t wait to see Oklahoma from an “i live here” perspective!

    6. Always enjoy reading your blog — but especially enjoying reading about this road trip!
      We have a family of 5 (2 boys & then a daughter the same age as yours) & we have enjoyed drives from our home in Iowa down to Florida and recently to Arizona. Great memories made!
      Prayers for safe travels for your family! Thanks for sharing!

      PS — I found your blog randomly a couple years ago when downloading the template for the crown for our daughters bday. Have read ever since!

    7. Have you looked into a MiFi for Internet? I use a Verizon MiFi jet pack when I’m traveling for secure Internet. Lots of carriers have them (Sprint, Verizon, etc). And I just did a quick search and there are even ones like Straight Talk where you can prepay for mins for the hotspot instead of a monthly plan. Just a thought. Enjoy your trip! Excited to follow along! Especially when you get to the New England where we live!:)

    8. I doubt you will respond because this is so private…but I can’t be the only one wondering how you get any ‘alone’ time with your hubby being in such close quarters? I’m married with two littles of my own and I’m sitting here trying to imagine what it would be like to do this as a family and it crossed my mind..haha…I guess when everyone’s asleep and very quietly ?

      1. Ha! We were just chatting about this over dinner with friends last night. I will say three things: hotels, very tired children, stabilizing jacks :)

    9. One of my favorite bloggers, Michelle from, who also happens to live and work full time from an RV, uses Verizon MiFi (check it out on for interrupted wifi.

      Thought you might like to try it out :-)

      Lots of love and thanks for sharing all these details. One day we will be doing something like this too :-)

    10. Emily thank you for subscribing me to your blog when I was having no response. I had always wondered what an airstream looks like inside now I know! Looks so spacious! Hope you do make a stopover at Cadillac Ranch. My son left from here in England yesterday to visit his girlfriend in Arizona . It was a long flight & he said it was so hot when he got there late at night. Think it’s great what you are doing. Your children will never forget it.

    11. If you haven’t discovered it already, this couple’s blog about travels in their RV over last several years is excellent. They chronicle life through video, photo and text showing their experiences. It is an excellent primer on where to go and what to see in the U.S. You might find it helpful

    12. So fun to follow your adventure! Thirteen years ago, our family of 5 traveled in a small camper with another family of 5 for 2 weeks and covered 13 states! Needless to say it was a packed trip, full of lots of miles and memories. We always drew stares of disbelief as 10 of us piled out of this camper when we stopped for the night. And we still laugh at all of the mishaps along the way. {Sometimes these are the best stories!} We had 4 teenagers and 2 pre-teens so you can imagine the craziness! And YES, to this day, we are best of friends. I will enjoy hearing of your adventures! Thanks for taking us along for the journey!

    13. When you drive I-40 from Albuquerque to Broken Arrow, you will pass through Amarillo, TX. Just before you enter the western outskirts of Amarillo, you will pass by the Cadillac ranch on your right. I think it’s exit 60/Arnot Road if you want to pull off. The kids can paint something on the cars.

    14. I’m wondering if you have any Church visits planned on your trip for Sunday morning? Do you have instead a devotional around the table in the RV with your family? Oh also what road trip music or books on tape are you enjoying? I traveled a lot when I was a kid with my grandparents….some of the best memories I have as a child. Are your kids writing down their experiences or keeping a diary of their trip? Souvenirs from each state? Would love to see pics of souvenirs picked up along the way! What an adventure! Have fun making memories❤️

    15. totally incredible information. i’m not sure how this could work for our lives, but i feel like as a homeschool mom i’m halfway there. too bad my hubs doesn’t work remotely… that’s the part that i’m trying to piece together.
      thanks for the ideas and inspirations! this is SO COOL!

    16. Thanks for sharing the details of your trip! We’ve done 3 muti-week road trips with our kids. We planned to a certain extent (and I am a consummate list maker!) but we also allowed ourselves some time to be free spirits and see what we might discover along the way. Don’t be afraid to deviate from ‘the plan’ once in a while and just enjoy the adventure! Those are some of our best memories:).

    17. I was so surprised to read the blog and see you’ll be passing right through our wonderful town – Broken Arrow, OK! I hope you enjoy visiting here as much as we love living here.
      Oh, and be prepared for the possibility of some stormy summer weather! ?⛈

    18. My sister in law and I took our 6 kids on a road trip out west last summer. Took us 3 years to plan. Boy was it an adventure. Our kids still talk about it to this day. Jackson Hole was our favorite stop. Good luck!

    19. I am so enjoying your blog – very interesting life you lead travelling with 4 children. You are so organized and well planned. Also love the pictures. Keep up the great work – it’s an adventure for all of us!

    20. I noticed a stop in Des Moines on your itinerary. I hope you’ll get to stop by the Iowa State Fair which takes place on August 11-21 this year. If you go, be sure to have a pork chop from the Iowa Pork Producers tent (way better than all that greasy “food” on a stick!) and be sure to check out the biggest pig exhibit and the baby piglet exhibit. Safe travels!

    21. Gwen, The Makerista

      This is so interesting, and I’m really excited to follow along as you all do this…the good, and the bad, but it will all surely be memorable and something your kids will never forget! Thanks for the honesty!

    22. I’ve loved following along on your adventure! Did you plan any hang-around-the-campsite-and-chill days or are you sight-seeing every day? Are you doing any traditional “camping” things like roasting marshmallows and cooking over a fire? And I’d love to know what you and your kiddos are reading while you drive! :)

    23. I’m green with envy reading your road trip posts. It’s so inspiring though…I bet we could make it happen and you’ve inspired me to count it as a real possibility. So, while I’m enjoying absolutely any trip-related post, I’d love to hear more about the heart stuff. Do you see improved sibling relationships since being on the road (I know it hasn’t been that long yet) or are kids missing friends and comforts of home? Is grace coming easier when so much time is spent with just the six of you or do tight quarters and itineraries cause irritability? And how is it effecting your marriage? Sometimes, I dream of the kids and I having my husband’s full attention all day long (he is away at work until dinner time) but I know the 24-7 parenting would be an adjustment for him (and me, too, really since my kiddos are at school all day.) So, there you have it. And maybe you’d rather not discuss any of that sort of stuff….but I thought I’d ask in case. So many eyes are on your family and I love and admire that you are doing something positive!! Traveling mercies, always.

      1. I love these questions! Right now we still feel like we are on vacation and I am imagining that at some point (soon?) it will start to set in. Or maybe it just feels like one long vacation? I’m not sure. But I am excited to reflect and grow and will most certainly share!

    24. Maybe this would be too personal but I would love to hear how you went along saving for the expenses of your trip. I know you’ve been planning it for a long time, so did you set aside a special savings for several years to help make it happen? This is a dream trip and my husband is able to work from anywhere so now we’re considering what kind of country road trip we might be able to experience in a few years! Loving all your posts :)

      1. I would love this too – just a general figure so that I know what I’m getting myself into when planning an amazing trip like this for my family. I love following your journey!!! You have inspired my husband and I to start our own “wish list” of sorts of all the places we would like to travel with our kids :)

    25. What made you decide on the Airstream rather than the other RV that I think I remember you having a picture of last year? I would love your thoughts on a drivable RV option (possibly pulling a car behind it?) compared to driving your own SUV and pulling a trailer.

      1. Caitlin Wallace Rowland

        I’m also interested in the switch from RV to Airstream, and I’d love a tour of the Airstream and where you all are sleeping!

    26. Thanks for sharing the details…I’ve been curious! I noticed the mention of Broken Arrow. I live in Tulsa, so I would love to offer any recommendations for your short time in the area. I love getting to follow along with y’all’s adventure!

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