How to travel full time with a large family...that is the question we are now asking ourselves. With a new baby on the way, our soon to be family of 6 is looking at all of our options for vehicles. Since we hit the road, we have only owned one vehicle, an F350 with only 5 seats!
How To Travel Full Time With A Large Family When You Don’t Fit In The Truck
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With our family outgrowing our truck, we have to find a solution that will allow us to still travel comfortably not only on towing days, but for day to day driving as well.
Many fulltime traveling families have the same problem that we are now faced with. Many families on the road have more than 3 kids. In fact, we’ve met families with many more than that!
With the average tow vehicle only having 5 seatbelts (unless you have one in the middle up front), this becomes a challenge for those of us with more than 3 children.
We started by looking at what other larger families have done.
We realized that we had 4 main options available to us.
RV & Vehicle Options For Our Larger Family
1: Alter Our Truck Or Trade In For A Bench Seat Model
Trade in our truck for another one that has a bench seat in the front or replace our front seat and center console with a bench seat.
- Everyone stays in one vehicle together
- Very expensive to change out the front seats and center console
- Lose AC to the rear seat
- Lose cupholders and storage
- A child would always be riding in the middle of us
We decided against this option pretty quick. Personally, I like Derek and I having the entire front of the truck to ourselves. I did not want a child in between us, and prefer not to have a child in the front seat period.
2: Get A "Chaser Car"
Before we hit the road full time, we sold our second vehicle so that we could all travel together.
We had a Honda Odyssey minivan, and I LOVED it. It was roomy, had tons of storage, and was easy to get kids in and out of. As much as it was great for travel, we ultimately decided that we wanted to all be together in the same vehicle, so we sold it.
We toyed with the idea of purchasing another vehicle, most likely another minivan, so that one person could tow the rig with the truck, and the other could drive the van with the kids.
This is probably the top option for most people who travel full time with a large family, but we weren’t sure if it was right for us.
- Great having daily driver for when we are running errands as a family
- Ability to spread out kids amongst 2 vehicles on travel days
- More space for our dog
- Upfront expense; we would either have to pay cash for a car, or have a vehicle payment
- Maintenance expenses...double insurance, double oil changes, double tire cost
- Fuel costs...we would be paying for fuel for two vehicles when we are traveling
- Separates the family on travel days into two cars...we like being together
- One parent can no longer navigate for the person towing the rig
- Not all campsites offer parking space for our large RV, plus 2 vehicles
We decided that this option would only be our backup plan if we couldn’t figure something else out.
3: Sell Our Rig & Get Something Different
One of the great things about full time RVing is that there are so many options out there. No one solution is perfect for every large family. We always have the option of trading in or selling our rig and completely changing our setup.
For some larger families, they prefer having a travel trailer towed by a large van. The whole family fits in the van, but you also lose some cargo space, living space, etc when switching to a travel trailer or “bumper pull” as some call it.
For others, they prefer a motor home and a tow behind or “toad.” We could purchase a class A or class C motor home and tow a minivan or other SUV that would fit the whole family for day to day running around.
The problem with this option for us is that there are very few floor plans in motorhomes that have bunks for more than two kids. We would have to renovate or make do with kids sleeping on couches.
Purchasing a motor home is also a huge expense and not really in our budget at this time.
- A new rig would be fun...change is nice sometimes
- Expensive to change our whole setup, both RV and vehicle
- Would have to renovate a motor home if we went with that option
- Travel Trailers are a tad short for Derek, who is 6’3” tall.
We have put a lot of work and love into our fifth wheel and really want to keep living in it.
*We do hope that motor home companies will catch on one day and see that people want options to travel full time with a large family in a motor home.
4: A Truck Cab Extension
Did you know that you could literally give your tuck more seats than it came with?
It’s kind of like turning your pickup into an SUV and you still have the ability to tow a fifth wheel.
They are a custom ordered seating unit that fit right into the bed of your pickup. You remove the back window from your truck, and connect the seating unit to the truck cab with a rubber “boot.”
This allows 2 seats and seatbelts to be added to the truck!
- Allows for extra seating, even extra space for our dog!
- We can still ride together as a family
- Simpler and MUCH less expensive than trading/selling our entire setup for a new rig
- More affordable option than purchasing another vehicle and maintenance/fuel on another vehicle
- Upfront cost
- Shortens the truck bed, we would need to alter our hitch and/or kingpin
This is the option we chose to go with. After evaluating all of our needs and wants, this was the best option for our particular family.
We plan on doing an in depth review once we have had the cab for a few weeks at least. We did encounter some issues when ordering and picking up our unit, and want to be able to be completely thorough and honest in our review.
Other Options For Traveling Full Time With A Large Family
Get A 6 Door Truck
Another valid option for traveling full time with a large family is a 6 door truck.
YES, you heard me right. If you've never seen one, they are quite impressive. They also run you around $100K for a new model!
They are just regular trucks that a company modifies. They look like they come from the factory that way though, and allow for two more doors, and three more seats.
Being that our family is all about traveling on a budget, and doing things cost effectively, this was not an option for our family, which is why it isn't listed above.
Automated Safety Hitch
It may be one of the funniest looking contraptions to grace the RV community. Many, including us, have never even seen one in person. But they're out there.
Basically, it is a little bumper pull trailer which has a fifth wheel hitch for the RV. It is supposedly an incredibly safe way to tow a fifth wheel and allows vehicles other than a pickup to tow a fifth wheel trailer.
It would be a good option for towing with a converted pickup where you lose the bulk of your bed space, or with an SUV or van of some sort.
Again, this just wasn't an option we really considered. But it might be for someone else!
Our newest precious addition to our family will be here sometime in September 2020 and we are so excited to meet her. We are also excited that we are prepared with an option that we can all travel safely together when she arrives.
Stay tuned for a review of how we are liking the cab and more information on them!