How To Find Other Fulltime RV Families

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Community on the road. Can it happen? Will we find friends for our kids? Is there an app for that?

An RVing mom emailed us this week and asked:

I was hoping you could direct me to a discussion board or somewhere where families state where they will be and able to meet up. I have a 7 and 9 year old that would love to meet some friends on the road.DitchingSuburbia Email Inbox

Peeps

Traveling families have a unique lifestyle. It can be fun and rewarding to meet with traditional suburban families and talk about the advantages of travel.

But sometimes you just want to hang with your peeps.

People who get it.

You want to share your struggles with how to do church on the road. Or how to deal with family and friends back home who aren’t yet on board with your lifestyle change.

And you want friends for your kids. Friends from like-minded families with similar experiences, values and viewpoints.

How do you find and meet other traveling families?

How to Find Other RV Families

Here’s our list of tools and tips for finding other traveling families:

RV Family Instagrammers

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If you choose one tool to find your traveling tribe it should be Instagram. Families on the move finding new experiences love to post photos to IG, and they are more in-the-moment than blogs.

Most photos get geo-tagged or mention the location. If you see someone close by or where you are headed, leave them a comment and start the conversation. We’ve had a number of meetups initiated on Instagram.

New to Instagram? We’ve made it easy for you to find other Instagramming RV families.

Also -  follow the DitchingSuburbia Instagram account. We primarily repost photos from other traveling families so it’s a great way to find others to follow.

RV Family Blogs

When we first started on the road I watched other blogs like a hawk. If a family that I thought we’d get along with posted about visiting a place that was close to us I’d send them an email and see if a meetup was possible.

Some people post their current location. Others post about the place they just left.

This is how we first met the Ticknor Tribe. They published a blog post from a place we were close to, so I emailed them and arranged a meetup.

But how do you find the blogs of other traveling families?  Again, we’ve made that easy for you - we maintain the best blogroll of RV families you will find.

And of course, having a blog of your own will increase the odds of another family contacting you.

Facebook

Love it or hate it, Facebook is a handy tool for finding other families.

Here are five Facebook groups to check out

You might have to be proactive and create a “where are you now” thread if there isn’t a current one.

Identify Yourself

The main reason we replaced the RV decals with our own was to make ourselves easy to find.

Put your blog URL or your IG handle on your truck and RV. You might be surprised with how often it leads to people knocking on your door asking “are you guys fulltimers too?” or saying “hey - we follow you guys online!”

Location and Season

Your odds of meeting another family has a lot to do with where you are in each season.

Winter
In the winter, traveling families chase the warm weather so end up south of I-10.  Orlando, Austin/San Antonio, or Mesa/Phoenix are winter hotspots where families tend to congregate.

Spring
Spring is the toughest season. There’s no magic place to be that will increase your odds of finding other traveling families or camping families - so fall back on your social tools until summer.

Summer
Summer is camping season in most parts of the country. If you can locate yourself in “destination” parks (state parks, resort parks with lots of amenities, etc), there’s a good chance you’ll meet other families.

These won’t necessarily be fulltime traveling families - but if you are just after friends for your kids it will still help.

And, you can sell the camping folks on the benefits of becoming fulltime Ditchers . . .

Fall
Through the end of October and possibly early November many RV parks have seasonal activities going on. They do this to keep families camping past the start of school and make a bit more money on their season.

Our unofficial home park in West Michigan has a fall weekend with hayrides, trick or treating, pumpkin carving, and a community pancake breakfast.

Being in a place for special fall weekends is another way to find playmates for your kids. Just be forewarned - these weekends often book out in advance so you’ll need to plan ahead.

Hit the Brakes

Remember this scene from Top Gun?

If you aren’t able to connect with other families because everyone is a moving target, hit the brakes.

Stop down for a couple of months, and let the other families come to you.

We took a camphosting job in a popular park for families in Mesa, AZ one winter and enjoyed lots of meetups as people came through.

Adapt Your Route

You may have to sit down as a family and make some tough decisions about your route. Is it off to another National Park? Or more time spent camping alongside another traveling family?

We once went from Michigan to Texas via Washington DC because it meant more time with caravanning friends.

We met those friends because they found our blog and got in touch (see!?).

Rallies

Another way to meet a whole bunch of traveling families at once is by attending a Fulltime Families Rally

We recently attended our first rally. We learned a few things.

Thousand Trails

Many families use the Thousand Trails membership system to save money on camping fees. Joining Thousand Trails to increase your odds of meeting other families might be worthwhile for you.

We tried the Thousand Trails system, but didn’t like it.

DIY Meetups

Once you’ve met a few families you get along with, you can build your own neighborhood.

It takes some advance planning, but the efforts are all worthwhile when you can share meals, campfires, movies, and deep conversations with your tribe.

Isn’t There An App?

My smartphone knows where I am. Maybe if we all share our locations to a Google map we can more easily find each other to meet up?

That’s how it starts. In our years on the road we’ve seen several attempts at creating an app or some kind of technology based solution to finding other nomadic families. They have all failed. Here’s our reasons why.

Your Story?

For us, life on the road has blessed us with more friends and deeper friendships than what we had in the suburbs.

What’s it been like for you?

Have you found your tribe, or are you still looking?

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9 Comments How To Find Other Fulltime RV Families

  1. Picture of NathanNathan October 17, 2016

    Great advice man. We, too, took a shot at an app to help people find one another. In a week, a friend had created something similar. Exactly what you described (not wanting to auto-share / not remember to share) shut us down, and even though our friend’s was built on Instagram (update your Instie location, the app gets updated automatically), it didn’t seem to be that used either.

    Giant smiles and waving people down in state parks and RV parks seems to be the most surefire method these days. :)

    Even Instagram itself is tough, as “Insta” doesn’t translate to instant apparently.

  2. Picture of Michael BoyinkMichael Boyink October 18, 2016

    Ah - I didn’t know you guys had also done an app!  We’re guilty of using IG in “latergram” mode as well…

  3. Picture of Paul KortmanPaul Kortman October 21, 2016

    On the whole you bring up good points, but these points are mostly for US RVers… if you were to take the international traveling families into account you’d find out that sharing locations and plans and keeping an app up to date is a lot easier because in general we travel slower, plan more and long more for in person connections with those from our home culture.

    And connecting via Instagram is a pain, difficult to search and coordinate plans (which when you travel slower plans can be more coordinated!)

  4. Picture of Michael BoyinkMichael Boyink October 23, 2016

    Hey Paul -

    Thanks for the comment!

    As you know we travel in the USA so based the article off that experience.

    We’d love to hear more about what apps the “outside the USA” travelers are using to find each other.

  5. Picture of Paul KortmanPaul Kortman October 23, 2016

    That’s just it, there aren’t any apps for it. Most that I’ve seen are focused on the (large) US Market.

    However those who are international are more likely to keep said app up to date, and are in more need of personal connections.

    Right now the best tool we have is facebook groups but that’s annoying and cumbersome to say the least.

  6. Picture of AnthonyAnthony October 30, 2016

    Never really thought about the problem of finding other nomadic familys on apps but I guess that really makes sense! I guess I would have to stick to facebook, thanks for the helpful tips.

  7. Picture of AshleyAshley March 14, 2017

    Amen to that! We are desperately in need of “peeps”! We have been OTR for two years and have met ZERO fulltime family friends. We have made local friends at every location but it is so wearing to be so WEIRD to everyone!!! We are weary of friendships in which we have to explain ourselves and all the ins and outs of our lifestyle again and again! Thank you so much for posting!

  8. Picture of Michael BoyinkMichael Boyink March 15, 2017

    Cheers Ashley - hope you find other traveling families to connect with soon.  Right now anywhere around I-10 is hot - we see a number of our IG folks in San Antonio.

  9. Picture of Paul KortmanPaul Kortman March 20, 2017

    Michael, you should add https://www.worldschoolerconnect.com/ to the list of resources/apps. I know you’ve seen a bunch come and go, but this one is around to stay and has been working awesome at connecting people outside the US.

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