Staying connected with our loved ones is an important part of RVing. RV travel is a lot of fun and certainly enjoyable. But the hard part, for some of us, is leaving behind family and friends that we currently spend time with. Whether you are a part-time RVer or a full-time one, most likely, you have left loved ones behind to hit the open road. That feeling of being gone on purpose leaves you feeling empty. You have chosen to travel….it may be your life long dream, but you want to stay connected. This article will give you some creative ideas on how to stay connected to home while RVing.
Creative Ideas for Staying Connected With Home While RVing
Connection & The Decision to Travel
Staying connected with people we love is important. But so is your dream of RV travel. This is a difficult balance, one that we currently try to do with our own family. We have three children and nine grandchildren. Watching our grandchildren grow up is a goal of ours but so is full-time RV travel. The way we make this work is mostly by phone and on-site visits. But in the future, as we travel farther west, away from the east coast and spend time…this is going to be harder and harder.
I will never forget the day we decided to full-time. I was so excited and empowered to get on the road and change our lives! So many places to see and a new adventure in a new season of our lives….but then the realization hit….the kids, the grandkids! We were choosing to leave ½ of them on purpose. The other half were 700 miles away already, and we were doing the delicate visiting balance. Now our choice was going to give us more time to spend with the ½ in Florida but leave the ones we saw almost daily behind. What to do?
If you are struggling with the same emotions and thoughts, see if some of these ideas can help you span the space between proximity and relationship.
Connecting with Video & Phone
In our world of technology, we can stay connected longer and more often than ever before. Our smartphones and computers have so many ways for us to reach out and connect with loved ones through app and features we couldn’t even imagine a short ten years ago!
Video chat is the easiest way to stay connected. Use your smartphone to use its native app – Facetime for iOS and Google Chat (Hangouts) for Android. It’s as easy as looking up the contact and pushing a button. Sometimes signal can keep you from having a great conversation, but it still is the best and easiest form of long-distance communication other than just talking on your phone.
Your computer has apps like zoom or skype or other lesser-known apps that can help you stay connected over your data connection (wifi) instead on your phone.
With any of these above ideas set a regular schedule and keep it as an appointment to keep your relationship with your family alive. Your kids and grandkids will enjoy the on purpose effort that you apply to these times.
Connecting by Mail
Your family would enjoy getting postcards from your destinations. Quick and easy personal touches by mail are what makes postcards really fun. We try to do this on occasion with our family. Especially if we go to a really cool, famous destination, this idea works well. We try to send each of the grandkids their own postcard, so they feel special.
Kids and adults love getting real mail. In this world of virtual, it’s nice to go the mailbox and find that someone took the time to mail you something other than bills!
To make this easier, I bought some postcard stamps to keep with me and I can just write something quick and put them in the mail without a lot of figuring out where the post office is!
Bryan thought of this one. A Facebook group, (not a Facebook page) just for your family is a great way to stay connected! You can keep it private (make that choice in the settings when you set it up) and only those you add to it can see what’s in it. We have done this before when planning a destination vacation for all of us to communicate but having a family one where everyone can share is great!
It’s easier than a travel blog. You can download the posts and pictures later and make a book out of it.
Keep in mind that children younger than 13 cannot have a Facebook page so your younger ones would have to see what you are up to on their parents' profile.
Connecting Through Photos
Anyone remember a big surge years ago of kids having their grandparents or family members take a picture of their heads or a flat Stanley with them and take pictures with it?
This is a take on that idea. Buy a very small stuffed animal that your grandchild loves and take it with you as you travel. Take pictures with it and send the photos back home or put them on your family Facebook page for the kids to see. You could also make a book out of all the photos of where their stuffed animal went to share with them.
Connecting with Tweens & Teens
I think it’s harder and harder to stay connected with this age group no matter whether you are traveling or not! But that doesn’t mean you can’t try! 😊
One idea is to buy your grandchildren a USA/Canada Map with pins or flags and every time you connect with them (phone or postcard) have them pin your location on their map. This is educational and a great connection point.
Use Zoom or your preferred video chat app to do a bible study or share a hobby with your tweens/teens. Hobbies like stamp or coin collecting can connect you, and these things can be shared on your calls.
Do an online game with them. My granddaughter who is 11 loves the game Trivia Crack. It’s a game on my phone (get it in the app store). She and I play against each other. Other games are video games like Fortnight – if you are so inclined can help you stay connected with them too. I want to research this a little more, and we’ll update you with some more ideas.
Whatever you do to stay connected with your family do it on purpose and with consistency. RV travel gives us the freedom to travel and see this great country and technology and a few ideas can bridge the relationship gap until we travel back to visit in person. Don't feel guilty about your family. Live your RV dream and become better people because of the travel. Your stories will make great connection points with your family but you can't share them if you don't live them!
We would love to hear more ideas on how you stay connected with people at home. Let us know if you try any of our ideas and how they worked for you in the comments below.