Planning a Campervan Trip with Kids – Tyson Wheatley

by | Aug 25, 2017 | Escapades, How To, Renter Stories

How do you plan a campervan trip with kids? Will we have enough room? What if we’ve never camped before?

Tyson Wheatley (@twheat) is a strategist, director, and photographer. He worked at CNN and as Communications Manager at Instagram, and has more than 600K followers on the app. On top of all that, he recently took his three adorable children on an epic summer road trip in an Escape Campervan (his second trip with us to date). We caught up with him to hear more about their experience.

Where are you from?

I’m a military brat – spent my entire childhood in living on US Air Forces bases throughout Europe. I went to school in the Midwest, spent some time working in Hong Kong and San Francisco before moving to Queens, New York City. That’s where I call home now.

How did you first hear about Escape Campervans?

Just searching the Internet. I was researching alternatives to an RV for a long family road trip. I kept coming back to this idea that a campervan would give us more freedom to explore.

Who joined you on your trip? What campervan did you have?

My three kids, Kaya, 14. Jacinda, 12, and Huck, 9. We picked up Foil in NY and drove 6K miles to our final destination – Seattle.

grand teton national park campervan sunset

How did you plan out your trip route and all the stops?

Mainly I used Google Maps. I pin-dropped Seattle as well as certain destinations that I knew we wanted to hit on certain days and just worked backward from there. For the most part, I tried to keep the itinerary loose in case we wanted to make an unplanned stop.

Since this was your second year in a row taking out an Escape campervan, what would you say are your top 3 tips on how to make the most of it?

Don’t spend much time worrying about where you are going to sleep – these vans give you the freedom of stretching your dollar and shacking up just about anywhere – and the beds are easy to make, even when it’s dark. Two times we slept in a WalMart parking lot for free (also they have clean restrooms)

But….

Every three or four days splurge on a hotel with a pool, HBO and get everyone clean.

united states campervan trip with kids

For the parents out there planning campervan trips with their kids, what advice do you have?

A trip like this requires a few days of really long drives. I tried to break those up as best I could and planned some days with no driving at all so the kids could run around and wear themselves out.

Finding good nutrition on the road can be a challenge – and also expensive. We made good use of the fridge in the back – stopping at grocery stores along the way to pick up fresh fruit and stuff for sandwiches. A grilled cheese sandwich and apple will make you feel a lot better than a road burger and fries every time.

The table in the van is a great place for games, cards, and reading so pack lots of activities to keep the kids entertained during long drives.

Most importantly, everyone goes to the bathroom when you stop!

cross country campervan road trip

Any good resources or local spots you want to share?

I never realized just how much public land the bureau of land management has made available for camping. Recreation.gov is a great resource and makes finding a place to camp super easy.

Tell us about some of your highlights.

Bowman Lake, Glacier NP. Unbelievably beautiful and tranquil. A great place for the kids to stretch their legs, swim and unwind in a serene setting.

Enchanted Forest, British Columbia. This wasn’t a planned stop, we saw the road sign and made a slight detour. It was kitschy and goofy and basically a tourist trap but we had the place to ourselves and laughed the whole time.

Craters of The Moon National Monument, Idaho. Wow. This lesser known park is in the middle of nowhere but it’s worth it. Lava tubes, cool mounds to run up, and rare rock formations to explore. Also a great campground and nearby town Arco has a charming restaurant called Pickle’s Place.

family campervan cross country road trip with kids

What do you like about campervans vs. other forms of travel?

I’m not much of an outdoors guy. Even if I was, I don’t have room in my tiny NY apartment to store camping gear – so the Escape Campervan is the perfect solution for someone like me who wants the freedom of a camping road trip without having to do all the work!

Where would you like go on your next campervan trip?

Well, we’ve done the west and we’ve done the northern part of the US so I suppose the next logical step would be to see the South. But I’m really not sure yet –  maybe someplace more exotic – like New Zealand.

You can learn more about Tyson’s trip on the Tinker Street blog and on the Tinker Podcast he hosts, here.

Have you done a campervan trip with kids before? We want to hear about your experience! Contact us here.

In Case You Missed It

We gave Tyson the “keys” to both his campvervan, and our Instagram account! Click the slideshow below to scroll through photos of his trip.