Traveling as a family of 7 might sound chaotic, but Preethi Harbuck of Local Passport Family says their journey across the country and back in a Class C RV was enjoyable and exciting for everyone.
In fact, Preethi explains, RVing as a means of travel has enriched their family adventures. It has made their travels more flexible to change while bringing everyone closer together.
Preethi joined the Camping World team to explain how her family safely and happily traversed 15,000 miles across the country.
The Harbucks journey began in the midst of the pandemic during the summer of 2020. Wanting to visit their parents on the east coast, the Harbuck’s dreamt up the idea to RV their way there. Based on her research, Preethi said, “RVing was the safest way to be able to do that.”
In less than a month, the family had found, purchased, and moved into a Class C RV, without having any previous RV experience.
“We really kind of jumped into it within a few weeks,” she said. The following four months was a Summer of adventure and serendipitous detours. Now, back home in California, the family slips seamlessly into RV life for weekend jaunts up and down the Pacific coast. “I really have surprised no one more than myself with how much I have actually come to love RVing.”
Overcoming First-Timer Nerves
“We waffled a lot. We felt really intimidated by it,” said Preethi of understanding how an RV worked. But, the practice of setting up and breaking down soon became second nature and a fun experience not just for the kids but the entire family.
“It’s not as hard as I thought it was going to be,” said Preethi.
As the nerves abated Preethi confessed that the learning experience has brought the family closer together. Though Preethi fought nerves and intimidation at first, she wishes she knew how approachable the actual logistics of operating the RV were. “Boondocking is a really great option,” said Preethi, referring to traveling families on a budget. The Harbucks quickly learned that you didn’t need to fill up or dump as often as they thought, making boondocking an affordable way to stay on public lands for free.
Buying the RV, rather than renting, proved to be the wisest and most economical choice. “We have it, we own it,” said Preethi, so their travels are reduced to the cost of gas and occasional campground stays.
“Honestly, when we started doing the math,” Preethi’s husband, Daniel, said, “it was a no brainer to own instead of rent.”
7 People in a Class C RV
The decision to RV in a Class C motorhome was one of necessity. Though their 2007 minivan was an excellent family vehicle, it wasn’t prepared to haul a family sized trailer across the country.
Furthermore, Preethi said, “We needed a vehicle that could actually house and sleep all of us.” With 4 young kids and an infant, the RV needed to accommodate car seats. After consulting the experts, Preethi learned how to buckle car seats to the RV’s metal frame using the lap belts, making transit safe and comfortable for the whole family.
Camping with Kids
Preethi says the kids were “over the moon excited,” about the RVing experience. Her 8 and 10-year-old kids loved cozying up in the bunk above the cab. With each stop, the family rallied together, setting up and breaking down the beds. With the outdoors right at their doorstep, the family enjoyed jumping out of the RV and exploring each day.
RVing as a Family
“Absolutely the RV has brought us closer together,” Preethi said when asked about traveling in close quarters with the whole family–“you’re not just staying in your RV the whole time.” Rather, the RV has pushed the family to adventure together outside, connecting through shared experiences and discoveries.
“It’s a way for us to spend more time outdoors together.”
With a family of 7, the chaos of packing and re-packing on trips is enough to squash the serenity of any vacation ‘Did everybody remember everything?!’ is a phrase we’ve all heard our mothers ask before hotel checkout. Without fail, someone always leaves their toothbrush behind.
But in an RV, everyone’s items have a place–no daily unpacking required. Preethi says RVing “gives us the gift of time back as well.”
Making Lasting Memories
The Harbuck’s cross-country adventure left no stone unturned. With the flexibility to extend or shorten their itinerary, they wound their way across the country stopping at landmarks like:
- Cuyahoga valley
- Indiana Sand Dunes
- St. Louis
- Big Bend National Park
- White Sands National Monument
- Grand Tetons
Watch the full interview with Preethi from the Ultimate RV Show below.
Learn more about intrepid RVers like Preethi and her family by exploring Camping World’s partner interviews.
Kelsey’s first career as a performing artist had her traveling the world. Eager to keep traveling, she hit the road to see the USA in a 69’ Airstream Overlander. Today you can find her writing about travel, design, and good food. When she’s not planning her next trip, she’s sipping on local beer and petting other people’s dogs.