The North Carolina family has begun “roadschooling” due to the new flexibility COVID-19 has given them. Four kids in a van, camping and home exchanging across the United States and doing their math homework in the backseat— embarking on this adventure was a no-brainer for this family.
“We had the freedom to do this trip because of COVID because we have less going on than usual,” Melody explained. “When are we going to have this opportunity to have so much family time while our kids are still young?”
Their four children are in grades 4-9 and have been learning more than ever this fall, albeit in a non-traditional setting. They drove for around 8 hours a day, giving the kids time to read and study math and Spanish. Though there was assigned work, the family was flexible along the way, taking advantage of things as they came up naturally on the road trip.
“We did biology with animals we saw, geology with rock formations and mountains we encountered, studied the plants out west, the hot springs and thermal activity,” Matthew said. On top of that, the kids learned outdoor and basic survival skills, and even had car mechanics lessons when their van had some issues during the journey.
During their roadschooling adventure, the family explored nine US National Parks: Badlands, Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, and Rocky Mountain National Park.
The family spent 2.5 weeks of their trip staying in home exchanges, and the rest was spent tenting. Everyone looked forward to arriving at their next home exchange where they could enjoy a fully-equipped kitchen, a washing machine, and a hot shower.
“We really looked forward to the home exchanges with that many days on the road,” Melody said. “It was so nice to have the comfort of having our own space.” The kids used the homes’ pool table and board games, enjoying a break from the outdoors, and “having a hot shower instead of bathing in a cold river,” Melody said. The home exchanges were in Whitefish, Montana, Washington, Utah, and Tabernash, Colorado.
Melody and Matthew’s family are big mountain bikers, so they made sure their home exchanges were close to world-famous mountain bike trails. Being outside was a highlight of the trip for everyone: mountain biking in every state, axe throwing, swimming, climbing, and hiking on unpopulated trails. Since they spent so much time outside, the global pandemic didn’t impact their plans too much.
“The trip was planned to not focus on metro areas, and we spent ta lot of time in unpopulated areas by design,” Melody said. They camped in National Forests and had home exchanges all to themselves, so they didn’t see many other people during the trip.
“We loved the flexibility of home exchanging on our trip,” Matthew explained. “We were able to do short-notice exchanges, the locations were great, and working with the hosts was pretty seamless.”
Melody agreed, adding that HomeExchange’s GuestPoint system increases the flexibility of planning an extended trip. “Home exchanging just makes so much sense— it’s a bartering system,” she said. “A lot of people don’t travel because they feel like they don’t have the money, but with HomeExchange you can totally make it work.”
HomeExchange is the world leader in home exchange vacations. With over 450,000 homes in 187 countries, discover an affordable, authentic and safe way to travel the world. Our COVID-19 guarantees, flexible cancellation policy, and private homes all to yourself ensure it's a safe way to vacation during a global pandemic. See for yourself— it's free to sign up and start looking for your first exchange!