FOTR - Families on the RoadYosemite

Books on the Road

Most of us cannot live without our books. But how do you take them with you on the road?

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Can you check books out of libraries as you travel?

The general consensus is "most likely not". You may run into a library every now and then that will understand your situation and make arrangements for you but, don't count on it.

"My experience with libraries is that most will not let me check out books. In my parents town in CA their library wouldn't let me check out books at all. Very small towns in the mid west though, are very friendly and would let me check out books, however that was rare. I didn't have good luck in TX, either."

~Vicki "FuhKaui" (FOTR since 1999)

"We normally stay in one place for a couple months at a time and we have library memberships all over the country. A lot of libraries belong to an association that honors cards from other libraries. Or if you use a local address you can get a card. Or if you are non-resident you might have to pay a fee to join - $10 or something."

~Lydia (FOTR since 2003)

How much space should we allot for books?

"I keep one cabinet for my curriculum guides & notebook paper, etc. I have one other area for our reference books. Then, we have one other area where we keep our current planned reading selections over the upcoming months. Once books are read, we will rotate those & bring new ones into the RV. Leave enough space for library books, etc"


Recycle Books. Find used books for sale at libraries. When you are done reading them - recycle them. Leave them at laundromats and campgrounds for others to enjoy.

"We have been on the road for just over a month now and I already regret the amount of books we have taken. Much of these are not just curl up and read books, but also reference books, etc. Sigh. Won't part with them though. One thing we brought that we have not regretted is our Nature Notebooks and our plant/bug/bird identification books! We pull these out and draw what we see, add color or poetry (or not!) and it will be a neat remembrance of our travels, plus a fun way to do science."


Book Swap

One alternative to hauling your personal library across the country is to swap books at library book sales and laundromats. You might find some at campgrounds as well - but chances are slim they'll appeal to your kids.

You may also try which is touted as being the world's biggest free book club.

Or here is a great web site to aid you in your quest for books Paperback Swap.

"Our family consists of three voracious readers. We can each spend hours in a comfy chair at Barnes and Noble or Borders with a cup of tea and book. The atmosphere there is friendly, warm and welcoming.

We have also managed to squirrel away about 200 books in various nooks and crannies - even when we toured in a van we managed to find room for the books. We try to employ the swapping rule and donate a book for every one that we adopt."

~ Kimberly (FOTR since 1992)

Reading on the Road at Road Trip America written by the Goza Family

Bookstores offer comfy chairs perfect for snuggling up and reading.

"Sure we have books, and yeah at times too many so don't take my words to the extreme. We found we don't need as many books. Especially at the age of 6 and 8. As we drove around the country, my wife would read Joy Hakim's US History series, I would talk science and technology about things we see and do. The kids always liked a good story book, fiction or non-fiction, as well. Like the day my wife finished reading Tom Sawyer literally as we pulled into Hannibal, Missouri, or reading Paul Revere just before Boston, etc.

As the kids got older we picked up entry level collage refresher books for English and math. They have all the basics. We think the grade by grade textbooks are very repetitive. Get the old grade books and then pull stuff out of them.

There's also several very important subjects that are not even taught in the public school system that are important for kids. Self awareness, financial investment, group dynamics, and more and more lately music and shop skills."

~Ed Nodland