Traveling in a caravan with children, what could go wrong right? I have a few tips to share that may help your family adjust to van life.
- Little Kids – Routine worked for us. If you have a routine at home, try to stick to that routine in the van too, especially initially. It’s reassuring for little kids to have things happening in the same order/time whilst their home and toys have disappeared out of their lives.
- Start travel slowly – I know everyone’s excited and you want to go go go and see everything, but start off with just half days out and less than 2 hours in the car at a time. If you go too hard too soon the kids will burn out and no body will be having fun. Over time everyone’s stamina for sightseeing will get better and you can spend longer out exploring.
- Expect a transition period – The settling in can take a few weeks to 6 months. For us it’s about 4 weeks for the kids to settle into van life and everyone to find their groove. If your family isn’t used to being with each other 24/7 it will take some time to get used to that, be patient and pick your battles.
- Have a test run, if you can, have a week away in your van in your home town, see what works, and what doesn’t, have you got too much stuff? Forget something? Being close to home will make it easier to sort out your final packing, fix any issues in a familiar area.
- Toys – This is a tough one, what to bring in the toy department? It will depend on the age of your kids but we’ve found these items good.
Baby & Toddler: Little cars, tiny trains, playdoh, shape sorter, bucket, spade, digger truck & tipper truck, ride on trike WITH trailer, the trailer has been the best fun. Books for bed time.
Young Kids: Bike & helmet, Lego, kite, Frisbee, bucket & spade, body board, walkie talkies, barbie, dolphin toy for pool, goggles, movies for the car, board games, UNO.
- Pack light – Try to pack so everything has a place, if you are constantly moving things out of the way; you will feel cluttered and stressed, this is especially important for road side stops, it’s ideal if you can walk straight into the van to change a baby, make lunch and the driver to lay down without tripping over a kayak, scooter and blow up giraffe.
- Getting around – When both our kids were under 3 we had a baby carrier and double pram. Now they are older we found giving them their own backpack for the day out really good, they have their own snacks and water they can carry and we don’t feel like a packhorse.