Plan a happy family holiday
Want to take your children on a tour of Australia? Read these top tips on how to manage your family and keep everyone happy on the road.
During our two-year trip around Oz with our three young kids we met lots of couple, young and old, who asked us how on earth we made it work with little people in tow. Most couples put camping with kids in the too-hard-box, which is a real shame.
So how can you make it work? Here’s some advice for touring with children.
1. Choose the right RV
Make sure it’s going to work for your family. For us, it meant buying a basic off-road camper trailer with plenty of storage space. We opted for a four wheel drive with a roof rack in order to increase our storage capacity. We bought large pieces of shade cloth to use as a floor for our large awning to create an area for our kids to play in during wet weather and to keep little critters away. It also meant we had a ‘safe’ space for the baby, especially when she started crawling.
For others, it means purchasing a family van which requires little set-up and comes with all the comforts of home. Just keep in mind you’ll need a strong and reliable towing vehicle, so do your homework well. Also consider the places you want to visit. If you prefer to stay away from the bitumen, you’ll have to get an off-road van, which is more expensive and heavier to tow.
A motorhome is another option but these tend to be more suitable for families with one or two kids as space is limited and the living area soon becomes cramped.
2. Make a travel plan
Depending on the age of your kids you’ll have to plan accordingly. Our kids were three, two and three months old at the time so we had to break up the driving to give the kids a chance to run around and use up their energy. We limited our driving to the mornings in order to have plenty of time to set up. Sometimes this isn’t possible, particularly when you’re travelling through remote areas but the extra-long drives should be the exception, not the rule.
3. Be realistic
Length of stay is a consideration, especially with younger kids. We started off staying in places for two nights but we found this didn’t give us enough time to sit down and relax or play with the kids. We increased our minimum stay to three nights and everyone enjoyed the trip a lot more.
You’ll have to adjust your expectations according to the age and number of kids. For some people it is the goal to see as many places in a year, or whatever length of time you’re away, as you possibly can. Our goal was to spend more time together as a family and seeing beautiful places in the process. Don’t make the mistake of cramming too many destinations into your itinerary – you might come home exhausted and find you need a holiday to recover.
Going on trips with your kids is a great way to create unforgettable memories which you can talk about long after you’ve come home. It involves a bit of hard work but your kids will enjoy every minute – I promise.