I won’t lie, we all know that travelling with kids can be stressful. Those journeys when you are stuck on the motorway with no end in sight, and your mini me shouts from the back that they are desperate for the toilet… (like – they can’t wait a moment longer..) or your little baby decides that it is this moment that they would like their next feed… right now..right here. Those journeys when you leave the house all set for a five hour journey, and within five minutes the famous “are we nearly there yet??” sounds out from the back of the vehicle. Yes.. these moments can be very memorable, and all for the wrong reasons. We know that it is difficult to avoid the unforeseen. But having spent quite some time travelling in our Camper Otis, I thought I would share our tips to try to make travelling with little ones more enjoyable.
People often ask how our kiddies seem to travel so well. I think it is a combination of travelling with them from a very early age, and my newfound love of planning… planning and more planning. (and for those of you who may know me – this is a new concept for me…always preferring ‘last minute.com’).
Since having our eldest M, we seemed to have learned along the way and I wanted to share with you my tips that we have picked up over the years that just kind of ‘work’ for us …
- Plan -You got it – this it my number 1 rule when travelling with kids. We cover a lot of miles in the camper van, and enjoy staying in one area for a couple of days before moving on to the next destination. We now have the ‘3 hour rule’ in the car – no more than three hours travel on the road in one go. It works for us. If the road trip is expected to last longer than three hours I do try to plan a stop over. We also try to research before we go, and make sure that there are no unexpected surprises to our journey that we could avoid such as closed sections of the motorways etc.
- Pack healthy snacks. I always try to ensure the kiddies have healthy snacks available to keep hunger at bay. I usually pack fruit chopped up in snack pots, healthy crisps, raisins, or dried cereal in snack pots, and a bottle of water or milk.
- Activities. The children both take a little rucksack or trunki with a few things to do in, story books, crayons and colouring, and the family iPad always works a treat. We also purchased a car organiser last year and found this helpful to keep all the important items within easy reach, We are lucky to have a DVD player in the camper van and movies are great – Mary Poppins on repeat always helps to pass the time 🙂 My eldest also loves the classic games such as “I spy” to keep her entertained. There are also loads of fun ideas and free printable games available on the net such as noughts and crosses and word searches. We print out colouring pages of favourite characters to take along with us to keep the little ones entertained during the journey and during meal times on holiday.
- Comfortable clothes. Why do children love to travel in their PJs?? I am afraid to say I am that mother in the service station that is followed by little mini me’s running around in their onesies at 1 pm in the afternoon. I am also that mother with kids running round the airport in pjs. I find getting up and setting off early can sometimes mean scooping the children out of their beds and piling them into the camper van to hit the road super early and beat the commuter traffic. We often choose early morning flights as I find the kids are always fresh and in good spirits so find myself scooping them out of bed at an unearthly hour to get to the airport. Our girls do love travelling in their pjs and we get to hit the road with no stress.
- Journey times. Sounds obvious but I do find planning a journey around the time of my youngest baby’s nap times makes for stress free travel. From past experience night time travelling is not for us – irritable, tired kiddies makes for a stressful journey. Planning around naps and feeds means we can get a good run before havin to stop.
- Careful packing. Since having the camper van and having limited space I have learned to pack carefully and thoughtfully. I try to pack a small overnight bag with the clothes and toiletries that we will need on our first night, such as nappies, wipes, PJ,s toothbrushes, phone chargers, torch, comforters, milk bottles/beakers etc. This saves time trying to find everything when we get to our destination….. particularly if we have been delayed or have arrive late.
Even after all the planning we know that travelling can still end up stressful when kids are involved and you’re stuck on the motorway desperate for a wee… but these little tips we have picked up along the way have definitely reduced my stress levels. I would love to hear of any more helpful tips that you have picked up along the way.
Enjoy your adventures!
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Photographs copyright – Otis and Us