You enjoy sleeping under the stars, building a fire with your own two hands, the adventure of travelling down a road with nothing but the dream of what you could find along the way. So naturally you want to share these cherished past times with your kids. And what better time to hit the open road than on the School holidays?
Unfortunately, this often means pulling your kids away from their screens long enough to load them into the car, only to hear ‘are we there yet?’ for the hundredth time a mere 20 minutes into the trip, resulting in the kind of stress that makes us need to get away in the first place!
After many unplanned bathrooms stops, bug bites and restless nights, we’ve compiled some tips and tricks to handle even the most challenging of rug rats, and to help make the most of any school holiday camping trip.
If you hit the road without thoroughly planning, chances are you’ll be stuck in the middle of nowhere with restless children and a loss of reason as to why you left home first place.
To avoid such headaches, we suggest thinking about the 5 W’s: Who, What, When, Where and Why when planning your next trip for the family.
Know your audience (Who)
Not everywhere you go will be a winner for everyone, but it’s important to pick your locations and activities based on the ages of the members on the trip. Camping and caravanning are a collective experience and everyone’s individual needs should be met.
One size will not fit all, so try to find a place that doesn’t isolate any one member of the trip. Some kids will need access to technology lest you incur a sleepless night or some sullen silent treatment.
We found the best away around this is to ask each person what they might want to see and factor that into the planning phase. If your kids are fussy eaters or require the additional bathroom break along the way, tailoring your trip to accommodate each member of the family will mean everyone has a better time in the end.
Some creature comforts from home might help ease your kids into the experience while encouraging them to reach for the greater opportunities surrounding them on the trip.
What you need to bring (What)
Every child is different and will throw their own unique brand of challenges your way no matter what you set out to do. Maybe your youngest has a special toy they need at all times, or your oldest can’t be away from their phone for longer than a day.
The point of this trip is to get them out of the house and into the wide world to experience all that nature has to offer. But sometimes having the extra battery pack for phone charging, or additional wet wipes when (not if) your youngest gets sick again along the road.
By planning your trip with the foreseeable future in mind, you will be able to mitigate the problems that will almost certainly arise along the way.
Our very first Tips for Trips – 29 top tips for a successful camping or caravanning get away – offers a handy checklist of what you should bring in order to best be prepared!
Location, location, location (Where)
To ensure the least amount of resistance from the kids, it’s best to pick a location that has a variety of activities available and ideally suited to all age groups.
A great place to start is finding a location with water, whether that’s near a beach or creek, the opportunity to jump in and cool down when it’s hot will provide endless hours of fun for kids of all ages. For younger kids, an opportunity to learn to swim and build confidence, and for older kids maybe a chance to learn some valuable skills such as driving a boat or different fishing techniques.
No matter where you go it’s always important to know the rules of the area ahead of time. Camping & Caravanning in Australian National Parks – What we can do to preserve the environment goes into great detail for things to be aware of when choosing and researching your location for your next camping or caravanning adventure.
Not a matter of time, but a matter of timing (When)
We’re not talking the week before or two weeks before – we’re talking about planning month’s in advance. This is especially important if you’re making bookings or planning to go camping during a busier time of the year like Christmas or Easter. Success is 90% Planning and 10% execution. The earlier you plan the more time you will have to address each of the above-mentioned factors, as well as put in any safeguards and backup plans that may need to be employed in the worst-case scenario.
Who will look after the pets when you’re gone? How long will it take to get to your destination? What if we need to make emergency contact with family members? All of these factors and more will compound your headache when trying to juggle them and find a last-minute solution.
Hot Tip: With Christmas fast approaching, now is a great time to put those wheels in motion!
Remember why you’re going (Why)
Perhaps the most important part of all is to remember why you’re there. Despite how much planning and preparation goes in, any number of things can still pop up unexpectedly and throw a bit of a spanner in the works. It’s important in these instances to take a step back and breathe it all in – After all, these experiences are what your family will hold onto and cherish for years to come. Enjoy each and every moment for what it is and we guarantee you’ll have a successful (albeit eventful) family getaway!