8X TIPS FOR A CAMPERVAN HOLIDAY WITH YOUR FAMILY
Campervan holidays are all about freedom. Your house on wheels, a full fridge, good music and gas in the tank is all you need for the next adventure. You can go wherever you want at any given time at any given moment. It’s liberating and makes this kind of travelling so appealing. However, there’s another aspect that often gets forgotten. Precious time together.
This type of travelling in a tiny house creates beautiful opportunities for families to (re)connect. You’re out on the road together, you share a small living space and outside, there’s enough adventure to please everyone. And all family members get to contribute, making it a unique and fun vacation. Here are 8 tips for the perfect campervan holiday with your family.
You can go wherever you like
The beautiful thing about travelling by campervan is that the road can take you anywhere. You’re not bound to a resort, hotel or Airbnb. You can explore whole areas, you can find things to do for each and everyone on board. This makes the preparation of the holiday more of a family affair. Every member gets to chip in. It’s fun to buy a map of the area you want to visit. Put it up and together plan your route. Maybe the kids want to see a theme park, mom and dad love old villages, everybody enjoys mountain bike riding in nature and so on. Every idea gets spiked on the map, and together you decide what your time on the road will be like. Doing the groundwork together enhances the joy.
Boss for a day
The participation in creating a great vacation doesn’t stop after the prep. No, every family member gets to be a boss for at least one day, where he or she decides what to do and what’s for dinner. As long as their choices are not too outrageous, this is the rule. But the kids don’t just get to dictate; they have to take the lead. On boss-day, they have to help with doing the groceries for their diner of choice and do a bit of cooking. You also teach them how to be in charge of the campfire. And they can choose their own bedtime etc. In other words, you playfully make them somewhat responsible for spending quality time together.
Sing your favourite road trip songs together
You can’t be on a road trip without some fantastic music. We all know that ‘Californication’-sensation of your favourite tunes kicking in while you’re driving through stunning scenery. That feeling of, whatever happens, it’s all good. And nothing beats singing out loud altogether. The great thing about music is that it is very personal. If you want to know more about someone, get to know their music. Therefore everybody in the family gets to be the DJ. It opens opportunities to level and to get a better understanding of one another. Plus, it’s nice to stimulate your kids to prepare their favourite music list before you leave home. Mental note: whatever kind of loudspeaker are you gonna bring? Bring one! Preferably waterproof 😉 We bought the UE waterproof boom box and take it everywhere. Check out these amazing road trip songs to get you going!
Campervan holidays entails outdoor living.
Teach your kid(s) about the outdoor lifestyle
Since there is only limited space in the campervan, you can’t bring tons of toys. What toy can’t the kids do without? Give them enough time during preparation to think of what they want to bring along. It’s another way of giving them some responsibility. We don’t say this from a sheer educational pov, but sharing a small living space means everybody has to pull their weight. Giving them the power of decision-making helps create a better atmosphere and might even tap into more self-confidence.
There might be some handy tools that you could bring along as ‘toys’ for everyone. Think of a small pocket knife to sharpen sticks, fire steel to make campfires, or other bush gear. Obviously, you don’t want them to hurt themselves, but this holiday type often creates perfect situations to teach them how to work these kinds of tools. Have a look at our favourite outdoor toys side called Boef en Aap or check out these unmissable travel gadgets for kids!
Learn to respect each others “me” time
In a campervan, you’re constantly on top of each other. Again, this is not a bad thing. It can actually be the catalyst to enhance relationships. But nobody is holy, and so now and then, we all need our space. ‘I’m not mad, just leave me alone and let me be’ and that should be fine. When we were travelling through South America, Kim and I would just go for a walk by ourselves if we needed some time to find our groove again. Ziggy was only three years old and wasn’t allowed to wander off by himself and discovered the importance of having a ‘me-time spot in the van. To have a place where he could do his thing and not be bothered by grown-ups. If you’re renting a Van, you can ask your kids to decorate their spot of choice creatively.
Nowadays many parents talk about their kids and the amount of screen-time. It’s the well-known addiction of gaming for hours on end, maintaining social media and wasting time on YouTube. It sucks you in. A campervan holiday could cause a welcome break from this behaviour. You’re constantly out and about and lose the urge to always check your phone. But we definitely suggest bringing iPads or a laptop, so the kids can watch a movie together. The youth on the big bed with popcorn and drinks make the inside of the campervan the perfect cinema setting. While the cocktail hour is enjoyed outside. An ideal moment for quality time for the grown-ups. If you don’t use Netflix or do not have wifi. Make sure to bring a hard drive with your favourite movies.
Set some house rules
We lived in our campervan for over a year and learned a lot about sharing a tiny living space. As mentioned before, Ziggy was only 3 years old when we left, so it felt logical that we decided what’s right or wrong. But it can be terribly frustrating for someone not to feel heard, though. Even if you’re only a toddler. At a certain point, we realised that we should live by boundaries that everybody agreed on. We ended up talking, explaining and discussing all sorts of daily house rules, and he had a lot to say. Even though lots of regulations stayed the same, he had an opportunity to speak up, which was enough. Discussing house rules can be more beneficial than you might think. One for all and all for one 😉
We highly suggest looking for challenging activities for the whole family. Maybe you can climb a mountain together, do some daring water rafting or a fast downhill on a mountain bike. Anything that gets the blood pumping and gives a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. Together you can conquer anything.
After all, family is a beautiful thing, and road trips like these can take it to the next level. Enjoy!
*Traveling is in this families blood. Last year they came back from South America and decided to stick to a nomadic lifestyle and then corona happened. In the meantime they’re exploring the Netherlands. You’ll find a new article on our website every month!