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There’s nothing better than the wild adventure of caravanning holidays. For tips on how to survive a holiday on wheels, haven went straight to the experts – blogger and perpetually travelling mum, Adele, of Caravanning with Kids.

caravan02Most of my earliest family holiday memories revolve around a pop-top Jayco caravan and one of the many Jeeps that my family have owned over the years. Yellowing photos in mum’s photo album show my brother and I in daggy swimming togs building the most extravagant sandcastles on Stradbroke Island – always with the Jayco off in the background of the shot. Through six-year-old eyes, I used to think it was a piece of engineering mastery. From a cute little square metal package to Dad’s Canvas Castle in less than 15 minutes. I vividly remember mum and her dustpan, sweeping sand off the Jayco floor about 400 times per day. I remember pumping the kitchen tap for water and the whine-chugg noise it made. I remember the tiny fridge that was packed like a 3D Tetris game. I remember our dark green family hammock and playing card games by lantern light. I remember mum’s damper and dad’s makeshift toilet ‘throne’ (and I also remember holding on and holding on and holding on until I couldn’t hold on any longer – for fear of falling in ‘The Hole’).

caravan01Caravan camping holidays provide the most wholesome family fun – a real connection with the environment and a real connection with your fellow family members. haven spoke with Adele from Caravanning with Kids about all things holidays on wheels. Adele and husband Wayne were professionals in their very busy careers until the day they realised they needed more depth to their family’s life. They bought a caravan and never looked back. Adele describes her van as a “little slice of escapism” and her family (including daughters Ashlee and Kate) are currently on a blissfully dusty Red Centre getaway in it.

Here are Adele’s Top 8 tips for surviving a caravan holiday:

  1. Find what works for you: Caravanning with kids is an adventure, with every trip being different. If your kids are anything like ours, their moods, likes and attitudes can often change from day to day. You will find what works best for your family as you go along.
  2. Responsibility: Many kids respond well to having responsibilities, from passing dad the tent pegs, to attaching the hose, setting up the camping chairs or helping with preparing lunch. Arriving at a camp site or caravan park is so exciting for kids (and grown ups), so the sooner you are set up, the quicker you can all enjoy where you are. Giving our girls little jobs with set up has worked a treat. They know exactly what needs to be done, they get involved, feel responsible and enjoy the sense of achievement after set up is complete.
  3. Variety: Mix it up! Even in the most amazing places, kids can get bored. Try and mix up your day’s activities so they are not doing the same thing over and over again eg. “Not another gorge, mum!” *giggle
  4. Less equals more: We remember our first few holidays when we would pack more toys and “what if” items than anything else and then came home to realise that we did not need most of what we took. We tested our theory of ‘less equals more’ by packing only the bare essentials and were surprised and elated by the results. Our girls explored, collected leaves, made up shows, investigated, sang, danced, met the other van owners and it has been such a joy to watch.
  5. Down time: Huge days of adventure can equal very tired and cranky little ones. Chill out or down time can help. Reading a book, cuddles by the river or a nana nap can make the world of difference.
  6. Balance: This is a no brainer, but we have made this boo boo a few times.  Full days chock-a-block full of activities usually end in overtired, feral kids. Create some balance. Do some physical adventures in the morning, followed by a relaxing picnic and down time.
  7. Relax and laugh: Caravanning with kids throws up many challenges. Being on the road with the kids 24/7 will have its moments but it will also create some amazing memories that will stay with your children for the rest of their lives. Remember to relax – and laugh!
  8. Journal: Our Family Travel Journal was created after years of journaling our adventures with our girls, creating story books that we enjoy over and over again. At the end of the day, as a family, we record what we did during the day. Recording your travels will create a keepsake that will be cherished for many years to come.

Visit www.caravanningwithkids.com.au

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To get your hands on one of these very clever Family Travel Journals, CLICK HERE.

Belinda Glindemann

Belinda Glindemann  

Belinda knew she was destined for a career in communications and publishing from the age of 11 when her Year 6 teacher introduced her to poster projects and glitter pens. She completed her journalism cadetship in the Whitsundays and went on to hold various newspaper and magazine editor roles across Brisbane in a media career spanning more than a decade. When Belinda's not writing for haven, she runs her own PR agency, kid-wrangles two young daughters and drinks way too much sweet tea.