Taking the whole family on a motorhome holiday sounds like a great way to both save money and spend more time together - and it really is. But there are just a few things you should take into account to save you a load of hassle when bringing the kids along for the ride.
I know that planning an epic journey across the country sounds amazing - oh the sights you’ll see, the memories you’ll create! But children don’t always have the same attention span that we do, and there’s the distinct possibility that you’ll bite off more than they can chew. Before setting out on your pan-national odyssey, maybe try a long weekend trip to get your kids used to the idea of living and traveling together in one space. If they have a great time, then move on to something a bit more ambitious next vacation!
This one starts before you even set out. Take a look at both your destinations and the route to get there for cool trivia and points of interest. If your kids are old enough, get them to do the research themselves. That way they’ll be less likely to see time spent on the road as an interminable boredom prison and be more inclined to get excited about the highlights along the way. There’s nothing deadlier to a family vacation than boredom, so nip it in the bud.
Speaking of boredom busters... This may seem obvious, but if you don’t bring along some tangible thing (preferably several) to keep your kids occupied, things are not going to go well for you. Portable DVD players are fantastic if you own one, otherwise you can substitute a laptop. Try to avoid games with lots of little pieces as these can easily get lost, hidden from discovery until one day you feel an excruciating pain in your foot. I’m looking at you, Lego. If they’re avid readers, books are the perfect way to keep them occupied for long stretches - just have a care, as reading while on the road can sometimes lead to car sickness.
Given that you’ll all be traveling and sleeping in the same place, it will pay to get out of your motorhome whenever you can to take in some fresh air and ward off the cabin fever. Even if you have a table in the motorhome, consider eating outside when it’s convenient. You’ll also need to take more rest stops than you usually would - this isn’t a bad thing; getting out and stretching your legs in between driving stints will leave you refreshed and in a much clearer mindframe than if you decided to just power through to your destination. Phil, the General Manager of Motorhome Republic, recently went on a road trip with his young son, and came back saying, “Break up the journey more than you would usually. Sometimes it’s easy just to try to bite off too much in one leg, however kids are pretty unforgiving in this regard.”
This won’t always be possible, but it’s nice to take into account when you can. If you’re camping in a national park for instance, facilities will be pretty basic most of the time, but that’s why you’re there - to get out in the midst of nature. But if the journey is a little less wilderness oriented, there are plenty of campgrounds and holiday parks that cater to young ones. Playgrounds, pools, games rooms… pretty much every campsite has a website these days, so check to see if your kids will have enough to do there. They’ll have fun, and you might even get a few minutes of peace and quiet. Win, win!
Whether you’re a veteran of the motorhome family holiday, or you’ve tried it just once and learned some valuable lessons along the way, let us know what you’ve discovered in the comments below!
In case you want to start with a small trip, weekend getaways are a good idea. If you are based in Australia, the Blue Mountains offer beautiful landscapes just a few hours drive away from Sydney. If you live in Auckland, New Zealand, the Coromandel has been a family-favorite destination for a long time! If you are calling the USA your home, there are plenty of options including the area surrounding San Francisco. For more holiday ideas, take a look at our suggested itineraries.