First, a few quick questions:
Do you have children between the ages of 6 and 16?
Have you been travelling with your kids before?
Are you keen to create lifelong family holiday memories?
If you answered yes to any of the above, a family motorhome holiday may be on the cards! But before you go driving off into the sunset, there are a few things you might want to consider in order to get most out of the trip. Motorhome holidaying is quite unlike any other kind of camping or vacationing, so making sure that you have an amazing experience as a family will take a little bit of forward planning. To give you a headstart, we take a look at some of the most important things you need to know when planning this kind of family vacation.
This is especially relevant if you’ve never taken your kids on a motorhome holiday before. When you start planning your route it’s easy to get a bit carried away. After all, there’s a whole wide world out there waiting for you and a motorhome gives you immense freedom to explore. To preserve family harmony however, it’s probably a good idea to start out small. Combining transport and accommodation into one handy package means that a motorhome offers unparalleled versatility, but it also means that everyone will all be sharing the same space for the duration of the trip. Beginners should consider starting out with a trip lasting around 3 or 4 days. If everyone has a great time, by all means plan something more ambitious next time.
I cannot stress this one enough. When selecting your motorhome rental, make sure it’s big enough for the whole family. You’ll want to err on the larger side here - even if you’re trying to save a couple dollars, it’s best saved elsewhere because any investment that goes into renting a decently sized motorhome will pay off handsomely a day or two into your trip. Living and travelling in a cramped environment is no fun for kids and it certainly won’t be fun for you, but if you give yourselves just a little bit more space it’s going to make a massive difference. If you’ve got two or more kids along for the ride, I’d recommend a 6-berth model. This will give everyone the breathing room that they need.
Or at least, they can be. Most children get bored pretty easily with nothing to do but if they feel like they’re involved in the journey they’ll be much more likely to stay happy. Some of this comes down to pre-planning - the more input kids have into the trip itself, the more engaged they’ll be with the journey. Obviously you’ll still be calling the shots, but things like researching their destination and having a say in which attractions you visit along the way can go a long way toward reducing the number of times you hear “Are we there yet??”. This is especially good for older children who are generally adept at combing Google for relevant information. Who knows - they might even discover some amazing highlights along the way that you would have missed. Getting your kids involved can also take a more practical form: if everyone picks one task that will keep the holiday running smoothly (doing the dishes, fueling up, sweeping/vacuuming, etc.) not only will it give children the chance to take responsibility for the trip, but it also means you’ll have less chores to do!
Even the most ‘perfect’ families have the occasional spat but having a good plan to deal with conflict if it crops up can really take the sting out of contentious situations. Deciding ahead of time on a few ‘rules of the motorhome’ detailing how issues will be solved won’t necessarily guarantee perfect familial harmony however it can certainly make problems a lot easier to deal with. Why is this important for motorhome holidaymakers in particular? The fact is you’ll all be living and travelling in close proximity for several days at least, so paving the way for quick conflict resolution can make a huge difference to how enjoyable your holiday ends up being.
Yes, this is an obvious one, but if you overlook it things are probably not going to go well for you. Fortunately we live in a time when fun, portable entertainment has never been easier to obtain. iPads or other tablet PCs are a popular choice for many as they can contain games, movies and even books. Portable DVD players are also a decent option, while some kids will content themselves with a smartphone or a good old fashioned paperback. When it comes to fun for the whole family, card games are an attractive choice - a pack of cards is light and compact, and there’s no need to worry about fiddly little pieces going missing.
Most importantly, remember to take everything in your stride, no matter what happens along the way. If you’ve got a positive outlook about the road ahead, your kids are much more likely to as well. Plus, this is a motorhome holiday: thanks to the flexibility that a motorhome gives you, unexpected occurrences become gateways to new adventures for those willing to embrace the magic of the open road.
Do you have any tips for travelling families out there? Tell us in the comments below.
If you are in lack of inspiration for your next family road trip, you can have a look at our suggested itineraries. Otherwise, Sweden, France, Germany and Canada are often refered to as some of the most family friendly countries, so maybe you should plan your next holidays in one of those countries.