08 Oct 2015


Life on board
Organising a trip with children in a campervan.

A campervan is without a doubt the most comfortable and flexible way to travel with children of any age.
In fact, travelling in a campervan allows them to keep up most of their home habits, without too many exceptions. They can still have their games handy, a bed to stretch out on even in the middle of traffic, a toilet available when they need one, a kitchen with a fridge and their favourite foods, whether they are in London or Seville. There's even a shower to cool off when it gets hot.
Of course, even when super-equipped, when travelling with children in a campervan, never to be discounted are: boredom, tiredness, tantrums and crankiness are hidden dangers, ready to pop up and change the programme.
What to do?
Get organised is the answer.
With minimum planning and imagination, we can open our kids' eyes to a new world and, at the same time, enjoy a marvellous travelling experience which can excite the whole family.

Travelling in a campervan is a game - General Tests.
If we are planning a long trip in a campervan with a child for the first time, it's best to proceed in steps and start beforehand with a Sunday outing, then a whole weekend away from home, every so often checking out reactions and curiosity. That first time, the campervan will already seem to be a "destination" for him. It will seem like a big toy to explore, a special doll's house or a super-accessorised car. Before setting out, let's always offer information about where we're going and distances, calculating in a simple, intuitive manner to a child (for example: "the trip will last as long as your favourite TV cartoon show" or "it's like going to visit Gran and coming back", etc.)

Travelling in a campervan is a game - Order of the day in a campervan: involvement
Once you have chosen the holiday destination, if the children are old enough, let's get them involved from the outset when organising the trip, that way they too will be excited about leaving.
Let's show them pictures of the cities and places we'll be visiting, getting them interested and curious. Make them tell us what they would like to do or see once we get there and, even though the final decision will of course rest with the parents, we should try to let them have at least one or two of their wishes come true. If then the children are a bit autonomous, we can let them do a little research about where we're going. Their ability will surprise us.

Travelling by campervan is a game - What game are we playing?
It's easy to lose our patience when there's a child on board, or even more than one, who gets bored and throws tantrums. Let's not be taken by surprise: before leaving, let's dedicate time to organising ways to entertain and engage the children with on-the-spot games and pastimes.
A classic one for little children is a colouring book. We can buy one or opt for personalised solutions, printing out pictures we find online (for example: http://disney-colora.disney.it/).

Nursery rhymes, songs and word games are timeless: among word games the simplest and most effective is the alphabet game. All you need to do is say a word starting with A, for example, "auto". The next person has to repeat the word with A and add another starting with B, and so on. The game lasts a fairly long time and the kids will have a great time if every so often we mix it up by making a joke like: S, as in "stinky socks".
If our children like to sing, let's take advantage with a special campervan hit parade: just write their favourite song titles on bits of paper, put them in a bag and take out one title at a time. The one who can sing the whole song gets a small prize.

To break up the monotony of a long trip, we can also resort to the surprise grab bag, with little items to hand out during the trip. We can have candies, modelling clay, crayons, coloured paper, dolls, comics and everything imagination and common sense suggest, without necessarily resorting to costly, super-tech toys.
We can set rules ahead of time about when the kids get the surprises (after going through a big city, for example, or in 3 hours, etc.) and try to respect them.

Travelling by campervan is a game - Fewer expectations, more flexibility
Travelling in a campervan with children
can be a wonderful, fun experience, as long as we don't have too many expectations: so many places to visit, crowded stops, too many different languages can overstimulate and annoy children. So we have to provide them with their own space and activities just for them. If we aren't heading to the beach or somewhere they can play or enjoy sports, let's limit our daily activities to one or two.

And now, adults and kids, everyone aboard, let's go!
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