Caravanning is great fun for children. And when the kids are happy, everyone’s happy, right? So, whether you’ve just invested in your own caravan or are thinking about hiring one for a family holiday, here are a few tried-and-tested tips to help you enjoy a fun-filled stress-free break – without the wheels coming off.
Choose the right site
Whatever your chosen destination, consider the type of site that’s best for your whole family. For example, if you’re quiet and close-knit, a more secluded lake-side setting might be ideal. But if your kids have a lot of energy, or tend to thrive best around other children, a family-friendly site with a play park or pool could be perfect. After all, you want them to let off steam safely – rather than cause it to come out of your ears…
You might like to consider:
- How far do you want to travel?
- Does the site have a play park, swimming pool, craft centre, or kids’ club to help tire out the younger ones and keep them entertained?
- Does the site have a club house, café, pub, gym, or spa to help you grab a little me-time and recharge your batteries?
Remember, from a child’s point of view going anywhere in a caravan is different and exciting. You don’t need to venture far – or risk the whim of holiday traffic – for it to feel like a real adventure.
Bag the right toys
Another of the joys of a caravanning holiday is the chance to spend a lot more time outside. So don’t be tempted to pack too many toys and games. It’s a good idea to allocate a small bag for these items. Then, if it doesn’t fit in the bag, it doesn’t get to go in the caravan.
You might like to pack:
- Family-friendly board games
- Playing cards, dominoes, and jigsaws
- Toy cars and dolls/action figures
- Colouring books and pens
- A book or kindle for night-time stories
- A frisbee
You might also squeeze in:
- A pop up play tent and tunnel
- Fishing nets, buckets, and spades
You must make room for:
- Scrap books, stickers, scissors, and glue sticks
Children of all ages like to keep a daily record of their adventures, as well as the postcards, flowers, lolly sticks, and tickets they collect along the way. Scrapbooking is therefore the perfect end-of-day activity (and a great thing for them to do while you’re making the tea). Plus, it means they’ll have something to keep – and to take in and show their teacher.
Other packing essentials
While much ‘essential’ kit depends on the age of your children (e.g. baby lotion versus lip gloss) it’s always good to have certain items to hand.But some things everyone needs are:
- Sunscreen – look for one with built-in insect repellent for extra space-saving
- A well-stocked first aid kit – with the ever-present Calpol
- Snacks, snacks, and more snacks
Keep hunger pangs at bay
In the context (and confines) and a caravan, the last thing you need is a hungry child, fast approaching the hangry stage… To avoid a meltdown, try to have some snacks on hand. Fruit skewers, raw carrots, and ready-made flapjacks are all quick-and-healthy options – and a great way of off-setting all the fish & chips and ice-cream that tend to be ingredients of a Great British holiday. Cooking outside on a camping stove is also great fun for kids. And you don’t have to be Delia or Nigella to pull off a toasted marshmallow.
Be all-weather ready
As the saying goes, there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. Although quite what the right clothes are for a howling storm with horizontal rain and gale force winds is anyone’s guess… Still, nothing dampens the spirit like soggy socks. So don’t forget your wellies and waterproofs.
Remember, all clothes will get dirty, muddy, and/or sandy, so you might like to take a laundry bag to collect any items that reach the really-too-bad-to-wear-now stage. Then you can simply chuck it all in the wash on your return.
Have a family film night
While rain may stop play when it’s particularly bad, on the upside, it can also create a super-cosy environment for a family film night. If your caravan has a TV and DVD player, pack a couple of your favourite DVDs (adventure films and mysteries may suit the setting…). If your caravan doesn’t have the makings of a home cinema, you could always pack a tablet or laptop that can stream digital films (e.g. via Netflix).
Be clear on the rules from the get-go. If this is an ‘unplugged holiday’, make sure you keep control of the device(s) – no ifs, no buts…
Leave your worries behind
Many of us are attracted to caravanning because it’s a fantastic way to enjoy the best of all that Blighty has to offer – without going over budget. If you’re looking for a similarly good deal on protecting yourself from any unexpected mishaps, touring caravan insurance is a must.