After a fabulous family adventure three years ago where we travelled Australia in a campervan for six months, the travel juices are yet again flowing! I am longing for a three- to six-month sojourn in Tuscany with hubbie and two kids. We are aiming to do a house swap in 2010. This all seems very romantic and I really hope it is achievable, as our girls are very excited at the prospect of attending an Italian school and living in a Tuscan villa. Of course, they’d also like a trip to Disneyland on the way home.
For our children the feeling of freedom that comes with travel is a very real experience. They’ve lived six months on the road with no ties, nothing to hurry to and loads of time with mum and dad. I believe it has set them up for a life of adventure; they are relaxed about going to new places, just jumping in the car for a drive. Our trip around Australia was an amazing experince on many levels and we encourage other young families to take off and live their dreams.
Top six tips on travelling with kids
1. Give children their own travel pack complete with map of where you are going, highlighter pens to follow the route, a place to stash all their brochures and collections as they go (our eldest collected red dirt from every stop and placed it in snap lock bags. These are precious. She labelled them in her six-year-old writing with mis-spellings. We will treasure them forever).
2. Pack your lunch and snacks every morning before you take off. It adds time to the pack up in the morning, but it lets you stay on the road for longer because you are not spending a fortune eating at roadhouses.
3. Create a routine so the kids know what to expect (it even helps the adults). The kids had their own chores to do in the pack up and set up. They love contributing.
4. Think of creative games you can play and try and invent a new game on your trip. This game, when played after the trip, will always bring back memories of life on the road. One we used was A to Z. Name a town/s beginning with each letter of the alphabet. This can go on for at least half an hour and even the really young kids can be helped to contribute by giving them clues of what you did in that town.
5. Carry a swimming bag in the car. This allows you to stop for an impromptu swim at a beach or a local swimming pool if you need to break up the day. It means bathers are always on hand when you are doing a day trip as well.
6. Have fun! This is a very special time to share with your family. Don’t let things stress you out or the kids will get super stressed as well.
Check out this link for photos.