Heading out fromEnter the location

Van Life with children

Van Life with children
Stephen Hockley
3 minutes of reading

If you’re embarking on a long journey with your little ones for the first time, you want to be as prepared as possible... the last thing you want is to set off only to realise you forgot something important! So, what should you take with you, and what should you leave at home? We’ve summarised all of the most important things here, but if you have your own suggestions and tips, let us know.

So let’s dive straight in! Take note that what you’ll need will greatly depend on the age of the children you’re travelling with, so you may need to adjust what you take with you. Paradoxically, we find that the smallest travellers sometimes take up the largest part of the suitcase. But unlike a home with lots of storage, there’s significantly less space when you’re on the road. This means that everything that takes up room needs to be carefully considered. Relating to space, you’ll also need to think about how you’ll travel too. Do you want a caravan, or a motorhome?

Children eating blueberries

How should I feed my children in a campervan?

Our children haven’t been too fond of a lot of pre-packaged food since they were little, so we do our best to cook fresh food on the road, which we buy as we go. There’s no problem shopping in Europe as and when you need, so you don’t need to sort all the food before the trip. Especially if you enjoy discovering local specialties and restaurants! To try and ensure that our holiday isn’t just a cycle of cooking and cleaning, we have a lot of fresh fruit and veg in the summer. Despite our often busy program, we believe that regular meals are important for children, so we try to stick to breakfast, lunch and dinner... and to avoid sweet snacks (though it can be painful at times!).

What clothes are best for my kids when camping?

Summer travel is great in terms of packing clothes, especially if you go to a campsite with a washing machine. When wild camping, a clothesline with pegs will suffice, along with any container for the clothes and water. We wear boots and waterproof legwear in any weather, because the puddles are loved by small children and shoes dry extremely slowly! We always pack everyone's hats and caps, sunglasses and some t-shirts for the warm days. In summer you've got a lot of flexibility; it's only in winter when you really need to fill your storage with blankets, jumpers and the other extras.

Campervan first aid for kids

A solid first aid kit should contain medication for all common problems, such as fever, cold, diarrhoea and vomiting. It's also good to pack a rehydration solution for a longer period of vomiting, to speed up the recovery process. If you've got one to hand, a thermometer is good too. In the event of accidents, we’ll also have disinfectants, plasters and dressings, gel for burns, ointments for various stings and antihistamines for allergic reactions. Don't forget tweezers for ticks! For young children that are teething, make sure you have what you usually use (teething gel and so on).

Toy campervans

Campervan relaxation activities

For rainy days and long crossings, it pays to bring a few favourite books, games and painting supplies for the children to enjoy. Although we try not to turn on the iPad too much on holiday, we certainly take it with us. On the road it’s often our last resort to calm an impatient group. Sleeping in a caravan or motorhome can be adventurous for children, but they often require the same evening rituals that they’re used to at home, so we don’t forget the books with bedtime stories. For outdoor activities, bikes are a great choice. If you don't ride bikes, it's often worth taking a scooter or similar to speed up your walks. If you intend to visit the water then pool toys, safety equipment and floats are a good idea.

Campervan hygiene

Fortunately, there's nobody with particular needs in our family, so we can make do with one baby shower gel and shampoo on our holidays. Before and after sunbathing, we use special moisturisers and sun cream for our children, and a little shea butter on dry skin works wonders on colder days.

Other campervan extras that'll come in handy

  • Headlamp / torch
  • Snack boxes / containers for any food
  • An unbreakable drinking bottle that won't spill. These are great for when the kids are thirsty at night (and you don't want to get up!)
  • A supply of handkerchiefs and wet wipes for a variety of situations

Children and adventures belong together. They'll adore travelling by campervan! If you look through our other articles, you’ll find more to prepare yourself so that nothing will surprise you when it's time to go. If you haven’t done it before, you’ll fall in love with this type of travel almost as quickly as your children will.

Do you have any more tips for travelling with children on the road? Send us a message and let us know!

And if you're ready to start your own campervan journey with the family, take a look at our selection. You're guaranteed to find something that suits you.

See you on the road!