When booking a family trip determine what’s required in an age-appropriate destination, especially if you’re planning ahead as kids’ need change. Babies take up little room at camp but even the most travel-happy may toddle in a blink of an eye, turning your idyllic riverside retreat on its head especially if yours is a bolter! Opting for sites close to safe play spaces will appease curious minds, with a little distance from high-risk fun putting you in the driver seat regarding supervision. Kids gravitate to each other, too, so camping with other families can help you juggle campsite and parental duties.
Although many touring vans are fitted with washers and ensuites, machine and water capacities will inflict restrictions, so factor in your laundering and hygiene strategy when choosing destinations. Time will teach you what you can and can’t do without but wipes can help between high-facility camps.
Think about your commute, too, and slot in a break every two or three hours. Some kids deal with road travel better than others but don’t assume age improves the situation. Childhood development has a way of throwing in a spanner!
At camp, you’re connected to the environment so managing risks is part of the plan. But unless they’re really young, shielding kids from every risk is a kill-joy and near-on impossible; you’re better off equipping them with a few bush smarts. Establishing rules around campfires and water and strategies for dealing with wildlife – including snakes and spiders and even ants – are essential. Surf-lifesaving Nippers return to their trainers at the sight of a raised right arm; your crew can benefit from similar signals. Likewise, whistles let your little ones reach out to you, as will walkie-talkies for older kids embarking on independent adventures.
Kids, particularly young kids, are at risk of exposure and will often ignore the signs when they’re active, so advocate on their behalf. And even if you’re vanning, you’re likely to encounter a wide variety of conditions so don’t let your little ones miss out due to inappropriate attire! Thermals, loose long-sleeve tops, rashies, and wide brim hats will help.