I love travel.
I’d travel all the time if I could.
And that doesn’t just mean jetting off to foreign lands in search of golden sands and sunny skies (although they are both very much welcome).
In fact the majority of my previous travels have been city breaks and adventures with lots of history thrown in, think Rome, Florence and Barcelona to name a few.
But with a growing family, we’ve had to adjust what a holiday looks like. It’s less about exploring old ruins and learning history (though we will be coming back to this when everyone is a bit older) and more about fun adventures exploring new places and trying new things.
With Henry still being pretty young, and me expecting our second boy, we’ve kept with staycations for the last two years, and utilised the good old British staple of a caravan holiday.
And they’ve been pretty great so far.
Yes we’ve had to deal with the not-at-all consistent English weather, which included one complete wash out of a holiday last year, but over-all they’ve been a great adventure and a good way to get Henry used to travel and new places.
I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for caravan holidays, most likely because it was the only type of holiday I experienced in the first 17 years of my life.
I love that they feel like a home from home, and give you the freedom to keep to your normal routine if you need to, whilst enjoying a new place.
So how do we make caravan holidays work for us?
We utilise the hire facility
You can hire cots, bed guards, high-chairs and pushchairs, amongst other items to save you space in the car. We hire a bed guard so Henry can sleep in a single bed safely and it’s as simple as ordering online and waiting for it to arrive in your caravan when you pick up your keys.
Go for the upgrade
We always go for a deluxe caravan as a minimum when we stay with Haven. The main advantage being the heating with this option, and let’s be honest, British weather can suck and be completely unpredictable. I actually think the Prestige option, especially if you can get decking are even more worth the money. We were lucky enough to get upgraded to a decked caravan in a previous holiday for no additional charge and it was so good for Henry as he could run around outside with his toys when we were up early in the morning, or before heading to dinner.
Stock the fridge
As this is a self-catering holiday, we like to stock the fridge, mostly with breakfast and lunch items, as well as snacks for trips out. For holidays longer than the weekend break, we also had dinner for at least one night to save money, but I do like to eat out when away. For this break we took bits from our fridge at home with us as it was mid month so we were still fairly well stocked.
Take a mix of toys
We took a mix of our most versatile toys, and ones that don’t get as much use at home. We also grabbed Henry’s favourite films on DVD to take with us for the early mornings. Of course, we also ended up with new toys from our trips, including this horse which fast became a favourite! The long corridors make for an excellent horse race track.
Stick to your normal routine where possible
This is probably my biggest tip. The convenience of a caravan is you have a great base with everything you need all in one place. We tend to have breakfast, then head out for the morning on a trip around 9am, sometimes with a tots class beforehand at around 8am, usually with lunch out and about or as a picnic, then return to the caravan for Henry’s nap. The afternoon is then spent at the caravan site, usually with a swim, followed by dinner, the kids show and then bedtime. This means Henry doesn’t get knocked out of his normal routine too much or overwhelmed with being in a new place, and makes the transition so much easier. Plus we still get to do so much, and have a bit of chill parent time too.
Make the journey there fun too
On this particular trip we decided to stop off in Bournemouth on our way to Poole to make the absolute most of the time off. As most caravan parks have check in times after 2pm, it’s worth stopping half way to your destination. However you can always turn up early, collect your passes and go for an explore if your caravan isn’t quite ready for you.
So they might not be the worldly adventures that we all aspire to do, and they might not always be filled with sun, sea, sand and cocktails, but the last couple of years have seen some of my favourite holidays.
Sometimes they aren’t the cheapest of holidays, and often they are similarly priced to a full trip abroad, but for convenience and fun, they are great too.
What are your top tips for a caravan holiday with kids?