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There’s no greater experience than travelling around Australia with your little ones in a caravan. Travelling has so many benefits for babies and toddlers; it opens their mind, strengthens family bonds, promotes socialisation, and teaches them a lot about the world. Regardless of age, you can adapt your trip to accommodate for the little ones while embarking on that adventure you’ve been dreaming of.
We caught up with our Friends of Jayco, Meg and Jared from Our Sandy Van, who are currently travelling around Australia with Poppy (4-years old) and Quinn (18-month old) in their 17.58-3 Jayco Journey Outback Pop-Top. The couple shared some handy tips to help you make the most out of your caravan adventure with babies and toddlers.
What is the best thing about travelling with younger kids?
We have been travelling on the road with our now 4-year-old and 18-month-old and believe that travelling with younger children is the best! Our kids are learning and growing, and this experience contributes to that. One of the best things is that we’re always mixing with other travelling families, so the girls are still socialising and making friends along the way. An additional bonus is that we get to go at a slower pace and thoroughly enjoy every single experience when travelling on toddler time.
How do you travel around Australia?
We have been travelling for 7 and a half months around Australia in our 17.58-3 Jayco Journey Outback Pop-Top, and this van has been perfect for our family. The van is easy to set up and ready to go as soon as we arrive at our destinations. Travelling with two little ones is easy when we’ve got spacious bunks for them. We also find the amount of storage we have is perfect for our family and the combo ensuite is so handy with children!
How far in advance did you book your trip?
We didn’t book our trip too far in advance as we knew that anything could happen when travelling with young children. We plan week by week and find this method practical for our family. When booking a caravan park, we look for a central location with family-friendly facilities, like a playground and pool.
We prefer free camp adventures as opposed to caravan parks. We love having campfires, watching our little ones run free and enjoying that authentic camping experience. We find it handy to look at reviews from other travellers, especially those with children, to make sure the area is safe and friendly. We use the WikiCamps App to plan and book our camp/accommodation.
We also never travel too far at once; grumpy parents call for grumpy kiddies, and it’s just not worth the tantrums!
What are your must-pack items?
We would not be able to live without a good, sturdy pram with storage space and an extra toddler seat or standing platform/skateboard. They’re great for walks, shopping and putting a baby or toddler to sleep if needed.
We use an Ergo pouch carrier to carry our baby on hikes and long walks. I recommend a front or back carrier that lasts for at least 18-months. We also use a Bumbo chair for our baby, which has been extremely useful for mealtimes or even just to keep her occupied for short periods while we set up.
We recommend giving your child a small tub to pack their favourite toys or books. Many of these get lost along the way, and it’s hard to store excess belongings, which is why we limit the amount they can bring. The same goes for clothes. The girls have one drawer each, and we also have a box for spares. We find that this is more than enough. I always pack extra formula, nappies, and infant Panadol, as some smaller towns do not stock these items.
Extra wipes, nappies, a towel, and a sick bag are also super handy in the car!
What activities do you usually plan?
If we’re travelling in the car for several hours, we always pack drawing and colouring activities, books, toys, plenty of snacks and of course the trusty iPad- reading eggs are wonderful for toddlers. We highly recommend the ABC listen App. We download stories and podcasts in advance. We also make sure a lot of our stopovers have a playground or a park for a run.
What type of adventure is best suited for a family with babies and toddlers?
We have experienced beach, city, country, coastal and outback adventures whilst travelling around Australia with our toddler and baby and have thoroughly enjoyed all these different experiences. Coastal adventures are perfect for warmer weather and make parenting easier – what’s better than sitting and playing on the beach all day long! Beach camping is our family’s favourite. We also enjoy hiking adventures; Poppy has such a love for nature and the great outdoors.
Do you have any safety tips?
Our van has a safety bar on the top bunk for our toddler, and we have created a safety barrier/baby gate system on the lower bunk for our baby. We have good quality and comfortable car seats for them for the long driving days.
We also choose not to travel after dusk by planning ahead to ensure that we’re at our camp or caravan park by late afternoon. I always have plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent as these are often not easily accessible.
We hope these tips give you some guidance on how you can make the most of your trip with the little ones.
Loved reading Meg and Jared from Our Sandy Van’s travel tips?
You can stay up to date with their adventures by following them on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/oursandyvan/