Many motorhomes are enjoyed by older couples, but there are few more pleasurable ways to go on holiday with your grandchildren than in your trusty home on wheels. Just make sure you’ve done a maintenance check and arranged motorhome insurance before heading off.
With your onboard fridge and cooker close at hand their favourite treats are always nearby. So, whether you’re just en route to the next campsite or having a day out at the beach making time for a snack is easy when tummies start to feel empty.
And when they’ve finished building sandcastles and had enough of tearing around on their mountain bikes, you can get them cleaned off with your onboard shower. Much better than taking buckets of mud and sand home with you!
That's why we've put together these essential tips for those travelling with their grandchildren on an exciting motorhome holiday. Making it a trip never to be forgotten!
Before setting off – top tips for successful planning
Perform a vehicle safety check
The safety of your precious cargo is your number one priority on any motorhome trip. Before hitting the road, it’s vital to check your vehicle is roadworthy – especially if it’s not been used for a couple of months. With grandchildren on board the last thing anybody wants is to break down or be involved in an accident due to a simple maintenance issue.
You don’t need to be an expert; you just need to know what to look for. It’s the fairly basic stuff you probably already do on your car! Simply check your tyres for wear and pressure, top up your oil, water and coolant, change your windscreen wipers if necessary, and double-check all lights.
But it’s not just the mechanical stuff that needs looking at. Have you had a habitation check done recently? This will check for electric, gas, water or ventilation issues and also the window and door security. Put simply, it tells you if your vehicle is safe to holiday in.
Finally check all seatbelts are safe and in working order and you have working carbon monoxide and smoke alarms fitted as well.
Know your limits
You might not be as nimble as you once were or you might have health issues that make some things more difficult. Looking after children is hard work so you need to consider what would work best for you all. For your first trip with grandchildren it might be better to take it slow. Perhaps a short trip not far from home to let you know what you can handle.
Involve the grandchildren
The planning process can be one of the most fun parts of getting ready for a motorhome trip, so get the little ones involved. It’s easy to build excitement by giving them books, maps or websites to let them research the area and get acquainted with the plans. No matter what age they are, giving them some choices of activities or destinations will help them feel included from the beginning. After all, it’s their holiday, too!
Don’t forget the parents
No matter how close you are, their parents will likely know them much better than you do. So, make sure you discuss the child’s likes, dislikes, health needs, medications, bed times, and family rules for the trip. One of the joys of being a grandparent is the fact you can be easier going with the children. But remember to always respect the parents’ wishes. You were a parent once and know how hard it can be!
When it comes to kids’ holiday money, it’s important to discuss who will provide it and how much. If you’re planning on travelling abroad then using another currency is a great way for children to experience another culture and learn about budgeting!
Particularly if this is their first holiday in a motorhome, you’ll need to be quite specific about what to bring and the space limitations. You’ll also need to consider how you will adapt too. Having an extra person or two could require a rethink as to layout and how you use the space. If you don’t have one already it might be worth investing in a motorhome awning so you’ll have space to spread out whatever the weather.
Make sure it's clear who will bring things like first-aid supplies and snacks for the grandchildren if there are specific things they need. And in view of all our reliance on gadgets, be sure to bring along sufficient chargers for everyone’s phones, iPads, ereaders and other devices. You don’t want there to be any arguments!
Provide some entertainment and home comforts
Bored or homesick grandchildren are not a good recipe for a happy journey. As well as snacks and drinks, make doubly sure they have books, puzzles, games, electronics, or other entertainment. The hours can be lengthy on the road or when the weather is too bad to venture out.
Planning some fun activities for each day is important, but don’t overdo it. If you try to do too much then everyone will end up tired and stressed. Remember, it’s a holiday so having time for everyone to relax each day is usually a good idea for everyone’s sake.
Bedtimes can be tricky in particular for younger children missing their parents. If they have a favourite cuddly toy or blanket then having it ready is essential.
If the grandchildren are taking along any fancy electronics or outdoor gear then speak with your motorhome insurance provider to make sure they’re fully covered in the event of theft, loss or damage.
Bring the paperwork
If you do plan on taking the grandchildren on a foreign holiday then you’ll need to make sure your motorhome insurance covers your vehicle for the journey and destination. Policies arranged through Motorhome Protect provide unlimited cover across all the countries that are part of the European Union.
If you want to avoid border difficulties on international travel, always carry copies of the grandchildren’s birth certificates, photos, and parents’ consent letter indicating their permission to travel. In addition, have their health insurance information, policy details, and parents’ permission for medical treatment in the event of an emergency. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
On the road – advice for trouble-free travel
Perform a pre-journey check together
Before even setting off get the youngsters involved with the pre-journey checklists. Explain that you need their sharp eyes and powers of observation to make sure grandad has left nothing still hooked up, hanging out, or left behind! Just like on a plane, it’s probably wise to talk about what to do in the event of an emergency. Does everyone know where all the exits are and what to do if there’s a fire?
Buckle up and stay safe
There’s no argument, seat belts and booster seats must be used by all passengers. Even when the roads are quiet there should be no toilet or fridge visits when the motorhome is moving. We know it’s tempting for them but this has to be an unbreakable rule. If you have to hit the brakes or swerve suddenly, serious injury can occur. Having regular stops and making sure snacks and refreshments are on hand will reduce the desire to get out of their seats.
Take regular breaks
Try to stop somewhere about once every 60 to 90 minutes. Giving them regular opportunities to kick a ball around, play Frisbee, and otherwise let off steam will help them feel content during the journey.
If you’re a member of the National Trust then their properties are always worth a special stop. Dotted throughout the country they always have clean facilities, plenty of parking spaces, and lots of free local information. There are also many National Trust campsites situated in perfect locations for taking the grandchildren.
Enlist the kids as navigators
“Are we there yet?” is a very popular question for children on any road trip. However, if you put them in charge of tracking your route on a map they should always know the answer! As well as giving you a break it will help them exercise vital life skills by figuring out how far you’ve come, and how far until you reach your destination.
Watch out for motion sickness
Be on the lookout for signs of motion sickness in your young passengers. While the driver and front passenger’s views out of the front are excellent, those behind have less view of the road and more motion. The NHS has some good advice on how to ease motion sickness and what not to do.
At your destination – top tips for happy campers
Choose campsites with lots to offer
From playgrounds and swimming pools to crazy golf and mountain biking, there’s lots on offer at UK campsites to keep all ages happy. Check out campsite facilities before you travel and you should avoid any nasty surprises. If there’s a special reason you’re going to a certain campsite then call ahead to make sure it’s available – some activities or facilities can be seasonal.
Get creative with downtime
There will come a time when everyone gets a bit bored, so always keep a few surprises up your sleeve just in case. You could test out your forest skills such as bird spotting, stargazing or geo-caching. Spending an hour beachcombing or rock-pooling is always a popular idea. Perhaps begin a scrapbook or journal of your holiday together. Taking a few photos every day and sending them to parents is also a fun way for them to still feel connected to home.
Making popcorn over a campfire or toasting marshmallows are simple but memorable things to do at the end of a long day. Even the digital generation loves a good story around the campfire!
Give everyone responsibilities
Making the grandchildren a part of the camping team is fun for everyone. And with so many jobs to do it will really help your energy levels, too. Assign age-appropriate chores to each of the children and give yourselves a bit of a rest.
However, safety is a responsibility for everyone and it’s vital you agree who is responsible for each child at all times. The outdoors can be a dangerous place so always take safety precautions even if the area seems safe. Providing a whistle for each person means anyone can call for help if necessary.
Top sites to visit with the grandchildren
There are so many sites in the UK to explore with the grandchildren, but here are some of our favourite suggestions.
- Snowdonia National Park, Wales
There’s so much to do in Snowdonia National Park from climbing the mountains and visiting castles to exploring nature-filled sand dunes.
- Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
With its stunning coastline and pretty coastal towns, this is a great place to explore. Other outdoor attractions include the world famous 7Stanes mountain biking centres and the huge Galloway Forest Park.
- The Cotswolds, England
The Cotswolds are straight off a picture postcard with everything from quaint villages such as Bourton-on-the-Water to the grandeur of Blenheim Palace. Animal lovers will enjoy visiting the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens or the wonderful Cotswold Farm Park.
- Windsor, England
With its beautiful streets filled with typical British culture, the majestic Windsor Castle, and the thrills of Legoland there are few better places to visit with grandchildren.
- The Pennines, England
Follow the line of Hadrian’s wall for a perfect coast-to-coast road trip. It’s ideal if they’ve been learning about Roman history at school, too!
Protecting your cherished vehicle with motorhome insurance cover
Wherever your motorhome takes you all, it can be vulnerable to accidents and damage. That’s why the specialist team at Motorhome Protect work so hard to arrange the best bespoke motorhome insurance, tailored to your needs.
Cover arranged through Motorhome Protect can include the following benefits:
- Cover for motorhomes valued up to £150,000
- Enhanced cover for personal effects up to £3,000
- Unlimited mileage cover
- Consideration of all claims and convictions
Call Motorhome Protect and get a quick quote for motorhome insurance today.
Policy benefits and features offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.