Even the youngest kids love outdoors holidays. The freedom to roam or crawl around a safe campsite, and the endless things to see and do – they all add up to a child-friendly vacation.
Those carefree weeks, however, require a fair amount of preparation by the parents.
Babies aren’t the easiest of holiday companions, and if you’re used to travelling solo or in a couple, you’ve got some adapting to do.
Read on for our top tips for ensuring your adventures are as relaxing as possible.
Pro tip: choosing the right campervan insurance means you’ve got one less thing to worry about.
Choosing your vehicle
For something so small, babies do take up lot of space! For a start, there’s a lot to pack – see below.
Consider where you’ll put your buggy – ideally, you don’t want to be forever folding and unfolding it, but nor do you want it blocking your door.
Also, if your baby’s mobile, it will want some floor space. Can you block off an area where it can crawl without coming to any harm?
Then consider the evenings. You’re going to be in or next to your campervan a lot more than child-free travellers – nipping to the pub isn’t quite so easy anymore!
Is there somewhere you can sit while your little one snoozes?
All things considered, it’s wise to get a somewhat larger van than you would if travelling on your own or as a couple.
Remember to protect your holiday investment with suitable campervan insurance.
And don’t forget safety. If you have an Isofix-style car seat, check that it is compatible with your campervan.
Otherwise, make sure you child’s seat can be secured with a seatbelt.
Planning your journeys
There’s no doubt that having a baby on board does affect your travelling plans.
It’s harder to be spontaneous. Pre-kids, you might have set off on your travels without a second thought.
Now, you really don’t want to be driving around in the evening looking for a campsite while your hungry baby wails in the back. So it’s best to book at least the first night’s stay before you leave.
Also, when planning your drives, make sure you factor in plenty of rest stops for feeding and cuddling, and to give active, crawling babies and toddlers some time out of their car seats.
And don’t forget the snacks! If your baby’s old enough to eat solids, snacks will keep it distracted and stave off the hunger pangs until you’re ready to stop for a proper evening meal.
Packing your campervan
Buggy. Cot. Changing mat. Nappies. Toiletries. Medicines. Sunshades. Travel highchair. Clothes – you’ll want to have plenty of changes.
And that’s before you’ve packed all the fun things, such as beach toys, swimsuits, towels and games.
Yes, babies have a lot of baggage, and you’ll need to find room for it all.
But look on the bright side: at least you’re not trying to squeeze all that into a car boot or your plane hold luggage.
When packing your campervan, take care you don’t exceed your vehicle’s weight limit – it makes it hard to handle while driving.
A spacious vehicle provides a great base for family holidays for years to come, so make sure it’s covered with suitable campervan insurance.
Choosing the right campsite
Babies love outdoor holidays – but it pays to pick the right campsite.
First up, you want welcoming staff who can give you the low-down on local amenities and facilities for kids, from great beaches to doctors’ surgeries.
A shop selling basics – including nappies – is always handy.
Ideally, you’ll want a spacious pitch so your little one can crawl around without bothering your neighbours.
A grassy area where your child can sit and watch all the activity is perfect – put up a pup tent or gazebo to protect their delicate skin from the sun.
A good children’s playground is a nice-to-have, though more suitable if you’ve also got older children. How about a woodland stream where your baby can dip its toes or even help you catch minnows?
And if you prefer a little more luxury, a great swimming pool or even water park is sure to provide hours of entertainment for your little one.
Finally, don’t forget the basics.
Electric hook-up is essential if you’re going to be using a microwave to sterilise bottles, and you’ll really appreciate good laundry facilities to deal with all those mucky babygrows!
Getting a good night’s sleep
Travel cots aren’t designed for the limited floor space of your average campervan. You could fit one into a larger model, but even then, it will be a squeeze.
So you might need to get a little creative with the sleeping arrangements in your van. Fortunately, there are several options that could work for you.
Some parents manage to reconfigure their campervans, moving or lowering tables to create a cot-sized space.
Others tuck the baby into their own bed – take a look at the NHS guidelines to reduce the risks from co-sleeping.
Many fixed beds in campervans come with guard rails ready fitted, or you can buy one and fit it yourself.
So you can easily make a snug little nest for your toddlers, with their favourite books and toys to help them wind down for sleep after a long day’s exploring.
As for bedding – baby sleeping bags that fasten over the shoulders are perfect, as they prevent your little one from wriggling down under the covers and overheating.
Remember – if your baby does get unsettled at night, at least you don’t have to worry about guests in a next-door hotel room!
Get a quote from Motorhome Protect today
When travelling with little ones, you want to know you’ve got back-up in case of any mishaps.
Fortunately, Motorhome Protect offers campervan insurance that can include unlimited cover in any EU country, so your home on wheels is protected wherever you are.
Benefits include cover for vehicles up to £150,000 and for camping personal effects up to £3,500.
Unlimited mileage cover is available, too, so you and your little one can travel the continent together!
Contact Motorhome Protect today, and get ready to set off on your adventures.