The family of four around Aline Bock was on the road in France with the SUNLIGHT T 68 Adventure Edition.
Aline Bock is a snowboard pro, an avid surfer and a new mum of twins. In the past, she has been on several month-long Camper Van adventures – yet, traveling with kids is a different story. From her first family trip with the SUNLIGHT T 68 Adventure Edition to France she returns with numerous tips. Here she reveals her recommendations for having a great time with your camping newbies.
1. Child-Friendly Motorhome
When you travel with your toddler in a motorhome, make sure to check whether it has all the right features. Safety comes first – from the fall-out protection in the bed to the seats with Isofix, which are, for example, standard in all SUNLIGHT vehicles. Thus, you can easily install your own child seats. “For us”, Aline says, “the only question was whether we can put two child seats next to each other – and that worked out perfectly.” SUNLIGHT also offers an additional child bed to turn the driver’s cabin into an extra place for sleeping.
2. Get Organized
The better you plan your trip the more relaxed you will be. Aline used to be flexible and spontaneous, always hunting the best snow, wave, or weather, while she is a well-organized camping mother today. Good planning is key: know what to bring and where to store it strategically. Have you thought of sun protection and entertainment for those rainy days?
3. The right Campsite
What are the three key features you look for in a camping site when travelling with kids? Exactly: family-friendly, family-friendly, and family-friendly. This could mean, for example, a safe, non-exposed spot, trees that provide shade, and a sandy beach close by with shallow water. Short distances are also essential as well as child-friendly sanitary facilities, playgrounds, etc.
“We found a perfect site right at the French Atlantic coast between Bordeaux and Biarritz providing all amenities a family can wish for”, says Aline. “The pinewood provided shade, which was a blessing with the temperatures. And we were close to the beach so we could park the motorhome and reach everything by foot.”
4. Slower Pace, Shorter Stages
“Our original plan was to drive all night, while the two are sleeping”, Aline remembers. “Yet, only a few hours into the journey we realized how naïve that idea was. You should not try a 12-hour ride with kids. Make sure to divide your trip into stages. In the end, it is not a problem to stop and rest with the camper van or motorhome.” You find legal parking spots easily with apps like Park4Night (available in six languages). “And you should also not underestimate how important it is to keep the kids entertained on the road: distract them with books, games, songs – whatever works. My tip: bring a lot of toys for the road – and a great selection of nursery rhymes.”
5. Keep it Basic
Yet, how many toys should you actually bring? Aline pleads for downsizing: “Apart from the time on the road I really believe less is more. Our kids were so happy playing with driftwood and seashells, they had no interest in their toys at all.” In the end, a sandy beach is the perfect playground for kids. “And at the campsite they played with pinecones and tupperware. You really don’t have to bring your whole arsenal of toys.”
Another point to consider is where to store the toys. Easy accessibilty from the inside as well as from the outside is top priority – “otherwise the noise level will rise quickly.” Aline’s top tip: “We reserved our shoe rack for the kids – you open the flap, and everything is right there handy.”
6. Balancing Sports and Kids
“I love surfing and it’s hard being at the beach and not hitting the waves”, says Aline. “However, me and my husband took turns for short surf sessions. Ideally, you travel with other families or take the grandparents along.”
Some camping sites even offer daycare and animation for children, when the parents want to get active without their offspring. You have to do your research, but it is very likely you will find programs, kid’s courses or even family camps as Aline has: “I’ve found a surf camp in Portugal, where you have trained staff looking after the kids, while you are surfing.”