If you’ve ever taken the whole family on a motorhome or caravan getaway, you’ll know the notion of a ‘perfect holiday’ is often far from the truth. It doesn’t have to be that way, though – holidays are for relaxing, recuperating and enjoying time with loved ones.
The key to a successful family motorhome holiday lies in the preparation. Get that right, and everyone will have a wonderful time they’ll remember for years to come. What’s more, you’ll create a blueprint you can use again and again for future excursions.
Without further ado, here are our 15 family motorhome holiday tips for staging the perfect trip away as a family in your unit.
1. Use tech to plan the journey
We’ve all been there: you think you’re halfway to your intended holiday destination only to discover that, according the colossal, fiddly map you bought ten years ago at a petrol station, the road you’re on doesn’t appear to exist.
Thankfully, cumbersome maps are now a thing of the past and that means getting rid of a flashpoint for family holidays which will, without fail, always result in several arguments before you even reach the campsite. Now, you can use your smartphone and Google Maps to get there unhindered and with plenty of time remaining to enjoy your holiday.
2. Take plenty of games, books and toys
Sure, holiday is an excuse for everyone to down tools and enjoy time with each other, but the kids will occasionally need to escape the clutches of their parents and do something they enjoy. For that reason, always take a good collection of their favourite toys, games and the odd book to keep them quiet (and enable you to have that much-needed glass of wine).
If you can, try and avoid taking video games consoles and show the kids the kids just how much fun the old fashioned forms of entertainment can be.
3. Create a scrapbook while you’re there
Memories are now captured constantly thanks to the readiness of smartphone cameras, but there’s nothing quite like introducing old forms of memory capture while on holiday.
Take a scrap book with you and ask everyone to record their own notes and drawings throughout the holiday. Then, when you get home, you can print off the accompanying photos, attach them to the scrapbook and have something tangible that will last forever and remind everyone why you go on such holidays.
4. Choose the right site
This is perhaps the most common mistake made by holidaying families: rushing to book somewhere last minute and inadvertently choosing the wrong destination.
Spend plenty of time choosing the right campsite and don’t settle until you’ve found one that meets everyone’s needs. With young kids, you’ll need a play area, but the presence of WiFi should also be considered, along with plenty of space to ensure you’re not sitting on top of your neighbours.
The wrong campsite can ruin a holiday, so choose your base carefully and so so in plenty of time before your intended getaway date.
5. Take the bikes
Providing your motorhome is able to accommodate them safely, take the family bikes with you. That way, you’ll be able to combine getting fit with the ability to explore a wider area without ever having to get in the car. And kids love their bikes, so it’ll keep them happy, too.
Spend some time mapping out routes and try and include the odd trip to a nearby town where you can stop for a much needed cup of coffee.
6. Share the chores
When mum or dad is left to do all of the cleaning, cooking and organising on a motorhome holiday, tempers will often flare up. And that’s not surprising – it isn’t particularly fair for one person to shoulder the burden of the boring stuff.
Distribute the holiday chores amongst everyone in the family and make sure everyone does their bit. The ‘sell’ for this is the ability for everything to be done far more quickly, thus enabling the holiday fun to take place sooner rather than everyone having to wait while dad cleans up the kitchen after breakfast.
7. Maintain a (loose) routine
If you’ve got very young kids with you, it’s important you get the chance to relax while on your holiday. Therefore, try to maintain some form of routine, even if it is far more elastic than the norm. Bedtimes can be set a little later, but keep them consistent to help maintain your sanity and ensure the kids get plenty of rest themselves!
8. Take a well-stocked first aid kit
The last thing you want to contend with on holiday is any form of accident or injury, but sometimes bad things happen and it’s therefore vital that you have a well-stocked first aid kit within your motorhome. It’s far better to be safe than sorry.
9. Hold outdoor cinema evenings
Assuming you’re heading out on a motorhome holiday in the summer, make the most of those longer, warmer nights by holding one or two cinema evenings outside the motorhome under the cover of your awning. The kids will love it and, these days, you simply need an iPad containing some family favourite movies, a table on which to place it and a few bags of popcorn.
10. Install blackout blinds
As comfortable as motorhomes and caravans are, you’re still one step closer to the great outdoors and the addition of blackout blinds will help you all get that much-needed holiday sleep and have the odd lie-in.
12. Take appropriate clothes
Just as with your wardrobes at home, it is essential that the whole family has quick access to plenty of different types of clothing in the motorhome. Pack shorts, flip flops and t-shirts for when its warm and plenty of hoodies and woolly hats with which to wrap up when true British weather strikes. And, don’t forget umbrellas, waterproofs and wellies of course, in case of rain.
Even if you’re heading out in the summer, don’t forget the warmer clothes for those long summer nights that inevitably turn rather nippy.
13. Create a shaded area next to the motorhome
When picking your spot, make sure there’s plenty of uninhabited area surrounding the motorhome in which you can create a nice shaded area for the kids when things get too hot to either be inside or sat in direct sunlight. A portable gazebo or awning is all you need and you’ll find it will quickly become one of the most used spots while on holiday.
14. Be prepared for rain
The weather in Britain is incredibly unpredictable. We all moan fairly consistently about Mother Nature’s desire to rain on our parade, yet we often forget to prepare properly for those instances. Make sure you pack plenty of waterproofs in your motorhome and always have a plan B for any activities that can be adversely affected by rain.
15. Teach the kids how to be motorhome safe
Motorhomes are an incredibly safe way to holiday, but there are one or two hazards kids should always be aware of in order to avoid accidents. Before setting off, gently teach them to stay away from the gas source, heating/cooking controls and the electricity point. A safe holiday is a happy holiday.
The above list is certainly non-exhaustive, but should set you up for a fantastic motorhome holiday. Remember – go prepared, stay safe and take plenty of things with which to amuse everyone when the weather turns (which, inevitably, it will!).