How to survive a caravan holiday with kids under five
Caravanning with three under fives isn’t something that I thought I would find myself doing. Getting a tan and drinking cocktails by the pool is my idea of a relaxing break and they don’t tend to go hand in hand with caravan holidays.
Nevertheless, last year we ended up going to Eurocamp in France. I wasn’t thrilled about the idea but my sister sold it to us by organising a ‘luxury’ wooden lodge rather than caravan or tent for us to stay in. As much as I hate to admit it, we had fantastic week away. So fantastic, in fact, we are going again to the same place this August.
So when, in June, this year a family friend offered us the chance to stay in their caravan at a Haven holiday park, I was a bit more open to taking the leap from lodge to caravan. We were desperate for a bit of a break and a sunny weather forecast was on the cards. So off we went – Me, my husband, my six month old daughter, my sister, her husband and my two nieces aged one and four.
Here’s what I found out: Caravan holidays with three children under five are stressful, chaotic and incredibly messy. Even the luxury ones are small and their walls are paper thin- you can hear everything-Yes, everything. The showers are shit. After a few days you will feel like you are on top of one another and will want to kill each other. It will most definitely drive you to drink. More importantly, though, I learnt that caravanning with kids can actually be a lot of fun. Holiday park entertainment is so bad it’s good (kids LOVE it) and spending time in what is essentially a tin can makes you appriciate and even embrace the outdoors.
Here are my top tips for staying in a caravan with the under fives:
- Caravan curtains are pitifully thin and unless you want the bambinos up at the break of dawn you will need something to cover them. Take something to black them out such as ‘Lights out’ pop-up blackout blinds.
- If possible eat every meal outside. Children are messy and handsy and caravans have fabric covering 99% of all surfaces. Embrace the outdoors and have ‘picnics’. If the weather is bad, take a waterproof picnic blanket to put down on soft surfaces or alternatively eat out as much as possible.
- Keep an eye on the temperature especially with babies. In the height of summer, you can go to bed in sweltering heat like you are sleeping in a hot tin can but as soon as the sun goes down the temperature plummets. Alternatively in winter, it will be freezing as most caravans don’t have insulation so upgrade to central heating if possible or take extra blankets.
- Most caravans only have showers and it is super tricky to wash the slippery monsters when they are wriggling around. Take a shower/bath chair such as Kiddicare’s Safety 1st Swivel Bath Seat that you can attach to the floor enabling you to keep little ones still and safe in the shower.
- Travel cots are perfect for smaller children but they may not fit into some bedrooms/living areas so you might have to move to the larger living areas.
- Travel cots also make a great place/baby jail to keep small ones safe inside whilst the doors are open as many caravans have a steep steps in and out.
- Keep a box at the front door for muddy and sandy shoes. It can help stop trips and accidents and keep carpets clean.
- As unappealing as a kid-packed, family-friendly caravan park may seem, they can be a lot of fun. Many of the more family orientated parks have loads of activities for kids to do. Entertained kids = tired kids = early to bed = wine time for adults. Winner!
Happy Caravanning! xxx