Travelling with children for 6-8 months

Submitted: Sunday, Aug 13, 2006 at 23:26
ThreadID: 122848 Views:3921 Replies:5 FollowUps:1
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We are preparing to do some travelling in 2008, ( may be 2009) with our 2 children currently aged 8 and 5. We have a relatively new van with bunks, that has served us well when travelling along the main roads etc. It is not set up for any self sufficient travelling and is not even a so called off road van. Ultimately we would prefer a BT, but at the time of purchase we thought it was pushing things financially ( we still have to live in a house and work - cant travel full time yet! Is it wrong to dream of retirement when its still too far away). Anyway after travelling for 10 weeks last year through the touristy areas of QLD, we cant stand the thought of having to stay in parks every night. We now have to decide what we will do obviously more money needs to be spent, but we want to make the wisest choice we can. Maybe we may need to purchase a BT and then sell once we get home.

We would be very interested to hear from any other forum members that have any stories to tell and choices you made, good and bad.

Look forward to hearing from any of you!

Narelle and Paul
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Reply By: Turist - Sunday, Aug 13, 2006 at 23:40

Sunday, Aug 13, 2006 at 23:40
Go to the "My Home" page and look at the document "Why we chose a BT"
Lots of reasons there.

Other members that travel with kids may give you further reasons to buy a BT.

"Do It While You Can"
Nobody is getting any younger.

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AnswerID: 569074

Reply By: Motherhen & Rooster - Monday, Aug 14, 2006 at 00:09

Monday, Aug 14, 2006 at 00:09
I can't speak from experience - just travelling anywhere by car was a nightmare when our 4 children were young - the thought of holidays were just beyond what i could cope with. However i would say the golden rule for travelling with children is take your time, plan to travel only short days, and stop where they can gets lots of physical activity. It will be a wonderful learning experience for them. Lots of people do it successfully.

One BT we looked at when buying ours had been set up for a family to travel for a year with 2 children (around 8 & 10 I think). They had bunks at one ended for the children, and the dining area converted to the bed for the parents. They had an extra large table for the children to do their correspondence schooling. They said it was a wonderful year for the children who learned so much while travelling.

Go for it.

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AnswerID: 569075

Reply By: Bushtracker - Monday, Aug 14, 2006 at 17:56

Monday, Aug 14, 2006 at 17:56
Narelle and Pat,
The two Directors of Bushtracker, raised four kids with a Bushtracker over 10 years, the other raised three kids with a Bushtracker for ten years....

No one, I mean no one, would have better feedback on the family issues than the Directors, who have done it the longest. We have corrected our mistakes and grown to the optimum layout preferences, but you need to talk with us to hear the pros and cons. I am not about to write a book on the subject here on the Bog. You need to come for a visit to the factory. And a lot of the answers will depend on how you yourself answer the questions, full time travel, part time travel, conversion of space so van layout is still good after children, type of tow vehicle, etcetera. A Fool learns by his own mistakes, we are not Fools, but we did the Pioneering into the Lifestyle that you need. A Wise Man learns from the mistakes of others.... Some nice Family like the Kerrigans may have some input for you, but they have followed the trend of our layout ideas and lifestyle and learned from us going on what three years now. We are the Masters of this, after ten years now. Come on down and talk to us at the factory.

Success is measured three weeks or four weeks into a Trip, when you ask the kids "Well do we turn back and head home, or keep on going?" When they answer with a unanimous yell "Keep on going!!!" Then you have made the right choices. They need their private drawers, their private bunks and storage, and a few other things. There is never enough water and power to waste, but bigger is better, and a lot will depend on your tow vehicle. If Japanese tow vehicle, would suggest 19' as a minimum, up to the 20-21'. If you are minimalistic and short tripping you could get away with an 18', but 19' breaks into a new structural suspension upgrade and a few principal layout advantages that makes the 19' actually better value for money.

You have your toe in the water here. Come for a good swim with the "Family Masters" at Bushtracker. We have been there and done it more than anybody. Take the advice and study it in relation to your own plans, for the best general guidance.

Regards from the lone Ranger...
AnswerID: 569076

Reply By: CD & JW - Thursday, Aug 17, 2006 at 06:00

Thursday, Aug 17, 2006 at 06:00
Hi Narelle and Paul

We have had many trips with our children, commencing with a 5 months up the centre/down the west coast/back to east coast, and have not regretted taking them on one.
BEST ADVICE WE RECEIVED from the children’s school principle - don’t spoil your trip insisting the kids keep up with school work. He suggested they keep a fairly regular diary, get them to read out the info at the sites we visited, and play number games with them while travelling. That may not be best if you are going to be away for an extended period of course, but was fine for the five months. At the time of our first major trip our children were 8yrs and 6yrs old and travelled well. Our strategy was to have at least a short break approx every 2 hrs where they could have a run around and a snack. The children had a pillow each and box of favourite books and puzzles (not electronic) pencils and paper separating them on the back seat together with one of those stable tables each. In the vehicle I always carried water, dried fruit, and fresh fruit when I could and if they got a bit argumentative in the back seat, I would cut up some fruit and pass it around (Mum and Dad enjoy the fruit too and with all the sitting you do our digestive tract was kept active). Apples are low GI, so usually half an apple was enough to break the mood. Cutting and coreing seemed to make the apples more attactive to everyone. If I didn’t have apples then a few sultanas or dried apricots did the trick (low GI too), we avoided lollies, biscuits, icecreams, and fizzy drinks - keeping these for just a few occasions as treats. It is amazing how they accepted the healthy food and being on a tight budget they saw that we didn’t have any more extras than they did.
There were a occassions too where we needed to be parents and insist that they have a sleep, and the days were always so full that there wasn’t a problem with them getting off to sleep at night, after the daytime nap as we travelled.

Regarding the caravan - I agree that a BT is an excellent choice if your current budget will allow. If you don’t want restrictions on destination and conveniences then a BT is the go.
Our current van is not a BT but is very sturdy and took us wherever we desired to go taking children and using common sense in our driving and destination decisions, we negotiated the Gibb river road (Oh those corragations) and used a tent a few times when we detoured to places like Palm Valley and the Bungles. The van has bunks at the front for the kids and a cross between a double (width) and queen (length) at the back for us. We carry a portaloo in the van, and extra water containers in our vehicle for longer stops away from caravan parks. This is fine if you are willing to rough it a bit. We had extra battery for a little longer independence.
We are now in the position to be able to purchase a BT and are enjoying the planning of both the van and the trips. We check the forum frequently, sometimes with much amusement at the banter, and mixed in with the information there is obviously so much goodwill.

This has been a long reply, and trust it will encourage you to continue to travel with the kids, and in a BT when your finances allow. The memories are worth more than money.
PS Added advice we give friends who quiz us about long trips - it helps if you and your partner are reeeeally good friends.

Regards from C&J (Still good friends)
AnswerID: 569077

Follow Up By: McLeans(4) - Thursday, Aug 17, 2006 at 06:12

Thursday, Aug 17, 2006 at 06:12
Thanks C & J

Its great to hear about others trips, it really is quite inspiring and exciting to think we are not so far away from doing this for ourselves.

The BT decision is a hard one, well only the financial decision anyway.

Good luck with your purchase and planning.

FollowupID: 846158

Reply By: Tassietracker5 - Thursday, Aug 17, 2006 at 07:24

Thursday, Aug 17, 2006 at 07:24
Travelled up to Cape York (2005) , Cameron Corner (2004) from tassie with our then 5 yr old and twin 3 yr olds ( all boys!!!). When we designed our BT we had an extra flat screen tv linked up to dvd player on wall near bunks. handy when you need them out from under your feet when cooking dinner or keeping clean and indoors when freshly showered for bed.

the other invaluable thing was an external annexe with full walls. Made for heaps of extra floor space to spread out toys without being in van. would only set up for a stay of a few nights. too much trouble if only overnighting somewhere. you can specify what walls you want-how configured, where/size windows etc. great as another barrier for bugs to keep out of van.

external shower was handy for hosing off muddy/sandy little feet.

hope this helps.
AnswerID: 569078

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