Surviving a family campervan holiday

Your idyllic dream holiday of escaping far away from your everyday life whilst exploring somewhere new or revisiting places you loved as a child, but with your family with you can sometimes be brought down to earth with a bump if you haven’t spent a little time planning in advance.  Yes, surviving a family campervan holiday has a lot to do with setting it all up well before you set yourself free!

Organisation is key

You should plan ahead as much as possible so that nothing too unexpected crops up whilst you are on your holiday.  Remember that you will be cooped up altogether in a small and confined space for quite some time, so you need to work out how to make that work.  The following ideas may help you with your organisation.

Choose your destination wisely

Not only do you want to pick somewhere that has plenty of activities for ALL the family, but you want them to be within short walks/drives of where you will be staying.  If you have travelled quite a long way to get to your destination, you want to really kick back and settle in to your holiday time without having to do long day trips every day.  This is very important no matter whether you have very young children or teenagers!

The wonder of the internet means that even if you are travelling a long way from home, you have plenty of opportunity to gen up on the areas that you will be going to, in advance, to find out what activities will be suitable for the kids. Are there cycle tracks, swimming pools, skate parks, beaches, green areas, indoor and outdoor entertainments to cater for the weather?  Try to mix what you want to do as adults with what will keep them happy and burn off some of their energy!

If you are planning to camp out, staying on campsites that are family orientated will take a huge burden off you. Yes, it isn’t quite the same as the wilderness scene that the single you imagined, but keeping children happy and occupied whilst knowing that the campsite is safe and suited to them will help you get a rest and some enjoyment from your time off.

Keep your travelling limited or staggered

Continuing from the point above, there are a few ways of planning your holiday, depending on how long you have for your holiday as a whole.  You could plan to do the majority of the travelling on the first and last days so that you have a fixed place to stay for the duration, or you could plan a round trip where you travel every few days for a shorter amount of time to get to see and stay in different locations.


In-campervan entertainment is key to keep everyone happy on long journeys and also for days when you are cooped up inside due to the great weather fluctuations if you are not travelling to sunnier climes.  A good idea is to pack a rucksack or bag for each child with fun activities (age dependent) for them to do as and when needed.   This can contain old favourites or some charity shop finds and may be puzzles, a new dvd, magazines, books, small toys and so on.

Get into a routine….but keep some flexibility

Children LOVE routines, so if you have a set routine that lets them know that it is time to get up or go to bed, then sticking to that whilst away as much as possible will help prevent meltdowns.  However, you are on holiday, so it is usually best to be relaxed and flexible so that there is less stress.  Children will happily fall asleep when ready, but if forced when it is still broad daylight in the summer or when there is a lot of activity going on around the van to try to get them into bed….you may be on to a losing battle.  With teenagers, yes, you need to know where they are at all times, but they will be much more cooperative if you allow them some freedom, within reason too.

Most of all, try to really enjoy the moments that you can, and don’t get bogged down trying to create the perfect holiday scenario.  The blips that you may experience when stuffed into a campervan for the nth day in a row are the bits that everyone will remember for years to come!