“There are two ways to travel – First class, and with children.”
For many parents the idea of clambering into a confined, mobile living space with the kids and driving around in a foreign land for two weeks is enough to send them into paroxysms of uncontrollable, white knuckle, stomach churning dread.
Wining, winging, fighting, and the dreaded temper tantrum unleashed before a herd of travelling spectators are but a few of the delights unwary parents travelling with kids have had to endure.
But as opposed to airline or regular car travel, campervans and motorhomes have actually proven themselves to be child friendly – in fact the majority of kids of all ages love the things. Contrary to what the uninitiated parent may think, a motorhome hire vacations in NZ with the kids is one of the best family experiences you can have.
Venturing away from the more traditional family getaway options, campervans afford the ideal platform to share in an adventure to some amazing places, in a fun and flexible way. But it is a smart idea to be prepared and keep the following sanity saving tips in mind.
Travelling with kids
Simplify your itinerary
Whilst some adults are fans of the shopping list style of touring – checking as many hotspots, famous sights and must-do activities off their checklist as is humanly possible within a 24 hour timespan – kids just aren’t cut out for it.
Plan your trip in shorter, more manageable day to day segments that don’t involve too many long stretches of driving or marathon distance hikes. Think quality of experience and not quantity of experience and choose activities that are fun and can be enjoyed by the whole family as a group.
Family trip to NZ
New Zealand is a fairly big country in terms of driving routes. So, whilst we don’t advise that you cram a full country tour into a 10 day itinerary, you will inevitably have some long drives ahead of you. For toddlers and young kids especially, the novelty effect of travelling by motorhome wears off quickly so it is essential to have fun on-board games, activities and entertainment options prepared for them.
Colouring and puzzle books, travel diaries, board games, and whilst you may not allow it at home, laptop and phone games will all go a long way to keeping them entertained and you from losing your mind.
Many of the more well-equipped NZ motorhomes will have built in digital TV’s and DVD players so be sure to bring along a small stash or movies the kids will enjoy. A ready stack of reading material and magazines will also come in handy for the older siblings.
Tame them with treats
Whilst we don’t recommend feeding your little ones a steady diet of candy, chocolate and high sugar fizzy drinks, we do think that sweet treats are essential provided you hand them out in moderation.
Stock up and prepare a ready supply of fruit, veggie cuts and healthy drink alternatives. New Zealand has some amazing cheeses which pair very well with crackers and other savoury snack alternatives so keep a horde of the stuff in your on board refrigerator alongside a few bottles of award winning NZ wine, because you deserve it.
A motorhome hire NZ adventure can be an incredibly rewarding and fun family experience. All you need is to make smart itinerary choices, ensure the kids are entertained during longer stretches and that when they get peckish there is always a well-stocked fridge and pantry to raid.
Photos: Dave Greene, Autobarn.