Guest Blog: 5 Tips for a Campervan Road Trip with Kids
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September 28, 2020
Guest Blog: 5 Tips for a Campervan Road Trip with Kids
We are Thomas (44), Katrine (37), Eddie (6) and Olivia (3). A Swiss/Danish/Swedish family who left our jobs and the little town in Southern Sweden where we live to go on our dream journey: Three months through Cuba and the US with only four backpacks and a teddybear on our backs. Here are our tips for going on campervan road trip with kids in the US!
Four backpacks, a teddybear, and whole lotta rocks to start our campervan road trip with kids
When I tell people that we spent a month in a campervan with our two small children they either 1. Look at us with concern, or 2. Clap their hands from excitement. This is the same way I was looking at the whole idea when we first got it. One day happy go lucky the other day wondering what we´d gotten ourselves into when we signed up for a campervan road trip with kids.
Now, back in Sweden, a couple of weeks after our road trip, I must say that this month was one of our best traveling experiences so far together as a family. The first reason for this conclusion is that we took on a route that is presenting nature wonders like firecrackers: Boom! There’s another magical red stone that takes your breath away. The second, and maybe most important reason is, that in all the dirt and sweat and lack of space that you experience when you are camping with your loved ones, we found the grooviest feeling of togetherness. Simplicity is the most crucial thing to make life easier with small kids. And camp life is all about simplicity.
Choosing a Campervan Rental Company for the road trip with kids
Our encounter with Escape Campervans was very spontaneous. We had been searching a while on the internet for a possibility to rent an RV in the US but were constantly scared off by the price levels. Suddenly my husband showed me this site with all kinds of colorful vans and I fell completely in love with the concept. It didn´t matter at all that we had to change our travel route since there were no vans available at that time for pick up in Denver and leave in Los Angeles, which was our initial plan. But, in the end, this change ended up being a complete success.
So, these are the circumstances that led us to Broni, our Escape Campervan, transportation and home for the journey. Broni took us on a month long journey through Colorado down to New Mexico, into Arizona and Nevada and in the end back up through Utah again. We tried out hot springs in Valley View, got sand in our eyes in the Great Sand Dunes, experienced arty shops and sipped great coffee in Salida, got a taste of a Native American society and 2 dollar tacos in Taos. We were hunting vortexes and got blinded by beautiful red stones in Sedona, got knocked by the beauty of Grand Canyon (once again) and saw so many fantastic rock formations that will last us a lifetime.
I will not give you a grand tour of all the astonishing things we saw during our trip. I think the great staff of Escape Campervans can give you the guidance you need to create your own success journey. But I will give you a couple of good advice that has helped us make the most of our road trip with the kids:
1. Don’t try to squeeze in too much during your campervan road trip with kids
If you don´t have several months, it is hard to see every corner of the Southwest desert region without getting in severe stress. If you have kids, it is crucial that you have some downtime to reflect on the beauty you´ve seen and just relax. Start to discover the surroundings by looking at them through the same eyes of your kids. Observe them discovering nature and see their imagination run wild. The days where we weren´t driving we usually tried to do some exploring during the first part of the day and then relaxed somewhere in a nice pool (my kids are crazy about water) the rest of the day. This was a good way of balancing out everybody needs.
2. Make campgrounds your base any time you’re on a campervan road trip with kids
When many of the other guests were gone early in the morning to go explore, we often took it a bit easier at the campsites. If you think you will be able to do everything at the same speed as other campers without kids you are in for an unpleasant surprise. Take it easy, lean back and enjoy the time with your kids, exploring the nature right where you are. One of our favorite campgrounds was Manzanitas just outside Sedona. Quiet, small, simple and with beautiful surroundings (in the middle of a forest with a winding river as our neighbor) this was heaven for a small family like ours. Some days we hardly left the campground.
3. Drive early morning and late evening during your campervan road with kids
Early and late driving, when kids are sleeping, is often the best way of traveling when you have small kids who don´t like to sit still in a car seat. Sometimes we were letting the kids fall asleep in their car seats and drove as far as we could manage before we got too tired ourselves. It helps to travel during sleeping hours since getting some of the best campgrounds sometimes require you to book months in advance or get there really early in the morning. Thankfully, most campgrounds have a couple of spots that are first come first serve. Sometimes we drove to a free camp spot in the near surroundings of the campground that we wanted to stay in and then we made sure that we were there early in the morning to get a spot.
4. Take the day as it comes and remember the campervan is part of the adventure
The worst thing you can do when you take your small kids on a camping vacation is to have a whole lot of expectations. Travel slow, enjoy being in nature and let yourself be surprised with whatever comes along. Sometimes the highlight of the day can be to take the campervan for a drive very early in the morning, going to a fabulous viewpoint of the Grand Canyon and have breakfast with a view you will remember forever. The beauty of camp life is that all your daily routines will be seen in a new light. You don´t need a whole lot of extra activities to fill your days.
5. Get off the tourist track to experience the best of a campervan road trip with kids
Zion, Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Arches and so on – they are all stunningly beautiful but you need to be brutally prepared that you are not alone. We are all aware of the fact that you can enjoy nature the most when it is not too crowded. Therefore I would advise you to leave some of the most hyped destinations out to try out some of the less crowded spots. One of our favorite travel days was going down American Scenic Byway 24, through Capitol Reef, ending up in the funny little town of Hanksville. From all the canyons the most family-friendly and downscaled one, in my opinion, is Bryce Canyon.
If you want to know more about traveling with kids or see more pictures from our month on the road with Broni, tune in to our blog at 4backpacks1teddybear.com.