crazy? travelling with 4 kids, no way, great times!

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 21:11
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Earlier this year i asked for advice travelling with 4 kids (1,3,5,6yrs). We were heading from Sydney out to Broken Hill, home via Cobar, Dubbo for just under 3 weeks. I am glad to say that i had an absolutely fantastic time and can't wait to plan our next travelling holiday. We managed to travel without a trailer thanks to some good advice of only taking a 'day pack' for each child and buying food when we stopped at each place. We didn't take a portacot, and didn't miss it either and took the smallest stroller we could get our hands on. We had two 6person dome tents which we set up o/n and put up a tarp for those longer stays. We had 4 self inflating mattresses for hubby and myself and the two older kiddies and this was fine. Used the camp kitchens as much as possible especially for o/n stays made life easier, not so much to get out and pack up. Tried not to do more than 3-4 hours travelling at a time. Unfortunately we didn't get to see or do all that we discovered along the way but makes for a good excuse to return to some of the places.
Next is to decide whether to go for a trailer with a fold out tent or a camper trailer, not exactly sure of correct titles they both seem to be called 'camper trailers'. Then it will be to decide where to head next.
Any advice? We are planning on hiring each to see what we prefer.
Thanks for all those that shared their own experiences to make my preparations that much easier.
from one very happy travelling mother!
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Reply By: JD's GQ - Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 22:32

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 22:32
We are in the same boat!! Less one, Our kids are 3,5,and8,And enjoy all the camping trips,From a few days to a week or two. The kids love it,So much better behaved than home.We too have a large tent and also getting a CT I think the camper trailer will be more of an easy camp set up,And the wife and i are upstairs and the kids down below on the blowups.Also with the attatchments you can get with them they can have a play room if the weather gets abit rough.Have you done fraser island yet? Thats one we want to do,Wer'e in adelaide so will be a big trip.Cheers and happy camoing.Jeff.
AnswerID: 412199

Follow Up By: Cols6 - Saturday, Apr 10, 2010 at 21:45

Saturday, Apr 10, 2010 at 21:45
This was our first travelling holiday so we haven't done anywhere else at the moment apart from staying in the same place for a week or so. I agree about the behaviour, seems to be more for them to do when camping or maybe it's just everything is new and constantly changing!
We did meet other friendly families in our travels and it's good to be able to hear about other's plans or experiences who are in similar circumstances.
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FollowupID: 682455

Reply By: bockstar1 - Friday, Apr 09, 2010 at 08:46

Friday, Apr 09, 2010 at 08:46
Excellent.

Sounds like you had a great time.

You're right, there's so much to see and do. A trip to the west has heaps to offer.

In terms of a C/T, strongly suggest you hire first and then buy. There are a number of places in Sydney that do hires. From hiring, you can then work out what you like/dislike and you'll then be better informed when making a purchase.

Check out the camping/caravan show in Rosehill coming up. If you're not enthused enough now, this will get you going big time!!

Cheers :-)

AnswerID: 412233

Follow Up By: Cols6 - Saturday, Apr 10, 2010 at 21:47

Saturday, Apr 10, 2010 at 21:47
Yes, we are thinking about trying to get to the caravan and camping show. We have been before and it was good. My problem isn't being enthused but trying to restrain my enthusiasm within our budget!
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Reply By: HGMonaro - Friday, Apr 09, 2010 at 10:15

Friday, Apr 09, 2010 at 10:15
campertailers... my summary!

3 main variations... Soft Floor, Hard Floor and Wind-Ups

Soft Floor, a tent on wheels. Can be huge with extra rooms to house extra family but then takes longer to set up/ pack up.

Hard Floor, usually a flip over affair that uses the lid of the camper to act as a floor for the tent area. Bed will be on the trailer section still. Easy to set up but usualy limited in how many people you can sleep.

Wind-up (or Jayco style). Half caravan, half tent. Still sleeping under canvas but have caravan like benches and seating. Easy to set up. Proper seating, eating table. Lot bigger and heavier than other types.

Extra variations...
Expanders : Full high or pop-top Caravan with wind-up campertrailer like bed ends (eg. Jayco Expanders, Windsor Rapids)
Capsule Camper trailers : (eg. Ultimate, TVan, etc.) Generally suited for 2 people and can be more off road orientated. Can be very expensive!
AnswerID: 412238

Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Apr 09, 2010 at 16:31

Friday, Apr 09, 2010 at 16:31
Hi Cols

You are starting off right: "We are planning on hiring each to see what we prefer". Consider what it may be like with several wet days in row too.

Good on you; glad the trial run worked out well. Just going shopping with my four when young was a trial. Longer trips to visit Grandparents was torture. Happy to leave them all behind these days :)

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AnswerID: 412269

Reply By: Jude&theboys - Saturday, Apr 10, 2010 at 20:32

Saturday, Apr 10, 2010 at 20:32
Glad to hear you enjoyed it. I had so many comments about how good I was taking 3 boys camping on my own...(hmm if I could do it without yelling at them at some point I'd feel better about it - am far from the perfect Mum) but they are better when camping than when at home cause they are having so much fun!

Motherhen I dread taking my 3 boys shopping and avoid it whenever possible....BUT camping is a different story. We spent the best ever 5 nights in our tent at Swan Hill over Easter. All the cooking we managed on our 2 burner gas stove except the one night it bucketed down and we resorted to the camp kitchen.

But wow people were so friendly too. Someone noticed it was just me with the 3 boys as we arrived and within minutes (despite saying thanks but we'll be right) I had 3 helpers to get the tent up, had more help taking it down and someone left me their extension cord as we had a powered site but my cord didn't quite reach - even insisted I keep it when they were leaving before us!

We still have camper trailer envy....saving saving....but meanwhile we are lovin the tent.
Kids had an absolute ball -
AnswerID: 412437

Follow Up By: Cols6 - Saturday, Apr 10, 2010 at 22:01

Saturday, Apr 10, 2010 at 22:01
I reckon you're doing a great job getting the boys out camping. I bet they remember the fun they have rather than mum yelling.
Friendly campers - i couldn't believe how friendly people were especially once we got out to Broken Hill. Everyone was up for a chat and we even got invited over for cuppas. All makes for a good experience.
I'm with you with the 'saving saving' part, that's why we chose the tents and used them for all our stops, with the exception of the underground motel at White Cliffs. Did that for the experience (thanks to the financial help of grandparents) which the kids enjoyed but everywhere else tents. Once i started planning this holiday I could not believe how much we could save by staying in tents for all our stops.
Keep on with the camping, you're creating great memories for your boys and giving them a love for this wonderful country!
Enjoy
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Follow Up By: bkbjans - Thursday, Apr 15, 2010 at 23:54

Thursday, Apr 15, 2010 at 23:54
Jude

You are a saint in my eyes! If yelling was all that was involved you are amazing. I could have happily given my 3 year old to any one passing by on day 4 camping and I had my husband with me! The 3 boys were easy though! Really, the older they get the easier it is, and I love how helpful everyone is! We helped some people out of a bog the other day, and that feels great too!
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Follow Up By: Jude&theboys - Friday, Apr 16, 2010 at 09:32

Friday, Apr 16, 2010 at 09:32
thanks but far from a saint! It will be easier I suspect when we are over the night bed wetting issues too! We do ok most of the time - they are getting bigger which does make it easier, but I'm not quite ready to send my boys off to the mens bathrooms for a shower so am thankful of family bathrooms - I'll have to let the older ones go soon though - that's the hardest bit. That and some company in the evenings would be nice sometimes - I usually make sure I have a good book. Mine are all boys- don't know what I would do with a girl...I mean long hair is pretty and all but it takes a lot more work than 3 little buzz cuts!
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FollowupID: 683169

Reply By: bkbjans - Thursday, Apr 15, 2010 at 23:50

Thursday, Apr 15, 2010 at 23:50
Love hearing these positive stories! We're taking our 4 aged 2 - 10 away for 5 -6 weeks from the bottom of WA to the top and back! We have a jayco swan and use it a lot but our longest stretch so far has been 8 days. Since buying the jayco the logistics have been a lot easier so we camp more often. Probably at least 10 trips in the past year which isn't bad going! Having said that I still wont let the hubby drag it out along the beach to Cape Arid as I dont fancy getting bogged! Then again with four kids and camping gear we would need a trailer out there (no shops!) so could get bogged anyway!

Enjoy the camping!
AnswerID: 413087

Reply By:- Sunday, May 02, 2010 at 18:28

Sunday, May 02, 2010 at 18:28
Congrats. Cols6,
Your now on your way and it will never be a regretful choice to start the first Camping trip with four kids.
Been doing it for a while now and the last trip was a doozy - two adults & four boys 10, 8, 6, 4 - six bikes and a trailgator for towing the little one if needed.
CT with two double bunks and an Inner spring with eggshell top for the not so young.
Six week holiday from Atherton QLD down the centre to the Great Ocean Road and back along the Coast with a couple of sojourns inland.
Not to mention the 100km bike ride from Bright to Wangarrata (four year old made 75km without towing) amazing!!.
I wish I could put in the photos but can't afford the membership just yet.
Still paying for the holiday.
Always looking for the cheaper accommodation options. ie... free camping spots.
We are always on the lookout for other campers with kids and if you're in the area "as above" get in touch as we have a free camp spot on our one acre but only in the dry season.
Steve, Trish and mini campers.
AnswerID: 415128

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