12 month trip for 2 adults and 4 year old daughter in a offroad camper trailer

Submitted: Friday, May 20, 2011 at 13:16
ThreadID: 86427 Views:2399 Replies:4 FollowUps:7
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Hi there, I thought I would start with this website to get feedback and advice. My husband and I have a 2.5 year old daughter and have planted the seed to travel around Oz with an offroad camper trailer in the next 18 months. The technical side of it will come together BUT the motherly aspects have kicked in for me and the concerns of travelling with a (will be 3.5 - 4 year old). Most people seem to travel as a family with at least 2 kids but what experiences have been encountered with just one child travelling. A very happy go lucky kid already, easily adjusted to different circumstances and situations but there wont be any kinder friends, toys on call, napping in beds at a whim etc....what else? Apart from experiencing all that travelling has to offer, I'm sure we will be in some pretty remote places for bursts at a time etc... Your thoughts would be well considered and appreciated. Kind regards
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Reply By: Frances - Friday, May 20, 2011 at 13:54

Friday, May 20, 2011 at 13:54
Admittedly we travelled with 5 kids but have travelled extensively and as a mother I would think that it would be a wonderful experience for the three of you. Her friends will be her parents and there are kids all along the way that you will encounter at pools and playgrounds at caravan parks and in small towns. She will also get used to the routine of travelling and sleep in the car etc. The only thing will be that you need to travel at a pace that suits a 4 year old and do your exploring and sight seeing in a way that suits a 4 year old. So my guess is that you two will be the ones making the allowances so that she stays a happy camper.
AnswerID: 454942

Follow Up By: Paula Kelly K - Friday, May 20, 2011 at 14:08

Friday, May 20, 2011 at 14:08
Thank you Frances for your reply and thoughts. We have just returned from the Red Centre from a motor home trip over Easter and it was fabulous. You are quite right and I have no doubt that she will be fine at her pace and meet fellow travellers or same age etc. I am thinking you did some schooling along the way but thats a whole other chapter. Thanks for your support and quick reply.
FollowupID: 727820

Reply By: Rod - Friday, May 20, 2011 at 17:31

Friday, May 20, 2011 at 17:31
We've travelled for the last 11 years with 1, then 2 then 3 kids. The biggest trip was 11 years ago with a 1 year old for 4 months around Oz with a 4WD and CT. Some thoughts:

* We found one of the most difficult times was when you were first trying to set up camp. We had a picnic blanket and bag of toys at the little one's feet that we could pull out when we pull up and help keep them entertained whilst you set up the CT.

* We avoided in-car DVD players at first but have succumbed to using them as a treat

* Perhaps a little young, but audio books in CD may help. My boys have the entire Narnia books and we all listen to them, for half an hour at a time.

* At that age, kids can get dirty. We just accept it and hand-wash the kids clothes every few days to keep clean clothes ticking over. There's a clothesline permanently in the back of the 4WD. Costs of coin operated washing machines start to add up.

* We have a bunk bed that only requires partial disassembly each day and travels lying flat on top of the CT bed.

* A large plastic tub used to carry camping gear doubles as a kids bath-tub

* I use 12V fllouro lights around camp instead of gas lights so you don't have to worry about the kids having accidents.

Have Fun! There's never the perfect time of life to do this. Just get out there and do it we say.

AnswerID: 454953

Follow Up By: Paula Kelly K - Friday, May 20, 2011 at 20:22

Friday, May 20, 2011 at 20:22
Thanks Rod - I'm so thrilled that people have taken the time to reply. I like the bunk bed aspect too so will consider this when we get our CT. Its hard to imagine what a 3-4 year old will be like (of course I want her to be little all the time) independent now and the socialising with others whilst on the road (my main concerns were not seeing others for days on end) Maybe these are just random thoughts. We drove 5000km in 10 days, last month with a non-working radio and no other forms of music and I only pulled out the play-school dvds on day 7 so that was good going I think - none of us minded a bit as there was alot to see. I'm sure we'll encounter 2nd hand shops along the way to recycle stuff as we go as a last resort. Thanks Rod and trust you are still camping out there too!
FollowupID: 727851

Follow Up By: Member - Joe n Mel n kids (FNQ - Friday, May 20, 2011 at 20:32

Friday, May 20, 2011 at 20:32
say what, you must be mad ...... hang on, come to think of it we also have been kind of travelling for 10 years starting with 1 and now have 3, longest leg was about 12-13,000 kls ....
One thing we found was really handy was a wooden "flat pack" playpen, about 6 foot square and 4 foot high, 4 sides that came apart and flat packed, we got a custom made canvas mat made to fit exactly inside it with 2" foam sewn in, being canvas not prickles ever stuck to it, spew and all the other crud babys generate could simply be hosed off and just throw a blanket over it before placing bubs in it, one problem we solved with the design of the mat was it stopped bubs pushing it along like a box....
In car DVD's ABSOLUTLY ESSENTIAL, we had ours stolen in Perth, gladly forked out the $500 bucks as soon as we could, buy the "strap on" ones so you can detach them and they can play it in the tent at night.....
Our kids NEVER got dirty, they got filthy and very happy, gave up in the end as they had the most fun when dirt was involved.......
LED lights or fluros NEVER do the gas light thing, heat and canvas and kids dont work.....
Reserve a few days every so often to book into a hotel/motel/resort with a big pool, it gives the kids fun in a pool and give you much needed re-charge time, dont kid yourself that you wont need to do it eh

Cheers and have fun
FollowupID: 727859

Reply By: Member - Josh- Friday, May 20, 2011 at 19:07

Friday, May 20, 2011 at 19:07
We did 3 yrs with 2 girls aged 3 and 5 when we left. Was a great expirience. Have a look at our website if you like. May help with ideas http://www.kidsandall.webs.com/
We set up the back of the car with books, coloring and school work so they had stuff to do. Never had in car dvd or anything.
Kids had jobs when we set up camp to help out. Sometimes it didn't really help but gave them jobs to do and as they became more capable they lernt to do things that did help.
They will learn so much and see so much. it will be great for family unity as well. People often comment how close we are now and I think doing the trip really helped to make that happen.
Have fun

AnswerID: 454962

Follow Up By: Paula Kelly K - Friday, May 20, 2011 at 20:24

Friday, May 20, 2011 at 20:24
Thank you Josh and we will grab a cuppa and have a peruse of your site - sounds great. Its really heartening for the personal advice and time spent to reply.:)
FollowupID: 727854

Follow Up By: Frances - Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 20:25

Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 20:25
Another thing we found useful with ours kids was to have a whiteboard and a pencil case full of whiteboard markers in every color ever made and a few black ones. Also a spray bottle of whiteboard cleaner and a good quality whiteboard eraser. You can buy flexible whiteboards in A4 size at school supplies shops. It then just sat on a book when they were using it.
FollowupID: 728001

Follow Up By: Paula Kelly K - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 18:14

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 18:14
Thanks Frances. This is a wonderful idea. I have a mini etcha-scetch when we travel on aircraft (I use the markers for work on my boards) so its great. Thanks a million again. I feel like we have entered a whole new community and club - it gets more exciting by the minute (thanks to you folks).
Kind regards
FollowupID: 728106

Reply By: aboutfivebucks (Pilbara) - Friday, May 20, 2011 at 21:57

Friday, May 20, 2011 at 21:57
We have been traveling for 5 years with our daughter. We initially avoided staying in caravan parks during school holidays to avoid the crowds, opting for remote camping. We now appreciate the crowded holidays - as the crowds come with plenty of kids. Socializing can be hard in remote locations for a single child.
AnswerID: 454986

Follow Up By: Paula Kelly K - Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 12:40

Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 12:40
Hi aboutfivebucks - that is definitely food for thought and this is the vein of thought I was thinking about. My husband is on "your wave length" hence getting a C.T (yep I'd LOVE a 5th wheeler for the comfort factor but that puts our objectives poles apart and could cancel the whole idea of going - we both want to be off the beaten track so a C.T is the way to go). So getting to these remote places and having a look etc will be fantastic but the guts of my thread is about "socialisation and development" of a 3-4 year old. We plan to move back to NZ after the travel so that again is a whole new learning and adjustment stage. Did you have these niggling fears when you started, what did you do and what were your thought patterns along the way. I'd love your feed back here, if you have time to jot something down. Many thanks for your reply. Paula
FollowupID: 727943

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