Plotting and Planning: An introduction to Barney and campervanning with children

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We’re house bound. Tom’s away (working in London). It’s snowing, a lot.  We briefly ventured out this morning and got as far as the bottom of the hill before both girls started crying with cold (despite wearing ski gear from Norway!) and had to head back home. And so what better way to spend the rest of the day than plan our trip in Barney next month.

Owning a VW camper van had always been an individual dream of mine and when I first met Tom (4 years ago) was one of the first things we talked about. It turned out that it was one of his too. Just a couple of months later I got a phone call ( I was visiting family in Sheffield as we were both living in London at the time) from Tom saying he had bought a Camper Van, I was so excited! It was pretty obvious right from the start that we were meant to be but this was the icing on the cake during those very exciting first few months together (superficial I know!)

One of the things that appealed to us I guess was having the freedom to just set off on an adventure whenever the need or whim arises however with 2 small children in tow that’s not always easy, still possible though!

I thought I’d share a few tips of things we have found helpful:

ALWAYS BE PREPARED FOR A BREAKDOWN!

Take plenty of food and water for everyone on board ( I made the mistake of not taking food and water on a trip just 10 miles away as I thought there was no point and we broke down, on a Sunday with no bus route or shops near by with a 2 week old…she was fine as I was breastfeeding but I was exhausted and hungry! The AA got a puncture on route to us and it took them 6 hours to recover the van) Lesson learned.

Take plenty of warm blankets and waterproofs (even in Summer!) We broke down on the M6 late a night and had to huddle at the side of the motorway in the rain with a 2 year old, they slept through the entire thing as they were nice and snug.

Travel during nap times or late at night. 

Try to avoid rush hour traffic as much as possible.  

Take it slow, plan a stop en route.

Plan your route then multiply the time it should take by 3! (We went to the lakes last year and it took my parents 2 hours to get there, it took us 6 hours)

If you plan to wild camp (tolerated but not strictly legal) make sure you have a rough idea of where you’ll stop as there is nothing fun about driving around late at night tired in an area you’re not familiar with 2 equally tired children. 

If you like the idea of wild camping but still want the facilities there are lots of great basic camp sites out there if you do a google search. Also the camping and caravanning club offer you 3 hours use of their facilities for just £7 at some of their sites.

Pack light.

If it’s completely last minute and all the camp sites you try are fully booked try laterooms.com (or similar) We have paid less for a room in a hotel than the cost of staying at a camp site. And you don’t have to cook your own breakfast!

Some useful links:

http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/

http://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Camper-Van-Coast-Cooking/dp/1444703943/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364045274&sr=8-1

http://www.wildcamping.co.uk/

http://www.thehappycampers.co.uk/campsites/wildcamping/

Take some good music and enjoy!

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