Our Friend of Jayco, Adventures with Rosy, certainly know their stuff when it comes to travelling with kids. Bronson, Chelsea and kids Harvey, Piper and Ruby have been touring New Zealand fulltime in their Jayco Journey since January 2021.
We asked them to share their top 10 must haves for travelling fulltime with kids for anyone who’s thinking of hitting the road fulltime.
1. Pack the right wet weather gear
You need jackets, overalls/pants, gumboots and a hat. There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad outfit choices. New Zealand weather is unpredictable, and you don’t want to miss out on fun adventures just because of a little rain. When it rains, chuck on the gumboots and go puddle jumping!
2. Always be beach ready!
Have a beach bag ready to go at all times. Pack a bucket, spades, picnic blanket, togs, towels, sun umbrella, sunblock and floaties in a bag that can just be grabbed quickly so you don’t waste valuable beach time. We find having a pair of water shoes is great for when you go exploring rock pools.
3. Have plenty of art supplies
You can store an almost endless supply of large sheets of paper under the mattress.
With little ones, we know art can get messy. That’s why we always pack washable markers, so if some get on their clothes, you can wash them straight away and they will be as good as new. You could also bring a box of chalk and find the nearest footpath to drawn on.
4. Always look for shade
Just in case you can’t park near trees, have a backup plan for being outside for long periods without getting sunburnt. Awnings are great (if the angle is right) or pop up a pup-tent next to the caravan for the kids to play in. They’ll love having their own space – and so will you.
5. Indoor activities for rainy days
Always pack some games for those rainy days to avoid the dreaded “We’re bored!” Here’s a few of our favourite games. We have a supply of Lego/Duplo or Play Doh because that allows the kids to be creative and use some imagination. Puzzles and board games are good too, and can be packed in zip lock bags to save on space.
6. Go exploring on bikes
There are so many great spots for kids to bike around New Zealand. Just about every town has pump tracks these days. Bike riding will also help wear the kids out, so that when it comes to bedtime, they fall asleep quickly. Our Harvey has a little pink bike that sits on our bike rack. It gets a lot of laughs from people we meet.
7. BYO Bath
A collapsible bath is great when the kids are a little too young to jump in the shower. After a day of adventures outside you can guarantee they are going to be filthy and these types of baths can be used anywhere. It can also be used outside for a bath with a view or as a water-play table on hot afternoons. Don’t forget the bubble bath!
8. Pack some good bedtime reading
Reading books at bedtime helps the kids wind down after a busy day of adventuring. We constantly update our book collection as we travel about. Once a book is read, we will “trade it in” at a local OP shop. You can store favourite books in a magazine holder at the end of each kids’ bed.
9. Leave the toys at home (well, most of them)
Leave the boxes of toys at home and only bring a few favourites along on your travels. Kids will make fun wherever they are and usually prefer being outside, so there’s no need to pack all their things. Plus, you’ll be thankful for the extra space in the caravan!
10. And most importantly … always have fun!
When you travel with kids, remember that things won’t always go to plan. Sometimes the best days are the ones that don’t turn out how you thought they would. Just roll with it and make it fun anyway.