When our daughter, Anika, was 5 months old, we decided that the time was right to travel from Africa to Europe, rent a campervan and explore Austria, Switzerland and Germany. The fact that it’s our daugther born with Spina Bifida, shortly after a serious brain operation is a different story for a different post, but don’t worry, it was a great trip without any issues.
After this experience we can safely say that 5 months old was the perfect time to travel with her. Even more so with a campervan. Of course, every option has pro’s and con’s and we’d like to share our experience with you.
7 Things we liked about travelling with a campervan and a 5 month old baby
- Luggage: The fact that we could lug the huge amount of luggage that goes with a foreign holiday and a baby to a single destination was our number 1 pro. This meant we could take extra luxuries like bottle warmers and sterilizers, extra warm clothes, etc. and did not have to drag it from hotel to hotel. We also did not lose or forget anything in hotel rooms! 🙂
- Safety: The fact that you always have your car seat strapped in and ready in the campervan was a BIG plus for us. This can be a huge challenge on public transport.
- Mod cons: With a 5 month old baby it’s imperative to have regular, fresh meals on hand. When a baby is hungry there is no waiting or patience involved. Having your own dedicated fridge/freezer, microwave, stovetop, etc is great! Frozen food can stay frozen and hard earned breast milk can stay fresh.
- Routine: Read any usefull book about babies and you’ll soon learn that Routine is a very hot buzzword. Not because it’s cool but because it works, for both babies and parents. If you want a better chance at a happy baby, try an stick to some sort of routine. This is where the campervan is great. It allows you to accommodate the baby’s routine without losing travel time or having disturbances like noise and weather.
- Elements: When you’re travelling you’re bound have either a windy, rainy or scortching hot day and with the campervan it allows you to avoid the elements when you choose to. Simply stay in, play some games or catch up on some sleep. When you’re not travelling with a campervan you might have had to check out of your accommodation simply because your booking, that you made months before that, said so. This would leave you exposed to the elements until you’re able to check into the next place, which normally is late afternoon.
- Pace: We enjoy setting our own pace when travelling but with a baby this becomes more than a preference. If the baby has a bad day, doesn’t feel well or is simply tired of travelling, the campervan allows you to adjust your pace without any serious implications to your budget or plans. This also applies when you really like a destination and want to stay longer or if a campsite is less desireable you can simply move on.
- Surroundings: Together with a regular routine the baby also prefers consistent surroudings. Within a couple of days your baby will be used to the sounds, smells and feel of the campervan and will be very happy to be there instead of constantly moving around.
3 Things we disliked about travelling with a baby in a campervan
- Sound: We soon realized that a latex glove is more soundproof than a campervan. It can be a bit uncomfortable to face your neighbour if your baby cried all night or if your neighbour snored all night.
- Communal space: Whether you have a strong stomach or not, changing a diaper within a few feet from where you’re trying to enjoy your healthy breakfast is not the best idea.
- Campsite/Parking Locations: We found that most campsites are situated outside the city. Even though most of them have public transport close by, it still means you have to take the baby out into the elements and lug the stroller, baby bag, etc to and onto the nearest public transport. Most campervans are also quite large and finding parking anywhere close the city or attractions can be challenging. The public transport issue then applies again.
As we’re sitting here, typing these pro’s and con’s we’ve just decided to do another campervan trip……….. This time with a challening 2 year old and a 7 year old in a wheelchair!