Realising it can be a bit challenging travelling with kids she decided to help the rest of us with a helpful blog called maxandivy.com. Her blog is full of tips, travelling hacks, fantastic places to stay, camper-van modifications and all the knowledge she has gained from travelling kids. Let’s not forget the magical photos. Camptoo loves her blog for the honesty and free giving nature of the information she provides. Sometimes it can be hard with the travelling with kids in tow but Lily is building a community where parents can share the highs and the lows. All with a bit of humour!
We caught up with Lily just before she headed away on a trip from Sydney to Melbourne.
What is the hardest part of travelling with kids?
The kids (jokes)! In all seriousness though, I think it is the fact that you have to be “switched on” the whole time. At home it’s kids proof and I can let them do their own thing to a certain extent. On the road I am constantly on alert, there is no downtime.
Keeping them entertained, especially little ones like ours that have the attention span of fleas.
Why is it so important to travel with your kids?
It’s illegal to leave them behind. Jokes aside, it brings a wealth of experience into their life in a really short period of time. They become resilient, and more aware of the fact that they are not actually the center of the universe, which I think, makes for really cool kids.
It also allows me to live the life I love at the same time, and I’m a better mum for that. I think the point is, not to let having kids be your reason to stop doing what you love.
Good tips for keeping kids happy in the car?
Food. My rule of no eating in the car fell over on about day one. I’m getting good at choosing things that take ages to eat and cause minimal mess and many a disaster has been averted with a snack.
Audiobooks have been a game changer, the kids can happily listen to a story for hours and it saves me from the incessant questions that toddlers are so good at. I also do a little lazy parenting and use the audio books to teach the alphabet and counting.
Advice for others planning similar trips in a van with kids?
That old cliché, just do it! You don’t really know what you need to know until you get out there and start.
Read as many stories, blogs or articles by, or about parents doing the same thing.
Try and stick to your usual routine, make sure that they have the same bedtime as they do at home and the same bedtime routine. Take along some of their favourite books to read at night.
A lot of people I talk to are concerned about it being a bit unsettling for the kids with all the moving around. I find that timings of sleeping and meals etc. is actually much more important than the actual location they are doing it in. Also, sleeping in the same bed every night with familiar bedding is a winner with the little ones.
Remember to make the journey part of the fun. Racing towards a destination on a timeframe with kids never works out so well.
The sooner you get ok with the idea that everything takes way longer than usual the sooner you start having fun.
What is the most rewarding aspect of travelling with kids in a van?
Watching them get excited about the world. They are little sponges at the moment and I get a great sense of satisfaction by being able to supply them with a constant stream of new experiences.
Knowing that they are watching me do what I love, that’s the sort of role modelling I want to do for them and what I can teach when I am travelling with kids.
Being able to change the scenery at will. There is nothing like travelling with kids and seeing them wake up in the morning to a brand new landscape full of potential adventures. The wonder is totally contagious.
What is your favourite holiday so far?
It would have to be the road trip we did when our son was four weeks old. We spent two weeks doing a slow drive from Sydney to Noosa in a motorhome we rented.
My hubby is a surfer so we did a lot of beachside camping. It was so nice to have him able to jump in the surf on our doorstep and yet have a whole little house at my fingertips to do the baby thing at the same time.
The idea was that instead of having a stream of visitors arrive on our doorstep to see the new baby, we would bring the baby to them.
It worked perfectly, we had our own space we could retreat to when we needed to and we didn’t have to worry about hosting anyone.
We stayed at some beautiful places along the way. The drive up the East Coast from Sydney is amazing, there are so many wonderful places to stop.
What’s next on the family bucket list?
We head off on Sunday to do the coast road from Sydney to Melbourne, then the Great Ocean Road and back to Sydney as the crow flies.
In early December we are at a vanlife gathering in Crescent Head for the weekend.
Then from Boxing Day we will be spending six days at Woodford Folk Festival in QLD.
And of course, the big one, we want to do the lap around Australia as a family in the future
We would like to thank Lily and her family for being so generous and sharing their story so we can all experience a bit more peace and comfort when it comes to hitting the road with little ones. Sometimes it can be challenging but the rewards of sharing a journey with your kids can’t be replaced.
If your thinking of hitting the road this summer have a look at a few of the vans we have on Camptoo. If you have a van and are thinking about hiring it out get in touch and we will be happy to let you know how it works
Keep being awesome Lily!