16 Jun Heading off on a ‘Big Lap’ in a family caravan – tips on planning your trip.
Dreaming of heading off to do the ‘big lap’ with your family caravan? Chances are, if you are avid travelers and plan on caravanning with your kids, you would have dreamt of hitting the highway and heading off around our great country. But how do you start preparing for a trip like that especially with little ones in tow?
Over the years we have picked up tips on how to travel comfortably with the family on large trips and how to do the big lap, ensuring you see all there is to see in style.
What do people do about work and school?
Planning such a trip starts at the very beginning asking how will you get enough time off work or school for everyone and manage to survive? Nowadays a lot of work places are flexible enough to allow for extended leave, or reduced hours so you may be able to work when you get to wi-fi (depending on how you like to travel this could be rare). If you are big on social media and have the skills, you could even turn your trip into a business and blog your way around the country, the options are endless!
School can be arranged for on the road, depending on the age of the kids and it can be a great way to learn. Learning on the road about all the places, history, nature can be something that is priceless for the whole family. Imagine the show and tell the kids will have when they go back to school!
How will we get around our vast Australian countryside safely and in comfort?
You will spend so much time on the road you need to make sure that you can do it comfortably, in our great country there can be a huge gap between major towns so for safety sake, you need to make sure both your vehicle and family caravan are safe and reliable. You may like free camping, but being ‘stuck’ is a whole different ballgame! Plan in advance and research your set up if you are purchasing specifically for this trip or ensure you have checked that your current set up will take you where you want to go.
Take your time, really think about where you will want to go, do you want to go off-grid or stick to the bitumen, do you like free camping or prefer the family holiday parks? All of this will help determine what kind of set up you will need, and what is best for your family’s comfort and safety.
A well planned family caravan can get you off-grid to some of the most unreachable places and have you sleeping and living in comfort with the right set up if you like to get to the most remote locations, or it can be the home away from home you always wanted and be set up for highways and caravan parks. Larger caravans are not always necessary, but it is all in the planning to ensure you have exactly what you want and need in a family caravan before you set off.
Spend the time and plan out your trip, map it out.
Make a list of where you want to go, what is on your wish list to see and do. Plot them on a map and determine just which way you want to head first on your family holiday (hint, check the weather before you decide which way to go, want to head toward the warm weather? Plan accordingly).
Determine how long you have to travel and plan out your stops, your extended stays and your one night stop overs. Some areas have so much to see and do, you may want to stay a while and see everything, mapping it all out will help with time planning. Planning in advance takes out the stress of wondering where you are going to stay, and it will help having to make the mad dash home if you are running out of time!
Make sure you allow some extra time for those unexpected locations you just can’t bear to leave yet, there is bound to be some spots you just don’t want to leave in a day (or a week). They key to enjoying your travels and relaxing is to plan for the places that really take your breath away.
Invest in some old fashioned maps, and a quality GPS. Don’t rely on your mobile to get you around to all of those places, especially those that are barely a spec on the map.
Keep in touch with family & friends
Leave a copy of your plans with a family member or friend or two and check in regularly. As we said earlier, there can be a big gap between major towns, there are some beautiful spots that most don’t get to see, especially if you head off the beaten track, but if something happens and the weather turns, or you get a breakdown, having someone know where you are could be a godsend.
Take advantage of technology where you can, Wi-Fi is readily available or you can arrange to carry your own device that will keep you in touch with family and friends, work if you need to or check that bank account (someone has to buy fuel, for both the family and the car). Make sure you have researched your mobile phone and Wi-Fi provider and check they have the BEST coverage across Australia. Don’t skimp on phone coverage, get yourself the best for peace of mind.
How much will the big lap cost?
How you like to travel and where you like to stay in your family caravan will help determine your budget.
This is something we can’t help you with. Some travel light, cooking every night and staying away from tourist regions and sticking to free camping, others like the caravan parks and the endless nights eating in restaurants, some families like a mix of both. To budget, you will need to think about the way you like to travel on your family caravanning holidays.
They way you travel will depend on the cost of your trip so when budgeting take this into account. If you like to cook, the grocery bill may be only slightly more than what you would have at home. Allow for fuel regularly, budget for the activities you plan on doing (most of these costs can be found online before you go).
To save on some costs, before you head to your next destination, or even before you head off, look for deals online to some of the destinations and activities you want to do, you will normally find plenty of discount offers and can often save by booking online, take advantage of these where you can.
Of course we can help you with pricing a family caravan to suit your needs, we can also help with tips on travelling with your family and advise you of any questions you may have about caravanning and touring Australia (plenty of tips throughout the blog section of our website too). Get in touch and ask away, we would be happy to help.
Tips before you head off.
When you are ready to hit the highway on your big lap ensure you have completed the safety checks on your family caravan, organized insurance and don’t forget road-side assist. You have it for your car…don’t forget the caravan.
Ensure you have left details of where you are headed, when you should be expected in each area and the best way to contact you if necessary with a loved one.
Make plans to keep your home safe while you are away, get the mail collected, the garden taken care off. Make it look as though someone is still there. You may be off on your family holiday with caravan in tow but you want to ensure you come home to your house all in one piece.
Pack lightly, consider what you will need while on the road. If it’s a slim chance it might be needed, it may be worth saving the room for something else. Keep the car free from too much luggage if you can, you will be on the road a long time, the family won’t want to be cramped for the whole lap!
Keep a stash of snacks and fresh drinks at the ready in the car each day. You may not want to stop to rummage in the caravan each time someone gets peckish.
Ensure you have your trip well planned and you are relaxed knowing it is all taken care of. It may take a lot of planning for the ‘big lap’ but it’s worth it when you can pull out of the drive on that first day knowing you are fully prepared, and ready for new adventures in your family caravan.
With the prep done, it’s time to relax and enjoy.
Got anymore tips? Let us know, we would love to add to our list.
Looking for your new family caravan? View the range HERE and get in touch.
Happy travels! The Great Escape Caravans team.