There is nothing better then hitting the open road with your family. The excitment and giggles coming from the backseat as you drive out your drive way and hit the highway for your epic family road trip around Australia. Making and creating new memories as you explore as much as you can.
And then after a week of being in the car you start to hear from the back seat “Are we there yet?”. You have been spending every waking moment with your family and it’s starting to hit a nerve. You have been setting up and pack up your camp day after day and the wanderlust has started to dull. Don’t panick, it’s normal!
Top tips to staying sane on the road!
Plan some ME time:
“Distance makes the heart grow fonder”
Be selfish and plan a little “me” time. It’s not natural or easy to go from a life where you see each other at nights/weekends to seeing each other all day, every day. When you’re travelling whether in a van, you get a little claustrophobic! It’s normal to feel like you need some space. So plan some activities away from each other. My husband loves to go fishing and hunting and to be honest, I love going with him as much as I love him going alone. He gets to have his own space and can enjoy his hobby without baiting a million hooks for the girls and myself.
And if you are travelling with children just remember they need some space as well. We find if the girls are always doing school work beside each other, stuck in a car for long period of time or haven’t had the chance to play with other children they start to fight and argue with each other a lot. They get sick and tired of each other and it’s a great opportunity for us to separate them and do different activities with them.
Meet other travelling families or couples:
When you are constantly travelling it can feel pretty lonely. Your friends at home imagine that every day for you is a holiday and as much as it is, there are still days where you feel alone. Reach out to other travellers and speak to like-minded people that understand the joys and stresses of travelling. We love all the travelling families Facebook groups and Pages that we follow. You can always reach out and see if there’s another family travelling your way or in the same town and want to catch up. It’s so great to see other travelling kids catch up and have a play.
We have made some amazing friends on the road. We have met up with them intentionally and by accident and got talking about our travels. You might be lucky like us and find a family that you get along with and travel with them for a portion of your trip.
Leave your fight at the last town
Yes, you are going to fight while you travel! You might fight a lot or a little but you are still going to have some massive arguments while you’re travelling. The stress of constantly moving, packing up, finances, kids, weather, time together, breakdowns, schooling are going to affect your trip and your marriage. My husband and I are the first to admit that we fight and if you say you never fight then I say LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE! Everyone fights, no one is perfect and travelling can be really stressful at times. So we learnt quickly if you do have an argument then leave it at your last camp. There’s no reason why it should ruin more destinations. There are times where it’s easier said than done.
Understand your roles in travelling
When you’re living at home and going to work everyday you have certain jobs that you do. It might be that your husband does the dishes and you mow the lawns or vice versa but it’s the same with travelling. It’s really important to share roles when travelling as it helps with being organised.
We joke and call our jobs Pink (mine) or Blue (his). For example, from the minute we bought the van I said that the toilet was a Blue job (Matts responsibility) 🙂 Matt does the driving and I do the navigating and trip planning. On pack up days Matt completes the outside and hooks the van up while I am packing inside up and helping the girls with their school work. I work out our weekly budget and menu plan but we share the cooking and the cleaning. Our children have jobs as well with travelling, they assist with setting up and packing up the van as well.
Arrive in a Free Camp before 3 pm
Travelling in peak season (with all the other nomads) is usually when free camps are full. It is awful driving all day and the free camp you have arrived at is full. This adds so much more stress to your travels as you need to find a new camp and then arrive before dark. When we travel in peak season we try to arrive in the free camp before 3 pm so that we are set up, relaxed, enjoy a drink together and have dinner organised so that the girls don’t get tired and hungry.
Don’t travel too quickly:
Travelling to quickly can easily burn you out. Seeing town after town can get a little boring and they all start to blend all together. Just remember you don’t have to see every museum and attraction in Australia. We like to pick 3 main items we would like to do in an area. We find that in an area there are lots of things that are doubled up. For example, we really enjoyed seeing the Dinosaurs exhibition in Winton but didn’t necessarily want to see all the dinosaurs things in Hughenden, Richmond and Longreach. For our family that was way too many dinosaurs bones. I am not saying you can’t travel quickly because we do at times. I am just saying you can’t keep doing this for a long period of time. If we are travelling quickly we try to stop and rest in a free camp for a few days to catch our breath.
Start your day on a positive note
I love doing Distance Education but some days really bring your mood down especially if your child isn’t willing to do the work. So now we have changed it up with having a little dance most days. It sounds so ridiculous right, but you can’t stay in a bad mood if you get down and boogie with your kids. Everyone learns to snap out of the crabby mood they are in and smile. We may look silly but a family that’s silly together, stay together 😉 Ok I made that up but it’s better to look silly together than be too serious in life.