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First caravan holiday, what do I need to know?

(36 Posts)
Belleende Wed 14-Aug-19 06:30:46

After a not particularly enjoyable family holiday in a villa in Portugal earlier this summer, we are experimenting with what makes a good holiday for us and a four year old and a 20 month old. We have booked a caravan for a week in a pretty big park in Devon. Lots of facilities on site, decent sized van. Never done it before, any tips to make a caravan holiday a success?

Zoowolla Wed 14-Aug-19 06:44:15

Don't take too much stuff- caravans, particularly the bedrooms can feel like a squeeze. It will be cosy and fun!

Re Portugal - we found AI on a nice sandy warm sea beach with early dinner sittings worked best when dc were little - the idea of a villa would have been hell for me too with little dc - same old same old as home, but with less stuff and pool to worry about and still having to cook and clean a biggish house..

Esto Wed 14-Aug-19 06:48:15

I took a 3 year old and 10 week old to a caravan last year. We had a blast but:

There's not loads of space so don't take too much
There was no bath. My 3 year old refused to go in the shower so did not get properly washed for a week. Baby went into the sink!
Be prepared to keep some big stuff in the boot of the car - buggy etc all stayed in the boot as there is just no space inside for it
Black out blinds might be useful
I had baby in the bed with me which I hadn't anticipated but the bedrooms were too small for a travel cot. If we went now I'd have to put the 1 year old in a cot in the living room I think.

I'm making it sound like it was tiny, it wasn't, but it is much more compact than even a very small house! We had a really lovely time though, very chilled, simple holiday. 3 year old was delighted with it.

ivykaty44 Wed 14-Aug-19 06:49:49

Eat out
Take camp chairs so you can sit out and drink wine once dc are in bed, so you don’t disturb them
Take your own fry pan and sharp knife - I’ve always found these two items woeful
Go along to the entertainment and try it out

PonderingPanda Wed 14-Aug-19 06:51:06

Some caravans aren't as clean as one would expect! So l always took extra sheets that l could put on the floor and sofa when l had young children.

PonderingPanda Wed 14-Aug-19 06:52:59

Is it Devon Cliffs Haven that you're going too? If so went there many times.

user1493413286 Wed 14-Aug-19 06:53:13

If they don’t provide towels then take extra for the swimming pool and make use of the tumble dryers there if towels don’t dry in the caravan which I found to be the case.
I like caravan holidays for that age; we did a mixture of very easy meals in the caravan and eating out. We’d go to the evening entertainment then go back around 9ish when the more adult part (like singing) began. I took far more food than needed and struggled to fit it in the car so I’d think carefully about what you need.
Ps. I always forget teatowels when I go.

user1493413286 Wed 14-Aug-19 06:54:47

ivykaty44 I second the taking outside chairs. Also take scissors which they rarely seek to have

motheroreily Wed 14-Aug-19 06:56:05

Take toilet paper, washing up liquid, cloths and tea towels

TurnipFish Wed 14-Aug-19 07:00:03

I’ve only had 2 caravan holidays with older children but I would second taking your own frying pan, I also take my own chopping board as they seem to provide glass ones and I can’t stand them! Other essentials; washing up liquid & sponge, towels & tea towels, kitchen paper and loo roll. Also basic cooking supplies eg oil, condiments and sauces. I went with no expectations so I couldn’t be disappointed and we have had two great holidays this year and last. Enjoy!

ninebiscuits Wed 14-Aug-19 07:00:04

I always pack a small box of kitchen essentials... salt and pepper, ketchup, cereals, tea coffee sugar, all the little things that you might need if you eat in, that will cost a lot in the shops to buy! Washing up liquid, sponge and a couple of tea towels too! We find a supermarket near by and grab fresh bits on the way!
Have fun!

ExpletiveDelighted Wed 14-Aug-19 07:02:18

We take microfibre towels, they pack up very small and dry very quickly. Yes also to camping chairs, loo roll, fairy liquid, sharp knife, binbags etc and not too much bulky stuff. We do a mixture of easy food and eating out too.

fleshmarketclose Wed 14-Aug-19 07:04:27

Rig up a mini washing line and take a few pegs so that you can dry towels and swimsuits daily. The beds are quite narrow so if you have a bed guard for the three year old take it. You used to be able to order a cot side from Haven which turned one of the single beds into a cot, likewise a highchair might be worth asking if it's Haven you are booked with. Caravan holidays are great when you have small children so enjoy.

Mummyh2016 Wed 14-Aug-19 07:05:54

Check if you need to take bedding.

unlimiteddilutingjuice Wed 14-Aug-19 07:06:31

Check what is and isn't provided. You may need to bring: towels, washing up sponges, washing up liquid.
The site shop is likely to be expensive. Get a supermarket shop delivered to the caravan.
When our kids were small we used to bring a large plastic storage bucket with us and bath the kids in there. You can fit it into the shower cubicle or have it Al fresco.

flapjackfairy Wed 14-Aug-19 07:08:00

Caravans can get v cold at night even if the days are warm. Take pyjamas and warm dressing gown.
I have just woken up in one in north Wales and it us bloody freezing this morning!

CupoTeap Wed 14-Aug-19 07:08:31

Rainy day stuff? We take some dvds, cards, board games. Mine like taking their sleeping bags.
All the above especially foil and bags.

NotSoThinLizzy Wed 14-Aug-19 07:13:05

Take a sponge for washing up 😊

foxyknoxy30 Wed 14-Aug-19 07:14:05

Devon cliffs is fantastic if that's the one your going too?be practical take tea bags,coffee etc with you as the on site shop is expensive also remember your tea towels, washing up liquid and things like pegs to hang out swimsuits ,just buy as much as you can cheaply before you go that's what I do to save money ,there is a local tesco so go there rather than the onsite shop.Have a great time .

BenWillbondsPants Wed 14-Aug-19 07:14:10

Be prepared that if it rains, as soon as you hear the rain on that caravan roof you'll all fall asleep. It's like a mystical thing ...

Or maybe just my lot then. grin

foxyknoxy30 Wed 14-Aug-19 07:14:51

And yes to taking your own frying pan too.

ThinkWittyThoughts Wed 14-Aug-19 07:14:57


FurryScoob Wed 14-Aug-19 07:19:01

We’ve just done our first caravan holiday with kids the same age

We took the beside table out from between their beds & pushed them together to make bigger beds. (they had a room each)

Blackout blinds or a big towel hung over the curtain pole

Took a Small rucksack of toys each to play with in the caravan.


Big shop on the first day to get it over with

youarenotkiddingme Wed 14-Aug-19 07:20:56

Check they provide or take a fold down airer.

It's great for drying towels, swimwear, and clothes and caravans have a fire you can use at night to put it in front of. Also using the fire means the lounge is warmer to come into in the morning. (Obviously switch it off when you're in bed!)

I find planning activities in short bursts with naps put in great at this age. Most have take out places that deliver to you caravan.

Taking the kids swimming until 6pm, showers at pool and in pj at pool and then home, straight to bed. You and dh open the wine and order a take out.

If you are planning on sitting outside of an evening have warm jumpers and socks and a blankets for over your legs.

Do you have or can you borrow/hire a double buggy for the week? Or a buggy and a cheap stroller for older kid as 2 of you? Should give you more freedom as camping seems to wear kids out.

Belleende Wed 14-Aug-19 07:22:35

Thanks all. We will be going by train, but big Sainsbury's near by so will get camping chairs there, fab tip.
A bed guard would be great instead of a cot for the baby. I will see if they have one.

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