Traveling Europe In The Spring
With A Large Family
If you’re planning to travel Europe with a large family, these are a few of the things that we wish we had known before we took off. It was one of the longest European road trips as a family we’ve ever taken. Here is what worked and what didn’t work…
“Elijah! Please, just one more minute, we’ll pull over!” I yelled as I frantically rolled down the window.
Elijah sat in the back of our stuffy, stinky, old German farm van and I could see him holding his gagging down.
All at once, it was too late.
Four minutes before we would arrive at our destination in Vigo, Spain, he managed to puke a steady stream of nastiness all over the van.
This was not the first time it had happened, you would think that being parents of five we would be well prepared for a long road trip. But somehow the plastic bag that we normally would have for each child, was missing from his spot, and he managed to cover himself.
We had unpacked the majority of our stuff at the home we were staying in in the northern Spanish coast, and were just taking a day trip. Because of his age (nine) we didn’t think to bring an extra pair of clothes. With so many kids it’s hard to remember everything.
In the spring of 2019, the year our large family sold many of our possessions and packed up what was remaining, we lived as accidental nomads. We had the ultimate long road trip and drove through Germany, Belgium, France and Spain before continuing on east to Ukraine.
We bought a relatively cheap old German stinky farm van that seats 9 and set it up with drawers and a bunch of camping stuff.
From March until May we had no where to live so I had the brilliant idea of camping through Western Europe. Camping in tents at the end of March isn’t a good idea. Though, it IS cheaper than staying in Air BnBs.
What Didn’t Work Traveling Europe As With A Large Family?
1. Don’t camp in a tent at the end of March
Sure camping is cheaper. But I planned that we would camp just south of Paris because it was WAY cheaper than an Air BnB… unfortunately, it was also SUPER cold still
Family all packed up and ready to go!
2. If you’re traveling in the spring, pack warm!
For some reason I put all of the kids’ winter stuff away thinking it would get way warmer.
It did not.
We had to stop at various Decathlon’s on the way to grab warmer outdoor coats, sweaters and tuques (Canadian for hat).
3. Make sure you have GOOD sleeping bags
Again, it was cold in the spring. The sleeping bags I bought were from Amazon, and although they claimed they were good until -10 celsius…. they weren’t. They were cheap, and left us all quite chilly when the temperature at night was around 9 celcius.
3. Grab a special electric cable especially for campsites.
If you’re going to be camping anywhere in Europe and need electricity, you need special electric cables. We didn’t know this and had to rent one from the campsite for an extra €10 a night. Since we were on a super tight budget, losing that money sucked.
What was GREAT Traveling Europe As A Large Family
1. Little heaters
So thankful for a good friend of mine who has often gone camping with their four boys in the UK. She told me even in May and June the temperatures can drop down, and then it’s helpful to have a little electric heater on hand. Thankfully, I heeded her advice and grabbed two little ones and they were life savers when we slept near very chilly Paris.
2. Hot Water Bottles
This was the ideal way to pre-heat our crappy sleeping bags, and they actually stayed warm for most of the night. We still use all the hot water bottles I bought for our home in the winter as it get’s pretty dang cold in Ukraine.
3. Surfing suits for the kids
We had a few warm days, but generally it was really cold and these surfing suits really helped!
So if you’re planning on driving and camping in Europe with a large family(especially in the spring), don’t forget to bundle up. It was a blast and we highly recommend checking out northern Spain!
Dani loves family, food, business, and adventuring in life together with her big family and Jesus. She is on a mission to see equip mamas to bring healing into the world by becoming co-creators starting from the most important place: home.
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