Imagine this. You've spent the last two years of the pandemic as a model employee, keeping your workplace afloat. You've worked hard in your home office, often blurring the lines between work time and family time. Now that things have settled, you're ready to take back your life. So, you're taking your family caravanning for 12 months, in your brand new 21ft home on wheels.
Of course, you still have to pay your bills, so you've struck up a deal with your boss that you'll continue to work 'on the road'. After all, you've been working remotely for 2 years, so what's another 12 months?
You've gotten so much advice from other families who've done the trip. It's hard to know what advice you should listen to and what you should ignore.
The team at Out There Internet have uncovered 21 ways that you could screw up your family caravan adventure. We've put them right here, so you know exactly what not to do!
1. Not knowing the ins and outs of your new caravan before you hit the road isn't smart. Appliances like 3-way refrigerators are prone to overheating. If you don't know how to prevent that from happening, you could be replacing the contents every few days. Likewise, to avoid trouble, you should have a good understanding of your toilet, water system and caravan electrics.
2. Your vehicle is a critical component of your journey, so not setting it up with the right gear, can be dangerous. Think about tyre size, towing safety, suspension, and fuel tank size, as well as what you're insured for.
3. If you're not an Indiana Jones back home, don't try to be one now. Just because you didn't tackle the telegraph track, doesn't mean you didn't have an awesome adventure! If you're a first time caravaner, you might decide to follow the well-worn path of other caravaners, instead of carving out a new journey.
4. Don't blow your budget too soon. Whether you're earning as you travel, or you have a lump sum available to you, it's important to plan how much money you'll need to be comfortable every week. One of the fastest ways to blow your budget is by spending too much on alcohol and take-away food, which is easy to do when you're on holiday!
5. Being too strict on school routine will make you unhappy. Remember that living is also learning, and your kids are on a unique adventure. Set a least and most time limit for how long you'll spend on schooling each day or week. Try to find opportunities for incidental maths, like counting shells, or counting money. Encouraging kids to read road and landmark signs is also a great way to practice reading, without opening a book.
6. Work to live, don't live to work. Don't fall into the trap of feeling guilty about your work. Like school work, setting a least and most time limit for working will avoid you getting stressed about your obligations. Taking the opportunity to make work calls when you're in the car can make your campsite family time more enjoyable.
7. Don't take boring photos. You're going to want to remember this trip for the rest of your life, so make your photos memorable. Rather than taking pics of beautiful scenery, brush your hair, put yourself in the scene and smile!
8. Bringing too much stuff will clutter your space and make you feel like a hobo. If you can get the same result with a smaller item, do it. The big sinner here are bulky cooking appliances like Thermomixes and barbecues. Also, do you really need that surfboard?
9. The less you give a kid, the more they'll do. Your kids aren't going to get the digital detox you're hoping for unless you restrict their access to tech. Likewise, they don't need 7 boardgames, 23 books and 5 footballs.
10. Check tides and road conditions before it's too late. Every few hundred kilometres can bring a different obstacle. If you're beach camping, make sure you're not too close shore at low tide, and make sure you're not in the path of a king tide. Check the weather where you're headed, and if there's a chance you could encounter floods, prepare to stop early and find another route.
11. Skimping on insurance and road-side assist = bad move. Have you heard about Murphy's Law? It is the belief that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. It's the reason why insurance exists. Enough said.
12. Think you don't need a caravan park every now and then? Think again. You might have all the gear for an apocalypse, but trust us, you'll want the comforts of a caravan park every now and then. If you can find an independently owned caravan park, it's a great way to support the local community.
13. Assume everyone's going to Karijini, book early or miss out. Even if you're not travelling during school holidays, you're likely to encounter many people with a similar itinerary to yours. Booking ahead for popular places is a must, but booking ahead for the less popular places ensures you avoid the last minute panic.
14. Seeing and doing the same thing everyone else has done a thousand times before. We're not saying don't go to Uluru, of course you should! But, if you look for opportunities for unique experiences, you might get a nice surprise.
15. Not having a reliable caravan internet solution. Relying on your mobile phone signal for internet is a sure fire way to make your trip less enjoyable. The probability that you'll be outside of reception for a big chunk of your trip, is pretty high. So, do yourself a favour and invest in a high-quality caravan internet solution, like Out There Internet. You'll thank us later.
16. Thinking the dog doesn't need much. Travelling with a dog is fun, but if all you're bringing is a leash and a water bowl, you're going to have a problem. Here are a few things you should pack for your dog. A large food bowl and water bucket (they always get knocked over), a long leash, a short leash, a crate, a car harness and poo bags. And, brush up on doggy caravan park etiquette so you don't give your pooch a bad name.
17. Rushing your way through all the states. We get it. This trip is a once in a lifetime thing, but that doesn't mean you need to cover every centimetre of Australia. Accept that there are some things you might not see, and instead of rushing through, take your time and enjoy it.
18. Throwing caution to the wind when it comes to your safety. You're doing everything you can to ensure you'll have a great time, but what about making sure you're safe? Being out of your usual environment puts you at greater risk of accidents, so make sure you plan for safety. Stocking up on an outdoors first aid kit is a good place to start. Other things to consider are; first aid training, and communication in case of an emergency.
19. Planning too many overnight stays. This goes back to point number 17. Overnight stopovers are tiring and can be taxing on the whole family. Instead, use overnighters as a means to get to where you want to be so you can settle in for a few days before moving on.
20. Neglecting to journal your highlights. Sometimes photos are not enough. To keep a memorable journal, try an app like Instagram or Polar Steps, that let you to write stories to go with your images.
21. Not planning for the big 3 - water, fuel, food. This is a big one. The main thing here is you need to know how much you can carry, how long will it last you, and where you can get it from.
Now that you know how not to screw up your trip, you'll have more time to plan all the ways to make your trip even better, like getting Out There Internet.. To get a reliable, high-performing caravan internet solution, contact us today!