If you’ve read my previous blog Travelling toddlers – what have we done!! you will understand how hectic travel days can be and how important it is to be prepared.
We are heading off to Archers Point in FNQ for a few days so I’m getting the boys organised. To do that I’m packing their toys and lunch/snacks for the car. The boys love their personalised lunch box and backpack from HippoBlue. Having them personalised makes them feel special and helps with getting them to eat their lunch.
We are lucky enough to have kids that don’t stop eating all day so we are used to making sure we have food handy at all times. I generally have in the car or my hand bag 6 packets of sultanas, a packet of rice cakes, 2 cut up apples and thats just get get us 10 mins down the road. On travel days I add a couple of sandwiches and some extra fruit and hope that gets us through till lunch time.
Once I’ve packed the “morning snack” its generally my job to organise the back seat. Apparently Nicho’s OCD can’t handle the kids mess, personally I think its just a poor excuse to get out of it! I neatly arrange enough toys and books in arms reach to keep them occupied for a good fews hours and it literally takes 20 secs for them to throw everything around the car and start asking for me to pick them up again, so on goes the wiggles and the fun begins!
Our kids are really into activity books and puzzles at the moment so I am super excited that HippoBlue do them and card games. As soon as I finished this post I will be putting in an order!! How life changes when you become a Mum.
When it comes to packing up on the day its taken us a bit of trial and error to get it right and to be honest I’m still not sure if we have it “right” but heres what we have learnt so far.
- If you are using a new trailer/van allow a couple of hours the first few times, we generally knocked off about 30mins each pack up.
- Pack up what you can the night before when the kids are in bed.
- If you have younger kids time car trips around their naps, we started off leaving around between 10 and 11 but then we would end up getting to our next stop too late. We then changed it so we left earlier then stopped for a coffee/smoothie let the kids run around and then they slept the rest of the way (that was the plan anyway).
Hope these tips can help in some way even if it is just to have a laugh at as and our struggle, just like the people next to us did the first time we were setting up in the dark and then packed up our camp site in the rain on moving day.
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Flash back to our day trip to Sydney. We were getting the suspension done on our car so decided to make the most of the day and catch the train into Sydney to do some exploring.
After some recommendations we went straight to Darling Harbour for a lovely lunch over the water. Then on for a walk when we stumbled across the Darling Harbour playground and water park where we spent the rest of the day. As you can see from the photo the kids had a ball and we struggled to get them away in time to pick up the car.
Sydney we were extremely impressed!! Such fantastic facilities and best of all it was FREE!!! Highly recommend you check it out.
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Is road tripping around Australia with a 1 and 2 year old as bad as it sounds????
The answer is yes!!
But it’s currently 4 degrees in Melbourne and trying to do anything with 2 toddlers is a nightmare so I know where I would rather be!!
If you have ever been in a car with a toddler (specially one of ours) you can understand why I would rather be tied to the roof than be in the front seat of the car on travel days.
If not picture this, wiggles playing on repeat, (I could just finish there as no body over the ages of 3 wants to listen to the wiggles at all let alone on repeat for 6 hours), breaking my back turning around every 5 seconds to either, break up a fight pick up a toy thats been thrown on the floor (for the 100th time), pass them food, pass them a drink, hold hands, calm one down from screaming for no reason then calm the other down just because they both can’t be happy at the same time and I’m sure you get the picture by now!
Theses are the days I honestly think “what have we done?”!!!! So we worked out we should just stay at places longer and travel shorter distances.
The days we don’t travel, well they are great! I mean we still have a million tantrums and toddler melt downs but one I don’t have to do it alone and two I’m camping so I can just have a drink and no body is judging me.
Despite all of that, this has been the best experience for us all. The boys are learning and developing so much, Theodore who was diagnosed with a speech delay now doesn’t shut up just 6 weeks later, Vinnie is walking and talking and has gone from a baby to a cheeky toddler and although they might not remember much of this trip, the benefits outweigh all of the bad!!
Before I start making you all jealous with our glorious travelling adventures, I thought I would back track to before we left and talk about what we did to prepare and save for our trip.
Travelling Australia is something we both always dreamed of doing. We had planned on doing it in a year or two before the kids started school. Though after going insane (literally! I’m now medicated) suck at home with a newborn and a one year in what was the coldest Melbourne winter I have ever encountered. I thought why wait and did what excites me most and started a budget spreadsheet!!!!
I needed to work out the following figures,
- What our house was worth as a rental. So I got on the phone and spoke to a few agents.
- What our mortgage would be each month if it was on interest only for 12months.
- What our bills would be monthly while we were away. Things like car reg, insurances (car, house, medical), rates, phones ect.
From there I was able to work out that our rental income would be enough to cover our bills and mortgage.
So next step was to calculate a weekly budget for while we where on the road. I started following Facebook groups, theres lots of camping and caravanning pages and a lot of people just like us who are more than willing to help others with tips and info. Just about everyone you speak to says to budget on $1000 a week. It sounds a lot but you need to take into account food, fuel, accom, drinks (which you need a lot of when travelling with kids!!) and activities. Obviously it also depends on the size of your family and how you camp (free camps or caravan parks, I’ll do another blog on this later) but we have been spending around $1000 on average and we have done a mix of free or cheap camps and caravan parks and have eaten out occasionally. Oh and the coffee, we pretty much find somewhere for a coffee and a smoothie for the kids everyday which adds up too!
Once I had all the figures it was time to look at the bank account and see how long we could travel for with what we had and what we could save in the next six months. We looked at a few scenarios and came up with the plan to take 6 weeks travelling up the coast from Melbourne to Wonga Beach where my Dad lives. Base ourselves there while Nicho works so we can keep exploring FNQ and then travel home at the start of next year. Though we now have the taste of it so we are hoping to continue on while working.
From there we set a date and got saving and packing! The hardest part and the part I was dreading the most was packing up our house and working out what to take (specially for the kids). Note: if you have young kids at home make sure you both finish up work a couple of weeks before you go, I would still be home packing if I was doing it on my own and I would have no hair left. We were lucky enough to be able to store some of our belongings at a family members which saved money.
Hopefully this can help or inspire anyone out there wanting to travel Australia but just not sure where to start with the planning.
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Call us crazy but we have packed up our house and taken off on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to see as much of this country as possible with a 1 year and a 2 year old!
Its challenging at times, but rewarding in so many ways. So I’m hoping I can help others wanting to do the same, with tips and lessons learnt by us to make it easier for them!
Fristly let me introduce ourselves. I’m Courtney (Mum), Hubby is Nicho (aka Dad) amd our 2 boys are Theodore (Teddy) and Vincent (Vinnie). We are from the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria and we are currently travelling up the east coast of Australia to FNQ to visit my Dad in Wonga. Where we will be able to explore around the top of our wonderful country. We hope to be able to pick up some work and keep going but we will just have to keep you updated with how that plans out….
Well that’s it for my very first blog but don’t stress I have plenty more to come. Even though we have only been on the road 4 weeks, we have learnt so much already, a lot that would have been helpful to know before we started out! Also if there’s anything you would like to know about our trip feel free to contact me and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/salvosontheroad