Ferry

Waiting for the Ferry in Harwich

Harwich

Harwich

Park

Scooters in a Rotterdam Park

With Kids - Practicalities

A couple of thoughts after three weeks travelling xxxxxxxxx Get ready to have really dirty children. A clean t-shirt realistic stays clean for only five minutes, i.e. until they wrestle each other on the floor/grass/sand/dirt or head off to the play ground or eat something. I plan a big wash when we stop for a couple of days (always ask about clothes washing facilities as they are not always available). xxxxxx Get ready to become an expert story teller (or joke teller depending on the day). And do not expect any respite, even after a mammoth climb, in the middle of busy town or when in desperate need for the toilet. I must say I find that I enjoy telling stories about Casper the Ghost or jokes about Louis' friends but I did not expect I will spend so long each day talking on my bike.

Getting Terry's and my stuff ready took five minutes (okay, maybe 30 minutes). We only needed to dig out our old travelling equipment and clothes, which have stood the test of time pretty well (mainly due to lack of use over the last few years!). All of this is covered in our equipment page for the world trip.

Now for the hard bit: what to take for a 2 year old and a 4 year old? Children notoriously come with a lot of paraphernalia and we are limited in terms of weight, size and fitness.

This is what we settled for:

CLOTHING PER CHILD:

TOYS:

Max and Louis have each one small rucksack that they can fill up with what they want (most likely to be filled with Playmobil to the rim). We also bring:

Maalluis

Maalluis

Scooters

Scooters along the Rhine cycleway

CHILDREN'S OTHER CAMPING STUFF:

TRAVELLING WITH KIDS

Before planning a trip, you have to assess your limitations in terms of money, time and what you can cope with (how would you feel crossing the Gobi desert without crossing a soul for days? How would you feel faced by utter poverty in India?). We quickly assessed ours for this trip: CHILDREN.

They mean we are limited in time: we have to be back for school in September, which means we have three months from late May to August.

We are also limited geographically: we felt more comfortable cycling between our two home ports, Worcester (UK) and Marseille (France) so we can quickly recover and have back up in case of total meltdown.

The distance covered is also limited: we are planning on cycling 30 kms a day, finishing early in the afternoon and stopping on the way to keep the kids entertained. We are not sure how long they will be happy to sit in their bike seat each day so we have aired on the safe side. And to be honest, children are heavy, so 30 kms will be more than enough to start with!

The choice of route was also dictated by having the children: we start easy and safe with Holland. We cycled part of the Rhine valley years ago and it is a beautiful, flat, safe and entertaining route (boats, barges, castles, pretty villages and towns). We will be stopping at friends when we can as we have a few along the way. The second part of the trip will be more challenging as we are planning to go down the Rhone valley, which is a busy transport route. So we may modify our plans when we reach Geneva.

Last but not least, getting the kids buying into the trip was essential for us, especially for Louis (4 and a half) who loves the comfort of his home. We have painted a map of our trip together and Louis and Max have glued lots of images for the various countries we will visit (bring on the cliches!). In all fairness, Max (2 and a half) has not fully realised what is going on but he has enjoyed being part of the project. Our friend Michael (aka Theo's dad) has printed the finished map on a T-shirt and Louis proudly displays it and has decided that he can now "show the people how their countries look like". Lucky them!

Final Adjustments

Last minute checks

Best Campsite

Perfect Campsite with kids, no cars, toys available and big sand pit with a water pump - Netherlands

Start of First Trip

The First Trip with Kids 2012

Sand Pit

Hours of entertainment in the Sandpit, Netherlands