From the moment you start the trip to long after arriving back home, family travel is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have with one another. The new adventures help build a stronger bond and allow you to make incredible memories that wouldn’t be possible while staying home. Whether traveling in a van or flying a plane, each avenue of travel will offer a unique way to share an enriching experience.
Kid-Friendly Campervan Builds
When traveling as a family, you don’t, necessarily, need a campervan. There are many great options like tents, RV’s, rooftop tents, trailers, and campervan rentals. All these will work, but converting a van allows you to tailor the design and layout specifically to your family’s lifestyle and recreational activities. With endless build options and finishes to choose from, you can make your conversion as kid-friendly as it needs to be while still providing everyone their own space to sleep, work, or play.
Some floor plans allow the van to seat and sleep families of six! Some of the most common setups we’ve seen include rear bunk beds, an additional Cabunk Child Bed, Fixed Platform Beds, and sometimes even a pop-top roof. Beyond the layout design, adventurers will know that stains come much too easy. This is especially true when traveling with young kids. We have much experience making sure each build is appropriately prepared for your, often wet and muddy, adventures! Several waterproof, stain-resistant, and odor barrier materials are available for you to choose from, allowing you to keep your van as clean and fresh as possible. To read more about our family-friendly and adventure ready layouts and options, which include the bathroom and kitchen, click here.
Family Travel Essentials
Family Travel means the essentials list is quite long, but for good reasons! You want to make sure everyone is comfortable and having fun for the long car ride and the whole trip duration. Whether the destination involves the beach, mountains, or even amusement parks, we’ve cultivated a list of essentials that we’ve found that benefited everyone!
- Comfortable Shoes
- Sun Protection
- Travel Bags
- First aid kit
This list can grow substantially, but these basic essentials will be perfect for getting your family ready for any road trip. When you get to your destination, set up your basecamp and put your essentials in designated areas so when needed, you can find them easily.
Family Destination Suggestions
It would be great if all destinations were completely family-friendly, but unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Some bucket list destinations face extreme temperatures or intense elevations and terrain not suited for all kids. Still, we listed some of our favorite destinations with park programs designed with kids in mind, stroller accessible, and close to local stores and restaurants. These destinations make it perfect for families of all sizes and ages!
The Grand Canyon is an excellent destination because it’s a quick drive from many local cities and is a light activity level making it great for young kids. Read our full three-day itinerary here.
- Elmo & Murray Explore the Grand Canyon.
- Become a Junior Ranger and learn about the Canyons History.
- Ride the WWII Era Passenger Train to the Grand Canyon Village
We love Big Sur because of how kid-friendly it is, and with plenty of easy hiking trails, miles of ocean-front beaches, and animals to see, everyone will be entertained. Read our full three-day itinerary here.
- Check out Bixby Bridge! You and the kids will be amazed.
- Rent a Paddle Board and paddle along the coast.
Yellowstone National Park
You and your kids will quickly fall in love with this park, from seeing the abundance of wildlife throughout the park to the gorgeous springs and waterfalls. See our favorite stops below!
- Visit the Grand Prismatic Spring
- See Bison in Lamar Valley!
- Check out a rainbow at the bottom of UpperFalls
Road Trip Tips & Tricks
Family travel in a campervan is excellent because it not only gets you to and from your destination, but it makes the actual traveling a part of the vacation. It allows you to be more spontaneous with your open weekends and travel for as long or as far as you want to go. Keep reading below to see our tips and tricks for families on the road!
- Know Your Limits
- Not everyone can handle long stretches of driving, including non-drivers, so take breaks when you know it will benefit everyone! Along your route, find incredible viewpoints, picnic areas, or towns to explore to keep the drive engaging and get everyone out to stretch their legs before continuing the next stretch of the trip.
- Pack Smart
- Does your family like snacks, games, or cozy car ride accessories? Know what will keep everyone occupied and comfortable while in the car and bring it with you! With license plate bingo, snack packs, and more, there will be something for everyone for your road trip.
- Let Everyone Participate In The Planning
- Everyone has different interests so allow them to pick something to do along the way! This can be setting up a picnic, taking a light hike, finding a hill to sled down in the snowy months, but whatever it is will make everyone feel included.
Parent’s Concerns with Van Conversions
Whether you solo travel in a van or family travel, there are always concerns as van life isn’t easy. With the proper preparations, you’ll find incredible fulfillment and endless memories for all of the right reasons! So take a chance on an adventure, expose your family to the outdoors, broaden everyone’s horizons, and experience a new and beautiful location together. Below we address some of the most common parent concerns with Campervan Conversions, and if you’re left with a few more questions, reach out to us here.
It’s not a good place to sleep –
The big question is, is a van comfortable to sleep in? The answer is yes! We know it may take some time to get used to, but with a thick memory foam mattress, insulated blackout window coverings, and an array of climate control options everyone will think they’re at home in their bed once the lights are off.
It’s too tight of quarters to live in –
Space is always a concern, and we know it can be tight, but having a campervan allows you to comfortably travel from destination to destination with all your gear, snacks, suitcases, and more. When you need to stop to stretch your legs or take a nap on a long drive, your van will provide you with everything you need to make the drive more comfortable. We think you’ll be quite surprised at how much gear really fits in each conversion as well.
Where do kids use the restroom or take a shower?
We have built vans with and without bathrooms, some being as simple as an exterior shower to as complex as a complete interior bathroom. If this is the case, then the answer is easy, but if you choose to convert a van and not include a bathroom in your layout, look for campsites that have these amenities along the way. Of course, not every campground will, but with the right amount of research, you’ll find one that fits your needs.
Is an RV better than a Campervan?
You decided you want a home on wheels and family travel to and from destinations but can’t select between an RV or a Campervan? The decision comes down to what your family will need the most! An RV is more significant and can provide you with more storage, but pulling over for a quick stop and driving in general can be much harder to manage. To read more about the pros and cons of an RV and Campervan, check out our blog here.
Are campervans Car Seat compatible?
Of course! As a Mercedes-Benz eXpert upfitter, we go through rigorous inspections and ensure all of our seating is properly tested on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis. This includes everything to the seat, to how it mounts underneath the body of the van. All of the seating systems we offer are FMVSS compliant and come with CRS options to make clipping in your car seat a breeze! If you have any questions on car seat safety in a van conversion, please reach out to us here.