Buslife is meant to create a sense of freedom within you. As an adult hitting the road, that’s exactly how you feel. It’s why you invested in a VW Bus. That feeling can changes when it becomes Buslife with kids. Children hate being cooped up. Parents hate listening to cooped up children. So, if you want to enjoy your trip you have to ensure your children travel comfortably. But how?
Create a comfortable environment
Your first step is to create a comfortable space within the VW Bus. You want your kids to be physically comfortable. Think about a sunshade to keep the sun out of their eyes and keep them cool. Consider handy blankets near their spot so they can get cozy if it’s too cold. Travel pillows are also a handy tool to have at hand so they can easily nap if they wish.
If seats are a source of angst, then create a schedule. Let each child take their turn in a specific seat. Simply rotate their seats for each block of the trip. If there is no arguing over seats, then you can assign seats based on what works best. If you know certain siblings bicker, simply separate them so there is less travel stress for everyone involved. Buslife with kids becomes much easier when the kids are happy and comfortable.
You will also want to consider letting them dress as comfortably as they like. If that means pajamas, then so be it! Each child can bring a jacket or sweatshirt that they can throw on before heading into a store or rest stop. The worst part of traveling long distances cooped up is being stuck in uncomfortable clothes that are restrictive. Don’t get caught in that trap.
Additionally, you should have a first-aid kit put together. It’s better to be safe than sorry, it should include the normal first-aid kit contents, as well as any necessary medication. You should also have toilet paper handy because you never know when you’ll need it. Finally, consider the sun. We mentioned shades earlier, but it’s important to apply sunscreen regularly. Do this every time you stop. They may be inside, but with the sun coming through the open windows they are still exposed to the sun.
An entertaining environment
Snacks are a must when you experience Buslife with kids. The snack bag should always be within reach. You will want to select snacks your children love, but also those that are low in sugar. The last thing you want to deal with on the open road is a sugar rush and the resulting crash. Great snacks include whole nuts, low-sugar fruit, rice cakes, and water. Hand out snacks fairly regularly and refill drinks to keep everyone happy. Of course, the drinks will lead to another problem, but we will address that later.
Buslife with kids doesn’t need to be boring. Each child should have their own bag of entertainment. Items that they have selected to travel with, from devices to books and stuffed toys. These are all items that they can entertain themselves with as the adults handle the driving.
In addition to their bag of entertainment, plan some fun. You will reach a point where everyone gets bored of the amazing things they packed. It’s bound to happen. So, plan some fun stops they will enjoy. You can also create games to play together. Simple games like I-spy.
Think about the music you play, too. You may want to let everyone choose a few songs for your travel playlist so they feel involved in the choice. Or, create a playlist for their devices. Parents are intent on limiting their children’s screen time, but traveling is not the time to worry about that!
Buslife with kids requires a great schedule
Are we there yet? You don’t want to listen to that all the time when you live on the road with kids. So, to manage bladders, moods, and expectations, you should schedule your stops. Ideally, you should aim to stop every two and a half hours or so. This lets everyone stretch their legs, visit the restroom, and just release some pent up energy. If you have young children, packing a potty is a wise move. They need to visit the restroom more often and rather than stopping to accommodate them, a potty can save you time. It’s inexpensive and easy to deal with. When you plan your stops, don’t always plan traditional rest stops and services. There are other stops you can choose from, such as parks. For overnight stops check out this guide to finding overnight parking.
You may want to consider your launch time, too. If you can travel through the night or in the early morning when your children will sleep through, this is something to think about. That will buy you some peace for a few hours.
With older children, there is no way to completely eliminate squabbling. Children get bored and antagonize their siblings. What you can do to try and mitigate the impact is to set clear rules that are tied to rewards and punishments.
Ultimately, you want the VW Bus to inspire the same excitement in your children as it does in you. The way to do that is to make every VW Bus with kids trip a fun one.
Are you a Buslifer with kids? Do you have any more tips you would add? Let us know in the comments!