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Travelling in a van with children – tips for a relaxed vacation.

A child with a donkey in the forest, a van in the background

How do you modify a van to make it suitable for kids? How do you keep the boredom at bay? How do you make the journey comfortable for the entire family? We answer the most important questions about travelling with the kids on board.

For beautiful memories.

Children can make a vacation unforgettable – in both the positive and negative sense. Almost no one is as honest and intuitive about the way they feel right now as children. Travelling in a van can become a major challenge. Space is more restricted than usual and there is usually no way to really get away. But we have researched in the vanlife community and found helpful tips and tricks to make the next van journey with the kids a success.

A boy walks along the beach towards a van

Vacation on wheels – always an adventure with children.

The right equipment for the van.

Rule number one: the van should never create a risk of injury. Glass bottles and kitchen appliances need to be stowed away safely and, if possible, a three-point belt should be provided if not present in historic vehicles. Safety first! Also important: the smaller the space, the quicker it begins to feel cramped. So there is never bad weather. With the right clothing, there is an outdoor activity in every weather condition that provides relief in case of tensions or small disputes. Poor sleep makes bad moods almost inevitable. That is why good beds also need to be a high priority. A simple and bright interior design also creates a good mood and a more spacious feeling. A large dining table lets the entire family eat together or share activities in the evening. If the children are a little older, a tablet or smartphone is a good way to stave off boredom. Remember that these also need USB ports to recharge the batteries or power banks.

Beds in the van

Family-friendly equipment: comfortable beds for well rested and happy kids.

A table set for dinner in the van

A large dining table for shared meals and board games in the evening.

Equipment stowed in the van

Equipment for camping or leisure activities should be stowed away safely.

The right activities.

If the children are bored during long journeys, you should be prepared, otherwise things can quickly become unpleasant. Thinking up activities to keep the children busy beforehand is a clever solution. Ideal gadgets range from simple playthings, books or cuddly toys to more creative purchases like a mobile baby bouncer with light. The van should also be properly equipped for the outdoor enthusiasts in the family. This means functional clothing, surfboards, tents, etc. Those who prefer the indoors can enjoy board games or mobile Wi-Fi in the van. Involving the children in the various tasks also makes sense and has some definite advantages: firstly, it is an ideal cure for boredom. Secondly, it strengthens the bonds within the family and thirdly: you have less to do yourself.

Harmony in the family.

A group of people in a confined space for hours on end, in the worst case. You cannot always avoid conflicts between siblings. But you can do something about them. Regular stops are a good way to keep things harmonious in the van. Spending time outdoors with nature is an even better solution. Small fights or boredom often occur because of a lack of oxygen, not enough movement or simply a full bladder. Not only good sleep is essential for a good mood. The right food can also make a world of difference. That is why you should always have provisions on board.

Why travel with children?

Sure, travelling with children can be a challenge. But they also make for an unforgettable adventure. Here are four reasons why children also benefit from a van vacation:

  1. Travelling broadens their horizons. Children absorb new information like sponges. From cultural awareness to intuitive behaviour – every journey boosts their general knowledge.
  2. Travelling strengthens their sense of responsibility. What do I need to pack for the journey? How can I keep myself occupied? How can I help when navigating, for example? Children never ask themselves these questions if they stay at home in their comfort zone.
  3. Travelling encourages acceptance and patience. Travelling can bring up the best and the worst in people. Living in a confined space, boredom or endless waiting in the queue for the toilets: There is rarely a better opportunity to practice patience. Especially for children!
  4. Travelling strengthens bonds. When you travel together, you share many experiences that create bonds. Whether all the time spent together or tackling challenges: the experiences forge lasting bonds.

Children playing next to a yellow Sprinter

The more time spent outdoors in the fresh air, the less trouble in the van.

The shown conversions were carried out by independent third parties. The suppliers and conversions were not checked by Mercedes-Benz. In this respect, these illustrations do not represent an assessment of the supplier and/or conversions by Mercedes-Benz.

Photos:; Michael Nehrmann; Ramona Carraro; Go-VanJF Lefebvre


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