We are the Chambers family – Brenden, Mel, Maddi (17) and Ben (15). We have travelled together as a family since the kids were born. In fact in 17 years of parenthood we have had a total of one week and 4 separate nights away without the kids!
We currently own a Customline camper trailer which we use as often as we can but we are not adverse to the odd weekend away in a resort as well.
We wanted to make sure the kids had some great memories to look back on when they were all grown up. But we also wanted them to experience all the awesome things that Australia has to offer.
When the kids were little it was always a bit of a mission to get organised to go away but I've always been good at coordinating things, so once we decide on a destination I do some initial research on our intended destination.
I must say we do tend to 'wing it' a bit when we are the road and not have any fixed plans as often you will come across something that interests you or you will find a great spot and decide to stay a bit longer.
Watching the kids discover new things and the look of excitement on their faces when we arrived somewhere for the first time. I will never forget the look on their faces when they went in the surf for the first time.
Time – or more accurately lack of it. As the kids have gotten older and their commitments to school work and part time jobs have increased we have found it increasingly hard to go away for any length of time so we make do with short breaks. A week when we can, a weekend or even just a day trip to the beach or the Hinterland to enjoy a bush walk.
We loved Cairns. So much to do and the Kuranda Skyrail was a highlight. Maddi loves anywhere by the beach where she can have a swim or surf. Ben loves mountain biking so if there happens to be a mountain bike trail around he's in!
I can't say that anywhere has particularly disappointed us. There have been a few places that have been a bit 'featureless' Ayr and Roma in Queensland spring to mind but maybe we just didn't stay in those towns long enough to really appreciate them.
When out kids were little and we travelled with them we would just ask their teachers to set them some extra work if we were going to be away during term time. This often involved writing a story about our travels or drawing pictures. Now that they are older it is important that they keep up with their school work whilst they are away and a good laptop and internet connection is essential to be able to do that. Most teachers these days have email and our kids teachers are always happy for them to email them if they have any questions.
We also believe that travel in general is a great educator as well and we always try to do somethings that interest the kids so they are learning without even realising that they are."
I think the ease with which we travel together. The kids have always been great travellers and we get along really well together. There are never any arguments about where we are going or what we are going to do for the day. We always try and accommodate every ones interests when we are away as well.
1. Don't put it off for to long – we never ever let the ages of our kids stop us from going places.
2. If you are not able to do a big long trip then just do short bursts when you can. The point is that you are out and about and experiencing everything Australia has to offer as a family and that is something that your kids will remember for a long while. They won't remember that month you spent in the office at work but they will remember that week you spent camping and fishing on Fraser Island!
3. Don't think you need a lot of gear or a big flash caravan. There are so many choices available now for travellers and you would be surprised how little you need in the way of equipment and clothes. As long as you have something that you can cook on and somewhere to sleep you are pretty much right to go.
It has made us want to travel more and see more. I think travelling together has made us closer as a family unit as well. We all get along really well and we feel we have given the kids some great experiences and hopefully also a lifelong love of travel.
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