Travel days with young children are known for being tough. In fact, we know lots of families who will not travel abroad or long distance due to the potential stress they may cause.
We recently had a bad travel day despite the planning and organisation that almost broke us so thought we’d share the events of the day.
What should have been a simple day of driving turned into mayhem and a series of misfortune. I mean, we recently travelled for 24 hours and absolutely smashed it. This was a measly few hours trip from Sydney to outside of Sydney. What’s the worst that could happen???
The plan was to leave Manly, Sydney, Australia early morning to collect our new motorhome just outside Sydney. It’s an hour drive from our Air BnB to the motorhome depot. The motorhome depot is about 3 hours from our first camp site, so we intended on picking it up, stopping off at a supermarket to buy groceries and lunch and to move on with the kids having a nap and snacks in between. Oh, how optimistic we can be!
Everyone was feeling poorly the night before the travel day which is never a good sign. I stayed up late to tidy the Air BnB and to finish packing, so we could crack on with the task on hand first thing in the morning.
We woke up ready to go, but the kids woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Not only that, both were refusing to do ANYTHING; brush their teeth, eat their breakfast, and wanting to go through the packed bags! Oh crap. This isn’t a good start but regardless that we both feel really bad, positivity, positivity, POSITIVITY!!!!
We ordered an Uber XL. A Toyota Prius V turned up. I mean, that’s hardly an XL car. I asked the driver if he thought everything would fit and he seemed adamant it would. Everything we have with us is everything we own! To our amusement, it did fit but it took quite a while to pack. The whole time we are packing Uber charges extra for waiting time. We also had to install our car seats. Laws are quite strict in Australia regarding children using car seats in taxis, so you take your own car seat or you have to pre-arrange a car seat with the driver. We’ve never done the latter with Uber, but we have our own seats.
We drove an hour to the motorhome depot. The kids were doing rather well but it took an entire journey of engaging with them discussing what is out the window, making up stories and answering ‘why’ to everything.
We made it to the depot. Unloaded our stuff out of the Uber and Poppy went in to talk to reception. There was a wait due to other families collecting vans so asked me and the kids to come in. The kids were bored within seconds and decide the best thing to do for entertainment is to play with the water dispenser…. I don’t know why they love doing this, but it drives me up the wall!!!!!! We often learn about how precious water is and I’m hoping one day the sentiment will stick with them and they’ll stop wasting water unnecessarily plus it’s just annoying. We are regularly told off in places for our kid’s actions, but we don’t pay attention unless it’s a safety issue or if they are likely to damage something.
We signed all the paperwork and had to pay a deposit just in case we damaged anything but our credit card was declined. I made sure the credit was available a few days prior. When we travel and move countries, we often have our cards declined. Apparently, it isn’t often the bank declining the payment, it’s MasterCard. We called the bank and they advised there is nothing they can do right now.
The solution was to use another card, but we didn’t have enough money in the account, so I tried to log on to make a transfer. The Wi-Fi in the building was down. 4G data was also non-existent! I had to go for a walk to find the nearest open Wi-Fi. Then the banking app was crashing!
After several attempts I managed to transfer the money, but it wasn’t showing in the account. It was 7th January in Australia but 6th January in the UK due to the time difference! The app only allows you to select a date, not a ‘Pay Now’ option and you can’t select a day prior, so we had to wait until the UK moved into the 7th January which was only 30 minutes or so – thank God!
We tried paying with the new card and it was declined! After a phone call to the bank, we ended up going to find Wi-Fi again, and transferring amounts to multiple bank accounts and paying the bill which wasn’t much over several bank cards. Then the sales assistant messed up a payment and we ended up over paying! We don’t blame her, it was all confusing and she spent some time on the phone calling the company accounts to refund the payment.
By now the kids and Poppy were HANGRY. When it gets to that stage we need to tread carefully. We had the keys to the motorhome now, but time was ticking so we ordered an Uber Eats. We’ve never used them before but it seemed convenient. It’s lucky I was willing to do just about anything at the time because it cost and arm and a leg. However, it was delicious, and we had vegan plant fuel in our bellies.
Let’s hit the road! Oh wait. We can’t. Wolfies car seat doesn’t fit. Our seats have tether straps and are rear facing although one of them can be secured using a normal seat belt and front facing. We had to find a car seat for Taormina.
This time we were ready to hit the road. We originally planned to stop at a local supermarket to pick up lunch and groceries for the week but Wolfie fell asleep pretty quickly and we didn’t want to disturb him, and Taormina soon dropped off. It made sense to continue driving. The super market we planned had available parking. The super market we arrived at didn’t. It was a nightmare trying to find somewhere to park a 3.5m high motor home. We found somewhere eventually, and I took Wolfie to the shops whilst Poppy sorted some bits out in the van with Taormina.
The food shopping list was pretty long and when I went to grab a trolley it needed a coin. A coin that I didn’t possess. This can’t be happening right? Solution….. ask the busker outside to borrow a coin. I mean, he’s going to get it back! We carried out the food shop whilst Wolfie was trying to get out of the trolley the whole time. We don’t let him out because he just wants to grab whatever he can and it turns a 30 minute trip into a stressful 2 hour trip.
We got the shopping back to the van and drove to the campsite. The reception was closed!!!!!!!! We completely lost track of time. Usually we would call ahead if we were running late but we didn’t realise how we lost 6 hours of the day. We went on a witch hunt to find a man that can. One who can advise the location of our pitch.
FINALLY WE MADE IT. We set up the utilities and took the kids to a bounce park to stretch their legs.
We enjoyed a home cooked vegan dinner and took turns telling each other what we are grateful for in our lives.
As much as days like these are tough. They are totally worth it. We Love the personal challenges travelling provides. We’ve never taken the easy option to compromise our dreams.
The truth is, life is tough full stop. These hard ships are little tests on us to help us grow and develop.
Just remember, tomorrow is a new day!
Best Wishes – Dan
** Disclaimer – although we are working with the motorhome rental company, this is not a sponsored post