Many parents choose to leave their kids with the grandparents for a few days and take a well-deserved break on their own without any distractions. After all, traveling with young children can be quite stressful for a number of reasons. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be a fun and rewarding experience. In fact, many adventurous parents can’t imagine leaving their kids behind while they’re off exploring the great outdoors or traveling between bustling urban gems.
So, if you’re thinking about taking your kids backpacking with you (particularly in Australia), don’t worry! It’s only a scary thought at first glance. What you need to survive this expedition and actually have an amazing time is to prepare and make a concrete strategy that will leave nothing to chance and help you save money in the process. With all of that in mind, here are the essential tips for families backpacking in Australia on how to take your kids on a memorable adventure.
Rehearse before You Go
You know what this trip entails. You know all too well that you’re going to be walking a lot, switching transportation and accommodation, and you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors. But, do your kids know all this? Chances are they’re not quite sure what’s in store. Needless to say, if you don’t prep them for this trip, you’re going to have a bad time mainly in the form of constant whining, nagging, and a whole lot of passive resistance.
This is why your first order of business is to rehearse with your kids such as taking them on increasingly longer walks close to town. The key to make this engaging for them is to choose walking trails and locations that allow them to play and explore, but also to learn about the natural world around them. Next, be sure to simulate a camping trip at home by pitching a tent in the backyard and letting the kids get comfortable with sleeping bags and spending the night under the stars.
Research Convenient Camping Spots
When you’re backpacking with your kids you need to make convenience and comfort your number one priority. Look, you might be raising your kids to be adventurers and survivors, but keep in mind that they don’t have the mental fortitude or the physical capacity to keep pace with their parents. So, you’ll need to find walking trails and camping spots that fit their needs, not yours. This is especially true when you’re taking on the expansive Australian outback, because the distances between certain points of interest can be overwhelming.
To make camping as enjoyable as possible, be sure to research the campsites that are not too far off the trail and are preferably near other points of interest such as the Euroka campground just outside Sydney or the Cope Saddle campground near Falls Creek and Mount McKay. The proximity to other urban areas will make it easy to hop over there in case of an emergency and it will allow you to stay flexible with your backpacking itinerary.
Learn from other Backpacking Parents
You are not in this alone. Remember that. We live in a connected modern world and there is no reason for you to second-guess any decision because chances are that some parent out there have already been there and they would love to impart some of their wisdom and experience on to you. You simply need to connect with them before your trip.
There are some very handy apps for moms out there that bring like-minded women together based on their interests and allow them to connect and share their knowledge. You can use these apps to connect with other moms that love backpacking with their kids and ask every question that pops in your head to learn about what makes a family backpacking trip work.
Get the Right Insurance
No matter if you’re traveling from abroad or if you’re a native Aussie exploring the majestic beauty of this vast continent, you should leave nothing to chance. That means that you need to get proper insurance. Sure, you might feel pretty well-protected because of Australia’s universal health care or because of the reciprocal healthcare agreement your country might have with Australia, but remember that it’s not just about health – it’s also about your belongings.
Be sure to get the right backpacker’s insurance that will cover your backpack’s contents as well. It’s important that your insurance company is flexible and able to accommodate all of your travel needs, especially if you’re not sure if you’ll be extending your trip. Given the sheer size of the country and the number of exciting things you can do, you might feel like extending your trip by a few days so make sure you’re able to extend your policy quickly and easily.
Make Intercity Travel a Breeze
Lastly, keep in mind that kids can get cranky quite quickly when they have to spend a lot of time sitting in one place so you need to plan your inter-city travel carefully. By far, the bus is the most popular travel option for backpackers in Australia, seeing as how it’s cheap and a good way to meet new people. However, you’re taking your kids with you so you have to have other options in mind.
Consider taking the high-speed rail if you’re backpacking along the east coast to get from one town to the next quickly and map out your stops for maximum convenience. Don’t think that your kids will sit through a ten-hour ride from Sydney to Melbourne without getting antsy. Rather, make it a fun adventure by visiting as many urban gems along the way as you can.
Backpacking is very popular in Australia and it’s not uncommon for parents to take their little rascals with them on their adventures. But before you embark on your journey, be sure to take these tips to heart to make this backpacking trip a memorable and rewarding experience for the whole family.