Top 5 Toys our Preschooler Couldn’t Live Without on Our Lap Of Australia

top toys for caravanning camping preschooler

Do you have a preschooler who loves all their toys?

Are you stressing about what toys to take when you go travelling?

Do you have next to no storage space in your caravan? Know you have to cull the ‘take’ pile, but worry you’ll leave a favourite behind?

We were in that position too. When we moved into our caravan for a week to prepare ourselves for our trip, our four year old, Elliot, had so many toys I seriously couldn’t breathe.

Over time this number has reduced drastically, and he is thrilled with the few toys that he has. The toys sit in a tub at the end of his bed and are the first thing he pulls out whenever we arrive anywhere.  Every single one gets loads of use.

top 5 toys preschooler caravanning camping

Here are the 5 toys that we travel with on our lap of Australia: Continue reading “Top 5 Toys our Preschooler Couldn’t Live Without on Our Lap Of Australia”


Secret Overtaking Signals


If you ever drive on a highway, there’s some unwritten signals using blinkers and headlights that you need to know.

Why?

Safety.

If you’ve ever been stuck behind a slow vehicle, you know that it can be pretty annoying if you’ve got some timings that you’re trying to meet. Some people don’t do well with this, and end up trying to overtake when it’s unsafe.

On the other hand, if you’ve ever been that slow vehicle it can create some nervous tension for you if there’s some vehicles behind you. You want them to pass, but maybe they’re unsure when they can?

Drive a long vehicle? Sometimes it can be hard to judge when you’re exactly clear and able to come back to the left hand side of the road.

Well, if you don’t have a UHF, there’s some things that you need to know. Not necessarily because you have to use them, but because you might see them. You need to know what they mean.

When I did my Heavy Rigid (HR) truck license, I learned these… and it blew me away how the very next time I drove on the highway I saw them. A lot. It was like my eyes were opened, and now I couldn’t unsee them:

 

1. A quick flash on the left: “Nope, it’s unsafe to pass”. You might see this if you pull out with the intent to overtake, but the lead vehicle sees something in the distance that may be a hazard.

2. A quick flash on the right: “Yep, you’re good to go”. A word of caution… this might be that the vehicle is actually about to turn right! Also, remember, the person in front may have a risk tolerance that’s very different to yours. What the lead vehicle thinks as safe might be very different than you.

3. A flash of the high beams: “Yep, clear to come back in”. By day or by night, this can be especially helpful for long vehicles to let them know that they’re full past, and minimise the amount of time on the wrong side of the road.

4. A left-right-left flash: “Thank you”. Because courtesy.

 

Now go buy a UHF!

 

These signals can be confusing to those that aren’t in the know… I’ve seen comments on the Facebook where people on the road have confused the meaning of the right and left flashes. Not good. Also, the law. In NSW for example, Rule 51 Operate indicator light contrary to permitted use is a level 3 fine for an amount of $183.

Understand these signals… but don’t trust them. Take them into consideration, but you have to use your own judgement.


Week 1: Further Isn’t Better


AMAZING!!! The day we got into our car with the caravan attached, and drove away from our ‘forever home’, was exhilarating. Everything packed up. House (almost clean and) empty. Kids bursting with excitement. We put the car into gear and drove… 14-minutes away?!

 

What the?

 

Yes, our first leg wasn’t a road trip from Adelaide-to-Melbourne.  That’s crazy talk. The whole point of doing a lap was to take it slow.

 

With such a massive change to our life, we thought staying close to home was a nice way to make a smooth transition. Other than actually committing to do our trip, this would have to be a close second for the best decision we made.

 

We quickly realised that living in a caravan is very different than holidaying in one. What you do and don’t need is like chalk and cheese. In this first week, every single day we were getting things from our house, taking things back to our house, doing some last minute cleaning, donating things to Goodwill, or stopping by BCF and Bunnings for things we didn’t realise we truly did need.

 

“Are you crazy, living in a caravan with 3 kids?” This is a question we get asked a lot. We think we’d be crazy not to. Parenting is actually easier when we’re both around, and we are more present. Way less housework, no yard to take care of. It’s less hectic than being “home”.

The things that we did that really helped us settle into our gypsy travelling lifestyle:

1. Do a travelling stress-prevention week. Staying close to home to transition into it was the best thing we could have done. If we went all in and tried the sink-or-swim approach… we would have sunk.

2. Make a list of minor annoyances. Every time there was something that was slightly annoying, we made a list. We then thought about the little things that make a big difference (we’re now in love with velcro!)

3. Facebook Groups. These were a massive help. There are so many families out there who have done it already, and learned from their experiences. Families on the Road- Travelling Australia would be our top pick.

 

Last but not least… accept that it will be an ongoing process, and what you think you’ll use, you won’t. Don’t spend a fortune on storage solutions as what you have will probably change. There’s a lot of trial and error, and every family is different.


Memberships that Pay for Themselves


Buy something for $12.50, and save $40 the same day. It’s hard to argue with that equation, isn’t it!

 

We’ve found that there’s a few memberships that are worth getting straight away (even if you only travel ocassionally). Others… before you make a booking at a caravan park check out their websites. Joining their loyalty programs online then-and-there will mean you’ll make your money back immediately.

 

***DISCLAIMER: We do not receive any reward of incentive from any of the companies named

 

 Travel Australia With Kids. This great program offers 2 Night’s FREE camping for the kids at TAWK Participating Camp Spots/Accomodation. Considering most caravan parks charge between $5-10/night per rugrat (and up to $25 😳), for only $12.50 for a lifetime membership you’d be cray cray not to get on board with this

 

 Club BCF. Costs nothing to join, preview of every catalogue, and there’s special prices available to club members only. We came across this one when buying our Weber… meant that it was the cheapest place in Australia we could find!

 

RAA (NRMA). We pay $16.50/month for peace of mind (silly not to with the amount of km’s we’re doing). The bonus has been in the last 3-months we’ve saved more than it’s cost on bookings at caravan parks and on the Gordon River Cruise (World Heritage Cruises, Strahan).

✅ Big 4 Loyalty Club. Their parks are popular for a reason. After paying $40 for their membership, the same day we saved this amount (the first booking we made).

 

 

Our tip: It always pays to ask, as not all places advertise the specific discounts they honour.  

 

If there are any other memberships that fall into the category of “it costs more to not have them”, let us know in the comments below!

 

 


There’s an App for That!


After 3-months on the road we’ve discovered the apps we can’t live without are actually ones we should have been using before we started our gypsy lifestyle 🤷‍♂️

 

***DISCLAIMER: We do not receive any reward of incentive from any of the companies named

 

✅ Gas Finder (Refills & Swaps) – A free app… that saved us $10 the first time we used it!💰

 

✅ Fuel Map Australia – After doing over 5,000km, it’s safe to say we’ve spent a fair bit on diesel⛽ This free app has saved us between $50-$100 for doing nothing different than knowing which servo to stop at

 

✅ Beanhunter – Because life is too short for terrible coffee ☕ Beanhunter

 

✅ WikiCamps – A MUST for anyone who travels. It’s saved us money, helped us avoid some terrible places, and helped us find some gems that we wouldn’t have otherwise considered. Well worth the few dollars it cost

 

Please let us know if there’s any that we’ve missed?


Free Camping 101: Getting Started with 12V and Solar Basics


Before you buy anything 12V you should check out this episode! You know who else should listen to this one? Anyone that has a 12V system that came with their caravan or camper (especially if it was factory fitted!)

In this episode we cover:

How to work out how much battery storage you need?

What’s the most critical piece of equipment in a 12V solar set-up?

Why you can get a greater amount of charging from a smaller wattage folding solar panel than one mounted on top of your caravan/camper?

Why you can’t rely on the caravan charger to charge your battery when you’re plugged in to a 240V power-point?

The biggest mistakes people make related to their 12V set-ups?

Why inverters hardly sell anymore?!

A special thanks to Battery World for this episode. David, a Batteryologist from Battery World Lawnton, is an absolute wealth of knowledge and makes you appreciate how visiting their stores when getting set-up with 12V will save a lot of money in the long-run!

 

 

Also available on SticherRadio PublicCastbox, Overcast, PodBean, Breaker,and Pocket Casts

 

Click here for more episodes of The Family Travel Podcast

 


Free Camping 101: Which Battery is Best Bang for Your Bucks?


Do you have a deep cycle battery? If you do (or are planning on buying one), then check out this interview.

Are the more expensive types of batteries worth it when you weigh up things like depth of discharge, longevity, etc… or are you better off replacing cheaper batteries more frequently?

What are the main mistakes people make with the care of their batteries?

How does temperature really impact your batteries?

What are the main pros and cons of AGM vs Gel vs Lithium batteries?

Which companies make the better batteries?

These are the questions we explore in this episode!

A special thanks to Battery World (www.batteryworld.com.au) for linking us up with David, a Batteryologist. When you listen to this guy, you’ll understand why they suggested him to speak to. These guys really know their stuff!

Check out A Big Peachey Adventure on Facebook for links to the battery brands mentioned in this episode

 

Also available on SticherRadio PublicCastbox, Overcast, PodBean, Breaker,and Pocket Casts

 

Click here for more episodes of The Family Travel Podcast


Solar Panel Security


After old mate telling us that someone stole his wheel chocks 😳, we were seeing posts about securing solar panels on day trips etc

This set-up means that there’s no real extra bits and pieces hanging around, and can still use the full length of the 5m cable… and still point at the sun when we’re out and about!

💰 $13.55 total for the stainless steel cable and swages

It’s not going to stop a determined thief, but the opportunist. If someone is going to come back with tools, nothing would stop them anyway!