Vanlife: Lessons learned about traveling with our kids

The Beast from the East is raging in Sweden right now, giving us blizzards, sub-freezing temperatures and snowy roads with poor accessibility. But summer is actually not far away and we have started planning for it.

Last summer we did our first longer van trip. We were on the road for a month, traveled endless kilometers, visited Öland, Kinnekulle, Åre, Stalon, Lofoten, and Åre once again. We experienced so much wonderful nature and enjoyed so many magnificent sceneries: the wide, beautiful alvars of Öland, the dramatically orange colored Kinnekulle quarry with its turquoise lake and of course all the breathtaking mountains and waterfalls in the north of Sweden and our neighboring country Norway.

The kids weren’t as impressed as us though. Sure they appreciate road trips, hikes and camping sessions, but to them, it’s not about the beauty of nature. They just care about adventurous activities, having fun and doing things together as a family.

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Also, when we think back on it, it kinda felt like we were always on our way, constantly heading somewhere else. The fact that we were free and able to go where ever we wanted actually got us a little stressed. In retrospect, I think we tried to squeeze a little too much (nature) into our four weeks long holiday. And although the trip was a blast, there are things we are going to do differently next time.

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This summer we are headed south. Our plan is to explore Denmark.
But we’re not gonna have a long list of beautiful places to visit, instead, we are going to focus more on the kids’ desires. We will stay longer in one place, and hang out as long as the kids want. We’re going to hit beaches, bike parks, cafés and even Legoland. Chasing after scenic views will have to wait. It might mean a little less Oh Wow moments (for the adults at least) and maybe not as many Instagram friendly photo locations. I’m not saying Denmark isn’t beautiful because I know it truly is, but when you have a soft spot for mountains and deserted landscapes, it might not be exactly it. But I’m feeling positive that we’re going to have a great time though! And I’m crossing my fingers for more sun and less mosquitos this year…

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