The twins, the teen and myself were beside ourselves with excitement as we hit the open road. Ah, freedom! Traveling in a campervan made us all feel like gypsies, or perhaps snails, carrying our home with us. A campervan expedition had appealed for years, but my hubby was dead set against, being strictly a five-star traveler.
Independence is my middle name, but I did worry that I’d never manage one of the bigger campervans around safely on my own. So when Dad and the Giant Teen spent a few days golfing, I and the three younger kids grabbed the chance to jump into a smaller campervan and head for the hills.
We tried the 4-berth Jucy Grande and it worked out really well for us. The seats are very large and comfortable and really the van wasn’t much bigger than the 7-seater I usually drive. In the Grande, you make a double berth inside the van by pulling seats down. Then there’s the small double berth on top, called the Penthouse.
There were great debates and disputes amongst the kids about who would sleep up top. Generally, my 13-year-old slept up there with one of the six-year-old twins, whilst I slept with the other twin in the van itself. My six-year-olds are quite brave little people and they enjoyed the adventure of sleeping up on top of the van. They were probably only just old enough for it, and they did have an elder brother up there with them.
The great joy of a little van like this is that everything has its place. There are nooks and crannies for everything, the chairs stow under the seats, the kitchen has all sorts of clever drawers. I think that using the kitchen in the back of the van was the highlight of the expedition for my little girl and me.
There’s a mini-fridge, a little sink with a cold water tap. There are plates, pans, cutlery, and tea towels, all cleverly and neatly stowed. I spent my childhood holidays sailing around the Western Isles of Scotland in a small boat and knew the joys of small places, of everything going where it belongs. It is a bit like living in a dollhouse and my little girl loved this aspect.
One of my holiday bugbears is the useless curtain, the one that lets through loads of light which wakes the kids horrifyingly early. Well, the Jucy had none of those issues as there are thick blinds that come down for each and every window, and they have press studs to hold them tight.
No light penetrates and a mini sleep-in is possible. We did a glamping sort of camping, choosing to have a powered site with an en suite at the Valley Vinyard Tourist Park in the Hunter Valley. This meant we had our own little bathroom with a shower and a big laundry sink as well as a smaller vanity sink.
That space made our trip much easier as we kept our bags in there and some food too. It didn’t cost too much at all to have that en suite powered site so I’d really recommend it for non-hardcore campers like ourselves. The holiday park also had a huge pool and that was a bit of a lifesaver as the weather was boiling hot.
The kids could cool off and so could I. You can’t get away from the fact that campervans, like tents, are hot when the weather’s hot. So some nights were a bit sticky and sweaty in the van. But that’s all part of the outdoorsy type of holiday, isn’t it?