Are we a little crazy to leave to the other side of the world when the twins are not even a year old? Might be. February 2019, we find ourselves on a 36-hour journey from Prague, Czech Republic to Christchurch, New Zealand.
It’s not as if we just spontaneously decide to go. A lot of planning went into it. First, we want to hit New Zealand’s summer. Patrik would be 3,5 year old, that is already manageable enough. Twins will be 10months old babies. A bit more work, but free flights!
How to travel around?
We know we want an RV experience. That’s what everyone tells us, that’s how all the trendy families travel these days. And we know we can handle a big car and a tiny living space. As a practice, we did a three-week road trip a couple months before departure. Traveling in an RV with small kids has indisputable advantages:
- Saving time: packing and unpacking only once. Small space to clean up after kids.
- Cooking: convenient to feed the family. Someone might be put off by the idea of cooking while traveling, but try to eat out with a toddler and two babies more than 2 times a day. Yeah, better boil up some pasta.
- Freedom: we usually follow a rough plan, RV is perfect for adjusting it based on weather and kids mood.
Travelling with an RV in NZ is made especially easy. The network of free or paid campsites is very rich and people are very considerate. We alternated between free and paid sites. Some we booked in advance, like the one in Milford Sound. Most of the time we just drive in and hope for a spot. The unwritten rule is that you don’t reserve a spot on free sites, which means that there is always a high chance you will find a place. There are several apps that are amazingly helpful, our favorite is https://www.campermate.co.nz/.
Where to go?
We have 3 months. We want NZ, but also a short visit to Fiji, and finally a couple days in Melbourne with friends. By now we can graduate in flight combination and planning, our masterpiece plan looks like:
- Longest flight ever from Prague to Christchurch
- An adjustment week in Christchurch (as it turns out, absolutely needed)
- 14 awesome days travelling through South Island
- Short flight to Nadi to take a short vacay from our travels, returning to Auckland.
- Couple city days in Auckland
- 10 packed days road tripping through North Island
- Saying hello to our Melbourne friends
- The second longest flight ever back to Prague.
What to bring?
The lightest packing we have ever done. 10 days worth of clean clothes, and the rest kid-related necessities:
- Our double-stroller: a.k.a oversize luggage. We discuss back and forth, but at the end, comfort wins over practicality. Twins use it for day naps, we use it to free one pair of hands if need be. (A little tip – you can still pack things in if your luggage is overweight, no one checks)
- Baby carriers: We take our light Manduca carriers that get us comfortably everywhere we need. We are able to hike only as far as Patrik, so no hard core adventures are planned.
What we left at home and don’t regret it:
- Travel beds: No place for them in RV, we will happily share a bed.
- Car seats: rent everything on the spot. Too much hassle to carry another 3 items.
So is it worth all the planning?
No doubts, yes.