Camping in France with children
We’ve been camping in France many times before and know from experience how stressful a ferry crossing can be when you have small children to entertain.
When our youngest first went to France he was just 11 weeks old, and that combined with his two big brothers, who were 23 months and 6 we were prepared for the worst!
If you take a bit of time before you go, and think about what to pack for your day (or night) on the ferry it can be an enjoyable part of the holiday!
If you have a small baby then we would strongly recommend that you take them onto the ferry in their rear facing car seat, it means you can carry them around and they are more likely to sleep, which ours did for most of the crossing. Make sure you have a changing bag with feeds, and snacks if they are older, and remember to include at least one full set of clothes – in case they are sick!
For toddlers, we recommend you pack a bag just for the children. When we first went camping in France, we bought our eldest his own backpack and filled it with colouring books, pens, reading books, card games, small puzzles, snacks and drinks.. For older children small games like ‘Pass the Pigs’ and travel games such as ‘Connect4’ are useful to pack, the card game ‘Uno’ seemed to be played everywhere you turned. If you haven’t discovered games like these and have older children it is well worth looking into.
We did on one trip take the battery operated DVD player but found that once out in the channel the picture was of poor quality and eventually the battery died so if your planning to take one make sure it’s of good quality. Handheld games consoles such as a Nintedo DS are a must for older children, especially if they can link them and play against siblings/other people in your travelling party.
Not only is it worth packing your own items for the crossing but it also worth remembering that the ferry companies know that children get bored easily and so provide entertainment for the crossing. We have experienced clowns, balloon model makers, quizzes and treasure hunts on board. Some of the big ferries also have swimming pools and cinemas showing new releases which you do have to pay extra for, but they can be worth while in passing time.
Just remember to be well prepared, your ferry journey is the start of your family camping holiday in France so make sure it begins with a positive experience and not a stressful one.