Visiting and sightseeing with Caravan

May 7, 2019
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Hi,

I am planning to travel around Poland in August. I would like to go there as quickly as possible towing a caravan. But .. I am traveling with kids (7 and 2 years old) so can do max 8h per day of driving in about the following routine: 5am till 9am driving, then making kids tired while me resting a bit (breakfast and visiting / entertainment / sightseeing) then 6pm - 10/11pm driving and then sleep till 5am and so on until we reach our first campsite in Poland.
I have selected nice places on the way there but it would require to stop on carparks in front of waterparks, castles, zoo etc. Do you have any experience in doing it while caravanning - I mean driving in such routines or driving with kids in this age and parking on such carparks?
I am especially worried that staying in the carparks will be complicated but I will be staying there only in opening hours and I will not be using trailer for anything. Any ideas? Any suggestions?
For sleeping - as I am not sure when I will get tired - I was thinking to sleep in the trailer on services (alongside trucks).
Sounds a bit crazy (and exciting) idea even for me so would like to get your opinions and potential problems / solutions before will jump into them.
Thanks in advance.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Bit of a tough one this one , first time we travelled through to France the kids were up all day as normal and then we drove through the night and they slept as normal in the car until morning , when we were getting on the ferry then we had breakfast and then set off again and we done 8 or 9 hours driving with a few stops in between, my kids would have been about 9 & 4 . They both had portable DVD players which kept them entertained whilst driving through the daytime too .

Unsure where you are travelling from but if you go from Calais it is about a 14 hour's drive but if you could manage half-and-half you could probably stop over at a site halfway there and split the journey up which might be a bit easier for you , others may come along and give you alternative suggestions . Are you the only driver or will you be able to share the driving ?
 
May 24, 2014
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For sleeping - as I am not sure when I will get tired - I was thinking to sleep in the trailer on services (alongside trucks).
As an ex truck driver, I would advise you that
1. Its likely to be very noisy, especially with fridges pulling in and the motors running all night
2. It will not be the most pleasingly fragrant place on earth
3. You will need to keep a very close eye on the children
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Thingy said:
For sleeping - as I am not sure when I will get tired - I was thinking to sleep in the trailer on services (alongside trucks).
As an ex truck driver, I would advise you that
1. Its likely to be very noisy, especially with fridges pulling in and the motors running all night
2. It will not be the most pleasingly fragrant place on earth
3. You will need to keep a very close eye on the children
I agree . I member driving to Dover and we pulled in about 2am in the morning in-between trucks so the family could go to the toilet , I stopped with the caravan and car and done my bit but the whole areas stunk from the truckers toilet i.e. splashing the wheels :sick:
 
Nov 11, 2009
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In 2013 we drove to Krakow via Prague and when we costed it we decided to leave the caravan at home. There were so may cheap BB, and even hotels that not having the caravan gave us good flexibility and the ability to change plans at short notice. Of course having children can change the economics. Krakow was amazing and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Our route back was via Dresden with visits to Saxon Switzerland and the Hartz.
Whatever your decision enjoy the holiday.
 
May 7, 2019
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To answer all comments/advices:

First of all Thanks for all responses.
I will be driving by myself as wife is a bit scared :) I will buy DVDs :)
Never sleep on services - so will consider your suggestions
Kids are very precious cargo - this is why I try to make a big gaps between. I really hope we we will be able to enjoy touring arround europe.

The current plan I think is to get from Manchester to Calais in one go, rest on the ferry, have mc donalds in Calais, drive about 1h while little one will sleep to nearest entertainment, enjoy till about 5pm then travel arround 4h to Waterpark close o Venlo. Stay there on campsite. Then travel To Tropical Island in Germany, Enjoy, Drive for 2-4h Sleep on petrol station and get to Polish See. Then depends on weather travel arround - no plans :)

We will see :) Thanks.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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zysko said:
To answer all comments/advices:

First of all Thanks for all responses.
I will be driving by myself as wife is a bit scared :) I will buy DVDs :)
Never sleep on services - so will consider your suggestions
Kids are very precious cargo - this is why I try to make a big gaps between. I really hope we we will be able to enjoy touring arround europe.

The current plan I think is to get from Manchester to Calais in one go, rest on the ferry, have mc donalds in Calais, drive about 1h while little one will sleep to nearest entertainment, enjoy till about 5pm then travel arround 4h to Waterpark close o Venlo. Stay there on campsite. Then travel To Tropical Island in Germany, Enjoy, Drive for 2-4h Sleep on petrol station and get to Polish See. Then depends on weather travel arround - no plans :)

We will see :) Thanks.
I think your first day is very adventurous and whilst the little one can be sleeping you as driver will get little or no rest. You don’t get that much chance to sleep on the Dover to Calais route.

So at best you will not arrive at your campsite until 2100. This assumes a good journey. What if there are roadworks, accidents, congestion etc. Why not camp near to the first days venue then leave in the morning when the site allows departures. Generally around 0700. That way you get a chance to relax with the kids and a decent nights sleep.

We used to do up to 400 miles in a day leaving Dover crossing to Calais and then down into France. You plan Manchester to Dover (great route) then another 5 hours of driving plus time at a venue with the kids. Personally I think it’s too much.
 
May 24, 2014
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HGV drivers adhere to drivers hours for a number if very good reasons, not including the legal necessity. After a good spell of driving the concentration begins to flag as do reactions. As fatigue sets in, it is akin to being drunk. After 4.5 hours we could feel it, and we did this daily. Assuming you dont tow your caravan daily and over those distances you would be surprised as to how much it would effect you. Dont do it.

As for sleeping on the Dover to Calais RoRo, you will be lucky to catnap. It can be bedlam on there. Trust me, twice a week for near on 30 years.

Finally i will point out an incident some years ago when a man towing a trailer went off the motorway onto a train track. As i recall a train derailed and a couple of innocent people died. The guy survived and in the aftermath it came out in court that he had only had an hours sleep the night before then driven from London to Cumbria. He was handed a very long jail sentence. Abroad, they will throw the book at you.

Really, dont do it, its too much.
 
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Feb 23, 2018
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I used to work nights: by 7am I would have been up for nearly 24 hours if a pre-work nap had not happened on my first shift. I would get home after an hours drive on the motorway and be shattered. However, that hour of driving, even on subsequent shifts would make me wired and I would need an hour or so to wind down before getting to bed; my sleep would always be disturbed - I'd wake up after an hour (Circadian rhythms kicking in?) and feel awful.

The times you're giving yourself for sleep are not something i'd want to do willingly. and then have another slog towing. I towed from Grantown-on-Spey back to the Birmingham area last year, in one go, as I was starting to feel ill and cut short a holiday. Never again.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Im used to it but if you are not used to long driving hours don't do it . Its harder with the van on back as well as concentrating and with kids . Drive to a site for an overnighter , get good rest set off again the next day .
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Can't help you with immediate advice But I visited Poland before the Berlin wall came down and toured most of the country. not with a caravan.
What a beautiful and interesting and moving country. Krakow is superb, the saltmines at Wleckia also, Zackpane and the Lake districts ditto. Sorry about my spelling. Silesia has been fought over some many times that even the spell of relative peace under the Russians felt good.
The wild life, particularly bird , in the lakes north of Warsaw were wonderful too. Unless the nation has changed markedly, be aware that style dominates time keeping which can be frustrating at time but perhaps is we who have got this wrong.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Zysko, I hope you have changed your travel plans, I never really go between 6 hours, the time saved is never good, getting the whole family up early , they get grumpy, your tired, stop at 8am for two hours, family need feeding at their lunch times. Take an extra two days, be safe, and enjoy the trip.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Zysko, did your trip get done, or did covid stop it. Interesting to know.
 
May 7, 2019
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Hi,

Actually i reactivated my account few days ago to share details with you. It will be very long entry as I managed two trips to Poland. We had some nice and stresfull situations - i am writing it up on laptop and will paste it here soon. Just summary - it was worth it and we go this year again - If covid allows.
 
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Nov 16, 2015
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Hi,

Actually i reactivated my account few days ago to share details with you. It will be very long entry as I managed two trips to Poland. We had some nice and stresfull situations - i am writing it up on laptop and will paste it here soon. Just summary - it was worth it and we go this year again - If covid allows.
Great, I will be interested to read it, as I have a couple of work friend living on the far side of Poland. And might visit, depending on your storys.
 

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