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Top Tips for School Holiday Family Travel


The school holidays are ideal to take some time out together as a family and enjoy a change of scenery and a more relaxed pace. One of the most popular ways to do exactly that is with a Britz campervan hire.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the great benefits of campervans for family holidays. We’ll also cover how to prepare for your road trip, plus plenty of other handy tips on how to make your campervan holiday enjoyable and relaxing for everyone.

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When are the school holidays in New Zealand?

In New Zealand, schools have four terms each year, which means four sets of school holidays. The first three, usually in April, July, and October are two weeks long each. The Christmas holiday period runs for around six weeks, from a few days to a week before Christmas until early February (dates vary slightly between schools).

Why is a campervan trip great for the school holidays?

Packing up the kids and heading off on a New Zealand road trip in a campervan hire is one of the most exciting and rewarding ways to enjoy a family holiday. Rather than booking accommodation and transport, you’ve got it all in one. A home away from home! Although the list of benefits is endless, here are just a few:

  • You’ve got plenty of space to pack all those must-have extras like toys, outdoor games, favourite blankets, and extra pairs of shoes.
  • With a Britz pet-friendly campervan hire, you can even bring along the family furbaby! We know that your dog is part of the family too, so why not bring them along?
  • Enjoy homecooked meals. Britz campervans include built-in kitchens and come complete with basic cookware so you can create all your favourite meals as you travel. You might also like to try our great campervan recipes.
  • Have the flexibility to go where you like, when you like! Explore those off-the-beaten-track destinations without worrying about check-in schedules.

Keen to plan a New Zealand road trip by campervan for the next school holidays? Here are our top tips to help make it fun for the whole family:

1. Include your kids in the planning 

Creating a road trip itinerary planner for your campervan holiday is a big part of the fun! Thinking about where to go, what to see, and what to do as you explore New Zealand is a great opportunity to get the kids involved.

The kids will be a lot more invested in your trip if you run ideas past them at the planning stage. They may even have some great ideas themselves. Having input from your kids can also help to avoid activity disagreements later down the track. Who knows, you may even have fun planning your trip with your kids!

To help plan your family holiday, download the thl Roadtrip app. This handy app is loaded with useful tips for preparing for your campervan trip. You’ll also find locations of campgrounds, petrol stations, free wifi, supermarkets, and lots more.

2. Pick the right campervan

Britz has a range of campervans suitable for different-sized families. Each includes a shower, toilet, and kitchen facilities. Many of our campervans are ideal for booster seats and other car restraints.

  • 2+1 Berth Venturer Plus

Our 2+1 Berth Venturer Plus is the perfect for smaller families, this campervan is designed for two adults and one child.

  • 3-berth HiTop

The Britz 3-berth HiTop is cute and compact, this campervan features a large double bed, plus an overhead single bunk.

  • 4-berth Voyager

If you’re a small family looking to travel on a budget, look no further than the 4-berth Voyager. It sleeps four people in two comfortable beds.

  • 4-berth Explorer

The 4-berth Explorer is the ultimate freedom machine! This larger motorhome has plenty of room for Mum, Dad, and the kids.

  • 4-berth Discovery

With a dinette that converts to a double bed and a drop-down double bed above it, the 4-berth Discovery is a space-saving camper will be super popular for a family of four.

  • 6-berth Frontier

The 6-berth Frontier is our biggest motorhome with ample room for up to six.

Remember that while you’re driving, children must be safely restrained in an approved seatbelt or child restraint. That means no lying on the beds while the campervan is moving! International best practice recommends the use of an appropriate child restraint (or booster seat) until your child reaches 148 cm tall or is 11 years old.

3. Make a camping supplies checklist

When you’re packing for a whole family, there’s a lot to remember! To help make sure you don’t forget anything, it can be helpful to write out a camping supplies checklist. Writing a list means you won’t forget any of the essentials, such as:

  • Favourite toys and books
  • Extra warm clothing
  • Medications
  • Swimming gear and towels
  • Marshmallows for roasting
  • Night lights and torches
  • Drink bottles and snacks.

4. Look for school holiday events 

School holidays tend to fall on approximately the same dates for every school in New Zealand. This means that there are a lot of events that take place for kids over the holiday periods. When you’re planning your New Zealand road trip, take a look online to see what events around the country match up with your route. A good place to start is with local libraries, museums, and recreation centres.

5. Enjoy fresh air

When planning your school holiday family campervan trip, try to include lots of activities that are outside in the fresh air. Your kids have probably been cooped up in a classroom for most of the school term, so it may be good for them to get out in nature. Luckily, in New Zealand, there are endless opportunities to do just that! Here are a few ideas:

6. Include activities the whole family can enjoy 

When planning activities for your family campervan trip, you’ll be keen to plan around fun for the kids. But in saying that, it is a family holiday, so everyone should have a good time. This includes Mum and Dad! Try to schedule some activities the family can enjoy together and give the grown-ups a chance to have some fun. This could include:

  • Fishing, either on a charter or at the local lake
  • Kayaking in a double kayak is a great idea for parents and kids
  • Movies are great to keep up your sleeve for a rainy day
  • Look out for fairs and events in nearby towns such as air shows or craft shows
  • Fruit picking is fantastic to stock up the pantry with fresh berries and seasonal fruit from a local orchard

7. Stop for breaks regularly

If you’re off on a New Zealand road trip in a campervan, chances are you’ll be spending a lot of time driving between our great destinations. Although the kids are likely to be excited at first, they may eventually get a bit titchy or even car sick. To mitigate this, it’s a good idea to stop regularly to let kids stretch their legs and get some fresh air. We recommend stopping at least every two hours. Don’t forget to check in on your thl Roadtrip app for locations of public toilets, petrol stations, parks, and playgrounds.

9. School holidays are meant for recharging

Of course, you want to plan an exciting and memorable trip for your kids to enjoy. In saying that, school holidays are also an opportunity for them to unwind and recharge after a long school term. With that in mind, be sure to balance fun, exciting activities with downtime and relaxation as well. There’s nothing wrong with spending a day just chilling at the campground with no fixed schedule. This will also give you a chance to recharge!

10. Allow for some time at home after your trip

Although it may be tempting to hit the road and go exploring as a family for the whole of the school holidays, you may find that this could be a bit much if it’s your first time in a campervan. It can be a good idea to leave at least a couple of days spare after your road trip to relax at home. This will help give your kids a chance to adjust, get back into a routine, and chill out before going back to school.

Planning a holiday can be almost as good as the holiday itself, and the best thing about planning a holiday in a home on wheels is the freedom of choice it offers. You choose where to go, where to stay and where to play... So go on – what are you waiting for? Put yourself in the driver’s seat and book a campervan for your next, most unforgettable family holiday ever. 

Time for a school holiday road trip?

With a little extra planning, combined with the flexibility and freedom that campervan travel offers, your school holiday road trip is sure to be exciting, memorable, and loaded with fun!

It’s easy to get started too! Take the first step and book your Britz motorhome online. We’ve got three branches around the country. This includes two in the South Island and one in Auckland, so you can pick up and return your campervan at the most convenient Britz branch.