Chapter 26      Necessities

What to take when camping overseas with children.

Take all your courage and some audacity.

A broad smile, and willingness to accept things which are different, without comparing.
A smattering of foreign languages, especially German. Willingness to try to speak the language makes people more helpful.

A supply of games for instance 'Spotto'. (Each child makes a list of items that might be seen on a trip. They combine lists, and during the journey the one who first says 'spotto' can cross that item off his list. Make some easy... a red car, and some hard... a rotary clothes line.)

International road sign game. This will help the driver; as well as amuse the children.

Knowledge of what aspects are likely to interest you most. Roman ruins? Medieval architecture? Geology? Art galleries? Obviously your route depends on this. Even if you have unlimited time and money, trying to see everything becomes too confusing to children. They end up with a bewildering conglomeration.

Non-iron clothes such as track suits. For normal camping you will not need any good clothes. Only if you are likely to want to go to the theatre. Slip-on shoes to double as slippers. Plastic raincoats. These were not common in Europe, so take them from home.

Plastic containers for detergent etc. A picnic case for taking into towns, but only if there is a spot in you van where it can be stowed. Ours did not and the picnic utensils had to be put into a small pack which could be stuffed into a corner of a cupboard.

An airline type bag for each person's underwear and small items. Bigger items can be stored in the community wardrobe, jumpers and pyjamas kept in a handy drawer where they can be reached if the weather changes, or the children get wet or tired.

A supply of nutritious snack foods, such as nuts, dried fruit, cheese. There are times when you just can't find anywhere suitable to eat. A sensible snack can help tempers without upsetting the digestion.

Look out for small items, which can serve a double duty. Leave behind everything which 'might come in handy'. It will only cause a storage problem. Make a list of items as you think of them, and decide which are essential. If you forget clothes pegs and line, you can always buy them, but maybe not just what you want and when you need them.

A rough itinerary, and diary to remind you what day it is, and an outline of where you have been, even the unimportant places; a supply of note paper for your impressions of the things and places which interest you. With children requiring attention you may not be able to write the latter immediately, but at least put down a few jottings before they escape. This paper is likely to be consumed by the children for coin rubbing, origami, and pencil and paper games.