Hi I’m Lisa and I was lucky enough to win the first reviewing opportunity/competition with Our Tribe Travels and Camplify.
My husband and I live in Bristol, UK with our two children (little boy aged 20 months and the newest addition, a little girl aged 3 weeks at the time of our adventure). We love independent travel and I would say that pre-children we would be best summed up as city break lovers, taking in the history of our destination, enjoying good food and drinks, people watching and general exploration.
Our Family Travel Style
Since we have had our children we have temporarily given up on city breaks per se. We have been away, but have opted for a standard of accommodation to ensure the safety of the exuberant toddler and also chosen to travel between destinations in a car, enjoying the hassle free option of easily being able to move all our baby paraphernalia around.
Recently, travel has consisted mainly of UK destinations. Typically staying in holiday lets around the UK for a week or so, and venturing over to a fmily holiday destination, Bluestone in Tenby. More ‘major’ excursions have included a week in Lanzarote when our first born was 6 months old; and also 2 weeks in Croatia (mainly Istria), when he was 10 months. In Croatia we absolutely loved the Plitvice Lakes National Park (there’s more info about this on my Facebook page/blog, Baby friendly Bristol, Including routes, travel times, other areas we visited etc.) The trip in the T28 Transporter was our first travelling as a family of four, as well as being our first time in a campervan.
“Through the competition, I learned about Camplify and how it works, being described as “the Airbnb for motorhomes/campervans/RVs“
First impressions of Camplify
I’ve always wanted to hire a campervan/motorhome for a break, but haven’t really known which companies are reputable, what van might suit us or where to start looking. Through the competition, I learned about Camplify and how it works, being described as “the Airbnb for motorhomes/campervans/RVs”, (such a great idea)! Upon winning the experience, we completed an online profile with Camplify and provided our driving license details via a .gov license sharing site. This linked us to Gary, the owner of ‘Plum’, a VW T28 Transporter. Gary provided us with his contact details and the pick up/drop off location for the van, he was also to hand to answer any specific questions we had about Plum.
“Upon arrival Gary was waiting to greet us and had Plum set up in camping mode, chairs turned, top popped, beds laid out. He ran through the various features of the van and put it into drive for us to start our trip.“
Meeting the owner and collecting our VW, Plum
Upon arrival Gary was waiting to greet us and had Plum set up in camping mode, chairs turned, top popped, beds laid out. He ran through the various features of the van and put it into drive for us to start our trip. We left our car with Gary and our adventure began!
We brought Plum home to load-up, as being new to this type of holiday, we were unsure how much of our ‘family stuff’ would actually fit into the van. A step that we felt was sensible with the newest addition and her associated kit being likely to take up more room than the rest of us put together, (for example increased outfit changes for her and us, due to various ‘baby leaks’) Our hire period was one week, Friday to Friday. After negotiating and best utilising the space in the van through packing, reviewing, un-doing and re-packing, we finally got ourselves sorted and on the road first thing on Saturday morning. Our chosen destination was Ayr Holiday Park, St Ives, Cornwall.
Our Adventure in Plum
Even travelling to Cornwall felt like an experience. We needed quite a few feeding and changing stops on our journey, but having the van to sit and feed the baby in was a lovely little treat!
Ayr is a beautiful site with really good facilities, it’s graded as a 5 Pennant standard by the AA; and has beautiful views over the town and Porthmeor beach, (where you can find the Tate St Ives). It’s also a great spot for fantastic sunsets. There was a lovely little playground on site where even the swings had a view of the town. Two restaurants and an indoor pool (linked to the Garrack Hotel). The indoor pool was warm and great for our one drizzly, grey day. It also had a café bar attached to it, with no glass screen separating it from the pool, meaning that the littlest and I could join in with the two boys swimming, splashing and jumping, whilst enjoying a great coffee or two and some delicious breakfast pancakes.
The beautiful views and fantastic sunsets mean that the site is up the top of a steep hill. However, even post c section (effectively one adult down) and with two small children in tow this didn’t cause too much trouble as there’s an easy option to get back to the top. A local bus company charges £1.50 per adult (under 5s free) and runs to around 5pm each day (they even kindly returned the husband’s iPhone when it had dropped out of his pocket whilst chasing the escaping toddler up the bus!!) For us, this was money well spent.
“Even travelling to Cornwall felt like an experience. We needed quite a few feeding and changing stops on our journey, but having the van to sit and feed the baby in was a lovely little treat!“
Our Adventure in Plum Cont.
We loved St Ives town. There are lots of lovely places to eat and drink, three beaches at various angles, (meaning if it was a bit windy, at least one beach offered some shelter), a great buzz around the town and friendly people (a 3 week old baby attracts attention like walking a puppy). My husband and I aren’t beach lovers, but we really enjoyed running with the toddler on the beach and splashing through the rock pools. We even managed a grown up drink in a bar with more fantastic views whilst both children slept.
After leaving St Ives, we headed home to unpack the van of our bulky items. These were mostly sleep related: pillows, duvet and a Moses basket. I would invest in sleeping bags if we were doing this or camping again, and wait until the littlest member of our family could sleep happily in something other than a Moses basket. This gave us more space and we used the last day to head somewhere closer to home. We ended up in Weston-Super-Mare where we could drive onto the beach in the van. We attempted to launch our kite, played football, and had a posh campervan picnic.
“For me, the highlight of spending time in the campervan as a family, was having a camping experience with extra creature comforts.”
Highlights Of Our Family Holiday In A Campervan
For me, the highlight of spending time in the campervan as a family, was having a camping experience with extra creature comforts. The cooler nights didn’t matter as we had the van to warm us up. Having easy access to cooking facilities was great and a fridge made storing food and drinks (particularly milk) really easy and hassle free for us. Having solid beds that didn’t deflate in the middle of the night was also a bonus!
Dropping back Plum to Gary was as easy as pick up; we arranged a time that was mutually convenient and then we were on our way back home.
Overview Of Using Camplify
Hiring a van through Camplify was fairly easy to do. As first time hirers and being new to the world of campervans, we would have liked to have seen more information about the specifics of the van on the site e.g.: seat and seatbelt layouts, floor space measurements with seats down and up (both of these points were key for us because of the age of the children we were travelling with, possibly less important if cots or Moses baskets aren’t required), what kitchen equipment comes with the van, what storage space you have for clothes and any other items you wish to pack, size of the awning options available (something the campsite asked us upon booking).
Gary was great at answering any of our queries but if this were provided as standard then we would have just had all answers to hand. Having Plum for the week felt like a really exciting adventure and we were still in the UK. We will definitely consider hiring a van in the future and Camplify will be our first port of call.
Perfect for families because
- Enjoy the motorhome experience without having to make the investment.
- It’s a cost effective way for families, travelling longer term, to explore the UK and the pre-set up options make it hassle free.
- Try before you buy. If you’re planning to buy a motorhome it’s a great way to road test a few to see which one suits your family’s needs.
- If you’re a motorhome, caravan or trailer tent owner you can monetise your asset whilst you’re not using it.