One of the perks of home education is that you can go places when you want not being under the constraints of school times. However, this is not the case with us as we still have a child at school. In fact he is the year before taking his actual GCSE exams and learning the material for them now so I don’t think pulling him out of school is a good idea. It is actually a lot cheaper to go away at the end of May than it is in term time in July anyway – and less busy, especially in parts of Europe where the children are still at school. I had promised our teen that I would take him to Germany before he say his GCSE in it – so that’s exactly what we did.
When planning the trip I wanted it to appeal to our teen in a way that was more than just going to Germany. Believe me he really loves everything he has been taught at school about everything German – and I really feel that his teachers can give themselves a real pat on the back about this. He was so enthusiastic to help teach us everything from the grammar, to the sounds, to how to say things formally and informally. As well as knowing information about the food and culture. What I knew more than him about Germany though was about the theme parks! It was actually one of the Ancestors at Alton Towers who had told me about Phantasialand being an amazing park and Natalie from Plutonium Sox Blog about Europa Park. The boys love theme parks (we were Thorpe Park Ambassadors for 2017 and are Merlin Annual Pass Ambassadors for 2018) and so it made sense to plan them into the trip. In fact the trip was all about the theme parks.
The day after I turned 40 we headed for Dover to start our adventure to Germany. We stayed at Dover’s Restover Bed & Breakfast for the night which wasn’t far from the Ferry Port. We were in two separate rooms one allocated for the children and the other for us parents. Neither I nor my children felt comfortable about this even though there was another lock so we were all in one unit together, so we had a bit of a shuffle about. Breakfast wasn’t included as part of the price and we decided that we would look for it elsewhere. As it happens there is a Table Table right by the Ferry port and two children eat free for every paying breakfast (if you go with the full breakfast) so this was much cheaper. We did start to panic a little that we wouldn’t make it in time but it ended up being ok.
Having caught the Ferry before we knew what we had to do in terms of putting light reflectors on the car and having an entertainment bag ready but it was the first time we had travelled with a smaller car (we had previously had a people carrier with a roofbox) and I am glad my husband was driving as he had to park in a funny space on the actual ferry. We were lucky to get a choice of seats when we went up to the deck and opted for one near a charging point. With the boys on their hand-held devices the time went quickly and it wasn’t long before we were not only in Calais but Brussels!
If you are planning a Road Trip like us you may be interested in Have Kids Will Travel UK post on 10 ways to make travelling on a ferry with small children smooth sailing