It’s a been a while, but our camping holiday in Sweden still regularly pops up in our conversations at home. My son recently even did a little project about it in school.

And I promised a little report to you all about it myself, sohere goes!

As you may remember, I recently bought a trailer van. A second hand one. Why a trailer van and not a caravan or a camper? Well, first of all because they are cheaper. But also because they are much lighter and easier to set up, which for me, as a single mom, is an important factor to bear in mind.

Trailer van bought, a lot of time went into the planning of our road trip. We didn’t just want to drive up there and stay in one place. We wanted to see a bit of Sweden (and Denmark).

I involved the boys into the planning, letting them see websites and places and checking their arguments for or against. I also kept some surprises to myself.

More planning went into the packing. Our road trip required different things at different times because of the location, the weather, the sleeping arrangements. So it was crucial to pack things so that they go in and come out of the car without having to unpack everything.

I can tell you that my mind was spinning!

Then again, I’m also all for imperfect action and I happily accepted that things would go wrong, that we would forget things, that kids (and Mom) would get cranky at some point.

Here were some important points I considered:

  • Driving distances; a part from the way to and from, driving distances should not be longer than 3-4 hours.
  • Campings: should be either close to the places we wanted to visit, except for the wild camping which we chose to be remote on purpose.
  • Remote but not too: we chose a remote location for one camping, but still close enough to civilisation (read: supermarket, hospital etc)
  • Cooking: I packed enough to be able to cook on the little gas kitchen of the trailer van. I also planned to get pizza, eat out and not worry too much about vegetables…
  • Culture: a good mix for both the boys and for Mom, spread over the weeks.
  • Rest: a lot of ’emptiness’ in the schedule for just hanging out, reading, playing.
  • Play: packed travel sized games and cards for playful evenings.
  • Clothes: pack enough but not too much – pack for all weather scenarios.
  • Boxes: everything is always in boxes. Clothes box (one per kid and one for Mom), one for camping gear, one for food, etc Everything always goes back in the box it belongs to. Keeps the tent orderly.
  • Things to do: look up enough activities in each area. Then decide on location what to do.
  • We left on a Friday night, quite late because the boys only came back late from their holiday with their father. Despite the many hours they had already spent in the car, they were happy to sit in another car with me.

After some hours, they fell asleep and I was left to my own devices to bring them safely to our first stop: Bremen.

We stayed at Kräuterhotel Heidejäger  because it was close to the motorway, had triple rooms and had a manned reception desk 24/24h.

The next day we drove straight to Denmark and to Legoland. We stayed at the Legoland camping. Yes it is not cheap, but it’s so much easier. We set up our trailer tent and had a celebratory glass of champagne (Mom) and juice (boys). Then we went to roam around the campgrounds and the boys were ecstatic that there were go-karts, lego figures everywhere and foreign money.

The next day we drove straight to Denmark and to Legoland. We stayed at the Legoland camping. Yes it is not cheap, but it’s so much easier. We set up our trailer tent and had a celebratory glass of champagne (Mom) and juice (boys). Then we went to roam around the campgrounds and the boys were ecstatic that there were go-karts, lego figures everywhere and foreign money.

We had a two day ticket for Legoland and had a great time. Mom’s credit card heated up in the Lego shops of course but it was all part of the plan. In the evening, we spent some hours at indoor playworld Lalandia.

After two days, we packed up and left for Odense, to visit a friend of mine. The boys were delighted to be served ‘frikandelle’ (meatballs) for dinner and am sure will talk about my friend as the ‘frikandelle-lady’ from now on. Odense is a lovely city, with interesting shops, great sightseeing for both kids and adults (for example: Hans Christian Andersen House.

After two nights, we drove to Helsingor and took the ferry to Helsingborg. It was a nice, short interruption of the driving that day and kids always get excited when they’re on a boat.

A few hours later we reached our wildest location of the trip, Hättaboda Vildmarkscamping. It’s in the middle of nowhere and has no real amenities. The toilets are little wooden huts that only get emptied once in a while – so you really to not want to spend much time there. To take a shower, you have to pump your own water, heat it and fill it into a container which you then hang up in a hut and release the water with a rope. The boys didn’t mind not taking showers often, they didn’t mind swimming in the cold Swedish lakes either. But we did go to the local pool every few days to get really clean.

One day we rented (crappy) bikes and biked 60 km around the Asnen lakes – but only because Mom had miscalculated the route and thought it was more like 35 km. Our butts hurt for two days!

This camping is a great outdoor adventure land though. Lakes in which to swim or paddle with a kayak, forests to explore, wood to cut and camp fires to make. If you are looking for a remote place in which to live close to nature, I can highly recommend. Only one remark: there were mainly German tourists there.

After a week in the wild, we were ready for something different and drove up to Vimmerby and the land of Pippi Longstocking. We stayed in the holiday village next to the park from where it’s only a short walk to the entrance. We did appreciate the hot showers, the multitude of restaurants and the trip down memory lane for Mom. The park is lovely and well set up. You are transported into the books of Astrid Lindgren and walk through the Swedish villages of Pippi, Karlsson, Emil and co. We had a 2 day pass, but only went there for one day. My boys did love it but were starting to be a bit big for it as the park does not provide any thrilling rides or such. And all the shows are in Swedish with no headsets or translations. But we thoroughly enjoyed the day there. We explored the villages, ate candy, did some shopping and drove to our final destination.

For our last stop we had rented a house close to a lake in Ankarsrum. A typical red house in the middle of Astrid Lindgren land. Swedish decoration, a gravel road, peace and quiet. And normal beds and television again after two weeks of wilderness. From the house we went exploring, hiking, sightseeing.We visited old castles, kissed a moose, swam in the sea near Draget, took a shrimp dinner boat tour through the Skane with only Swedes (no German tourists), went shopping in Västervik.

We drove back after 3 weeks of a wonderful experience in beautiful Sweden. We took the overnight boat  at Trelleborg and the boys were so exciting to eat and sleep on such a big boat. It was definitely a highlight of the trip.

We drove back after 3 weeks of a wonderful experience in beautiful Sweden. We took the overnight boat  at Trelleborg and the boys were so exciting to eat and sleep on such a big boat. It was definitely a highlight of the trip.

The long drive back from Travemuende to Luxembourg was quite a drag. And this is really the only change we would make to any future roadtrips: include the way there and back into the trip, ie stop over more often and visit places on the way there.

I hope I gave you some interesting ideas for your summer holiday next year!