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Camino with children

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Jennifer J

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 2018
I walked the Camino in 2014 with 2 off my daughters and had wonderful time/experience. My grandson had been begging to go. If i decide to take him he would be 10/11. Has anyone walked with child/ren?

Thank you
Jen
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
I walked the Camino in 2014 with 2 off my daughters and had wonderful time/experience. My grandson had been begging to go. If i decide to take him he would be 10/11. Has anyone walked with child/ren?

Thank you
Jen
Hi, Jen,

Quite a few threads about walking with kids on this forum. If you click New Posts in blue task bar and scroll down you'll find at least two that are still running live.
Also check @Kiwi-family threads. 5 kids altogether if I remember well and quite an adventure :)
 

pvh

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015 hopefully
Hi Jen,
We walked from Sarria to Santiago with our 10 and 12 year olds 2 years ago and they loved it so much we started in SJPDP last year.
There's a wealth of information and help on this and other forums and some very useful blogs from previous camino families.
Suffice to say that our experience was wonderfully positive and rewarding all round. The children, on the whole, dictated the pace (which was usually around 20km per day) and we usually booked our accommodation ahead. As one pays per bunk in the albergues we found that private rooms, cheap pensions and casas rurales were often around the same price as a private albergue and allowed us more flexibility and obviously privacy, the downside of solely doing that is that you miss out on the communal side of the albergues.
We would usually always allow a good time for lunch and often added a cafe drink stop if we were flagging. However, on the whole the kids were usually in a better state than us at the end of the day.
Buen Camino
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Thank you. He has been hiking for years and backpacking the last couple of years. He carries his water, bag, and some food. I think we are good to go. I'm so excited.
Let the planning begin!!!!!
That will be the experience of a lifetime for both of you. One very envious pilgrim over here :D

Please, report back!
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Also check @Kiwi-family threads. 5 kids altogether if I remember well and quite an adventure :)
Actually eight kids;-) but I've done most of my Caminos with only the youngest four. We always seem to pick up a "childish" pilgrim and so that may be where your five comes from!
The blog you refer to above is indeed mine but is mostly about our 15 month overland trip from Singapore to Istanbul with all eight kids. Our camino travels can be found on charitywalking.wordpress.com.
But having said that, I'm no expert and your experience may differ vastly from mine.
However, I do love to encourage families to try things out - and the camino is a goodie.
 

dfox

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (4/2017)
CP (5/2019)
CF (5/2021)
My grandson had been begging to go. If i decide to take him he would be 10/11. Has anyone walked with child/ren?
This past April, I met a 6-year old boy with mild-autism with his parents in Astorga and again in the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostella.
 

jo webber

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 9th 2017
Jen, your grandson is the perfect age to take on an adventure and greet the world. He will see and learn so much. And he is old enough to remember the experience for a lifetime. What a wonderful gift you can give him.
 

Reija

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2016, CP 2017, Jakobsweg Ulm-Constance 2017-2018, Via Jacobi 2018, (Via Gebennensis 2019)
No, I haven't walked with a child/children. However, I would like to tell you that every child I ever met walking seemed perfectly happy. Even happier and more excited than any of us adults. I walked both of my two Caminos with my teenage/young adult daughter (she was 16 the first time, 17 the second time). She did totally OK and is as hooked or possibly even more hooked on returning. We have, however, met some teenagers who were not happy at all. It seemed that they had been either forcefully dragged out there or that there was still some rebelling going on and that's why they possibly just put up this hard, off-putting performance.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - Sarria to Santiago (June 2017)
Hi there,

I am the mom with the Help with a 10 year old Sarria to Santiago thread. We just returned. I found as advised that my daughter did much better than either of us expected. One poster had said "never underestimate a 10 year old" and that became her personal mantra and motto and she quoted it almost daily.

A few things I discovered:

We walked an average of 8 miles per day. One day we did 12. For the last mile of the 12, I ended up carrying her backpack in my front, mine on my back so that did seem to be a mile too far.

The collecting of stamps, stopping for an ice cream at a bar/cafe and any animal sightings went a long way. I allowed her to stamp my credential as well, which led to me realizing her joy was more important than my need for evenly stamped "perfect" page. We had far more stamps than we needed.

Although many had warned us of a crowded Camino the last 100km we found that was not true. We tended to stick to starts and stays way OFF the Brierley guide, which most everyone seemed to be walking. This had us leaving at midway points and stopping at midway points on the Brierley stages - the off-timing kept us away from the usual times people departed en masse. We spent many a time completely alone. We started at 8am and ended each day at 1pm. Even with all our little stops along the way. This also gave us easier access to accommodations with all private rooms/bath, which I felt was the right choice for my first Camino and what I would do again with a child. A child having their own bed, bathroom went a long way to her personal sense of adventure and safety and I wasn't sleeping with one eye open (even if that fear was unrealistic). Might not be the same for boys.

We purchased aluminum walking sticks for 8.50 euros each and they ended up really helping us both emotionally and physically. Added to the sense of adventure and her stick became a friend and ally named simply "Stick."

She was constantly greeted on the Camino by adults from all over the world, given high 5's or bravos! and even some red licorice. She (nor I) never got a blister because we didn't walk far enough to create that kind of exhaustion in either of us. After a rest, she happily explored. We also saw a family with a 7 year old and an 11 year old, and another with a 10 year old and a 13 year old. It was immediate bonding and walking together for a spell.

We had both brought 3 sets total of clothes - the one we wore, a night outfit and a back up walking outfit. And a jacket each and a pair of walking sandals. We found neither of us ever used the second set of Camino walking clothes and rather preferred the idea of a "uniform" to walk in each day and a comfy change out in the afternoon and evening. We also didn't need 3 pairs of socks and could have done with just one really as we washed clothes each day and hung to dry. We left the extra set of clothes/socks at a pension. We also left many toiletry items and carried only what we truly needed, stopping in Farmacia's for any needs. We had read do not take anything "Just in Case" and that proved to be true. We only needed toothbrush/paste, face cream, brush, deodorant, hair ties, Compeed, Neosporin, KT Pro tape, sunscreen, my meds. Only in Santiago, did I splurge for a tube of mascara which became amusing to me and part of my story. Her backpack was much smaller than mine, only her clothes and 2 loved stuffed toys. I carried my clothes and all toiletries. As we stayed in pensions, casa rurales or any private room/bath, we never needed our towel or shampoo and soap as all were provided so we left all those items that we were carrying pretty quickly. Allowing her to decorate her backpack with fun items hanging off - also made her feel more like a stylish pilgrim on her own journey.

We did download two favorite playlists on Apple Music and yet we only listened to music one day when it was especially mentally challenging. What I suspect would be week 2 of the standard 500 mile hike.

As for being the parent of the child, I had to accept the Camino would not afford me the bonding time with adults/other pilgrims that I would receive had I walked alone. We had to go out of our way to introduce ourselves and talk to pilgrims at bars and cafes to meet them and learn their stories. I did this because I am a writer and nothing is more important to me than hearing a story, but know you can work at it to get that community bonding feeling of friends for a lifetime that many share after their Camino. I ended up meeting 3 people that affected me and I do wish I had their numbers, but alas, lost sight of them.

Our entire trip: 1 travel day from US to Paris to Madrid to Santiago. Taxi from Santiago to Sarria. 2 rest days outside of Sarria (120km not 100km). Walking Camino from Sarria to Santiago took 8 days. 3 more days in Santiago to rest and enjoy. 1 day Santiago to Madrid, stay the night in Madrid due to plane departure times for Paris/US. Next morning, Madrid to Paris - to US.

There was only one day our planned 8 mile day turned into 12 and that was because some of the albergues, pensions etc made note of "no children." This put us at Pension The Way, which was wonderful. But if you are using Booking.com or an online app, which I did do, to seek out private rooms and book if needed one day in advance, do make note to scroll down and see their policy for children. I was surprised many do not accept children - but would accept pets!

Lastly, as this was my first Camino, I will admit 3 days up to leaving I became filled with anxiety. I couldn't sleep and had an upset stomach which manifested itself in unsavory ways. I was not concerned with my own safety - I was concerned for my daughter's and truly had doubts of - Am I being a responsible parent forcing my child into my dream? How can I truly know this is safe as I drag her to another country? Once in Sarria, we stayed 2 days at a country heaven (Pazo Torre do Barrio) to acclimate to the time zone and we were so well treated and cared for I started to relax. But it was really only after our first day of walking from Sarria to Casa Morgade - that all fears were gone and never, ever returned. Not only did we always feel completely safe - we felt completely seen and embraced. Saying and hearing "Buen Camino" really opened our hearts. Believe me, I felt much safer in Spain than I do in the US.

If I can help you in any way, please let me know. So many helped me here I would love to pay it forward.

Katherine
 
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vagabondgene

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago, family of 6, 2018
Hi Jen,
We walked from Sarria to Santiago with our 10 and 12 year olds 2 years ago and they loved it so much we started in SJPDP last year.
There's a wealth of information and help on this and other forums and some very useful blogs from previous camino families.
Suffice to say that our experience was wonderfully positive and rewarding all round. The children, on the whole, dictated the pace (which was usually around 20km per day) and we usually booked our accommodation ahead. As one pays per bunk in the albergues we found that private rooms, cheap pensions and casas rurales were often around the same price as a private albergue and allowed us more flexibility and obviously privacy, the downside of solely doing that is that you miss out on the communal side of the albergues.
We would usually always allow a good time for lunch and often added a cafe drink stop if we were flagging. However, on the whole the kids were usually in a better state than us at the end of the day.
Buen Camino
Where did you find your private rooms, pensions and casas rurales? Did you book them ahead on a particular website or app? My family of 6 is hiking the Camino June of 2018 for as long as we can and want to find the cheapest route for accommodation. Thank you!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
In Madrid, Zamora (Vdlp) and Sarría this year, I used Airbnb to find accommodation. There were three of us so it made sense to rent a whole apartment overnight. For a family of 6 even more so. They all had good, fully equipped kitchens and washing machines.
 

vagabondgene

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago, family of 6, 2018
In Madrid, Zamora (Vdlp) and Sarría this year, I used Airbnb to find accommodation. There were three of us so it made sense to rent a whole apartment overnight. For a family of 6 even more so. They all had good, fully equipped kitchens and washing machines.
Thank you. I will look there. We want to go for one month. Even Airbnb accommodations will really add up. Is it possible to combine camping with Airbnb stays? Maybe 50% camping and 50% paid accommodation. If so, which route is most accommodating to camping and inexpensive accommodations?
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - Sarria to Santiago (June 2017)
We used Booking.com and entered the cities on the Camino Frances route. From lists provided here, we had many of the names of the Casa Rurales. Many of the bars/routes along the way have private rooms as well alburgue/dorm rooms. Accommodations were also listed on our apps - gronze.com and wise pilgrim guide last 151km - when you clicked on a city. We also used PDF's from the resources on this site.

This is where we stayed if that helps:

Pazo Torre Do Barrio - Huge 2 story casa rurales. Took taxi into Sarria. Marisol became our "grandma" and we shared drinks late into the night after huge homecooked meals. Sheep, chickens, picked food from garden for dinner. A perfect start. W/D
*Casa Morgade - private rooms with bath, shared bath. We loved this place. Overlooks the green countryside, right on the road. Clean, happy vibe and with restaurant.
Casa Maestro - Portomarin. Super location next to Church. A/C in very modern sleek rooms. A bit more expensive but we loved it simply for the cool air and all restaurants right there across the street.
Casa Blanco - Palas de Rei - Casa Rurales. They pick you up at Town Hall in Palas de Rei to take you 3 miles out to the country house. Has attached restaurant.
*O Tobo Do Lobo - Melide, brand new, high quality, with great restaurant by Michelin chef. They really want to impress you and the cool greys and whites were comforting.
*Casa Garea - near Ribadiso (the only place we didn't feel that comfortable, kind of dark.) Casa Molar was booked but in similar area. We saw others we wished we chose.
*Pension The Way - A Brea-ish - 2 story house with swimming pool! No restaurant but they have local menus and deliver food in. W/D
*Casa Lavacolla - Another 2 story house. Buy food at local grocery store and use big kitchen. W/D
Smart Boutique Hotel Literario San Bieito - Santiago de Compostela

Some were lower in rates than others. The * were approx 40 euros for 2 people, often 2 beds, some incl breakfast. The others slightly higher. Santiago was definitely higher - our reward, but did include free 24/7 breakfast kitchen with food, yogurt, fruit, toast, Nespresso machine and Santiago tart! Saved us money, but definitely a splurge.

We also saw many of the places listed in apps/recommendations we didn't choose and realized all looked great too. Many were just there en route and would have been perfect for our needs. As I said, we walked roughly 8 miles a day and had no problem booking rooms and would have found rooms along the way as we walked "off starting points" from the guide.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
You're right! Airbnb does cost. So do municipal/parochial albergues (which are the cheapest - or donativos, which in my opinion should be given at least as much as a municipal). The camino is not free (except for those who walk expecting others to give them food - and even then *someone* pays).
What you are doing is good - finding out how much it will cost and working out whether you can afford to do it.
@Falcon is the guy to talk to about camping (but make sure you read his post first).
Buying food in supermercados, tiendas, panaderias and having picnics or cooking for yourself will save you lots of money when compared with eating out.
 

shefollowsshells

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several alone and with children
I walked the Camino in 2014 with 2 off my daughters and had wonderful time/experience. My grandson had been begging to go. If i decide to take him he would be 10/11. Has anyone walked with child/ren?

Thank you
Jen
I've walked with five of my six children, we did about 1,100 miles from Le Puy to the coast of Spain and slept outside about 80 percent of the time. It took us three months to the day.
My youngest two were my daughters ages 9,11
My oldest sons ages 13,15,17
We had an amazing time.
My blog is shefollowsshells.blogspot.com
It covers three Caminos BUT if you want to just see the Camino with kids it starts in August of 2016 on the 23 or 24.
You can use the side bar on the side to find that date and work backwards.
We spent about 2 weeks or so via car before our Camino to travel the Northern area of France, a trip we recreated as we took the kids to the same spots almost 9 years before.
It was an awesome experience and highly recommend it!
Neve
 

Thing1_Thing2

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 3 2017 to July 2017
I walked the Camino in 2014 with 2 off my daughters and had wonderful time/experience. My grandson had been begging to go. If i decide to take him he would be 10/11. Has anyone walked with child/ren?

Thank you
Jen
My daughter and I completed the Frances Camino in June and July. It took us 41 days from SJDP to Santiago. She almost never complained, and walked the entire stretch. My daughter was nine on the trail and turned ten the day after we finished. One thing that helped was sending her bag forward. I sent it on about the ten or twelve hardest days. She was also packed light, so the days she did carry it were so difficult.

I would not have tried this if she hadn't already been on dozens and dozens of long-ish day hikes and a handful of overnight backpacking trips. I had my daughter do daily squats, lunges, pushups, and a 1.5 mile walk with a heavier backpack as her training for about two months before she left. Probably the only physically difficult time for her was that last 3.5 or so KM descent coming down the mountain into Roncesvalles in the pouring rain. I saw the adults (including myself) were struggling on that stretch too.
 

breinhow

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Researching an upcoming trip on Camino Frances with my husband and children. (2021)
Where did you find your private rooms, pensions and casas rurales? Did you book them ahead on a particular website or app? My family of 6 is hiking the Camino June of 2018 for as long as we can and want to find the cheapest route for accommodation. Thank you!
HI. Do you have a blog or something about your experience hiking the Camino with your family? My family of 7 are planning to do it in 2021 and I would love your insight. Thanks
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
HI. Do you have a blog or something about your experience hiking the Camino with your family? My family of 7 are planning to do it in 2021 and I would love your insight. Thanks
To add to all the things you have to consider note that 2021 is a Holy Year and the caminos will likely be very crowded. That would make it very difficult to find accommodation for so many.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
To add to all the things you have to consider note that 2021 is a Holy Year and the caminos will likely be very crowded. That would make it very difficult to find accommodation for so many.
See @t2andreo post elsewhere - projected figures for 2021 . . . 650,000 - maybe go in 2020 or 2022?
 

Beeks

Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2019) only 2 weeks available! St. Jean PDP - Pamplona, then Sarria - SDC with the family,
Older thread, but...

Last month, our family of 6 walked from SJPdP to Pamplona, took the train to Sarria and walked to SDC. Our boys were 18 and 16, and my daughter was 11. The kids rocked!

My daughter was a real trooper. I did carry a few things for her, and her water, to lighten her load. Our walk from Portomarin to Palas de Rei was particularly sunny and warm. We each had a "water buddy" to make sure everyone stayed hydrated. Towards the end, I noticed her pace slowed somewhat and she wasnt particularly chatty. I had to ask her some direct questions where she finally admitted she was tired and a little bit dizzy. She didn't want to say anything about it, hoping she'd make it to our alburgue okay.

So, we found some shade. Pack off, hat off, water poured on her head and hands. Rested for half an hour. I carried her pack the last two miles. An ice cream at the next cafe also helped!

I made alburgue reservations the day ahead to be sure we had a place to stay. We often started later than planned and walked slower than we planned, so we often arrived later than expected. Finding one bed would be easy, but trying to find 6 could be an issue. I used the Buen Camino app to get the alburgue info and phone number. My caveman Spanish (me need reservation) got much better towards the end.

Buen Camino!
 
Last edited:

shefollowsshells

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several alone and with children
My daughter and I completed the Frances Camino in June and July. It took us 41 days from SJDP to Santiago. She almost never complained, and walked the entire stretch. My daughter was nine on the trail and turned ten the day after we finished. One thing that helped was sending her bag forward. I sent it on about the ten or twelve hardest days. She was also packed light, so the days she did carry it were so difficult.

I would not have tried this if she hadn't already been on dozens and dozens of long-ish day hikes and a handful of overnight backpacking trips. I had my daughter do daily squats, lunges, pushups, and a 1.5 mile walk with a heavier backpack as her training for about two months before she left. Probably the only physically difficult time for her was that last 3.5 or so KM descent coming down the mountain into Roncesvalles in the pouring rain. I saw the adults (including myself) were struggling on that stretch too.
I'm just noticing this post, I apologize.
I do have a blog and its only of my travels (hiking).
My hubby recently separated the different hikes with nice tabs so someone can go to only the hike that
interests them.
its
shefollowsshells.blogspot.com
(think "she follows shells", because you follow shells on the Camino)
We leave next week for three months in Europe.
One month driving around Northern Europe and then flying to the Pyrenees and attempting that for 6-7 weeks.
 

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