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Planning a family camino in summer 23

mayfly

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino '23
Hello,
I have been reading this wonderful forum for weeks and many of my questions have been answered, but I have a few that I am hoping you can help me with.

Who we are: We are an American family of 4, with kids (girls) ages 9 and 16 (at time of Camino). Kids and us are very active, hike, bike and are used to walking, Nordic skiing 20+km at a time (just not weeks in a row :)) The oldest is currently running up mountains this summer as part of nordic ski training and the little one just never stops moving!

Route: I was thinking Frances since is seems to have more places to stay/ stop etc.(at least that is my impression, I could be wrong) And as a first timers, it seems great to do the "classic" route. The kids really want to do the Norte and Primivito. They are drawn towards bigger mountains, more isolated mountains and the potential for beaches and swimming. Thoughts? We plan to arrive in Irun or St. Jean Pied de Port the second week in June '23.

Accommodations: Getting 2 hotel rooms per night is outside of our budget ( I looked into booking with a few services and that is what they recommended). Do hostels allow children? I am really finding it hard to source where a family of 4 can stay. What should I be looking at/ for? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Does this affect our route choice? Bc we are a family of 4, (and the 9 year old might melt down if we have to hike "extra" to the next town, should we pre-book everything?

Luggage Service: I know there are very mixed feelings on this topic, my thought is that with 2 kids who are addicted to books and get dirtier than an average adult, having an extra bag with book stuff moved from place to place might be great. I was thinking each of us would carry rain gear, extra shoes, change of clothes, food/ book each day. I would have a rest day every 5-6 days and do laundry. The thought of doing laundry for 4 people every evening seems daunting.

Food: My thoughts are good breakfast and then . . . Should we plan for a large lunch and just going to a market and getting bread/ cheese/ olives for dinner or doing that for lunch and getting dinner out or cooking if we can. Kids are happy to eat bread and cheese, but we are an early to be crowd. Our schedule now is breakfast at 6:30, lunch around 11:30/12:00 and dinner 5:30

Books: The kids are addicted to books. I can load up a bunch on kindles if that is the best option, but they prefer paper books. Are English language books an impossible find (my gut says yes they are). We are learning Spanish, but will not know enough to ready novels by next summer.

Other: What else do I need to know for taking a family with 2 kids on the Camino. The kids are all in, but what am I not thinking of?

Budget: Our budget is decent for the trip but not unlimited, we have saved a long time for this, but I do think hotels every night are out of the question.

Thank you so much for all your help and expertise!!!
 
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chinacat

Veteran Member
Welcome @mayfly !

I may not be of much help but I am aware that many hotels have family rooms and this might help reduce your costs, if you do have to stay overnight in a hotel.

My 18 year old daughter walked with me. She has always had her nose in a book, for all of her life, yet there was too much going on whilst we walked for her to miss her books. So perhaps yours might manage with one or two books and using kindles for ‘extras’. It might also swing things if they have to carry their own reading material! 😉

I notice you live in a fairly temperate region.
June temperatures might be hotter than your family are accustomed to … especially as heat waves seem to be on the increase.

I wish you Buen Camino …
Others will be along shortly .. and you’ll probably receive far more useful info from members who’ve had experience of walking en famille.

Ultreia!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Hello,
I have been reading this wonderful forum for weeks and many of my questions have been answered, but I have a few that I am hoping you can help me with.

Who we are: We are an American family of 4, with kids (girls) ages 9 and 16 (at time of Camino). Kids and us are very active, hike, bike and are used to walking, Nordic skiing 20+km at a time (just not weeks in a row :)) The oldest is currently running up mountains this summer as part of nordic ski training and the little one just never stops moving!


Thank you so much for all your help and expertise!!!
I think Rachael of @Kiwi-family is your go-to resource for this! I hope she reads your question. She has lots of experience of walking camino with some/all of her six children, at different ages, and on different routes.

I think from reading her posts that most of the time the family did stay in albergues. They walked the Camino Francés initially but her children, like yours, seemed to like the more adventurous challenging routes.

Getting your baggage carried makes sense to me, but I think Rachael's children carried their own packs.

If Rachael does not respond to this post (and sounds like she has a busy life!) try searching the forum for her previous posts.

I agree if you are starting mid June it can be get very hot, particularly as you get into July. There are lots of current threads on the forum about the heat, and they are worth reading. Sadly we have had a couple of deaths over the years, due to heat related causes, so take precautions.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2022)
Hello,
I have been reading this wonderful forum for weeks and many of my questions have been answered, but I have a few that I am hoping you can help me with.

Who we are: We are an American family of 4, with kids (girls) ages 9 and 16 (at time of Camino). Kids and us are very active, hike, bike and are used to walking, Nordic skiing 20+km at a time (just not weeks in a row :)) The oldest is currently running up mountains this summer as part of nordic ski training and the little one just never stops moving!

Route: I was thinking Frances since is seems to have more places to stay/ stop etc.(at least that is my impression, I could be wrong) And as a first timers, it seems great to do the "classic" route. The kids really want to do the Norte and Primivito. They are drawn towards bigger mountains, more isolated mountains and the potential for beaches and swimming. Thoughts? We plan to arrive in Irun or St. Jean Pied de Port the second week in June '23.

Accommodations: Getting 2 hotel rooms per night is outside of our budget ( I looked into booking with a few services and that is what they recommended). Do hostels allow children? I am really finding it hard to source where a family of 4 can stay. What should I be looking at/ for? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Does this affect our route choice? Bc we are a family of 4, (and the 9 year old might melt down if we have to hike "extra" to the next town, should we pre-book everything?

Luggage Service: I know there are very mixed feelings on this topic, my thought is that with 2 kids who are addicted to books and get dirtier than an average adult, having an extra bag with book stuff moved from place to place might be great. I was thinking each of us would carry rain gear, extra shoes, change of clothes, food/ book each day. I would have a rest day every 5-6 days and do laundry. The thought of doing laundry for 4 people every evening seems daunting.

Food: My thoughts are good breakfast and then . . . Should we plan for a large lunch and just going to a market and getting bread/ cheese/ olives for dinner or doing that for lunch and getting dinner out or cooking if we can. Kids are happy to eat bread and cheese, but we are an early to be crowd. Our schedule now is breakfast at 6:30, lunch around 11:30/12:00 and dinner 5:30

Books: The kids are addicted to books. I can load up a bunch on kindles if that is the best option, but they prefer paper books. Are English language books an impossible find (my gut says yes they are). We are learning Spanish, but will not know enough to ready novels by next summer.

Other: What else do I need to know for taking a family with 2 kids on the Camino. The kids are all in, but what am I not thinking of?

Budget: Our budget is decent for the trip but not unlimited, we have saved a long time for this, but I do think hotels every night are out of the question.

Thank you so much for all your help and expertise!!!
I recommend you watch World Towning on YouTube. An American family of 4 who walked the Camino Frances a few years back. Kids were about 10 and 13 at the time. Watching will answer many of your questions. Buen Camino
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2019) Camino Portuguese (2022)
Welcome

Many of the accommodations have family rooms; some even have washer and dryers.

Both 2019 and 2022 I booked my accommodations using Booking.com and the wise pilgrim app. For luggage transfer I also used https://caminofacil.net They have a good online app for advance booking of luggage transfer and they allow for changes. That said; most of the luggage services on the Camino are really efficient... and then again you can always send things directly to Casa Ivar in Santiago.

When I walked the Francis in 2019 there were a lot of Spanish grade school children and teenagers walking the last 100 km from Sarria to Santiago. They walked with their their schools. Many camp out, but I also stayed in a few accommodations where they stayed as well.

The one of the best things about the Camino; the people you meet along the way. Hopefully your kids will have an opportunity to meet other kids as they walk the Camino as well.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
Who we are: We are an American family of 4, with kids (girls) ages 9 and 16 (at time of Camino). Kids and us are very active, hike, bike and are used to walking, Nordic skiing 20+km at a time (just not weeks in a row :)) The oldest is currently running up mountains this summer as part of nordic ski training and the little one just never stops moving!

Welcome.

There are many reasons for walking a Camino, why is your family walking?

The reason that I ask is that there are different answers to your questions that are relevant to why someone is walking.

If you start from St. Jean in June and walk the Frances through July then there will be no shortage of accommodation, even with a group of four.

It would be extremely rare (e.g. you arrive in a town on the weekend and it is also a festival day) to have to walk on to find accommodation during this period except after Sarria and by then you will have found your Camino rhythm.

Knowing my grandchildren but not your children, it would be more likely that my 8 year old had a meltdown because he was tired of walking everyday for the past two weeks and why couldn't he either have a short day today or even a rest day.

Buen Camino
 
Last edited:

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Use Gronze to find accommodations. The site is only in Spanish, but if you use the Chrome browser it will automatically translate to English. It lists almost all the accommodations on the Camino with contact info.

Many times it's possible to get a double room for just a little more than the cost of two albergue beds.

I have stayed on albergues where there were kids around the same age as your children. Be aware that almost all dorms in albergues are coed, and especially in the summer some other pilgrims may be sleeping only in their skivvies.

As far as the Camino Francés vs the Norte goes - you will find the Norte to be more expensive in the summer than the Francés because of the large numbers of tourists who spend their summer holidays there.

 
Last edited:

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
Hello,
I have been reading this wonderful forum for weeks and many of my questions have been answered, but I have a few that I am hoping you can help me with.

Who we are: We are an American family of 4, with kids (girls) ages 9 and 16 (at time of Camino). Kids and us are very active, hike, bike and are used to walking, Nordic skiing 20+km at a time (just not weeks in a row :)) The oldest is currently running up mountains this summer as part of nordic ski training and the little one just never stops moving!

Route: I was thinking Frances since is seems to have more places to stay/ stop etc.(at least that is my impression, I could be wrong) And as a first timers, it seems great to do the "classic" route. The kids really want to do the Norte and Primivito. They are drawn towards bigger mountains, more isolated mountains and the potential for beaches and swimming. Thoughts? We plan to arrive in Irun or St. Jean Pied de Port the second week in June '23.

Accommodations: Getting 2 hotel rooms per night is outside of our budget ( I looked into booking with a few services and that is what they recommended). Do hostels allow children? I am really finding it hard to source where a family of 4 can stay. What should I be looking at/ for? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Does this affect our route choice? Bc we are a family of 4, (and the 9 year old might melt down if we have to hike "extra" to the next town, should we pre-book everything?

Luggage Service: I know there are very mixed feelings on this topic, my thought is that with 2 kids who are addicted to books and get dirtier than an average adult, having an extra bag with book stuff moved from place to place might be great. I was thinking each of us would carry rain gear, extra shoes, change of clothes, food/ book each day. I would have a rest day every 5-6 days and do laundry. The thought of doing laundry for 4 people every evening seems daunting.

Food: My thoughts are good breakfast and then . . . Should we plan for a large lunch and just going to a market and getting bread/ cheese/ olives for dinner or doing that for lunch and getting dinner out or cooking if we can. Kids are happy to eat bread and cheese, but we are an early to be crowd. Our schedule now is breakfast at 6:30, lunch around 11:30/12:00 and dinner 5:30

Books: The kids are addicted to books. I can load up a bunch on kindles if that is the best option, but they prefer paper books. Are English language books an impossible find (my gut says yes they are). We are learning Spanish, but will not know enough to ready novels by next summer.

Other: What else do I need to know for taking a family with 2 kids on the Camino. The kids are all in, but what am I not thinking of?

Budget: Our budget is decent for the trip but not unlimited, we have saved a long time for this, but I do think hotels every night are out of the question.

Thank you so much for all your help and expertise!!!
I think you are two lucky parents. If the kids like hills and isolation they will love the route they picked.
If you are not going to use a baggage service, don't worry about them getting dirty. Everyone is dirty on the Camino haha. A shower and hand wash will do just fine. Remember if you use a service you have to go to that destination no matter what. You may want to walk further or less but you will not be able to. Your kids will do fine in albergues and they will have the opportunity to meet people from every part of the world face to face. They will not be able to get that in a bool. Also there is so much going on. When you arrive you have to wash clothes, shower, walk around town, meet people get a snack, take a rest, go to dinner and by the time you arrive after dinner it isn't too long before lights out and sleep. You will be tired believe me. Have lots of high energy food during the day. You can stop in a town (most will have a tienda or a market and buy food to make sandwiches. Especially on the Frances. Do a little more planning if you choose the kids route as there is not as much infrastructure. It will probably be very hot. Pack super light. You will not need a sleeping bag. Silk liner or sleeping bag liner at most. Keep everything super light, qucik dry clothes. On a budget like me, check out REI outlet online. You can get good bargains there and they have an amazing return policy. If you buy your trail runners there (You don't need boots) you have a year to return them for full refund. Wear your trail runners for at least a month, get a larger size, especially in heat your feet will expand. All of you should be able to go with packs less than 7 kilos. Buy only what you are sure you will use. Don't pack your fears. You do not need big first aid or blister kits. Some gauze, needle,tape, neosporin and band aids will be fine. You can always go to a pharmacy. Start early and get off the camino early. You are going with your children the more you buy into what the would like the better for everyone. I am sure you know that. Lastly the camino gives you what you need not what you want. Leave your expectations at home and what you think you would like or happen. All you have is the step you are taking. Enjoy each moment, no future or past. Buen Camino
 

hnguyen

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April-May 2013; (September 2014)
Hello Mayfly,
I'm happy that you and your family are planning to hike the camino together. As the saying goes, "the family that plays together, stay together!" As to route option, you didn't mention how much time you'd planned on walking. On the kids in albergue issue: I've seen them in a few but do not know the policy regarding children by various types of albergues (private, municipal, convent etc.) Your daily schedule seems a bid rigid. Please consider being flexible. Likewise, children can read books at home and on the plane. Encourage them to leave that hobby, admirable as it is, home. There are many nice distractions on the camino that will occupy them. Beside, they may not want or have time to read at the end of the day! Mu 2 cents. Buen camino.
 
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NJohn

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances: September 2022
I recommend you watch World Towning on YouTube. An American family of 4 who walked the Camino Frances a few years back. Kids were about 10 and 13 at the time. Watching will answer many of your questions. Buen Camino
Also look for Everyday Journeys on YouTube. They just finished the Camino Frances - Mark & Louise and two of their kids. They talk about accommodation, etc. Very informative.

 

Steven Dwyer

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2000,2001,2004 Camino Frances from St. Jean
2005 Camino Argonese from Oloron to Puente de la Reina, Camino Frances from St. Jean,
2013 Camino Portugese from Porto, Camino Ingles from Ferrol, Camino Finisterre
(2016) Camino Portugese from Braga
The thought of doing laundry for 4 people every evening seems daunting.

It sounds like a great adventure, but not sure I understand why you need to be a laundress for the entire family. While that may be your current routine at home, on the Camino everyone should be able to pitch in. Maybe have two doing laundry and two handling food shopping and prep, and switching off.

Doing hand laundry isn’t difficult since in my experience, clothing doesn’t get that dirty on the Camino unless you get hit with rain and mud, I am now a full time traveler and I pretty much wear the same outfit every day and hand wash daily. Felt a bit weird getting onto a 14 day transatlantic cruise to head home last Europea trip with a small backpack containing a limited wardrobe, but quickly got over that.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
The thought of doing laundry for 4 people every evening seems daunting.

not sure I understand why you need to be a laundress for the entire family.

I agree.

Also, doing laundry becomes part of the daily routine: Wake up - Walk - Clean up - Eat - Sleep

Below is the method that I use to wash my clothing every day - give each family member their own dry bag and let them do their own laundry.
Periodically, you can use a washing machine in an albergue or other accommodation. However, I find that using a washing machine and/or dryer puts constraints on my free time in the afternoon to explore the town that I'm in because I must wait for the cycle to end.

I've mentioned my method of using a dry bag as a "portable washing machine" before. IMO definitely preferable to stomping on my clothes on the shower floor.

I use a 12 liter dry bag to wash my clothes in, rather than the albergue laundry sinks. As I'm undressing for my shower and the water is warming up I put half a laundry detergent sheet and water in the bag, then my clothes. Then I fill the bag about 3/4 full with water and close it up. I give it a few shakes and set it aside to soak while I shower and dress. I then shake the bag some more to agitate everything well before rinsing in the laundry sink. The detergent sheets don't create a lot of suds, but get the clothes clean. After wring them out well I roll them up in my towel and twist it. This method gets my clothes cleaner than using the laundry sinks alone in the albergues. I think that the long soaking time is the secret. I even use the dry bag to wash when I'm staying in a room with my own bathroom.

A note to add to my dry bag washing method - If my socks are really dusty and dirty I will rinse them out before putting them into the dry bag.
 
Last edited:

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Not to turn this thread into a “laundry” thread, but can I endorse @trecile’s method? On my last Camino, following one of her posts, I bought and tried the laundry sheets. I already had used the wash-in-a-dry-bag method, but used shampoo as the detergent. The laundry sheets are a huge improvement.
I’ve found the biggest effort in the dry-bag method is rinsing and wringing out the clothes. The laundry sheets make the rinsing much easier. I use the roll in a towel and stomp on it for the second but I’d really like someone to invent a portable (lightweight) clothes mangle! Love those albergues with the high speed spinners.

I’m with those who would encourage the kids to take responsibility for their own laundry. On Camino it is only a couple of things at the end of the day - socks and undies, outer wear can go a couple of days unless it’s very hot. In which case it would only be lightweight stuff. Even at home mine did their own laundry from quite an early age. It’s one of the chores (along with food preparation) where they have a personal investment in the outcome. Unlike house cleaning or tidying which my kids always considered completely unnecessary.
 

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
X
I have no expertise in caring for more than one person whilst on Camino, and even then not necessarily satisfactorily.

The Frances is categorically the best decision. The kids can make the decision when they’re paying. If you’re concerned that the 9 year old might not be up for ‘one village more’ then you need to tell them you’re not doing the Primitivo.

Pre-book everything as a family of four.

Wrt the evening meal; if it is to be at or around 1730 it will have to be self-catering - which is perfectly fine - or (rarely) international fast-food. Spaniards don’t do lunch that late or dinner that early.

You will find virtually no English language children books on the Camino. Go electronic or go without.
 
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Anamiri

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Hello,
I have been reading this wonderful forum for weeks and many of my questions have been answered, but I have a few that I am hoping you can help me with.

Who we are: We are an American family of 4, with kids (girls) ages 9 and 16 (at time of Camino). Kids and us are very active, hike, bike and are used to walking, Nordic skiing 20+km at a time (just not weeks in a row :)) The oldest is currently running up mountains this summer as part of nordic ski training and the little one just never stops moving!

Route: I was thinking Frances since is seems to have more places to stay/ stop etc.(at least that is my impression, I could be wrong) And as a first timers, it seems great to do the "classic" route. The kids really want to do the Norte and Primivito. They are drawn towards bigger mountains, more isolated mountains and the potential for beaches and swimming. Thoughts? We plan to arrive in Irun or St. Jean Pied de Port the second week in June '23.

Accommodations: Getting 2 hotel rooms per night is outside of our budget ( I looked into booking with a few services and that is what they recommended). Do hostels allow children? I am really finding it hard to source where a family of 4 can stay. What should I be looking at/ for? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Does this affect our route choice? Bc we are a family of 4, (and the 9 year old might melt down if we have to hike "extra" to the next town, should we pre-book everything?

Luggage Service: I know there are very mixed feelings on this topic, my thought is that with 2 kids who are addicted to books and get dirtier than an average adult, having an extra bag with book stuff moved from place to place might be great. I was thinking each of us would carry rain gear, extra shoes, change of clothes, food/ book each day. I would have a rest day every 5-6 days and do laundry. The thought of doing laundry for 4 people every evening seems daunting.

Food: My thoughts are good breakfast and then . . . Should we plan for a large lunch and just going to a market and getting bread/ cheese/ olives for dinner or doing that for lunch and getting dinner out or cooking if we can. Kids are happy to eat bread and cheese, but we are an early to be crowd. Our schedule now is breakfast at 6:30, lunch around 11:30/12:00 and dinner 5:30

Books: The kids are addicted to books. I can load up a bunch on kindles if that is the best option, but they prefer paper books. Are English language books an impossible find (my gut says yes they are). We are learning Spanish, but will not know enough to ready novels by next summer.

Other: What else do I need to know for taking a family with 2 kids on the Camino. The kids are all in, but what am I not thinking of?

Budget: Our budget is decent for the trip but not unlimited, we have saved a long time for this, but I do think hotels every night are out of the question.

Thank you so much for all your help and expertise!!!
We took a 13 yr old. We mainly booked private rooms in Albergues, hostels, Casa Rural , occasionally an apartment, they work out well for pricing if there are 3 or 4 of you, and they have laundry facilities.
We walked when it was hot, each person was responsible for washing their own clothes each day. Its not that big of a deal. Trust me, they get very sweaty, and socks will be disgusting with sweat and dust. Nothing beats coming in, showering and clean clothes - you feel like a new person. And if you wash your stuff as soon as you can, plenty of time for it to dry.
You will find your Camino much more enjoyable with minimal stuff. We only take 2 outfits each. Wash one, wear one.
If you walk the Frances it is useful to know some Spanish, but not essential. Good to know greetings, numbers, common phrases.
Meals in Spanish we adapt to their times. None of us like walking after a large meal, so two breakfasts, and our main dinner in the late afternoon. As you're walking when its hot, your timing will literally be around survival. Walk early so you're finished before the heat of the afternoon. Then you can relax, sightsee etc.
If you want to take books, I'd suggest luggage transfer.
I am the reader in our family - I just read on my phone. Not my preference normally, but what I do on Camino.
From what Ive read, the Frances will give you more affordable accommodation options. There are some places with pools if the kids want to swim.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2020
With respect to accommodations, you can check on gronze for albergues that have rooms with 4 beds. Then ask the albergue if you can book that room for your family.

I’ve walked all the caminos you are considering twice. Just finished the Norte. I really think the Frances is your best choice.

Spanish meal times do not coincide with American dining habits, nor do they coincide with when most pilgrims want to eat. Consider making the afternoon menu del día your big meal of the day, as the Spanish do. Spanish restaurant kitchens close in late afternoon and don’t open again until 8-830 pm. If you want to eat dinner at 530 pm you will likely have to prepare it yourself.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
With respect to accommodations, you can check on gronze for albergues that have rooms with 4 beds. Then ask the albergue if you can book that room for your family.

I’ve walked all the caminos you are considering twice. Just finished the Norte. I really think the Frances is your best choice.

Spanish meal times do not coincide with American dining habits, nor do they coincide with when most pilgrims want to eat. Consider making the afternoon menu del día your big meal of the day, as the Spanish do. Spanish restaurant kitchens close in late afternoon and don’t open again until 8-830 pm. If you want to eat dinner at 530 pm you will likely have to prepare it yourself.
I always like to read what others do as every camino, every pilgrim something a little different. I usually shop the night before and have a simple meal in the albergue or hopefully join others in cooking together or a communal dinner. During the day I eat many times. Not often alot at all. I shop the night before and will get some kiwis. and bananas. A baguette, some cheese and maybe some ham or turkey and I almost always have a can of Sardines. I will stop slice off some of the bread and stick some cheese or turkey in. Stop again have a kiwi etc etc. I usually buy a tube of goat cheese. It is easy to carry and cut. Being retired I walk later in the year so I do not have to worry about these intense heat conditions killing me and spoiling my food.
 
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mayfly

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino '23
Welcome @mayfly !

I may not be of much help but I am aware that many hotels have family rooms and this might help reduce your costs, if you do have to stay overnight in a hotel.

My 18 year old daughter walked with me. She has always had her nose in a book, for all of her life, yet there was too much going on whilst we walked for her to miss her books. So perhaps yours might manage with one or two books and using kindles for ‘extras’. It might also swing things if they have to carry their own reading material! 😉

I notice you live in a fairly temperate region.
June temperatures might be hotter than your family are accustomed to … especially as heat waves seem to be on the increase.

I wish you Buen Camino …
Others will be along shortly .. and you’ll probably receive far more useful info from members who’ve had experience of walking en famille.

Ultreia!
Thank you, the heat, I think will be the biggest adjustment for us. Though it does get into the 30C here in the summer.
 

mayfly

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino '23
Welcome.

There are many reasons for walking a Camino, why is your family walking?

The reason that I ask is that there are different answers to your questions that are relevant to why someone is walking.

If you start from St. Jean in June and walk the Frances through July then there will be no shortage of accommodation, even with a group of four.

It would be extremely rare (e.g. you arrive in a town on the weekend and it is also a festival day) to have to walk on to find accommodation during this period except after Sarria and by then you will have found your Camino rhythm.

Knowing my grandchildren but not your children, it would be more likely that my 8 year old had a meltdown because he was tired of walking everyday for the past two weeks and why couldn't he either have a short day today or even a rest day.

Buen Camino
We are walking because we love to walk, and for the religious aspect and the journey and benefit that each of us individually hopes get from the walk.

I hear you about the rest day and being flexible. The balance between being flexible and making sure we have a place to stay is going to be a hard one to balance. thank you!
 

mayfly

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino '23
Thank you all for the suggestions, I will read and watch each of those.

I am still torn about carrying and not pre-booking v. sending luggage and pre-booking. I hope all the resources you have given me will give me clarity there.

As for packing lightly with quick dry everything, we are good with that. I was thinking trail sneakers for each of us along with a pair of "hiking sandals" in case toes or feet got sore after so many days. I love my hiking sandals at times.

I am still torn about the route, but you all have me leaning towards Frances as being more affordable and maybe a bit more approachable for a family. Let's see if I can convince them.

As for food, when we are camping and such, they are super flexible and happy to snack all day, but want to be in bed by Spanish meal time, so we will plan to eat more earlier in the day and prep ourselves or have a lighter bread based meal later in the day.

My oldest wants to take every mountain route, she just did 16 of the 4000 footers in NY with friends over the weekend. My little one likes to look for birds and plants and take pictures and draw.

Thank you for putting the children tag on it, it has popped up all kinds of wonderful threads I had not seen searching before.

I wish we could travel earlier in the year when it is a bit cooler, or even in the fall. But between the kids and both of us, we are tied to academic calendars and have no flexibility in dates.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
We are walking because we love to walk, and for the religious aspect and the journey and benefit that each of us individually hopes get from the walk.

I hear you about the rest day and being flexible. The balance between being flexible and making sure we have a place to stay is going to be a hard one to balance. thank you!
I generally book day or two ahead. But when it comes to rest days (that is - a whole day not walking), then I usually had that in cities as there is more to do as opposed to making it a regular occurrence every 'x' number of days. Some of the villages will be so small that you see the way out as you walk in.
I think something to remember is that this is a pilgrimage not a wilderness hike, so not to be compared with climbing up mountains.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Never walked with kids, so I’ll leave that to the experts. Otherwise:

- English language books: very rare to find there

- Swimming: likely on the Norte, rare on the Frances

- Norte is more physically challenging, but also more difficulty than the Frances to secure four beds without reservations, walk shorter distances, guarantee luggage transfer, open stores/cafes when/where you are hoping for them, laundry services, etc.

- Don’t kid yourself: Frances has elevations to climb!

Simply walking a camino can be a challenge, doing it as a family an additional challenge, and with younger children even more of a challenge - perhaps choose the easier Frances path to at least lessen the worries about housing, food, etc
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I was thinking trail sneakers for each of us along with a pair of "hiking sandals" in case toes or feet got sore after so many days. I love my hiking sandals at times.
After two Caminos in trail runners I wear only hiking sandals on the Camino now. My toes love the freedom!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
The balance between being flexible and making sure we have a place to stay is going to be a hard one to balance

If you choose the Frances then you will find that there is a very large number of spaces to stay and a wide variety.

If you are prepared to stay in the albergues with bunk rooms then because of the time of year that you are walking (not very busy) then it will be much easier to balance flexibility with confidence about having a bed at each stop. Gronze.com is your goto resource for places to stay. This will possibly be the most economical as well.

When I walked there were children about in the albergues from time to time and more frequently the closer that I got to Santiago de Compostela. Other pilgrims won't bat an eye nor will the people running the albergues.

It is probably best to be conservative towards the start of your walk until you get a rhythm to your walking and build your confidence then you can probably start to relax a bit more and allow some of the serendipity to lead you.

Staying in the (very large) Roncesvalles albergue will give you an early taste of communal living and if your schedule allows, stop at the donativo albergue in Zabaldika, just before Pamplona. This will give you the opportunity to experience a small communal living environment.

Roncesvalles is very kid friendly and I am sure that the volunteer helpers at Zabaldika will also make your family feel at home.

It would be a real shame to be overcommitted to a fixed plan before you understand for yourself how lucky we all are to have the quantum and quality of resources along this way that allows us to safely follow the situations that unfold before us.

What ever you choose I am sure that you will build lifelong family memories.
 

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