Making the way to Santiago with children

camino de santiago con niños

Have you ever thought about doing the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago as a family? If so, it may not come to fruition because of the doubts you may have, such as whether the children will hold out, whether it is dangerous, whether they will get bored, etc. But don’t worry, we’ll get you out of doubt and you’ll see how it’s possible.

After years of experience and with the opinion of our clients, we can assure that making this pilgrimage to Santiago with children is a true family adventure full of feelings and values that will mark an important point in our lives. An opportunity to reflect, to find ourselves, to know our children in depth and to create a special bond in a moment of renewal of our life. We assure you that this experience is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves and our children. In addition we will help you to organize your way to Santiago in Family so that you do not have to worry about anything, we make it possible.

PLAN YOUR WAY

If organizing the road to Santiago for an adult is not easy, it is clear that to do it with children much less. The route may seem hard and heavy enough for us to do it with the little ones of the house. The reality is that both the degree of hardness and the distance can be adapted to each type of person.

We have to take into account several criteria to decide which type of Camino we will choose to enjoy this adventure in the family holidays.

What is the recommended minimum age?

After our experience after years and years organizing The Way of Saint James and corroborated with the association The Way of Saint James in Family, we recommend that the minimum age of children to make the way on foot is 3 years. In the case of wanting to do the Way with children under three years we can always do it with a medium-high physical fitness and endurance, since we must carry them in a mountain trolley. It will be a great help when the child is tired or sleepy.

Which path to choose?

The first thing we must take into account before starting this family adventure is to choose the most suitable Jacobean route. There are many factors that influence this choice such as the physical capacity of the children, the services we will find at each stage, the extent of each of them, and even the ability that we ourselves to carry the cart or the supplement we choose for the youngest.

The French Way from Sarria is the most recommended because it has more infrastructure. Its layout has much smoother and more comfortable profiles, it is quite easy to carry a child’s trolley if necessary. This tour is advisable if it is with children in summer but we have to be careful because the sun exposure for them can be prolonged.

What should be the maximum distance at each stage?

The route in each stage must be directly proportional to the age of the child and his capacity or in the case of carrying a saddle or a cart of our capacity to travel the Camino. We also have to bear in mind that if it is very small, even if it is in the trolley, it can also get tired, so we will try to make the stages vary between 15 and 20 kilometres.

Most families choose to travel the last 100 kilometers of this road, whether it is to start with the road, for availability of time or to go warming up engines and train for another year repeat with an increased distance.

What should they carry in their backpack?

We will also ask this question for ourselves, but we must bear in mind that most of our luggage will be carried by us. If the child is prepared and his age allows him to carry his own backpack with the basics, the less the better. Basically they should put in the backpack the sleeping bag, the clothes they use and the accessories of the child, but watch out, the safest thing is that you carry the heaviest weight. Remember that there are companies in which we can hire the luggage transport service. The option of contracting the trip by agency is also very helpful in this case and will forget about this problem. For example, from Viajes Camino de Santiago we offer to travel with your family the last 100 kilometers of the Camino de Santiago. We will take care of accommodations, route stages suitable for children as well as the luggage transport service from one stage to another.

 

 

How many children should I bring?

Obviously we want to take all our children on the road to Santiago if we have decided to take this family vacation. Of course, the answer to how many children are advisable to bring is that the more the better. Children will enjoy the tour more surrounded by other children, since they like to have someone to play with, someone to talk to, and they won’t even notice that they are walking a long way for them. Many families choose to get together to enjoy this experience and their children learn to live with others and the environment. It is also a path of learning for them.

In the case of taking younger children who require carts or cannot unwrap themselves, it will depend on those who have the responsibility of being with them. Don’t put a limit on the number, just think about the experience you will have.

Does the child need to have any preparation to make the journey?

Just like an adult, children must also be prepared to face this road. It is advisable to make excursions with them about two or three months before embarking as pilgrims. We must do them on similar terrain as well as gradually increase the distances to be covered. In this way you will be able to mentally prepare the children and test their stamina. The road will be a piece of cake for them.

Excursions with them as part of the training will help us and them to shoot the shoes we want to take on the route. We will avoid possible blisters or scratches that could make us have a bad experience. If the child wants to carry his own backpack, it would also be a good idea to carry it on these excursions.

Where is it best to stay with the children?

When the children are still very young, or even if they have trouble sleeping the best option is to stay in boarding houses, hostels or hotels at each stage. This will avoid that there are problems of rest so much for us, them and for the rest of lodged. However, if the children are a little older, it is best that they sleep in shelters. This will allow them to live a unique experience and learn to live with more people.

MOTIVATES CHILDREN AND CELEBRATES EACH STAGE THEY COMPLETE

This experience will surely awaken the curiosity of the youngest members of the household. But previously we must tell them a few months before the history of the Way as well as explain what it consists of in a different way. This will make that day after day are motivated and do not see the holidays or this trekking as something obligatory and boring. Tell them curious facts, things they can do or discover, etc. An incentive for them, perhaps the most motivating is to tell them that we must stamp the credential and that in the end we will have our prize, the Compostela. This will arouse their curiosity and they will be able to set a goal, like in a game.

During the journey we will also have to motivate them, teach them and celebrate every stage or kilometre they have to cover, for them it is very important. An important detail, you have to be flexible with them. They obviously can’t keep up with an adult. Let them curious, stop, look and play.

ON THE WAY TO SANTIAGO WITH A BABY. A SMALL PILGRIM ON WHEELS

Faced with the problem of carrying a child who is not yet walking or who has to be transported by us during the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago de Compostela, we are faced with two challenges, but they are totally bearable and overcome.

To carry your child you can use a baby carrier, an all-terrain trolley or a wheelbarrow. In the face of this we have to take into account several factors.

The first is related to the weight of the child if we opt for the backpack. The person carrying the child should not carry more weight while the other person should carry everyone’s things. It is very difficult to do the load distribution properly. In this case, the irregularities in the terrain would not present too many drawbacks.

The option of using this type of all-terrain trolley, although it may seem the most suitable, and it is the one we recommend, has more advantages than disadvantages. For example, in terms of weight and luggage portability as well as protecting our child from rain, cold or heat. It better be four-wheeled to gain stability. Three-wheelers maneuver better but don’t convince me much.

The wheels have to be quite large and wide. The child and his things can go perfectly in the cart. The problem is to face the irregularities of the terrain because the cart can NOT easily circumvent all kinds of geographical accidents that come to the pass. It may be that somewhere in particular you have to push the two, raise it to climb a step or similar. Evidently both of you must carry backpacks to transport your things.

The backpack trolley would only be interesting for carrying cargo. The kid better go in a baby carrier. In this case more load can be carried with less effort. It is very necessary to get used to using it well.

Either of these options has its advantages and disadvantages, but the biggest challenge of all focuses on luggage loading. Whichever means of transport you choose if you want greater mobility and greater ease when doing the Camino, the option of hiring a luggage transport service or finding it included in the trip if you have contracted it through an agency, is the best.

If you decide to take a different vacation with your family and not worry about anything, you can turn to our French Family Way. This program is aimed at children, you can do the Camino de Santiago with them without having to worry about anything, just enjoy.

Are you ready to venture out with the little ones in the house?

 

 If you have walked the Way with your children, tell us!

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