Sleeping in the car | The Family Without Borders

The Family Without Borders

The Travelling family

cartravel tipsTravel tips: with kids


Sleeping in the car

Waking up in our car (VW Touran); Photo: Thomas Alboth

Yes, while travelling we really sleep in our car. Sometimes for long weeks. And we love it and we are not tired. That’s, in short, main answers to your questions.

It took us some trips to find the perfect (for us) solutions. We tried it already in three different cars: Renault Espace, Chrysler Voyager/Dodge Caravan, and now in our Volkswagen (VW) Touran, while crossing i-don’t-know-how-many countries.

And yes, we have to rebuilt the bed every evening, changing „our home“ from the „driving mode“ to the „bedroom“. How long does it take? Maybe 12 minutes. Ok ok, if it’s raining: maybe 4. And if it’s really really raining – it’s also possible to do it while sitting inside. But then it takes longer and needs some gymnastics skills.

So… from the beginning on:

Time: around 10 minutes.
Amount of people: 4

  • 3 plastic boxes (one is our kitchen, one is our childrens’ room and one is our bookshelf) (important! they should be possible same high as your closed car seats)
  • 3 boards of plywood (can be thin e.g. 6-9mm, altogether: the lenght of the car from the drivers seat to the boot lid, in a VW Touran about 1.90m.)
  • 2 camping mats and 2 kids mattresses
  • all you need for sleeping (we are crazy about our big pillows and blankets, so in the luxury version, when we don’t have to fly – we take them from home, instead of sleeping bags)

We start with moving our kids’ car seats to the front. We move the front seats as much as possible to the front. Then we lay down all the three back seats. In the holes between the seats we put our big bags with clothes. On the surface, we put our 3 plywood boards. On this – camping mats. On one side – kids’ mattresses. Pillows and blankets we take out of the waterproof bags only before going to sleep, because in the evening it all gets a bit wet.

It’s still enough space for us: girls are sleeping on one side (one „under“ another), at let’s say 1/3 of the width, we are sleeping on the other 2/3. And we like to hug, maybe that’s the trick!

Our first book is out!

We have published our first book (for now just in Polish:) about our Central America Trip.
See, read and order here »


  • Natalia
    Posted September 3, 2013 at 16:43 | Permalink

    właśnie to mi było potrzebne! dotąd tylko domyślałam się jak wy to robicie i po co wam ta sklejka i jak wy ją tam upychacie? :) dzięki Aniu! jutro szykuję swojego kombiaka i zamieniam na vana :)

    • Anna Alboth
      Posted March 8, 2014 at 11:26 | Permalink

      No i jak tam, naszykowany? :)

  • Szymek
    Posted September 3, 2013 at 20:50 | Permalink

    Na razie tylko teoretycznie rozpracowywałem spanie w 4-kę (w dwójką maluchów) w naszym Espace i też mi wychodziło że potrzebję w bagażniku plastikowe pudełka :) co do materaca to chcę próbować z pompowanym podwójnym – zdaje się że będzie dokładnie pasować i pewnie obeszłoby się bez sklejki.

    Dzięki za przykład!
    Szymek & Co.

    • Anna Alboth
      Posted March 8, 2014 at 11:27 | Permalink

      Szyyyyyyymon! :)))

  • Andrew
    Posted March 8, 2014 at 10:20 | Permalink

    I’ve been hunting around the internet for a solution to sleeping comfortably in my car (xsara picasso) and until now I have not come across any practical solutions. The board over the back seats should do the trick. Many thanks for the inspiration

    • Anna Alboth
      Posted March 8, 2014 at 11:30 | Permalink

      Super cool that we can be useful! Good luck!

      • Andrew
        Posted May 24, 2016 at 11:50 | Permalink

        Well 2 years have gone by and we have had many mini adventures car camping. I am not sure how we would have managed without stumbling upon your website and the board ideas. S0 much fun and still so many places to go. Think I might end up upgrading to a van soon as we will soon have another family member with us. Again, thank you for everything you do.

  • Posted May 13, 2014 at 04:18 | Permalink

    Great Idea. Love camping and fun trips such as these sleeping in a car can feel safer then a tent sometimes. Using anything that can be inflated as well are fun such as air travel pillows and mats if you can find some. Making the most out of what you have. Kudos.

  • Lee
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 17:24 | Permalink

    Hi, love the Touran camping idea. ~Where did you get the boxes or what size are they?

    Thank you Lx

  • Flora
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 10:36 | Permalink


    We just got our second hand Touran and intend to go on a long road trip. What is the height of the plastic boxes you used for the Touran?



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