With summer fast approaching, we are all getting excited about family holidays away at the beach, lake, or wherever your families’ special spot might be. While this time of year is full of excitement and anticipation for some well needed R&R, the realities of pulling the trips together aren’t always the most enjoyable. Before you can get to the relaxation, you need to actually get there. The dreaded Road Trip with kids, here’s 3 tips for starting your holiday in peace right from the moment you leave home.
1. Plan for the trip
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but having everything you need for the car trip packed at the top of your bag, or better still having a ‘road trip bag’ handy for the trip could save you having to pull over and dig through your luggage on the side of the road. Pack snacks, (more snacks than you think you will need!!) I always make sure I have filled up my water bottle before leaving, keeping hydrated is essential to keep a clear head and avoid tiredness, a few sneaky lollies also help with this, but don’t tell the kids! If you want to be really practical you could also pack a spare change of clothes for the kids, depending on how far you are travelling. Other essentials include any activities your kids might like. If they have iPads for the car trip, it could save you some tears to have charged battery packs ready to go. If your kids tend to get car sick, it could also pay to visit the pharmacy before you leave and make sure you have some Sea Legs handy for the trip. If you’re taking off on a long trip, research where you can make toilet stops along the way so you don’t get caught out!
2. Think about timing
If your kids are still at the age where they nap, you could plan your trip to coincide with nap times so they will sleep through as much of the trip as possible. If you are happy to travel at night, this can be a good option, as long as you are confident you can transfer them easily at the destination! However, if you have a terrible car-sleeper like me (Amelia won’t sleep in the car no matter what time of day it is), you could plan to travel as soon as they wake up as they tend to be more settled then. All kids are so different, but this one works for us, we discovered through trial and error. Planning to leave home around lunch time can also work, if you pack a lunch box for them to eat as you start off your journey, this can easily eat up the first half hour or so of the trip and give you some time to enjoy the start of your journey. An obvious point, but one worth mentioning while we are on this topic, is to avoid rush hour! If this means getting your family up and on the road early on a Saturday morning, it will be worth it to avoid the holiday traffic! And it gives you more time to enjoy the day once you arrive!
3. Make the trip fun
Plan games the whole family, or just the kids, can play. The classics like I Spy and 20 questions are good for the whole family. Liam can’t spell just yet, so we have modified I Spy to by using colours instead of letters, for example, “I spy with my little eye, something that is blue”, and he might spot a blue truck. CD’s or Spotify playlists the kids will enjoy and sing along to (that won’t drive you crazy) work well, or audiobooks always help pass the time on a long drive. If your kids don’t get carsick, they might enjoy having an activity book or an iPad to distract them. If you are travelling a new piece of road, it might be worth researching where some good cafes or playgrounds are along the way. A few stops for the kids to stretch the legs, and for you to re-caffeinate is always a good option!
Hope there's some handy tips here for you. Have a safe trip and enjoy a well-deserved break once you arrive!