Long journey looming? Every parent knows how it feels to hear ‘Are we there yet?’ on repeat from from the back seats while you try to concentrate on navigating without losing your way or your cool. If you prefer to travel in relative tranquility, why not restore some order to your road trip?
Ok, maybe miracles don’t exist, but with a little bit of planning and preparation you can make some real improvements to your road trip stress level. We’ve come up with a few ideas which we hope will help you out.
Don’t forget to put together a road trip survival kit for happy little travellers. Pop in a pillow and blanket, their favourite toy, snacks, drinks and car-safe activities. If you’re going on holiday, and struggling for space in the car among all the suitcases, why not store these essentials into a smaller rucksack which you can hang from the back of the front seats?
Stock up on snacks
Nothing works to quieten fussy kids quite as well as snacks. It’s always a good idea to think about what kind of snacks work best in the car though, unless you’re a big fan of sponging sticky stuff off your car seats. There’s probably no such thing as mess-free food when it comes to kids, but there are a few safer choices that you can rely on. Pop dry cereal, popcorn or pretzels into zip seal bags, or try grapes, raisins or cucumber sticks in plastic tubs.
Pack sandwiches if you’re brave, but use wraps rather than sliced bread to cut down on crumbs, and choose a lower-mess filling like ham or soft cheese. If you’re travelling for a long time, make a pit stop at a local park along the way to enjoy your lunch and let the kids run off some steam. Keep your snacks fresh in a handy cool bag, and don’t forget a water bottle (although you might want to ration it to avoid toilet stops every other mile!).
Beat the boredom
There are lots of games you can get the kids playing when they start to get restless. Things like colouring and activity books are great if you’re in a rush and they’ll keep your little ones entertained for hours. We love this holiday fun colouring and activity book; perfect for getting them in the holiday spirit! We also have a great selection of colouring pencils to help your kids get creative – bit safer for your car interior than felt tips!
Why not grab one of our notepads or diaries and encourage your kids to jot down what they see on their journey? They can use this throughout the holiday, too. It’s a great way to pass time and helps your kids (and you!) remember what you got up to every day. If you’re going on a really long trip and want to avoid the inevitable ‘Are we there yet?’ every couple of miles then why not print a map showing your route and laminate it? Use a dry wipe pen to mark your journey and then get the kids to follow the route, shouting out various towns and cities as you pass through them.
Having the back seat filled with toys and books isn’t always practical, especially if you’ve packed to the rafters, so classic car games such as ‘I Spy’ and ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ are perfect for passing the time. You can also make up your own silly car games. For younger children, pick a type of vehicle, maybe a coach or a tractor, and the first person to see one is the winner. For older children try making up words from the letter on number plates or each picking a colour and then seeing how many cars of that colour you can see.
Stave off sickness
Car sickness is really common in kids, and there’s nothing worse than having to deal with the aftermath on a long journey. But there are a few steps you can take to help a queasy traveller and make sure everyone has a more comfortable journey:
- Don’t look down – Reading or looking down at iPads or colouring books can be a fast track to feeling grotty, so if your child’s a sufferer, encourage them to look up and out of a window – ideally forwards.
- Crack a window – Feeling stuffy and overheated makes travel sickness much worse. A bit of fresh air can really help blow symptoms away.
- Keep it light – don’t let them eat anything too heavy before travelling, and keep snacks light (crackers and dry cereal is ideal) unless you want to see them again! Also make sure they drink enough, as dehydration can aggravate little tummies.
- Take action – if your child suffers with sickness, chat to a pharmacist or your GP to see if they can recommend any remedies to help them.
- Be prepared – it never hurts to be prepared for the worst! Keep a bag or bowl within reach in case you can’t pull over in time, and have baby wipes and a change of clothes handy so you can clean up quickly and carry on with the minimum of fuss.
Turn up the tunes
If you think you can take it, music is a great way to keep kids relatively entertained for an hour or two. Whether it’s the soundtrack to their favourite film, a relentlessy upbeat nursery rhyme collection or the latest tween pop sensation, banging out some tunes can keep wiggly kids just on the right side of sanity while you’re on the move. Just don’t be surprised if you end up singing along!
If you play your cards right, it might even exhaust them enough to have a nap. Hand over the pillow and blanket from your survival kit and enjoy the resulting few minutes of quiet while they recharge for another round of car karaoke. You’ve earned it.