If you’re thinking of taking a long family road trip, you’ll have to plan much more than the route you’re going to take – a car full of children also requires a full itinerary of entertainment to keep the journey as stress-free as possible.
So here are some top tips to consider if you hitting the road with the kids in tow…
The chances are you’ll hear the first cry of “Are we nearly there yet?” within 20 minutes of leaving the house, so you’ll need to curb the kids’ natural impatience – the best way to do this is to keep them entertained in as many ways as possible, so try any mixture of the following…
• Audiobooks and music – stock up on some of your clan’s favourite music and throw in a few family-friendly audiobooks to relieve the boredom of some of those long stretches of motorway. It’ll also help to keep your mind alert while you’re at the wheel.
• Books and DVDS – if you think the drive is long and arduous, the kids will be feeling the boredom even more in the back, so make sure you pack a selection of their favourite books and comics to keep them entertained. If you can get a portable DVD player – the ones that fit onto the back of the head rests of the front seats are ideal – you can pack their favourite films and you won’t even know they’re there.
• Play games – if you’ve exhausted all the other options, or you can’t bear to hear the songs from Frozen one more time, then it could be time to kick off a good, old-fashioned car game. Eye-spy is an old-classic but quickly gets boring, so try something like Yellow Car – where the aim is to spot the most yellow cars on the road – or Through the Glovebox – the idea here is to pick another motorist and make up a narrative about them; this is a good game for when you’re stuck in a traffic jam.
It’s also a good idea to make each child a backpack for the journey, containing colouring books, travel games and portable consoles or tablets if they have one. And make sure they have all the apps and games they need – and don’t forget to pack the chargers!
Food and drink
It’s one thing keeping boredom at bay, but you also need to fight off the hunger pangs. If you’re driving through some little towns and villages it’s always a good idea to stop off for sustenance, but while motorway services are handy, they’re also expensive and often unhealthy.
So pack enough food and drink for at least the first leg of the journey, with sandwiches, fruit, sweets and any other snacks that will keep the car happy. And make sure the kids can get to the snacks as and when they need them to save them asking you all the time.
Another good way to keep everyone engaged is to learn a bit about the places you’re visiting and talk about what you’re going to do there before you arrive – this will make sure everyone is excited to get to your final destination. For some destination inspiration, these European places could be a great starting point.
And if there are any landmarks along the way, make sure you stop off at them to break up the journey.