Traveling with tots can be stressful. However, road trips are also great fun. There’s nothing like hitting the open roads in good spirits, knowing that you’ll soon be relaxing and enjoying your vacation. This is an adventure for the kids, and they’ll love it. As long as they don’t get bored! If you’re hoping to take the children out exploring in the New Year, here’s everything you need for a fun, hassle-free journey.
Before you go
Before you set off, make sure you plan your route, and you know exactly where you’re going. Mark potential stopping points to stretch your legs and get gas. There’s nothing worse than spending hours driving around trying to find a destination when you’ve got tired, bored kids in the back. Take a map with you. If you’re going out into the sticks, you may not be able to rely on GPRS.
Pack the car well in advance so that you can avoid last-minute panics, and set off on time. Try and travel outside of peak times to avoid getting stuck in traffic jams. If your children suffer from car sickness, it may be best to travel at night so that they sleep through the journey. If you are traveling at night, change the children into their pajamas before you set off. This will ensure that they’re comfortable in the car and minimize disruption at the other end.
What to pack for a road trip
Keeping children entertained on a long car journey is essential. Children tend to get frustrated and grumpy when they’ve got nothing to do, and they may get restless. It’s always a good idea to stock up on snacks and take some toys and games in the car. If you have older children, portable DVD players are an excellent investment. Your kids can watch TV or put a movie on, and this will keep them occupied for hours. Hand-held consoles and tablets are also very popular. If you have younger children, books and activity toys are a good choice. Before you set off, have a look in shops like The Toy Station for ideas. If your kids have comforters, a favorite blanket or a teddy they take everywhere, make sure you have this to hand before you leave home.
When you’re packing, think about where you’re going, and what you’re going to be doing when you get there. If you plan to spend your days at the beach, make sure you have buckets, spades, and outdoor games. Pack old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, and plenty of sun cream. If you’re going camping, make sure you have warm layers, and sleeping bags. You may also find it useful to research child-friendly camping equipment and accessories that will make life easier for you. A good example is a portable toilet. This will enable your kids to go to the loo without having to negotiate the dark or walk a long way to get to a communal block. If you have older children, and you’re planning to try outdoor sports and activities, consider hiring equipment, such as bikes or climbing harnesses, when you get there. This will save space.
Passing the time
When you hear the words road trip and kids in the same sentence, you may envision stressed-out parents counting down the seconds until they can get out of the car, and enjoy some peace in the open air. However, not all road trips have to be fraught. There’s nothing to say that you can’t have loads of fun on your journey. Try and make time pass quickly by playing games, singing along to a vacation playlist, or making a quiz.
Talk to your children about your trip before you go. Tell them about what you’re going, and discuss plans with them. This will get them excited for the adventure ahead, and they’ll take more interest. They’re also more likely to grin and bear the journey if they know something amazing lies in wait.
If you have young children, the prospect of spending hours in the car may seem unappealing. However, not every trip has to be stressful. Sometimes, you can have great fun, and create wonderful memories when you’re cruising along the tarmac singing songs together and talking about what you’re going to do on your vacation. It always pays to be prepared as a parent, so pack the car in advance, and make sure you’ve got snacks and drinks, toys and games, and any precious items, such as teddy bears and pacifiers. Plan your route, and stop now and again to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. Make sure you’ve got everything you need before you go, and travel outside of rush hour. Talk about your travel plans with your kids, and make the journey fun.