I’ve written about my dream road trip along highway 101 yesterday and if it inspired you to hit the road yourself, I thought it would be good to share some road trip tips with you that will make your journey that little bit easier and more enjoyable. Let’s face it, if you’re traveling with kids, you need all the help you can get.
Road trip tips: Safety and Oranisation
The most important thing to do before you hit the road and this should be the case for any longer trip really, is getting your car checked. MOTs are available at companies like KwikFit who have branches that are open 7 days a week, so pop in to let experts have a look at your four wheels, so you can be sure that not only you but also your car is prepared for your adventure. Let me tell you, there’s nothing more stressful than breaking down in the middle of nowhere with tired or hungry kids in the backseat.
Of course, you can never be sure that you won’t end up in an accident or have a breakdown, so check that your first aid kit is complete, keep some high-visibility vests in your car in case you have to leave it and store some blankets and water in the boot. You never know when they might come in handy. If you’re driving in a different country or under severe weather conditions, here are two posts I’ve written full of tips for driving in Europe as well as driving in winter. I hope you find them helpful!
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Since becoming a parent preparation is key for almost everything I do and the same counts for road trips or even daily outings. My blogging buddies Becky and Pete agree by the way. Both of them have shared mapping out toilet stops as one of their top tips and it makes sense, doesn’t it? You don’t want to have to pull over on the side of the motorway to do your business and if you really have to because there’s no service station in sight your little ones can’t hold it in any longer, Emma suggests a potette for emergency stops. It’s basically a fold-away potty for those on the go. Super handy!
Road trip tips: Keeping the kids entertained
If you’re traveling with kids, long journeys or traffic jams can become particularly painful, so car entertainment is where it’s at. My friend Helen swears by audiobooks as they make long journeys more bearable for all the family while Jaymee is all about busy packs. She simply fills several small bags with things like paper and pens, a metal tin and magnets or cars and a map and her boys are entertained for hours. Now that her boys are a little older, she’s also the good old tally chart. Her boys are kept busy and can mark off everything they see on their journey – be it an airplane or a tractor.
Emma and Helena have written whole blog posts on keeping kids entertained during long car journeys, so if you need some ideas to keep your little ones happy while you’re navigating winding country roads or bustling city streets, make sure to check them out.
One thing worse than a bored child? A hungry child! I don’t know about your kids but Amy can become really grumpy when she’s hungry and admittedly, so can I. To avoid any meltdowns and tantrums in the back of your car, pack plenty of snacks and drinks. My friend Helen has got lots of fab lunchbox and snack ideas if you’re after some inspiration. Also, if you want to make snack time extra comfy for your kids, get them a little car table. Stacey introduced me to them and I think they’re a fab idea, also for playtime or colouring in. There are tray tables that go over the car seat or car tables that you attach to your seat and that fold down like an airplane table.
Road trip tips: breaks, stretching and little accidents
Something that can easily be forgotten, especially if you’re keen on making some way is stopping for regular breaks. They’re not only important for the driver but they’re also allowing you and your kids to burn off some energy and stretch your legs. We didn’t do this on a recent road trip from one side of Germany to the other to visit Legoland Germany and let me tell you, when I got out of the car after 8 hours, my legs almost buckled. I was walking like an old woman! Not fun!
Something else that’s no fun is a child that gets travel sick or covered in food and drink. It can happen but are you prepared for it? I can honestly say, I’m not. I don’t ever take spare clothes for car journeys, simply because I am a notorious optimist and think nothing could possibly go wrong, but Alex swears by them and always keeps a bag to hand with spare clothes, clean undies, socks and a jumper each – in case of spills, accidents or the kids getting cold!
If you are traveling with a partner and they can drive, try and share the load by swapping seats every couple of hours. That way one of you can rest or entertain the kids while the other one keeps the wheels moving. Are your kids bad travellers? Lucy suggests traveling at night, so the kids can sleep and you have a less stressful journey because there’s less traffic on the roads. It worked for my parents when my sister and I were younger. Have you tried it?
What are your top road trip tips for families? Let me know in the comments below so we can all go exploring without having to stress…
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