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If you’ve ever taken your kids on a road trip, you’ve no doubt experienced this classic scenario… Within the first 10 minutes of leaving the house, a little voice from the back seat starts asking ‘are we nearly there yet?’ This is probably a signal that you’re likely to spend the next few hours of your drive trying to contain a wriggly, whinging child… But don’t despair! With the right preparation, a road trip can actually be fun! We had a little chat with Selene Cutler, founder of Family Trip Finder, to get a few pearls of wisdom. If you’re looking for information on child-friendly holidays, and great accommodation specifically recommended by parents, make sure you bookmark it for your next family trip!
Make sure you’ve planned your route and even if you have a Sat Nav, still take a map or a print out of your route, just in case your Sat Nav decides to go blank on you. Be realistic and plan plenty of stops so that children can stretch and let off steam. Plan what to take at least one week before and make sure you check everything again the night before your departure, to make sure you have all you need in one place, ready to be loaded in the car.
1) Most children love to draw or colour in, a range of activity sheet such us: dot-to-dot, maze, word search, bingo, can be easily printed out for the trip. There are also games that are played on dry erase boards that can then be easily wiped off and reused. Sticker books are also great fun, The Usborne Little Children’s Travel Activity Book, has a variety of stimulating and entertaining activities.
2) Take along books, audio books and CD’s with their favourite stories and songs or let your older children have their favourite music on their MP3 players.
3) Prepare tablets and smartphones with apps and games. A range of new and old games will go down very well! Try downloading some cool children’s films or cartoons on your tablet or DVD’s players so you will have a range of choices. If you’re stuck for ideas, check out these cool apps for kids under 5.
4) Bring a bag full of toys that don’t have lots of small bits, as they will inevitably fall under your seat! Magnetic games are great for keeping everything together.
5) Take a notebook along to stick photos and information about your holiday, it’s a great way to get them excited to your destination and can also be done on the way back when you’ll have plenty to add on!
6) Make sure you have plenty of food and drinks at hand. Avoid messy, salty and sticky food; instead opt for sandwiches, raisins, cookies, bananas, cakes, cheese and carrot sticks.
7) Pillows are a must on car journeys, but as space is an issue, look for something like a Yondi travel pillow, which comes in 2 sizes, one for toddlers and one for bigger kids. Or go for a Trunki SnooziHedz which has both an inflatable cushion and blanket, it even includes a little grip to stop the blanket sliding off!
Some further tips…
Don’t tell your kids what you have planned for the journey, so you keep surprising them throughout the trip! This will keep them happy for longer and will help you in any meltdowns scenarios! Make sure that your electronic gear is charged up and limit the ‘screen time’ so that you have opportunities to recharge and rest their eyes. You might also want to invest in some headphones so that you can enjoy some noise-free time! For more tips on travelling with children visit the Family Trip Finder website.