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Top tips for surviving a long car journey with the kids!

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head2This week we’ve been chatting to journalist and travel writer Gretta Schifano, founder of one of our favourite sites for family holiday inspiration, Mums do travel

Gretta has lived and worked in Italy and Spain and is now based in south-east England with her husband and two children, where she writes for the likes of The Guardian, Independent and National Geographic Traveller.

Gretta was recently awarded the BritMums Brilliance in Blogging award for the best travel blog, so we thought we’d pick her brain to get some travel advice  for families planning a long car journey with the children this summer.

Top tips for surviving a long car journey with the kids!

Long car journeys can be a bit of an endurance test with small children if they’re bored and miserable, but there are some things which you can do to help. The aim is to keep everyone warm, comfortable, fed and watered and then hopefully the journey won’t be too bad.

Be prepared…

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  • Plan your route so that you definitely know where you’re going and how to get there. Include time for stops in your plan so that you all have a chance to stretch your legs, go to the loo and have something to eat and drink. Involve your kids in the plan so that they know where you’re going and how long it will take.
  • Wear the children out before you set off so that they’ll go to sleep in the car. Get them running around, dancing, jumping, anything to use up some energy before they’re strapped in to the car.
  • Make sure that you’ve all eaten, had a drink and been to the toilet or have a clean nappy before you set off so that you can make a good start on your journey before you have to stop.
  • Try to start your journey when the children are likely to sleep, even if it means travelling at night.
  • Make sure that the kids are wearing comfortable clothes. If you’re travelling at night put them in their pyjamas as this will help them to go to sleep more easily.
  • Charge up your mobile phones and other gadgets before you leave and take car chargers with you in case you need them.

Things to take…

What to take

  • If each child has a fleece blanket and a small pillow with them it will help them to get comfortable and relaxed in the car.
  • Take a cool bag containing snacks and bottles of water. Don’t take anything sticky as it’s bound to end up smeared across the inside of your car. If it’s hot you can take frozen drinks which will gradually thaw during the journey.
  • Take a bag of toys which your child can play with in the car but avoid small bits which will inevitably get lost down the back of the seat.
  • Have a change of clothes handy for each child just in case they need them.
  • Take a supply of bin liners or plastic bags for rubbish, dirty clothes etc.
  • Take a potty if you’re potty training but also for times when your child is busting for a wee and you’re nowhere near a toilet.

Stave off boredom…

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  • Make sure that you stop every so often so that the kids can stretch their legs and let off steam.
  • Play games in the car such as I Spy or counting how many cars you can spot of a certain colour.
  • Listen to children’s stories and music on CDs, an MP3 player or a tablet.
  • Load some new or favourite children’s films onto a tablet or portable DVD player for the kids to watch in the car.

Happy travelling!

Visit Gretta Schifano’s website Mums do travel for more tips and ideas on family travel.

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