As a full time travelling family ‘Road Trips’ are our middle name! We spend a lot of time in the car on loooong drives and even though our mini Blondies (currently) 5 and 3 years old, are used to our big driving adventures, we always take the time to ensure we are well prepared before we hit the frog and toad to ensure the journey goes as smoothly as possible.
Here are a few of our top Road Trip Tips:
1. Scooby Snacks
Make sure you pack snacks, snacks and more snacks!!! Sitting still for so long means it won’t take long for your little people to get bored, and the first thing they do is ask for food.
I usually pack a small lunch box of healthy food (avoiding sugary foods as much as possible as the last thing you need is hyped up crazies in the back seat!). I also prepare lots of ‘time wasting’ foods like nuts, trail mix, dry cereal, popcorn and fruit. I try to give items that take longer to eat like mandarins or bananas (which I let the kids peel themselves), or any food that takes time for little fingers to pick up and eat.
Looking for some travel food ideas? We share a great healthy list in a post here.
2. Songs and Games
There are loads of games and songs you can play when sitting in the car. Our kids are also just starting to listen to podcasts and audiobooks which is a nice change for us too.
Some of our favourites games include:
- Good old Eye Spy – with something ‘the colour of’ (a little easier for younger kids).
- Memory Games – Repeat after me “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing” (each person adds their own ingredients and has to repeat the whole list of picnic delights).
- Singing songs like – “Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar”
- Would you rather game – Simply ask would you rather – snakes or butterflies, rain or snow, cows or rabbits etc. etc. (kids love this one).
3. Keep them busy
A quick trip to the local cheap shop is a great place to look for small car friendly craft items eg. colouring with water pens or ‘magic ink’ books, sticker activities, dot-to-dot and maze books or even a small toy. We always pack some new items that kids haven’t seen yet. You could even use a small lap tray with some lego for older kids to play with. Pinterest is also a great resource for craft ideas too.
We have an organiser/pouch that we hang on the back of our seats so the kids can store all their goodies at arm’s length. They love to set this up themselves and pop their toys in all the pouches.
4. Tech Time
We like to make sure the kids spend a good amount of time playing before we turn to technology. For some strange reason (wink wink), our car DVD player needs its batteries charged before you can watch it – well this is what we tell the kids. iPads and Tablets are also popular to use but at the moment we prefer to keep it simple with the DVD player (so we can control what and when it is turned on).
So – those pesky DVD batteries always seem to be charged after our lunch stop, or when we really need to get some km’s under our belt.
5. Pause, Play and Pee
Make sure you take regular stops to stretch everyone’s legs and to give the kids a runaround. Insist all little people take a toilet break and if you have a baby/toddler in nappies we have learnt to ALWAYS change them, even if the nappy is only a tiny bit used. A number 2 leaking, or a dreaded ‘poo-narmi’ as we like to call it, is not fun to change on the side of the road, so it’s better to be safe than sorry (trust us!). You may also want to pack a change of clothes too in case of any accidents.
If there is no dedicated rest stop sign posted I simply search the words ‘playground near me’ on Google and we find the best place to stop which usually has a toilet nearby.
6. Timing is everything
We like to plan our drives around sleep time for our little man. By packing a favourite teddy and blanket you can help encourage your little ones to take a snooze on the go.
If we are travelling a long distance we always like to cut down the drive by staying a night or two in between our main destination and if we can, we also leave a spare seat in the back between the kids ready for me to jump into if need be. If you are driving at night pop the kids in their PJ’s so you can transfer them straight into bed.
Remember that it is not just about your destination but all the fun activities you can do and see along the way. Everything is new and exciting for your little people and by slowing things down and embracing the magic of ‘Slow travel’ everyone will be better for it. Happy Road Tripping.
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