Road trips with children; does that sound like your worst nightmare? Honestly, I think it can be, if you’re not planned and prepared for it all. They can be long and boring for everyone, so making sure that you’re organised and have things that will make the trip more bearable and enjoyable for all will make such a difference. I have many happy memories of road trips with my family growing up. Most are from when I was a little older, but even then, teenagers can be just as annoying, if not more, than toddlers, when they’re bored and hangry!
Family road trips don’t need to be stressful!
When you’re prepared and have planned a little, it makes the journey smoother for everyone. You could end up looking forward to the actual driving part, not just getting to the destination when you make it more fun. So with that in mind, here are some tips to help travel with kids.
Remember where everything is packed
One great tip for a road trip, especially if you quickly need to grab some clothes for a toddler who has had an accident or pjs for the kids to wear to sleep as you drive, then you need to remember where everything was packed. By packing things in groups, such as pjs in one bag, clean underwear in another, and so on, then it can make a big difference and mean you don’t have to unpack half of the car to find what you need.
Pack alllll the snacks
This is a tricky one, because you want to all have fun, so some treats are good to have with you. However, kids and too much sugar is not going to be a good combination. They will get a big sugar high, which isn’t ideal when you’re all contained in the same metal box on wheels, and then there will be the slump, which will make them ratty if they’re not able to get comfortable or to take a nap easily in the car.
Choosing snacks that are made from whole foods, rather than refined foods, is often the best choice. Protein Balls are a good choice, for example, as they can be sweet and have different flavours like chocolate and peanut butter, but they are full of goodness and will give energy, without a slump afterwards like refined sugar does. Protein helps us to feel more full for longer too, which will stop too much snacking.
Stay healthy on the road
When you’re on a long trip and don’t have places to store food, packing a lot of fruits and veggies can be hard. But choosing healthy snacks will help you to all feel good and get the nutrients that are needed to be healthy on the trip. Think about choosing canned fruits, harder foods like apples that won’t go mushy easily, and even freeze some pouches of yoghurt ahead of time.
Plan the entertainment
Planning in some stops along the journey can be a good idea to help everyone to feel fresh and release a little energy. But when you’re driving, there needs to be a small plan for how to all stay entertained. This could be having books and things to draw and colour, car games to play like ‘I Spy,’ as well as all choosing a playlist of songs that the whole family can sing along to. Technology has its place too, and some screen time with an iPad can make the travel go quickly (just make sure you have games and movies downloaded onto it that will work without access to the internet).
Don’t forget the basics
Hopefully your vehicle has things like a spare tyre already, but are there other basic things that you need to remember in an emergency? Being stranded with kids is worse than if it was just adults, as they will need to be entertained as you wait to be towed, for instance. Think about the weather and the route that you will take. If you’ll travel at night or in the winter, do you have blankets to keep warm? If you’re driving abroad, do you know all of the emergency numbers to contact if you need them, as well as the road laws? Just the small things that can make a big difference when you’re out and about on the road.
These are just a few of the things that I know make a difference to me. What are some of your top tips for taking a road trip with kids? It would be great to hear what you think.