When I think of car trips with children I instantly think of boredom, whining and incessant cries of “Are we theeeeeere yet?” Frankly, long car trips scare the hell out of me!
On the rare occasions that I do put myself through the stress of going on a long trip by car, here are a few of the tricks that I’ve learnt to make it somewhat bearable:
- Gadgets are your friend. Make sure you take every gadget that you can possibly find in your house! Think portable DVD players, Nintendo DS, iPad, iPod, Kindle etc. While we usually try and limit the amount of time children spend playing with technology, if you relax this rule you’ll find your car trip is suddenly a lot more bearable!
- Pack a lunchbox for each child. Long car trips can get insanely expensive if you’re constantly stopping at convenience stores to buy drinks and snacks. To try and trim some of those expenses, pack each child their own lunchbox and drink bottle before you embark on your trip.
- Plan your day. Come up with a plan for the day – including what towns/landmarks you’ll pass, when your breaks will be and where you will stop for the night. I’ve found that my children are a lot happier if they know exactly what we will be doing and when. Make sure you plan for plenty of breaks (for the driver’s sake as well as your sanity) for toilet stops, to stretch legs and run off some energy.
- Prepare some games. The obvious one that comes to mind is I-Spy, but I’ve also come across some other great ones here.
- Start a travel journal. Give each of your children a notebook/diary and some pens and have them write a journal about the things that they’ve done on the trip, the places they’ve passed, landmarks they’ve seen, games they’ve played etc. You could even give them each a disposable camera and let them take happy snaps of their favourite sights.