Planning, planning and more planning!
The most important thing IS to plan your car journey carefully. Sites such as Google maps or The AA have fantastic online route planning services which you can print out and bring along with you. They provide clear and east to follow instructions including mileage and estimated journey times. There is nothing worse than planning for a car journey to take one hour and it ends up taking five! The kids will be restless and so will you if you’re not sure where you are going.Originally developed by the US military, GPS is now widely available to help with the more complicated routes, as well as the easier ones for reassurance. They are now incredibly affordable and sit on the car windscreen, with great visuals to follow. In-car satellite-based navigation device varies widely regarding prices and features but most include 3D maps and audible directions.
In car entertainment
If playing the trusted old game of ‘I Spy’ only doesn’t cut it with your kids, it might be a great idea to invest in a back seat DVD player for the car so they can watch films. You will find a lot of the portable players can be powered by the car’s cigarette lighter. They come with headphones and can be hooked up to kid’s game consoles too. Some models can be strapped to the seatback if they are too young to hold the player.Personal audio devices are also a relatively cheap way of avoiding arguments over which radio station gets played and will spare you endless re-runs of kid’s programs. Parents have enough to cart around without lugging around heavy books. Why not buy and download some eBooks to keep the older kids happy during the journey. It can also be used for your travel guides. No need to carry around a few heavy books, downloadable guides are available Lonely Planet and other providers. These often include a few games to keep the kids involved. They are usually free to download and can be regularly updated with fresh information.
Tips and Tricks
- If you are traveling with a young baby, you should invest in a small bottle and food warmer which can be plugged into the car cigarette lighter.
- Travel at night or first thing in the morning so children might sleep, the roads will be emptier too.
- Stop frequently so the kids can stretch and run around, burn off some of that energy.
- Use motorways when possible – they are less likely to induce travel sickness.
- If you plan to stop, make sure it’s at service stations, they will have baby changing facilities.
- Smaller kids car seats should be positioned, so they can see out of the windows.
- If anyone suffers from motion sickness, encourage them to focus on a point in the distance, outside the car And avoid greasy food beforehand.
- If you don’t have a reliable car, a good idea could be to look into hiring one. There are plenty of car hire comparison sites that you can get great deals from. If you know your car struggles with long distances, hiring one can be a great option.
- For more tips on entertaining small children, take a look at the post – How to entertain your kids when your flight is delayed
Hopefully, some of these tips will come in handy during your next long distance car journey!