Kids just aren’t designed to sit still for significant periods of time so long car journeys are always going to present a bit of a challenge. Since becoming parents we’ve been honing our travel plans and after five years I think we’ve just about cracked it. Here’s our secret weapon:
Our special trip bags
Inside we pack a number of small cheap toys or activities and at intervals throughout the trip (normally every 20 min to half an hour) the boys get to pick something out of their bag if they are being good. We’ll include things like a magazine, a little colouring pad and crayons, a set of stickers, stocking filler type stuff that will hold their interest because it’s new but doesn’t matter too much if it gets lost or broken. These have been an absolute life saver and we also adapted the same theory when I took the boys to Seattle last year. The boys really look forward to them as a treat and it means we always start the journey off excited and in a good mood so we’ve got the best possible chance of making it to our destination without anyone having a meltdown (me included).
As well as trip bags my other top tips would be:
- Don’t scrimp on snack and drinks – Even if you’re not travelling over a meal time bring plenty of snacks just in case. I like to take a combination of raisins, mini kids biscuits and some chopped up vegetables, split up into lots of little pots. That way they can easily be spaced out and they are never holding too many at once so when one lot inevitably gets dropped it’s no big deal. The same goes for drinks. Smaller bottles or pouches with sports type tops reduce the risk of spills.
- Develop some games to pass the time – Favourites in our car have been a sort of scavenger hunt where the boys have to look out for certain things (lorries, cows, helicopters) along the way or a variation where we assign noises to different things so they have to clap when we go over a bridge or blow a raspberry when we stop at a traffic light.
- Ditch the radio – Get some kids CDs of music or nursery rhymes. It’s hard to moan and bicker when they’re singing!
You can never have too many strategies so I’d love it if you’d share some of your own tips. How do you survive long car journeys?