Surviving a Long Car Journey with Kids
With lockdown restrictions beginning to ease, many of us are thinking ahead to the holiday season.
While some people opted to travel abroad last year, most remained with their feet planted firmly on British soil and understandably so.
We are part of the ‘many’, and we are looking ahead to a holiday in Scotland during the summer holidays. As no one can be quite sure that the recent lockdown measures have been tough enough, whether we are finally seeing the back of Covid-19 or not, staying in the UK was not up for debate.
Norfolk to Scotland will take approximately seven and a half hours. And when you consider that the average working day in the UK is eight and a half, the journey is not far off. So, we are considering what we can do to ensure we all survive our long car ride. Here are a few of our suggestions:
Do your checks – how many of us really check the tyre pressure and oil levels before we leave for a long journey? These are essential checks and could prevent a costly experience that none of you wish to repeat. Make sure you invest in breakdown cover too.
Know your route – planning your route ahead of setting off means that you can be armed with a checklist of things to see, such as castles, airports, bridges and so on. In fact, if you are really organised, why not make a tick sheet with specific tourist attractions? You might not see the actual buildings or areas themselves, but if your children spot a brown tourist sign pointing in that direction, that could count.
Stop regularly – I think we have all, whatever our age, been the annoying person in a car journey who, ten minutes after setting off, has needed a wee. Stopping regularly and encouraging your children (and the adults, too!) to ‘have a try’ is essential. If the worst happens and you get stuck in a traffic jam for hours on end, you will certainly be grateful for the toilet stops.
Secret stash – having a secret stash of desirable items is a must for any long car journey. Anything that will keep your kids occupied is a possibility. Wordsearch books, no mess colouring packs (we love these ones!), snacks, drinks and a selection of CDs are things we rely upon quite heavily.
Create a playlist – as a family, we have an eclectic taste in music. As an indie kid, I am stuck fast in the ’90s. My partner favours old-skool garage. As for the children, well… we could have JoJo Siwa one minute and AC/DC the next. It’s always fun to put a playlist on shuffle to enjoy. Alternatively, you could use the playlist as a quiz. Who can name the artist and the song the quickest? Keep a tally of the answers. This is a firm favourite, whether travelling or not. Remember though, if you have made a playlist on CD or you have a clever car that displays the track listings, keep that covered up.
And some from blogging friends:
“Arguably, the most important part of a long car journey with children is having lots of snacks and keeping them in an accessible place!” Laura from Autumn’s Mummy
“If possible, time your journey so that you drive after their bedtime. They’ll be asleep for most (if not all) of the journey. We often do this when visiting the grandparents five hours away.” Jenny from TraveLynn Family.
“Plan for travel sickness BEFORE it happens with a mini kit in the car. Pack travel sickness bands, a change of clothes, plastic bags, wipes, towels and air freshener to try to neutralise the smell. And have water and dry biscuits handy, especially if your kids are prone to travel sickness.” Catherine from Passports and Adventures.
“Observation games, counting games, eye spy are still favourites, and my son is 11. He’s never had an electronic device on any car journey we’ve ever been on.” Mary from Over 40 and a Mum to One.
“Put together a little bag with a magazine and a few snacks or sweeties. Stickers are always a winner with my kids.” Lisa from Baby Not Included.