Are we nearly there yet????
As we have family spread across the country, our children have been taken on long car journeys from being tiny. It’s just part of life for us, every couple of months to strap everyone into the car and travel 5+ hours. We’ve regularly been told we are brave and/or crazy for this but with the right planning and the right attitude, car journeys with small people don’t have to be a nightmare.
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1. Timing is everything.
Try to avoid rush hour, especially at peak spots such as the M25. Some delays are inevitable, but by leaving an hour earlier or an hour later to avoid being at a bad area between 8-9am and 5-6pm, it can make a big difference to journey times and stress levels.
Plan to travel at a time that includes nap time if possible. Then, get your favourite tunes on, relax and let the miles go by!
2. Hungry kids are not happy kids.
are king and spill proof cups are the way forward. Many, many happy hours are spent eating snacks
in our car. The crumbs tell the story of our adventures!
Also, kids love motorway services. I don’t know why, but the appeal of these places never fades for my children. Breaking up the journey for a meal is always good (a lot of them have picnic areas if you aren’t keen on the overpriced fast food options). We always have a game of ‘Simon Says’ or similar to get their wiggles out before getting back in the car.
3. Make it fun.
Portable DVD player and tablets are the first things we pack.
We also love audio books. You can get some great ones for younger kids and as they’ve got older we’ve also enjoyed the Roald Dahl collection, but our favourite by far is the David Walliams collection. Hilarious and touching, and enjoyed by us adults as well as the boys. Both are often available on The Book People website. Alternatively, if your child is a reader then a library trip before you travel means new books to keep them busy at no cost.
My middle child (he’s 5) could play for hours with a handful of action figures or cars. We keep a few in the car at all times, along with some baby toys and books for the littlest one.
Traditional car games, such as I Spy and Word Association feature heavily too. You can spend a long time listing the A-Z of Stuff (anything from countries to TV shows to footballers, depending on the interests of the small people playing!)
4. It’s an adventure!
If you’re relaxed, the kids are more likely to be relaxed. Make sure the fuel tank is full, the tyres are pumped up and there’s plenty of oil then enjoy the journey!
Emily Gettins writes regularly for Mini Travellers and lives in the North East with her husband and three little boys.