Tips For Travelling With Children

April 4, 2013

Maybe you are planning your summer holiday and it is going to involve a long car journey. It will involve going along roads that you do not know and may take ages to get there. It may be a hot sunny day and you are cooped up in the car. Getting somewhere new is stressful enough but when you have children then it can be very hard to keep them occupied. Every parent is used to the chorus of “Are we there yet?” coming from the back and the loud statement “I’m bored”. If you have more than one child they often end up fidgeting and fighting in the back of the car, which only adds to the stress of the journey.

There are some ways to make life a bit easier and a bit of planning ahead can make the journey much more enjoyable. Here are some tips for travelling with children, to help make the journey more pleasant.

  1. Plan the route ahead of time. A sat nav is great but it does not always choose the best way. Everyone knows that a man and woman in a car will argue about routes and directions, it’s a basic fact of nature. Get a map, write down the route and involve your children with the route. They can then look for various towns and villages along the route and know they are getting nearer. My son loves to take charge of the sat nav and tell us the route.
  2. Pack them a little travelling bag full of surprises they can open along the way. These can be small cartons of juice, puzzle books and a pen or a small toy. Let them know when they can have their next surprise.
  3. I find I-Spy books invaluable. These have road signs, trees, different types of cars and buildings you have to look for and tick them off as you see them. A couple of years ago my son had one of these and was looking for the last thing to tick off which was road sign saying “Blind Simpleton”. We were totally confused as to why any road sign would say that but he was totally insistent it was correct. When we finally got to look at the book we realised he had been looking for a sign that said “Blind Summit”. This has now become a bit of family folklore. The book kept him happy for ages which was brilliant. If they are at an age where they can do puzzle books these are also a great distraction, make sure you pack plenty of pens.
  4. An I-pad or I-pod with headphones is great. You can add audio books, songs, games and videos on there for them to watch along the way. I have an in car charger so the battery will last the whole journey.
  5. We also have great fun playing word games in the car.
    • Eye-Spy is always good although my son comes up with some very odd combinations to guess. It is a great way to get them looking out of the window so they can see what they are going past.
    • My Aunt went to market is always fun. You start off saying “My Aunt went to market and bought a” and think of something starting with A. The next person has to list that and also something beginning with B. This goes on until someone forgets what has been said.
    • The Theme Song Game – one person hums a TV theme tune and the others have to guess it. This can lead to hours of fun as the hummed versions sound nothing like the tunes.
    • The Animal Name Game – The first person names an animal, like Lion. The next person has to name an animal that starts with the last letter of animal that was named, in this case N so newt would be fine. The same animal can not be used twice. You can also use countries, places or food.
  6. Make sure you have a travelling cushion for when they want to sleep. They can end up in some very strange positions when they drop off and a travelling cushion will keep them comfortable.
  7. Pack plenty of snacks and drinks. They are bound to get hungry and if it is a hot day they will get thirsty. A cool bag will help keep drinks cool. If you need to stop for lunch pack a picnic as food alongside roads can cost a lot. You can get individual cardboard boxes to put their lunch in so it feels a bit more special.
  8. Make sure you have packed plenty of tissues, wet wipes, mints (in case of car sickness) and have a bag for rubbish.
  9. Make sure you stop often for toilet breaks and to stretch your legs. It is hard work sitting for hours and you can get very stiff. A break, a breath of fresh air and a chance to run around makes all the difference.

Do you have any top tips for travelling with children? I would love to know them.

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