When you first consider doing a road trip in the car with the children it does tend to conjure up nightmarish visions of them squabbling and behaving badly. This may happen on short trips to shops and the like, but if you plan properly for the event, you will have a much easier time of it and give your young family some happy and lasting memories.
Before you even think about setting off it’s a good idea to plan your trip. Take some time to discuss where you are planning on going. Which towns will you travel through and which ones you will stop at? Take a good map in the car with the route marked out so that you and the children can see where you are and where you are heading. You could also take advantage of Alpha Car Hire’s Sat Nav as an additional extra.
A good rule of thumb when travelling with a young family is to allow 2-3 hours in the car. This will give you approximately 200-300 kilometres of highway driving but remember it’s your holiday too, so you don’t want to go whizzing past something that looks interesting; be flexible in your planned stops.
Obviously, you will get a good idea of what to expect from your trip depending on where you choose to go. Inland could take you into bushranger country whilst the coastal areas will give you the chance to create some great shipwreck stories.
If you do a bit of research about the areas you are intending to travel through, you can share bits of trivia and encourage the kiddies to imagine what it might have been like to be a sheep and cattle rustler, riding horses or perhaps pretend they are sailors or explorers discovering something for the first time.
When you make stop, it’s a good idea to park where the children can run and play. A lot of travel stops now have swings and parkland, which can be a great bonus and give you time to sit back and enjoy your thermos of coffee.
If you are planning on driving into isolated areas, ensure you have enough fuel in the vehicle to get you where you need to go. Make sure you have plenty of water and nutritious snacks to go around. Wipes and tissues are an absolute essential at all times so tuck some in the glove box.
Another great tip is to take some tin foil in the car with you. It is amazing what you can create with a bit of tinfoil. Hats and caps for dollies or teddies, mum and dad. Shoes, handbags, baskets – let your imagination go wild.
When the children are in a quieter mood or you need some quiet, then it is time to get out the colouring or activity books and crayons. You can pick up cheap stackable lap tables with cup (crayon) holders built into them to help keep their drawings level.
Audiobooks can be a gift when all else fails. Adults and children alike settle to listen to a swashbuckling adventure such as Harry Potter or The Secret Garden. It’s much easier to let them listen to something like this than to try to read to them yourself from the front seat.
Accommodation is an important consideration along with what you are going to do at each stop. A great way to keep the children happy is to pick motels that have swimming pools. A pool will offer hours of pleasure, smooth the cricks out of their little legs and backs and tire them out so that they sleep well in their unfamiliar beds. Check out Alpha Car Hire website for great accommodation discounts. You will also find some great attraction discounts as well.
On a final note, a great time and space saver is to pack a bag for each day with everybody’s clothing in it. This way you are only lugging one bag into a motel room instead of a bag for each person. Now that is a space saver!
Stop, Revive, Survive
First things first! What sort of vehicle are you intending to travel in? If you don’t have a suitable vehicle, Alpha Car Hire has some great budget van hire offers.
Once you collect the vehicle take some time to familiarise yourself with it. Where are the window and lock buttons? Which gauge for what? What type of fuel does it use?
Driving with safety is always important. Stopping every 2-3 hours is not just to keep the children happy. It will give the driver time to stretch and retrieve some energy. Sharing the load and swapping drivers is also a good idea.
Because you are on a holiday you don’t want to rush it, so taking your time and allowing plenty of space between you and the car in front, sticking to the left lane and letting others pass will lower your stress levels.