LOL, just a joke, sorry! There is no way to remain sane while travelling with kids, especially if you are attempting long distance travel with your children. The struggle is real. Having to sit still while strapped in an uncomfortable car seat for hours is guaranteed to cause unhappiness and distress for most little ones.
So though we cannot promise sanity, below some tips to make travelling with kids bearable and help you reach your destination safely.
But, before you go… Is your car seat installed correctly?
Driving at night is tempting as the children sleeps. But it is extremely dangerous and is just not worth the risk. Rather be on the road when the first birdies start chirping, it is still cool, traffic is quiet and everyone is well-rested and friendly. Because the kids were woken early, they are more likely to take a longer nap later during the trip. And you may arrive while there is still daylight left to do something fun.
Plan your trip
Do some research on rest stops along the way. Some are better suited for families, with kiddie play areas and nice restaurants. One feels really disappointed if you stopped for lunch at a rather yucky rest stop, only to find a much better one that you could have used 10km further. Depending on how far you have to go you can also plan a visit to a tourist sight or something interesting along the way. Stopping for an hour or two in a place where kids can run and play will make it a lot better for them.
Bribe them with food
Giving them something to eat will keep them quiet at least for a short period. So put together an assortment of small and interesting snacks. Be careful of food they can choke in or make a big mess with as it’s difficult to reach them from the front seat. Serve these for them in a cup or bowl that they can easily hold, rather than in a sachet. This will limit the mess.
READ THIS: Road-tripping snacks for toddlers
LOL, limiting mess, another joke!
One feels your heart shatter in your chest cavity when you look at the mess children makes in a new, clean car. But you can at least try. Take along wet wipes and a container for rubbish, and throw a towel over your seats where possible.
This may seem really disgusting, but a child vomiting in the car will be worse. Take along a sand bucket for each that they can use should motion sickness strike. You can thank me later.
An electronic babysitter
Screen-time for kids is bad, we know. But pick your battles. Invest in a tablet or a car DVD player, and upload some programs and movies for them to watch. Otherwise you are out of desperation going to give them your phone and they are going to use up all your data. Or worse, find themselves unable to watch anything as you drive through areas without cell phone signal.
Save your takeaway toys
Throughout the year I grab any toy giveways from takeaway restaurants and hide them in the glove compartment (my children actually don’t know that takeaway meals come with toys!). Those are perfect to take out when you need to keep them distracted and busy. It’s in any case how long they would have played with them before they lost interest.
Remember a sun-blocker
Remember a blanket or a window screen to block the sun.
Keep an open mind when travelling with kids
Some trips are easier than others. Sometimes the kids amaze you, and they are really good and pleasant to drive with. Other times not so much. So keep an open mind, plan to just survive, and keep the end goal in sight – a nice breakaway on the beach with seagulls..
And don’t forget to make sure your travel bag is packed with all the essentials you will need on your roadtrip!
Travel safely, and wherever you are going to be, Merry Christmas and Happy, Happy New Year! We are all glad to wave 2020 goodbye.