Road trips remain a popular option despite the continuing rise of air travel. Whether the road trip is the focus of your holiday or merely a way to get from point A to point B, you will find that being prepared for the challenges of taking your family out for extended trips over the road helps to make the trip a pleasurable one.
The biggest challenge on any such trip is keeping your children happy and entertained. There is no force in the universe that is quite as destructive – mentally or physically – as a bored child in the back of a car. However, your options are curtailed by the fact that activities such as reading or colouring enhance the effects of car sickness. This is because, during these activities, the eyes stop registering the movement of the car whilst the inner ear continues to perceive it.
It is a good idea, if anyone in your party is prone to motion sickness, to research methods of coping with it or even eliminating it altogether prior to undertaking the trip. Methods of coping include ginger, pressure bands, and Bayer’s Kwells. If you need the comfort and confidence of a medicinal solution then Kwells will help you prevent motion sickness altogether. However, it is often the best idea to keep your and your children’s eyes focussed outside the car.
Games such as I Spy and counting cars will help with this, but other alternatives include children’s audiobooks. DVDs, if your car is equipped with the facilities to watch them, will again enhance motion sickness and may be a bad idea as a result.
If you are headed to accommodation that has a set check-in time, aim to be there about an hour after check-in begins. You may find yourself making excellent time and you don’t want to be kicking around, trying to calm excited kids, while you wait for the facilities to become available.
Frequent rest stops to stretch legs and allow the kids some room to run are a good idea. Plan one about every hour and a half to ensure some variation from sitting in the car. Budgeting a few pounds to spend at each rest stop is a good idea, in case you or your kids spot something they really want – of course you don’t want to spoil them too much, but helping them entertain themselves is key.
Pillows and blankets are invaluable on longer trips. Long gone are the days when children could travel without seat belts in the back seat – and in terms of repercussions of car accidents, that is an exceedingly good thing. But gone too are the days when you could make a bed in the backseat and have your children stretched out comfortably as they slept. Having enough pillows available to make sure they can rest their heads reasonably nicely while they take a nap will make a huge difference in terms of their comfort, and therefore in terms of the amount of whining you’ll have to put up with!
With the right preparations, road trips with your family can be a joyful occasion, and you may well find yourself treasuring those times when you all laughed and talked on the road together. Have fun and drive safely!