Top Tips for Hassle Free Car Journeys
At last – the school holidays are here! You’ve booked your beak with Herbert woods and packed your suitcases – you can check our two packing guides to ensure you don’t leave anything behind.
All you need to do now is hit the road and hope you’re not bombarded with the cries of “Are we nearly there yet?” So we would like to share with you some of our favourite tips for travelling with kids – but please do let us know if you have others that we can add to the list!
Go go gadgets
Portable DVD players or tablets are ideal, as are MP3 players and iPods, ideally with headphones so parents don’t have to listen to Peppa Pig or Frozen on a loop. However, some kids get travel sick watching films – so here are some ideas for non-screen activities.
You can make up a list if items to see on the journey, from an Eddie Stobart lorry to a phone box (increasingly rare these days!), and tick them off when spotted.
You can change the rules but for us, a car is one run, a 4×4 is four runs, bigger than a 4×4 is six runs, but a red vehicle is `out’!
The first person to spot a red car gets a point, then needs to spot yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black.
Your GP/pharmacist may suggest medicines kids can safely take if it’s a regular problem, but the trick is to keep focusing on things outside the car, rather than a book or screen … and lots of cool, fresh air. Some folk recommend ginger snap biscuits, as ginger can be a natural remedy to nausea.
Play the game
Download travel games before you set off. Many websites offer free games and quizzes to print out before the journey such as http://www.coloring.ws/coloring.html
Shuffle the pack
Pack the car before you put children inside – and allow them enough room.
Make sure nothing can fly loose while driving. Keep a special plastic bag available for rubbish.
Keep essential items easily accessible – wet wipes, small tissue packs, bottles of water or mini containers of juice (or large bottles with plastic cups) and pens and paper for games.
Removable window shades protect children from the sun and glare.
Provide children with their own small travel bags and encourage them to fill them with their own choices of games, toys and diversions.
Toys for younger children can be tied to their seats so you don’t constantly have to retrieve them from the floor.
Take a break
Stop every two or three hours to let children stretch their legs. pack a ball or ‘frisbee’ for a quick activity. If your journey includes motorways, you can find out more about service stations (such as whether they have children’s playgrounds) on www.motorwayservices.info
of course, once you’re in Norfolk, we don’t have motorways but you can find plenty of places to take a break.
Map it out
Give older children maps with locations to check off as they reached and let them feel they are helping to navigate. Or make a “map” for younger children with highlights to look out for – this will help them visualise how far there is to go.
Make a meal of it
Why not stop for a picnic along the way? Pack a few snacks, sandwiches, crisps, drinks and fruit and find a scenic spot away from the busy roads to have a picnic.
See the Scenery
Perhaps you could plan a scenic route instead of the most direct route. This may help avoid long holiday tailbacks on popular routes – and you may well discover some pretty little villages and beautiful scenery along the way. We’re lucky to be in the middle of such a beautiful county, so take a look at the Herbert Woods website for ideas.