Simple tips for stress-free road trips with kids
Before kids, car trips were all about spontaneity. After kids, it can feel like they're all about survival.
When they start asking, "Are we there yet?" before you even leave your street, you know you're in for a long ride. But the good news is a few simple strategies can make all the difference to your time on the road. And forget perfection. Think back to your own childhood and chances are the best stories are when your sister had the hiccups for three hours, or your Mum sang show tunes because the tape deck broke. Done right, road trips build memories.
Try these tips for car trip survival:
Get everyone in the right mind set by checking out a map before you leave. Tell the kids what landmarks, animals or natural wonders they will see along the way, and promise a few treats (you're bound to pass a BP Wild Bean Cafe which does great fluffies and snacks for the kids and coffee for the grown-ups).
It's true we recommend lots of stops, but sometimes you don't want to hang around – like when you fill up with gas. With the BPMe app, you can charge your petrol to your credit or debit card straight from your car. No queuing, or having to wake sleeping kids. You can also add your AA Smartfuel card to the app, view Today's BP Deal or your current balance, plus use AA Smartfuel as usual to save on fuel from the front of your car. You can even create a digital Wild Bean Cafe key tag to see when your next free coffee is due.
Old-fashioned games come into their own in the car.
Make Eye Spy work for little kids by choosing something beginning with a colour or that's a shape – a less frustrating alternative for littlies still grappling with spelling. Google travel bingo and you'll find loads of free printables. Would you rather? is great when there is a range of ages in the back seat. Try: Would you rather sleep in a haunted house for a night, or be in a room full of tarantulas for five minutes?
Plenty of stops for snacks, toilet trips and playground dashes are vital for any car trip with kids. It may be tempting to push on for as long as possible, but it's best to stop when a park or play area looks promising. The next town might not have anything good to offer.
Travelling in the winter brings its own challenges – even if it's a rainy day the kids still need breaks and a chance to run around.
Gumboots are the perfect road trip footwear. They're easy to get on and off, and if they get wet or muddy you can store them in a plastic bag in the boot.
If your family's music tastes vary, and you can't get your head around kids' music, try audio books. There's a huge variety of books available, either digitally or on CD. Driving while someone reads you a story is surprisingly calming (beats the sound of squabbling). The entire Harry Potter series on audiobook takes 127 hours, more than enough to get you from Cape Reinga to Bluff, and back!
- Sponsored content