A road trip sounds like lots of fun. What could be better than seeing the romantic natural landscapes and city sites of the UK or Europe from the back seat of a car? You might think it sounds magical… but your kids may not.
That’s why I’ve collaborated with motor finance 4U, a car finance company, to bring you all my wisdom as a family travel blogger to help you make sure that your next road trip is as peaceful and fun for all.
Be the Teacher
One of the best ways to keep your kids happy and engaged is to know the history and geology of the areas that you’re driving through or stopping at.
From battles long since fought to the type of trees that grow or how hills or mountains form, teaching your kids this kind of thing is one of the greatest gifts that you can give.
Planning your journey will make this easier, because you can anticipate the types of landscape or habitats that you might see and you can do your research beforehand.
Think about questions that you might be able to ask your children or things that you can tell them to look out for. For instance, you could tell them to watch out for a bird of prey, bunnies or deer from the car window.
Bring a Variety of Music
While DVD players and personal music players are all very well for quashing tantrums or for when the fourteenth go round of that kids’ CD you bought is one too many, they don’t encourage family memories. Instead, bring music.
It will allow you to facilitate the atmosphere in the car a little bit – quiet and calm or joyous and upbeat. Ask the kids to bring their favourite CDs, and take it in turns. Sing along together.
Audio books are a great alternative too.
Give Them a Camera
Not your prized, hundreds-of-pounds camera, but a robust, child friendly one. A camera will help your children focus on their surroundings and you may be pleasantly surprised at what they take pictures of.
Planning is Key
I don’t think I need to tell you that planning is really important for a peaceful road trip – whether you have kids or not.
Knowing your route, where you want to do and where you want to stop for food. If you’re okay with a little bit of spontaneity then it can be a loose plan, but a plan is necessary. You could get a map out and get the kids involved in the planning. Let them choose places to stop, put them in charge of the map and help keep them engaged that way.
Having an emergency kit in the car, water, food, blankets, a spare map, a first aid kit, will put your mind at rest for just in case.
The car is something that definitely needs checking over in the weeks before the trip. Make sure that it is in its best condition, both mechanically and internally in the cabin.
What are your top tips for a peaceful road trip with children?