Whether you are planning day trips or a staycation for the months ahead, it is important to think about the car journey or journeys you will undertake. Especially as travelling with children in the car can be stressful. Take a look at my top tips for car journeys with children, which I hope to relive some of this stress. Fingers crossed you’ll arrive at your destination relaxed and ready to enjoy your plans.
Before you set off
Before heading off on your day trip or staycation, it is important to double check a few key factors when it comes to your car.
Car documentation – Ensure that all your car documentation is up to date. Checking your car insurance documents and having a copy of your policy to hand in case it is required on your journey. Do you have breakdown cover? if so, have this documentation available too. If not, then this might be something to consider taking out to assist you should you break down, have a tyre blow out etc.
Car seats – The laws regarding car seats changed within the last few years, so it is important to ensure that you are using the correct car seats for the weight, height and age of your child(ren).
Car maintenance – Before setting off on any journey it is important to check the water and oil levels in your car. Along with the tyre tread and air pressures to ensure that these are all within the correct levels. Topping up the fuel tank too, so that you are able to have enough fuel to get to your destination. Making sure that you have a bit extra in case you are diverted from your route.
And off you go
So you’ve checked the car documentation etc, you’re finally loaded in the car and it’s time to set off on your journey. This is the easy bit, right? Yes and no, a touch of prior planning and flexible thinking is needed for this stage.
Which route? – Gone are the days of trawling through map books to work out the best route to take. Technology has allowed us to utilise Sat Nav devices or even apps on our phones to work out routes. As well as providing up to date traffic information so you can see if there are issues ahead of you in your journey. This hopefully takes away the stresses of ‘no dear, you needed the other exit’ that I’m sure we can all recall from days gone by.
I’m hungry – Depending on what time you are setting off on your journey and just how far you need to go, refreshments is a key factor. Having some items available in the car will make things easier, especially as the children are starving before you’ve hit your first main road. Alongside this, you need to think about if and where you will stop for a break from driving. As well as that all-important toilet stop!
Entertainment – Car journeys needn’t be boring for children. There are so many ways you can occupy and entertain them along the way. Their age will be a factor in what you decide to offer but here are just a few suggestions…
- Colouring or simple craft activities – some car models have fold-out trays available in the rear seats. Or you can buy play tables that attach to car seats to enable a flat surface for them.
- Games – magnetic travel games such as snakes and ladders, ludo, and noughts and crosses are a great way of passing the time
- The world around them – get the children to look at the world around them. Playing games such as iSpy, yellow car no returns or counting lorries/caravans etc as you drive along
- Technology – the advancement in technology means that the children are able to use portable DVD players, tablets and phones on journeys. Downloading content ahead of time, such as films, apps that don’t require wifi signal etc.
- Carpool karaoke – If all else fails, crank up the tunes and have your very own carpool karaoke session. Passing drivers might look at you all as if you have lost the plot (especially if you are stuck in a traffic jam) but let them stare!
You have reached your destination
You’ve survived! A successful (in one way or another) car journey to wherever you were hoping to reach. Whilst you are all keen to get out stretch your legs and get on with the rest of your day. Doing a few things before you lock up the car will make it easier for when you head back on the return journey.
Rubbish – Now is the time to gather up all the rubbish and pop it into the nearest bin. You’ll be thankful for this when you return to the car and it doesn’t smell of rubbish after a hot summers day. Plus you will then have a fresh bag ready for the return journey.
Valuables – If you are leaving valuables in the car whilst you enjoy a day out, ensure that these have been placed out of sight.
So here’s to a summer of car journeys with the children, have fun!