The lure of the open road, the promise of adventure and the making of golden memories. We all have high-hopes when we set off on a road trip with the children, but most parents will agree, it seldom works out quite like that!
So in the name of remaining sane and having a happy holiday, we have compiled some top tips to help make travelling with children in a car, campervan or motorhome a pleasure. Well, almost…
As the army saying goes: Perfect Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. So, like any military operation, a family road trip requires good preparation in order to avoid the many possible pitfalls. Make sure you compile your list of UK campsites in advance and assess journey times and stop-off points. These are all better sorted before you hit the road, rather than becoming the inevitable causes of stress an hour into the expedition.
Games and music
Of course each family will have its own go-to games to help while away the hours, but here are some of our favourites:
Or red, or blue, or, well, you get the idea. Rare colours work better than, say, black or silver, as the aim of the game is to be the first to spot the chosen colour car (vans, trucks and lorries may also be up for grabs; let the children decide the rules). See your prey, yell “YELLOW CAR” and start racking up the wins. Drivers should play with caution!
The numberplate game
A versatile diversion, which passes the time with surprising ease, there are many variations to the numberplate game, but the gist that you use the letters within the numberplate of a passing car to make a word, or phrase. Good for the vocabulary and for occupying the mind, it’s a win-win.
A perennial favourite, eye-spy has earned its place a classic travel game and distraction technique. Just make sure the kids know that the things do need to actually be visible, either inside the vehicle, or out: otherwise you’ll never fathom that the “something beginning with ‘T’” that your four year old is making you guess, is in fact for T-Rex!
CD, MP3, or good old-fashioned radio
And of course let’s not forget the power of music to left the spirits and eat into the miles. Whether it’s a favourite compilation of the kids, or radio show playing sing-along anthems, music soothes the savage beast, or beasts; depending on how many kids you have!
Bribes and psychology
Now of course, non of use would ever stoop so low as to use blatant bribery or psychological tricks, to cajole our beloved offspring in to making the journey better; but let’s be honest, they really do help…
Whether it’s handing out another sweet or gulp of fizz, or the promise of lunch at their favourite service station junk-food vendor – as long as they are used in moderation (and for good, not evil!) these time-honoured parenting tricks work as well on the move as they do in the home.
About the Author
Kieran McVeigh regularly takes staycations with his family and has been working in the motorhome industry for the past 20 years. He often uses Out and About Live to buy and seller motorhomes.