Straight off the back of a 16-hour round trip, I thought I’d pen some tips that helped save the sanity of our four-wheeled enclave…
Prepare well in advance
In every sense of the word, you need to prepare! Snacks, music, entertainment, rest stops, emergency toileting, luggage Tetris, fuel stops, GPS, phone chargers. Make a list and check it twice!
Stop for breaks
We all know the mantra “stop revive survive” – well it’s not just great advice for the driver; it goes for littlies in the backseat who are storing up energy like a pressure cooker!
If possible, make one or two of your rest stops at a park or playground so some pent up energy can be put to good use! Maccas with a play area is usually a great option, but a little research can also unfurl some hidden parks along your journey without adding too much time to your overall travel time. Perhaps break out a ball or frisbee to blow off some steam?
Limit screen time
As much as it’s a convenience to plop an iPad in their little hands, while you focus on trying to find a radio station that will last the distance… the stimulation can also negate any possibility of a nap.
The oldies are still the best! I spy, spot the…, magnadoodle, road trip bingo, first one to…., Simon says. In addition, small handheld toys and of course an iPad or similar loaded with games, tv shows and movies if you’re so inclined will keep everyone entertained.
Let’s face it, I eat when I’m bored and I’m pretty sure my darling four year old takes after me! We packed loads of snacks including carrot, celery & cheese sticks, popcorn, crackers, vegemite sandwiches, almonds & cashews, mini chocolates and water. We kept everything cool and fresh in an esky behind the driver’s seat (along with mummy’s bottle of wine for the end of journey celebrations!)
Dress everyone comfortably. Now’s the time to break out leggings and comfy sweaters – well, maybe daddy would prefer tracky-daks! Essentially you want loose garments- and that includes socks! I learnt this the hard way… kankles with sock indentations are not pretty nor comfortable!
Also throw in a cuddly blanket for the back seat dwellers.
Baby wipes, toilet paper and hand sanitiser are essential. Yep, you will encounter some of the most unsanitary rest stops along the way. There’s no avoiding them, and when you have to go, you have to go! Be prepared. I have warned you, don’t let me say I told you so!
The nuts and bolts
Before you leave ensure you’ve serviced your vehicle, checked water, lights, tyres, car seats, first aid kit etc
Above all. Drive safely. Drive to the conditions. Be patient.