Want to tour around Hawaiian islands? Maybe you’re visiting Nana on the Gold Coast? Family road trips and scenic day drives are perfect for sightseeing and spending time together. That’s if there is no fighting, carsickness, hunger or tantrums – from Mum or Dad, let alone the kids! Here are our tips for making long car trips fly by like a breeze:

Plan, plan and plan some more

You might have to kiss away the days of freewheeling down the freeway and casually finding somewhere to put your head for the night. Road tripping with children requires plenty of pre-planning and a good idea of your itinerary before leaving. Ensure your tour stops offer basic amenities.

Extra time is always needed

When it comes to travelling with children, expect the unexpected. A three-hour drive can

take five. Or plans can be completely scuppered with an impromptu spew session. So, keep your car packed with plenty of drinking water, wall-to-wall snacks, baby essentials like nappies and wet wipes, and last but not least, a first-aid kit. Expect to stop regularly for toilet and food breaks. 

Precautions

It’s advised that small babies should only be in a car seat for two hours at a time, and need

regular breaks. But even for small children, long journeys can be boring and tiresome – so

ensure there are plenty of pit stops and avoid back-to-back long driving days. Also, either

purchase sunshades or buy a small amount of black cloth and sticky back tape, which will

help with day time naps on the road.

The boredom tools

Children get bored easily and before you’ve even left the drive, there are often echoes of,

“Are we there yet?” Swap sugary snacks for an endless supply of healthy snacks, suitable for

their age. Think carrot sticks, fruit and nuts. And as a back-up have a few new toys to pull out when the little one is simply over life on the road. Check out these games to help time pass:

1. No Go –

Before you hit the road select five words that can’t be uttered during the journey. Then try to trick each other into saying them during conversations. The person who notices a slip-up shouts “No Go” and gets a point.

2. Crazy neighbours –

This one is fun for imaginative families stuck in traffic. Each person takes a turn at making up a wild story about a person in a car nearby. You can create them an entire new identity from their name to what they do for a living to, what their hobbies are, and where they’re heading – the more detailed and outrageous, the better.

3. License plate headlines –

Using the letters on license plates as the start of words, see who can come up with the funniest headlines. For example BRR could end up as Bound Round Rocks!

4. Mix and match stories –

This is a great one for every member of the family. Taking it in turns, one person starts with the first sentence or word in a story, and the next adds the second and so on. The story continues until someone says “And they lived happily ever after”.

5. Journey jottings –

Give each child a large piece of drawing paper, something hard to lean on and loads of coloured pencils. Write the name of the day’s starting location in the middle of the page then have the kids draw things they see along the way around the location. They can draw arrows between them if they like. This way they end up with a ‘time map’ of their journey. This is a great way to encourage kids to keep a journal and even works for those who can’t write.

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