We’re going on a road trip, we’re off on an adventure….. Family road trips can be the best of times, or they can be the worst. If they go well, they’re a good way to kick-start the family bonding. But a family road trip can sometimes go wrong, with everyone bickering, and tensions high. So we’ve put together some travel tips to help you make the most of your time together in the car. Number one tip, to help you get to your destination, is to invest in decent car insurance, like Aviva’s breakdown cover. And then, you’re good to roll.
Pick out some kids’ music the whole family will love
Nobody wants to spend the first half hour of a journey squabbling over which tracks to play on the sound system. So why not take an hour or so before your road trip to pick out some tunes for a playlist. Even if you’re travelling with toddlers, you should be able to find albums that will appeal to adults as well as tinies. For the first few years of their lives, our two enjoyed listening to They Might Be Giants sing about numbers, letters and science. D and I loved those songs, too. Now, we’ve graduated onto the soundtrack from Trolls, and music from films we’ve enjoyed together, like Labyrinth. Anything that gets the family singing along together is good.
Choose some kids’ books for the car
Although it’s nice for older children to have some quiet time reading to themselves in the car, a way to get the whole family on the same page is to listen to an ebook together. There are tons of popular children’s books in audio format, and all sorts of streaming services to help you find them. BookBeat is one of our favourites, but there are plenty more. The Roald Dahl stories are always a big favourite, and on a recent car journey we discovered the Treehouse Stories by Andy Griffiths. They’re hilarious tales for pre-teens about friends that live in a treehouse furnished with a bowling alley, a transparent swimming pool, a chocolate volcano and a marshmallow machine.
Concoct some road trip games for kids
Never underestimate the power of I-Spy. The old chestnut still has what it takes. It’s worked miracles in pulling our six- and eight-year old out of a car-induced funk. But there are lots of other car games for kids. Just think about what your family’s interested in. You’re interested in animals? Why not do a nature spot as you drive along, and get someone to tally up the horses, cows, sheep and birds you see. Your family like cars? Then note down any unusual or vintage vehicles you see. These games are a way of connecting with what’s going on outside the car. They can also be a good source of family stories – like the time we drove through mid-Wales, and saw about fifty vintage Minis, all on their way to a rally. The kids still reminisce about that whenever we spot a similar car.
Get hold of some good gadgets for kids
We’ve been lucky enough to test out some great gadgets for youngsters. The Leapfrog LeapReader helps children learn to read using a ‘reader’ pen and engaging storybooks. It’s the sort of gadget that a child could easily manage to use by themselves in the back of a car. The LeapPad Platinum makes a good first tablet, for children under seven. It’s loaded up with a few fun games, like Petpad party for animal lovers, and budding artists can watch little videos with drawing tutorials. And the VTech KidiCom Max includes its own camera, as well as a voice changer, for turning young passengers’ words into robot tones, or making them sound like mice.
What are your road trip essentials? Do you have any travel tips for people setting off on a family road trip?
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