Have you planned a driving holiday down south? Naturally, that is something to look forward to. But how do you survive the ride when travelling with infants or young children? It may surprise you, but you can complete that journey in a way that makes it bearable or even enjoyable for everyone. Here are some tips for a driving holiday with kids.
Turn the ride into a hit
What you can do to make the long drive enjoyable for infants and kids:
1) Invent games
There are many games you can play with children in the car: someone thinks of an animal and the others have to guess it with yes and no questions; I see what you don't see; I'm going on a trip and I'm taking with me...; bingo with things you see on the road. Window crayons are also fun in the car. Your kids can draw on the car's windows or play Pictionary, and you can easily wash it off afterwards.
Tip: print a map of the route you’ll be driving and turn it into a treasure map. That way, the kids can see your progress and they can get a snack or present when you reach specific points. Or you can let them apply fun stickers at particular points.
2) Play request songs
Link the car radio to your Spotify and let each passenger take turns choosing a song. This creates variety between children’s songs and adult music, and it can give you the chance to tell the kids something about the music of your youth.
There are also variations on this, such as each taking turns telling a joke. It does no harm to look up a few jokes in advance and memorise them.
3) Provide a screen and headphones
During a long car ride, you can throw educational principles overboard. Letting children watch a film on a screen with headphones has many advantages. The kids are calm and adults can talk undisturbed. You don't want the kids looking at a screen for too long? Looking at books is also fun in the car.
Tip: bring a small gift. A new book (or other toys) usually keeps kids occupied for longer.
4) Bring enough snacks
Kids need to eat and drink more often than adults. Biscuits, fruit, maybe some candy. Bring enough so you don't have to stop frequently. It’s also best to use handy snack boxes with flaps, a water bottle, etc. so your kids don’t make a mess in the car.
5) Plan breaks (and prepare for them)
Don't stop just anywhere – look up the child-friendly stops in advance. For example, a picnic area with a playground or a castle worth visiting. Are you familiar with Breakzy? It’s an app that has collected no less than 13,000 places worth seeing or visiting, so you can quickly see which interesting places are on your route. These include cultural locations, cosy villages, campsites, nice picnic spots, etc.
6) Are you travelling with a baby?
Travelling with a baby can be difficult. Make sure that the conditions are optimal: the right temperature in the car, the correct doses of formula prepared in advance to avoid wasting time, enough breaks to change nappies, etc.
How can you entertain a baby in the car? Try something colourful that they can reach for, like a fun toy hung from the car seat, a music mobile, etc.
Tip: sit in the back with the baby every now and then to entertain them.
Are you ready to go?
A long car ride does not have to be a hellish ordeal. Think about possible activities, games and breaks in advance and things will be fine. And don’t forget the golden rule: everyone must go to the toilet before leaving. If your child has to pee after just a few kilometres, that’ll ruin the atmosphere.
Tip: always travel in a spacious, comfortable car!