Road Trip Preparation for Families

road trip

Is anyone else planning a road trip this summer? We are fortunate to live on a beautiful island with much to see. There are castles, beaches, moors, museums and so much more. This summer many will staycation and holiday within the UK. Some of those will be road-tripping; jumping in the car, motorhome or similar and setting out to enjoy some adventures.

Once upon a time jumping into a vehicle and setting off would have sounded magical. A few cursory vehicle checks i.e. do we need to visit TyrePlus before setting off? Do we need more oil or water? Is the picnic blanket in the boot? All very quick and easy. These days we travel as a family and so a little more preparation is required. 

Make a Road Trip Plan

Before you go anywhere or do anything with children in tow, you need to make a plan. You need to plot a course, taking into account regular toilet breaks, snack breaks and boredom breaks. Allowing the children fifteen minutes to *wee and run around on some grass before piling in the car should make them more pleasant to travel with. No promises but you could do with stretching your legs too.
*Wee in the service station, then run on some grass. Just to be clear.

Travel Sickness Preparation

Little Spock hasn’t thrown up in the car since he was two. Well done Little Spock! That doesn’t mean that there is no chance of return visit of the dreaded car sickness. Maybe Little Leia with fall foul of it this time. 
It happens.
Make sure that you have wipes, bin bags and if car sickness is likely, a bucket. It may be worthwhile speaking to your pharmacist about travel sickness tablets if age appropriate. Others swear by travel bands to keep little ones settled.

Non Digital Essentials

When your sat nav dies and you have no signal/your phone runs out of charge you will wish that you had a map book, a printed map, some change for a phone and a list of important numbers written down somewhere other than in your phone. Include your insurance and breakdown cover policy numbers and so on too.
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Car Maintenance

This is a big one. The last thing that you want is to break down, get pulled over because of poor tyre health or have to deal with anything else that will delay you or potentially cost you money. This reminder list may help:

  • Have you checked your tyre pressure and the tread?
  • Have you *fueled up? 
  • Have you checked your oil and water levels?
  • Check that all of the bulbs are working as they should.
  • Make sure the reg plate and lights and clear of dirt and debris. #*If you have a hire car, for the love of all things sensible make sure you double check the type of fuel that’s needed before filling up as not doing so could work out very costly. If you do put the wrong fuel in DO NOT start the engine as this will make the issue a lot worse.

Road Trip Boredom Busters

road trip

Are we nearly there yet?

I’m bored!

The two phrases guaranteed to strike fear and despair into a parent’s heart, especially when you only set off ten minutes ago and have another four hours to go.

Make sure that your children have enough to do in order to keep them occupied throughout the whole journey. If that means plonking them down in front of a portable DVD player and having to listen to the Frozen soundtrack over and over again, so be it. 

Other sanity savers ideas for keeping children occupied on a road trip:

  • In car games/travel games.
  • Easy to open, not too messy snack selections.
  • DVDs
  • Sing along CDs (this one depends on the age and the tolerance of the children. No, they don’t want to listen to the Tremeloes for three hours straight).
  • Knock Knock Ding-a-Ling (and so on). No, I’ve not cracked under the pressure, this is a brilliant travel game that holds the attention. Shout Knock Knock if you see a post box, Ding a-Ling if you see a phone box. Have a Google for some more non-digital car games and activities.

Emergency Kit

You aren’t going to break down during your road trip, that would just be mean. If you do, however, you need to be prepared. Make sure you have an easy to get to emergency kit which includes:

  • First aid kit (including regularly prescribed medications that anyone takes as a breakdown can mean long delays so it is important to have what you need within easy reach).
  • Non-perishable food, and water.
  • All-weather clothing. Being stuck at the side of the road in a sudden downpour wearing only your summer shorts and t-shirts is never fun. UK weather is unpredictable, be prepared.
  • Torches and batteries.
  • Basic tools (for changing tyres and so on).
  • Warning triangle and hi-vis jacket.

For more road trip breakdown advice this article from the AA is a great resource.

With a little preparation, there’s no reason why your summer road trip won’t be a fabulous as you hope it will be. Whatever you have planned, enjoy!

road trip

 

Activities You Must Try Before the Kids Grow Up

Time flies by so fast, particularly when you’re a parent.  One minute your child is fully dependant on you and the next they are moving out. While we may have the freedom to try new things as an adult, there’s nothing quite like the excitement of trying new family activities as a child.

If you are looking for ideas for the summer holiday or just pre-planning for your future children, make sure you try these activities with your little ones.

In the Great Outdoors

Getting outdoors is fantastic, the world is full of glorious sights and sounds to discover and fun to be had. Take the kids camping – caravan holidays are great fun and going full-nature in a tent is the ultimate experience. Roast marshmallows over an open campfire, stargaze long into the night – August is an amazing time for camping in the UK if you go somewhere with little to no light pollution. The Perseid Meteor Shower peaks over August 9-13 and is sure to delight (adults and children alike!). For those really warm nights, get them to drag their sleeping bags outside and sleep in the open air.

Warm days offer a fantastic opportunity to hit the beach, go paddling in the surf, build a sandcastle, fly a kite. Get them involved with nature and try your hand at fishing or crabbing – great for teaching your kids about wild animals. Not on the coast? There’s more fun to be had at the park – set a family record on the swings, climb a tree, roll down a big grassy hill, collect caterpillars together to hatch into butterflies – you could even organise a big water fight!

activities

Cold weather on the way? That doesn’t have to stop you, every kid (big and small) should dance in the rain at least once. Once the snow starts falling, get outside and build the best snowman you can, or maybe a snow fort – you never know when the first snowballs will start to fly.

In the Comfort of Home

So, your kids aren’t the outdoors type, but that’s okay – there’s still plenty to be done inside. Get messy with arts and crafts (maybe pop a protective table-cloth down first) from collages made of feathers and sequins to dying t-shirts and even painting eggs. There’s plenty of get-stuck-in activities for you and your child to do together and make some long-lasting memories. Get your little ones involved in the kitchen, make a cake together or some home-made ice cream, this is an ample opportunity to teach them about health and wellbeing too!

If you’ve got the time, why not learn an instrument together – or get your child into lessons to learn themselves. Encourage them to put on little performances and make sure to cheer them on.

Looking for ideas for something a bit quirky? Why not have a fancy-dress day, where you both get dressed up and spend the day having fun. Make a cardboard/blanket fort, watch some favourite movies and stay up talking by torch-light.

A Great Day Out

Getting out with the kids, particularly when they are little, can be a bit tough but can be great fun when they’ve got a bit more independence. Plan a day to the Zoo to see their favourite wild animal or head out to an age-appropriate theme park. Get the kids involved in organising – what they will need to pack for a day trip and what they’d like to do before it’s time to head home. Every day is another learning opportunity, even if it’s hidden in something fun!

Activities

Why not get your kids involved in planning some activities over the Summer holiday? You could show them how to plan ahead and even use the opportunity for budgeting lessons – good money management starts at a young age! Get them to compare the cost of activities – from choosing to go visit a caravan site to travelling to a long-distance destination.

Carve some time out and make a list of what you and your kids hope to achieve this year, for every activity you complete, you can tick off the list together. We all know life can be busy, but time waits for no-one, so make sure you make the most of your time with your children before they grow up.

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