With the school holidays about to kick off, families across the country will be bundling the tribe in the car and heading off to their seasonal destination. Most of you will remember your childhood roadtrips, both the good and the bad, where the bad was when someone was sick, or you could never stop when you needed a bathroom, and the trips always seemed to take forever. Here we compiled a list of our top tips for Surviving the family roadtrip, not only for the benefit of your younger travellers but to ensure the holiday starts the moment you leave home
Take some time to look at all possible routes, not just searching for the quickest way but take note of winding roads, natural features you can stop to look at, as well as public toilets enroute.
Ensure anything you may possibly need is accessible, not buried in the bottom of the boot. This includes a change of clothes for children, nappy bags, plenty of water plus anything else specific to your needs.
The old saying “Enjoy the journey, not just the destination” is a great rule to follow particularly with kids. Remember this when you are planning your route to try and have something cool to stop and look every hour.This not only stops the children becoming bored but a breath of fresh air will refresh the driver also. Luckily when travelling in New Zealand, there is plenty to stop and see, and even stopping at a small town and letting the kids play on a different playground adds to the holiday.
Depending on your childrens age, you might be able to assign certain tasks where they can “assist” you in your driving. My 5 year old loves nothing more than to help, and this can be anything from warning me when a truck is approaching, or keeping me updated on whats going on in the back. Older children might enjoy tracking progress on a map, or choosing the music.
Hungry kids are un happy kids so pack plenty of food and water. Particularly with the prices at service stations and dairies getting more astronomical, I find little bags of crackers and raisins for example suspend any serious hunger without a major sugar rush.
Colouring books, drawing pads, tablets, ipods etc. Maybe pick up something new (a book etc.) to give to them once you set off, the novelty alone will keep them entertained for a while. You could even let them loose with the camera, or maybe get them their own( you can pick these up pretty cheap now).Oh, and be sure to use pencils, not felt tip pens, as in my experience the perfect way to ruin the car owners holiday is for him/her to arrive an discover the pens have leaked all over the upholstery.
Make sure everyone is wearing something comfortable for sleeping in the car, and if room allows pack a pillow. Maybe keep a blanket handy as the driver is often the last person to get cold.
If possible, plan your trip around younger ones sleep time, or even drive at night if the driver is not too tired to do so. Not only is this a good use of time but is a lot more comfortable than driving in the heat of the day, and with a lot less traffic also.
Make sure you have plenty of CDs or an ipod on hand, or if not do a quick google search of your preferred stations frequencies in different areas.
As mentioned at the top of the page, enjoy the journey! There is no need for the drive to be an un-satisfactory by product of the holiday itself. Take a different road than normal, look out for cool things on the way, stop in a town you’ve never been to, and enjoy the time you get to spend with the children.
Do a quick check of the spare tyre and make sure all the tools are there. Check the oil, water and tyre pressure. It can be a good idea also to fill the car the night before so you dont have to stop for gas as soon as the kids are just getting into the groove of the trip.
So some of these, if not all, are fairly obvious but in the hustle and bustle of getting ready to go sometimes the obvious can be overlooked. So try spending an extra few minutes in the planning and enjoy the journey. Lastly, please be safe, ensure all children are in the correct car seats for their age/height, and if you find yourself getting frustrated or tired, pull over. Even a quick run around the car a couple of times can be enough to clear the head and keep you fresh.