Family holidays are the place where so many beautiful memories are made. Late nights playing board games, endless summer days at the beach, lots of laughter and smiles, and exploring new and exciting locations together as a family. It can be a real bonding experience; however, it can also be testing at times.
Surviving the road trip is your first hurdle. Master this, and you will be relaxing at your holiday destination before you know it. Check out our top seven tips to keep your sanity and make the road trip more enjoyable for the kids.
1. Choose your destination wisely
When choosing a place to holiday, think about how many hours the kids will handle being in the car. For younger kids, it may be harder for them to sit still for hours on end and may lose their cool on more than one occasion.
Perhaps try picking a holiday spot within three to four hours from home. For older kids, it may be a little easier to stretch out the drive for a longer road trip.
2. Pack snacks that won’t send them loopy
We all know kids never stop eating, so it’s important to pack snacks to keep them satisfied for the duration of the trip.
Pack some healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, veggie sticks, muesli bars and plenty of water. Try and avoid sugary foods and drinks – we don’t want them having a sugar overload that leads them to a complete meltdown.
3. Leave nice and early
Leaving as early as possible has many benefits. You will avoid peak hour traffic, the kids will still be sleepy and you will arrive at your holiday sooner.
The trick is to pack the car as much as possible the night before. Leave those final items such as snacks and toiletries for the next day. Get a good night’s rest so you are bright-eyed, and bushy-tailed for the next day.
Once you are ready to hit the road, carry the young ones straight from their bed to the car. With any luck, they may stay asleep for the first half of the trip. Pack a spare change of clothes so once they’re awake you can stop to change them out of their pyjamas.
4. Plan in-car entertainment
Kids get bored easily especially when they are strapped in their car seat unable to get rid of pent-up energy. Plan some in-car entertainment ahead of time so when you hear “I’m bored, are we there yet” you are prepared to keep them occupied for a little longer.
Have a list of car games at the ready. Classics such as I spy with my little eye, number plate bingo, or trivia are a great way to pass the time. If you run out of car games before you reach your destination, colouring books and toys will do the trick.
If your kids aren’t all that keen on car games, another option is an iPad so they can watch movies, play games, or listen to music. You can even get an iPad holder that attaches to the back of the front seat, so they don’t have to hold it whilst watching their favourite movie.
5. Make regular stops
Stopping regularly is good for everyone’s sanity. Kids and adults can get a little restless and fidgety so a chance to get out, breathe some fresh air and stretch the legs is a great idea.
You could try planning your stops so you can map out some playgrounds, beaches, picnic spots, or attractions to make it interesting. After a stretch, it’s time to pile back in the car and continue your journey a little more settled than before.
6. Plan your road trip around nap times
For those travelling with younger children, make sure you plan your trip with their naps in mind.
Try being on the road during their nap time so they sleep in the car. Once they wake up you can stop somewhere to have something to eat, have a play and go to the toilet. Then back in the car for hopefully another nap or some in-car entertainment.
7. Stay cool, calm, and collected
A long time spent in a confined space can be quite difficult for children.
It can also be a stressful time for adults stuck in traffic, kids screaming in the back, and feeling trapped and confined. Keeping your cool will help calm the situation and make the kids feel a little more at ease.
If you react and start getting heightened and agitated, it will only make the situation worse leading to a chorus of tantrums. So, if you feel like you’re going to lose it, listen to some music, start a car game, or perhaps stop so everyone can gather themselves before embarking on the next part of your journey.
For some kid-friendly holiday destinations, check out the caravan parks on offer with Tasman Holiday Parks. We have a fantastic range of caravan parks in QLD, NSW, WA, TAS and New Zealand. Our amenities are second to none and there is plenty to keep the kids entertained throughout your stay.