Next month I am going on a trip with my two young children. There will be at least 2 full 8 hour days in the car not to mention a 24hr plane journey! I was quite happily planning some games, books etc to take along and was shocked when most people I have mentioned it to were full of dire warnings about how terrible it’s going to be. Now I am not naïve, I’m sure it won’t be all sunshine and roses but it surely can’t be that terrible. I decided to ask around for the best ideas of how to make the journey as pleasant as it can be.
1) Break up the journey. Plan in advance to find suitable places to stop for children that have bathrooms, that are safe with space to run around and feel freedom.
2) Pack plenty of food. Don’t assume there will be what you need on the way. Having at least a basic range of snacks will really help. This will also count as an activity. Choose foods that are clean and your child can eat by themselves, it is even better if it takes them a lot of time to consume.
3) Take a range of toys, books and games and give them out slowly. Instead of letting them have all at once hold some back for the end of the journey. For plane rides it often suggested to have one new activity per hour of the flight, I will assume they will sleep at some point but still try to take close to this many. In my case I am lucky that the girls can swap activities as well as they are fairly close in age with similar interests.
4) Sticker books, cards games and drawing can be a good activity for older children. Books, especially ones with lots of pictures you can talk about are good too. Avoid anything hazardous like games with small pieces for when your children are out the reach of adults.
5) Consider nap times. If your child is a car sleeper then plan to leave at a suitable time if you can and make sure you have had appropriate meals by then.
6) Playing your child favourite music and singing songs are both ways to entertain many children.
8) Have at least a basic first aid kit in the car, especially if travelling for long distances between towns. It is also a good idea to have the names, numbers and locations of emergency departments along route.
9) The most important thing of all is to be flexible, be willing to change even the best made plans your children are individuals and will react differently to new situations then you may except its best just to go with the flow with many options up your sleeve.
We would love your ideas and feedback on travelling with children, especially ideas on what type of activities and toys worked for you.