“When are we finally there?” – Ask anyone who has been on a long drive with children and they will tell you it’s an exhausting affair.
To make the road trip with your children more relaxed, we have seven tips for long car journeys: from games to the perfect break to travel sickness.
With our seven tips you can easily master a long drive with your children:
1. Prepare for a road trip with children
- Here’s the best way to prepare for the ride:
- Research child-friendly truck stops and rest areas.
- Make the car more comfortable with pillows and blankets.
- Stow away wet wipes, paper towels, garbage bags and changing clothes within easy reach.
Tip: Include your children in the planning. This will allow them to prepare for the trip and better understand what is in store for them.
2. Provide entertainment
So that your children don’t get bored on the long drive, we have collected the best entertainment options for you:
- Exciting stories to read (caution: can make you feel sick) or to read aloud
- Colouring books (with a children’s table that can be placed over the lap, especially for the car; caution: can make you feel sick)
- Audiobooks (a particularly good solution for children who are prone to travel sickness)
- “I know something that you don’t know”: a player has to imagine an object and the others guess it by asking yes or no questions.
- “Who am I?”: Remember objects are being guessed here, not people.
- Thinking up stories about what has been seen, for example about the neighbouring vehicle or the flock of sheep.
- “I am packing my suitcase”
- Small stuffed animals with Velcro can be “glued” to the ceiling or back seats.
- Card games like Uno or Quartet
Tablet & Co.
- Tablet holder for the headrest for watching movies
- Children’s games for the smartphone or tablet
- Have a small photo session with tasks in the car (either with a small camera or mobile phone)
3. Schedule regular breaks
Schedule a break for your children at least every two hours. It is best to stop at child-friendly rest stops with a playground or in the countryside a bit away from the motorway.
Give your children the opportunity to really let off steam. For this you can, for example, take a skipping rope or rubber twist with you. Even babies were so right on a playmat with a regular stretching can.
Tip: Plan longer breaks, for example at a swimming lake or a sight that your children will enjoy.
Important: After the breaks, make sure that your children do not get into a highly air-conditioned car. This allows them to catch a cold quickly.
4. Pack the right provisions
For long road trips with children, pack light foods that are not greasy. The advantage: They are not heavy in the stomach and your children will not feel sick. Also, avoid sugar foods. This makes your children more active and they find it difficult to calm down.
The following are especially suitable as provisions:
- Loaves of bread with cheese and lettuce
- Vegetable sticks
Also, pack enough to drink. Even in traffic jams and the resulting longer journeys, drinks must not run out.
Caution: Don’t let your children eat in the car, but rather during breaks. This means that they do not feel sick so quickly and that they do not choke in the event of sharp braking.
5. Use the children’s sleep rhythm
Use your children’s sleep rhythm on the road trip and drive long distances when they are normally tired. In this way, the children sleep while driving and the journey is less strenuous for them. At night the streets are usually free and you don’t risk a traffic jam. If possible, don’t drive more than five hours a day.
Important: Get a good sleep yourself before the trip in order to be fit for the night drive.
6. Prepare for travel sickness
Nausea while driving is not uncommon. Travel sickness arises from the fact that one does not move oneself, but the sense of balance through the moving car reports movement.
This can help your children:
- Look out the window so that your eyes and your sense of balance have a point of reference.
- Do not give a tablet, book or smartphone to work, because then the eye reports the brain to a standstill and the sense of balance gets mixed up.
- Let fresh air into the car regularly.
- Give enough to drink.
- Have a light meal before driving so that your stomach is not empty.
Have a spit bag handy in case of an emergency.
Last but not least both your and your children’s safety is of the utmost importance. There are two main ways to ensure safe travel.
First is to make sure your car is road worthy. Check the tires, brakes, engine oil and any other things that you need to ensure that your car is safe to drive and will not break down in the middle of the road.
Secondly you need to ensure safety inside the car. Make sure there is ample sunlight protection in the windows and child lock is on, in the backseat doors. Also ensure all sharp and hard objects are properly stowed away and won’t go flying off when emergency brakes are applied or in case of an accident.
Next if your children are less than 12 years old or 150m in height then make sure your car is equipped with a child seat. If you don’t have one, you can easily get them off of Amazon. You can get good quality seats like the Eddie Bauer XRS 65 fairly cheap.
Lastly make sure child seats are properly fixed and seat belts are properly strapped. When all this is said and done, you are in for one hell of a trip.
Related Readings: Travel System Stroller – Absolute Best Way to Find a Good Stroller