Everyone who has ever had kids knows how challenging the job of a mom can be. As a mom, you’re on call 24/7 and you have to take on more roles than you ever thought possible. After all your hard work it’s nice to get away and have a family vacation where you can relax and put your feet up! If the cost of flights is too steep for your expanding nest or you can’t afford all inclusive since the ‘credit crunch’, maybe you are considering driving to your dream destination? Driving holidays with kids aren’t as crazy as they sound and with the right planning, can be a pleasurable experience for everyone.
Before You Go – Check Your Car is Roadworthy!
Your car may drive perfectly all year and look and sound great but you never know when something could go wrong and it would be typical for a breakdown to happen while you are on the way to your vacation. There’s nothing worse than bored, frustrated and disappointed children waiting for a tow company to arrive. Make sure your car has a full service before you embark on your journey, as you should before setting off on any long road trip. You should also make sure that your vehicle insurance is fully up-to-date. Always carry these documents with you in case you need breakdown assistance during your trip. Many car insurance policies include a hire car if your vehicle breaks down or needs urgent attention, a vital service if you don’t want to miss a chunk of your vacation waiting around for repairs.
Pick a Route with Plenty of Restroom Stops
Pick a route that has plenty of restroom stops along the way, especially if you have toddlers or young children who may only give you minutes of warning before they need to go. Some children refuse to go in the bushes as it’s too far out of their comfort zone. You could also store a potty in the trunk of your car in just in case you can’t get to a rest stop in time. Have one or two sets of clothing for each baby and toddler and keep them separate from your luggage so you can easily access them. They will be invaluable if your children have any ‘accidents’ or diaper leaks.
Start Your Vacation as Soon as You Leave Home
Time your ferry crossing so that you have enough leisure time to visit places on the way to the ferry port, for instance, theme parks, zoos, forests or picnic grounds. This will break up the monotony of the journey and give your kids the space to stretch their legs and burn off excess energy, which should make the trip more bearable for you too. If they get worn out or the motion of the car makes them sleepy, don’t forget to bring baby travel sleeping bags, comforters and neck cushions so that they can sleep comfortably in your vehicle, and don’t forget their favorite toy!
Have In Car Entertainment
If you’re dreading the kids asking ‘are we nearly there yet?’ one hundred times over and driving you crazy, make sure you play plenty of in car games such as ‘I spy’ (the person spies something beginning with a letter of the alphabet and others have to guess what it is. Then the person who guesses correctly gets to say I spy for something they see from the car window). The question game is another idea. The first player starts with a question and each person has to answer with a question. The game continues until someone accidentally answers with a statement or they can’t think of a question. Truck spot is a game that older children might enjoy. The game works by spotting different makes of truck or car, with each model having a certain number of points (more points for a rarer model). The person with the most points wins. You could also bring coloring books and crayons and you could even ask your children to draw pictures of the things they see on their journey. If you have teens or you think your children won’t be satisfied with traditional games, you could invest in an in car DVD player with headphones so they can watch their favorite movies while you concentrate on getting to your destination. Handheld games consoles are also useful.
Ease Motion Sickness
Do your kids throw up at the mere thought of a car ride? If you don’t want to be cleaning up vomit during your trip, there are things you can do to try and stop your children from feeling ‘green’. Ask your child to look forward at his surroundings instead of at computer games or books. Nausea during travel is caused by the brain receiving conflicting motion sensory messages so if he focuses ahead of him this may alleviate the sickness. Avoid chocolate, cake, fries and other junk foods or spicy foods on your journey. Try giving him dry crackers to snack on instead as these could settle the stomach. Make sure there is enough ventilation. A good blast of air is sometimes enough to prevent travel sickness. Either roll the window down slightly (making sure your child locks are on) or give your child a handheld fan. If it is very hot you could keep your air conditioning on and point the car vents towards your child. Take regular stops and let him get out and walk around. If you think the worst will happen, carry a supply of sick bags with you. This will save his clothing and your car seats. They are available from online outlets, first aid suppliers and pharmacies.
Vacation for More Than a Week
With the money you save on flights and other expenses, you might be able to afford to vacation for two weeks. This will give everyone the time to recover from your journey before you go home again.