We've done plenty of road trips in our time on the road, so I love these tips from Mary. Who's heading on a summer road trip this year?
Getting ready for your summer vacation with children? Already shivering at the mere thought of the kids bored in the car and your dramatic meltdowns? Hitting the road with the little ones in tow doesn’t necessarily have to be a disaster. If you belong to the category of people who love keeping everything – from summer tyres to a potty to healthy snacks – under their control, these tips will help you to get to your destination safely, comfortably and in good spirits.
Your road safety starts with summer tyres
If you don’t want to get stranded somewhere in the wilderness with tired kids on board, a diligent car check must be the number-one point in your planning list. Start with your tyres as they are among the most crucial safety factors. Ensure your 4 summer tyres (and your spare) don’t have signs of an excessive wear (one-side/central/uneven wear or suspicious knobs) and are properly inflated. Everything from wipers to brakes to air conditioning must be working like a clock.
Tips to consider when travelling with kids
- Remember fastening. When the car is moving, kids must be in their car seats and fastened. It is recommended to fasten kids younger than 2 years old in their car seat rear-facing. You never know when the accident can happen. So, if it’s time for breastfeeding or the baby needs to be taken out of the car seat, consider pulling over and making a stop.
- Separate wranglers. To avoid any tension in the air, seat siblings who easily confront with each other separately.
- Pack the first-aid kit. Ensure it contains antiseptics, febrifuge, anti-diarrhea drugs and any medicines you and your kids may need.
- Adjust the departure time to the children’s sleep. If you know that your kids sleep well on the road, try to have them sleep most of the way by leaving at nap times or late in the evening when they usually go to bed.
- Take the home comfort with you. Dress your kids in what they like wearing at home (especially if you want them to sleep in the car) and take some comforting things like favourite pillows or a stuffed toy along.
- Pack snacks. Food is the easiest way to keep your kids busy. But be clever: don’t feed them with energy-boosters and beverages that have diuretic properties if you don’t want them to jump like crazy or beg of potty stops. Consider bananas, crackers, dried fruits, and electrolyte drinks instead of soft drinks.
- Plan the entertainment program. Upload favourite songs, movies, or books on your gadgets. Search for a new children’s app beforehand and download it on a smartphone or iPad. You’ll win lots of time while the child will be trying to figure it out. Prepare some road-related games, for example, those involving kids in learning road signs. If your children are very small, you can easily distract them from their frowns whims and encourage good behaviour with surprises: prepare a bag of cheap toys and let them choose the treat every hour or two. Or play some of your favourite games.
- Don’t ruin the routine. The road exhausts kids, but if you stick to the standard routine (for example, taking naps at usual times, brushing teeth, reading books etc.), it will help them to feel steadier and more protected.
- Plan stops realistically. Want it or not, travelling with kids requires making more stops than if you were cruising alone. You are dependable on their mood and feelings. So planning frequent stops with something interesting to see or eat will pay you with peace of mind down the road.
Mary Holmes is a writing enthusiast. Currently residing in the UK with her 3 children she enjoys using every long weekend to explore a new country.