Travelling With Kids: Making Car Trips Fun

For some families, it can feel as though we spend half our summer holidays in the car. Whether its a relatively short trip of an hour to an amusement park or a longer haul across the country to see relatives, enduring a car ride with cranky kids is no fun.. An extended drive can be boring even for adults, so its no wonder that small children can get super-cranky when trapped in a car for hours on end. Simple things like making frequent breaks for stretching your legs are important, as is staying hydrated. Here are a few more tips that may help stave off boredom when travelling in small, restricted spaces:

  1. Road games Hit the dollar store before your trip, for inexpensive games. Look for handheld magnetic boards to prevent mishaps in cases of quick braking! Try chip clips for holding cards, especially for little hands. This also makes it easy to set down your hand at rest stops and on stretching breaks.

  2. Reading Take the kids to the local library and stock up on their favorite books, but make sure to get a return-by-date that works with your holiday! Take turns reading aloud when one person becomes tired or gets motion sickness. Most libraries also have a selection of books on CD. These are great when everyone wants to enjoy the same story, or if you have easily-nauseated travellers.

  3. Maps If your trip is a long one or covers a great distance, collect maps from local chambers of commerce and track your travel by crossing off sections of the map towards your destination, after you cover it. Seeing the distance pass this way every 50 or 100 miles will help show younger kids how the distance is being covered. Make special marks on the map when you plan for bathroom stops or attractions. Kids can look ahead and know what to expect.

  4. Plug In While you shouldnt rely only on iPads and tablets or handheld games and DVD players for the bulk of the trip, they will become a welcome addition when everyone needs some downtime. A movie can help restless children drift off to sleep and surly teenagers are often soothed when allowed to plug into their music players. Be reasonable about time limits and then let them plug in!

  5. Plan for Stops Make getting there part of the fun. Do some quick internet research to plan several mini breaks along your way. You might add a few hours to your trip this way, but youre going to win in the end by avoiding cries of Im bored!. Do keep an open mind; sometimes roadside attractions are too tempting to resist and you shouldnt! The best places are often found by accident.

Talk to your kids before longer trips about what youll do to keep the ride interesting, especially if theyve never travelled so far before. When done right, the road trip itself can become one of your favourite summer holiday memories!