Whether it is a trip down to the coast or to a vacation destination such as The Palace of the Lost City, many parents will be embarking upon a long summer roadtrip with their kids over the course of the December holidays.
Doing so, can be a fantastic bonding experience for the family. However, being together for such a long time in a confined space does definitely also pose its challenges for mom and dad, as well as the kids. For instance, the children may get bored, lethargic and cranky, while the parents may go mad after being asked for the millionth time 'are we there yet' or having their favourite Moana tracks on loop.
FCA South Africa has provided some tips to help ensure that you have the best experience during your roadtrip.
Tips for surviving a road-trip with your children:
- If you are travelling a great distance such as from Gauteng down to Cape Town for instance, look for opportunities to sleep over around the halfway mark. Not only will this break up a very long journey, but it will also present travellers with the opportunity to see and explore some interesting sights and alternative tourist destinations.
- iPad or Android tablets packed to the brim with all of the episodes from their favourite Cartoon Network shows like Doc McStuffins, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, The Lion Guard, or Sofia the First will be a godsend. To avoid any data battles, simply open the YouTube app, while at home and connected to the Wi-Fi network, and click download to make all of the videos available on the device offline. Rather spend your budget on the holiday and not on data!
- On a related note, if your family car does not pack any USB charging ports, ensure that tablets and smartphones do not run out of charge by purchasing a USB charger that plugs into the vehicle's lighter socket. Get one that can charge multiple devices simultaneously, to avoid fights over who gets to charge their device.
- Pack your own food. Not only will this save you money, but you can pack delicious and yet, healthy snacks and won't be forced to buy fast food and garage snacks at every stop. Avoiding the sugar-high from garage snacks is winning half the battle.
- As corny as they are, old-fashioned car games such as eye-spy can help pass the time.
- Get everyone as comfortable as possible during every phase of the trip by providing necessities such as pillows, blankets, the most comfortable driving shoes as well as relaxing sleepwear for the kids for example.
- Small kids love booster seats that allow them to see outside and peruse interesting scenery or animals.
- Kids also make things messy, so ensure that you have a toilet paper role, paper towels and/or wet wipes to clean the occasional but guaranteed stickiness, spills and oily fingerprints all over the car window.
- Another classic tip to keep your children entertained and their minds occupied on anything but the travelling time is making a playlist. You can opt for an old-school CD filled with their favourite tracks or put them on a USB. Modern implementations of this type include car systems like those in Fiat car, Jeep vehicles and Alfa Romeo cars that sport Apple Car Play and Android Auto support. These allow you to stream your music from your device to the car's sound system over Bluetooth and provides you with the ability to access apps such as Apple Music, Deezer, Simfy, or Spotify, which provide playlists with all of these tracks.
These tips should make the journey pass by a little quicker and easier as well as make life for both kids and parents a lot more bearable and more importantly, memorable. Wherever you drive this holiday season, enjoy the trip and travel safely.