Thinking of an Easter road trip or driving holiday? Here are our expert tips to make it more pleasant than painful…

I used to think that agonizing car trips were a parental norm. We would wedge our baby into her car seat, arm ourselves with an arsenal of supplies to keep her entertained and hope for the best. I’ve learned the hard way that surviving loooong drives with kids doesn’t have to be traumatic. Want to know how to turn the tables on a long weekend road trip or family driving holiday?

Here are some tips to make it happy for all your crew!

1. Plan ahead: seems obvious but its super important!

The more organised you are, the easier your journey will be. Make lists of the snack shopping you need to do, what you need to pack in everyone’s suitcases, games you can play… everything. You’ll feel a lot more enthused if you’re prepared for any possibility. And being organised means minimizing stress. Feeling stressed it not a good way to start a trip!

2. Timing is everything

Depending on the length of your trip and kids’ nap times etc, make sure you choose a time that will enable the least stressful journey. For us, leaving in the evening works a treat. We pack the babes in the car in their PJs with full tummies and have a happy drive with snoozing kids. A dream. Always use nap time to your long-drive advantage!

3. Come equipped

Pick toys that they’ll get a lot of mileage out of. Have a variety that you can rotate through handing them over one-by-one. Make sure you have a good stockpile of nappies, spare clothes, blankets, dummies (and the million other things kids need) because you always need backup.

4. Get comfortable

Make sure you dress yourself and the kids for comfort. Bring pillows, wear your uggs and relax for the ride. Comfortable kids are also more likely to relax, not whinge and maybe even fall asleep…

5. Pack tonnes of snacks and drinks

Snacks make the world go round! Make sure you have way more than you think you need, just in case. Ration them out and remember a car-vomit is always one snack away!

6. iPads are your friend!

I used to have views about iPads. That is, until I realized their magic on long road trips. Load it up with Peppa episodes and enjoy the fact that your kids are so distracted they won’t ask you a million times whether you’re there yet.  Headphones should be noted as a worthwhile investment, unless everyone in the car is a Peppa fan of course…

7. Have some games up your sleeves

Brush up on I spy, the number plate game, road trip bingo… or my mum’s favourite when I was a child: ‘let’s see who can be quiet for the longest!’ Hmmm.

8. Plan your breaks

Not only for your safety (Stop Revive Survive isn’t just a catchy rhyme), but it will help keep you – and your kids – sane if you have lots of rest stops and know when they’re coming up. A good stretch, run in the park or quick coffee can make the world of difference for everyone in the car!

9. Pick some highlights

Plan to see some fun things on those breaks you take. Stop by the ocean, visit some quirky cafes, visit those big things that Australia loves so much (the Big Merino’s my fave!) You’ll be resting up and making memories – win!

10. Embrace The Wiggles

Believe it or not, the guys in the skivvies, they’re your friends. There’s something extraordinary about the way they mesmerize your kids, making the time pass more quickly. Their songs are pretty catchy too. Did someone say family sing-a-long? Oh yes they did!

11. Make it achievable

Break your trip up into manageable chunks – don’t try to be superhuman. Stopping overnight would make everyone a lot happier than attempting that twenty-hour drive in one day. Be realistic about what you can achieve safely and with your sanity!

12. Become a backseat bandit

Squash in between car seats to break up any potential conflict or to connect with your kids as you journey together. It will be fun to see the world from their point of view and notice the things out their windows that you might miss up front. Have a snuggle, play some games and then move back to the front when you can’t stand it a second longer!

13. Foster budding creatives

If you have older kids, let them use the camera to capture moments as you adventure. Get the kids to draw pictures on the windows with whiteboard markers. Tell stories on those long stretches of road. Enjoy the surprises their creativity can offer.

14. Stay positive

It may not seem like it, but that epic car tripwill end. And those potentially stressful moments will be a distant memory in a few hours. Self-talk so you don’t lose your cool with your kids. Keep calm and drive on. An amazing holiday creating beautiful memories is ahead – you just have to get their first!

Author

Hannah Macauley-Gierhart is a mother, writer, teacher, editor, and fiction reader. The joyous bedlam of raising young kids sees her writing at strange hours, drinking lots of tea, and loving the chaos that fuels good prose.

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