Top Tips for a smooth family drive

We seem to cover a lot of miles in the car as a family. The kids extended family are far away, so they are quite adept at long journeys. I recently came across Irish-Cultural-Drives-ebook-ChillInsurance by all about the top cultural drives in Ireland. It got me thinking about some ideas of keeping the kids happy on long, and possibly cultural, journeys!

So let me share a few tips we employ to keep the small folk busy, and keep the ‘are we nearly there yet’s at bay!

1. Car Picnic

Kids love a picnic, and if a journey is going to cross over a meal time – have a car picnic! It saves having to stop and be ripped off at the services. The picnic doesn’t have to be boring, pack a few things you wouldn’t normally have – a treat. If we’re off early, we’ll pack some pan au chocolat or tasty pastries for a ‘continental’ breakfast on the go. I certainly wouldn’t recommend a bowl of cereal!

2. Gadgets and Gizmos

Many kids could probably stretch to spending an entire journey parked in-front of a screen. I generally don’t like the kids being on them for prolonged periods. So if the journey is long, we set clear times – so for example 30 minutes on the iPad, and then 30 minutes off and repeat. They might be a bit grumpy handing devices over for the ‘off’ time, but if you set clear times it’s not so bad. Plus, you can occupy them with tip 3.

3. Car Games

Sure, you could track down those old school magnetic board games from back in the day. However, the car and surroundings can give you a few different games to play. You could go extremely retro and try ‘I Spy’. Or do the ‘Car Badge’ game  – each person has to name the makes of the next 10 cars they see. It’s better suited to quieter roads! If you’re on a busier road you can do the ‘Number Plate’ game. Get the kids to spot sequential number plates. It’s not as easy as it used to be with the new style of number plates, however you can start with ’01’ then ’02’, ’03’ and so on. It’s surprisingly tricky!

Another option is Car Snooker! Spot a red car, then the different colours : yellow car, green car, brown car, blue car, pink car, and finally a black car. In that order! There aren’t all that many pink cars!

4. Have the essentials close to hand

Family cars are often packed with cubby holes and compartments to store all-manner of family stuff. Use them! I try to make sure that the kids sunglasses are tucked away close to hand for those bright days. There’s a couple of blankets to snuggle under on colder days. There’s an endless supply of tissues and wipes for the snotty noses and mucky hands along the way. We’ve got a few sachets of Calpol hidden away should ‘the poorlies’ catch up with them. Bottles of water (with sport caps) are an essential too.

5. Coffee!

The best journeys should contain coffee (not for the kids!), a travel mug is great for keeping it hot and last as long as possible. If you don’t have a fancy coffee machine to make one to take with you – then stop on the way. Most coffee places will fill your own cup, and give you a discount for it too!

So there you go, a few ideas to ensure your car journeys, cultural or otherwise are as peaceful as possible! What tips do you have?

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