With school holidays here and COVID-19 restrictions easing, many families are planning to get away. But we’re still wary about travelling on planes, public transport, coaches and taxis so the safest way to travel these school holidays is by car. While a road trip is the perfect time to relax and spend quality time with the family, they can often end up being a stressful and tiring ordeal.
To help you arrive at your destination with ease, we’ve put together a list of tips for heading out onto the open road with the kids.
Prepare your car
When travelling with kids, you tend to have a lot of gear so you may need a bigger car to fit everything. Our recommendation for a temporary upgrade is to try car subscription – a new service that gives you access to a car through weekly payments. Larger cars are available starting from as little as $119 per week from online providers like HelloCars. Car dealerships are now also offering subscriptions thanks to Loopit.co, so you can head to your local dealer to see what’s available. The cars are all thoroughly sanitised before and after each booking, while 24 hour roadside assistance and customer care seven days a week are usually also available for added peace of mind.
Plan your journey
Even if you’ve made the trip hundreds of times, the pandemic has affected operations for most businesses and some state borders remain closed. Rest stops might have changed since your last trip, service stations might have closed and cafes might have moved, so make sure to double-check and know where you’ll be making stops for the kids to run around. With holiday traffic there are often incidents along the way causing road closures and detours so it’s best to have a few different routes up your sleeve in case you need it. Take a paper map with you as well in case you have issues with your GPS and find yourself stuck in an area with no phone signal.
Avoid driving at night
Driving through the night always sounds good in theory, meaning the kids will sleep while you push on to your destination in peace. But this often leaves you and your partner exhausted the next day while the kids are full of energy. Not to mention, driving at night is more dangerous – according to the National Road Safety Partnership Program, 40 per cent of all road accidents occur at night time. Driving down dark country roads also heightens the chance of colliding with wildlife.
Pack an emergency kit
It is always handy to keep an emergency kit in the car, and with the current emphasis on health and safety, there’s never been a better time to put one together. Pack any essential medication, first aid equipment like band-aids and bandages. In light of COVID-19, it’s a good idea to add PPE such as masks and gloves, disinfectants, hand sanitisers and wet wipes. Paper bags and motion sickness pills could also end up being a lifesaver if you have a car sick child!
Road trips can often mean resorting to unhealthy and expensive takeaway to keep everyone fed and happy. Even though the drive-through is convenient, packing your own food is a healthier option and you will often find your child is more energised after eating foods with a higher nutritional value. This also saves time since you can eat on the road without having to stop for food when you’re passing a restaurant.
Buy the kids a road trip kit
One of the best ways to keep kids occupied, is with new toys and activities. Head to the dollar store for cheap and cheerful goodies like colouring books and crayons, dolls, travel board games and other toys, and surprise the kids with them once they get in the car. The new toys will keep them busy for hours – even if they do get bored of them by the time you reach your destination. These are also a better alternative to letting the kids spend the whole drive staring at a screen watching movies.
Stop for activities
When you have a long journey ahead it can be tempting to stop only when necessary. But there are often fun activities to do along the way. If you’re driving between cities, check out the tourist attractions you’ll be passing and plan a few detours so the kids have something to look forward to. It might make the trip a little longer but getting out of the car also gives everyone the opportunity to stretch their legs, get some fresh air and breaks up the journey so you aren’t all stuck in the car for too many hours.
What are your tips for surviving a road trip with kids? Tell us in the comments below.