Thinking of a road trip for your holiday and want to get out and about to explore the UK or elsewhere. Here are some great tips to do so.
1. Bring a backseat organizer
Make life easier by getting rid of the clutter and make it easier for your kids to take care of themselves with a backseat organizer. The car organizer can include toys and other items for entertainment, making things cleaner and reducing how often you’re asked, “are we there yet?”.
Trash bag: The big ones will end up making the car smell before you’re ready to empty them. It’s therefore wise to go with a smaller bag, such as those designed for bathroom trash cans, or use a plastic grocery bag instead.
Zipper sandwich bags: These are perfect for bagging the half-eaten snack, play pieces, or the new rock collection that just started at the roadside rest stop, along with anything else that needs to be “saved”.
Tissues or napkins: Spilled drinks, sweaty drink cups/bottles, and runny noses. Need I say more?
Writing utensils (upholstery friendly): For our littlest travelers, these could be water-activated markers or crayons that only color when used with a special book. The older kids might be able to handle markers. But just go for what keeps your car upholstery clean when the little ones are crafting in the back seat.
Chargers and headphones: if you allow electronics and screen time in the car, you should consider stocking up on headphones so that you don’t have to listen to Coco Melon for eight straight hours (unless you want to). Chargers, especially ones with extra-long cords, will also come in handy if you need them to reach outlets by the front seat.
Books: These are perfect for situations where you’re not doing any screen time. Books can be a great distraction when “playing quiet”, or just want your kids to practice reading out loud while you drive. You can think of it as a live-action audiobook.
Carsick bag: Family vacations where you’re using winding roads can leave you or your little companions car sick, especially if they are too short to see out of the backseat windows. If this is your first long family road trip, consider packing carsick bags just in case, even if your little one is usually okay doing shorter outings to the grocery store.
Self-serve snacks: Special treats are so much fun on road trips. Be sure to stock a few non-messy snacks – baby carrots, animal crackers, dry cereal, etc. – in your backseat car organizer, such that your kids will be able to reach them easily without you having to pull the car over and serve them each time they’re hungry or bored.
2. Leave at the right time
The right time is different for every family. Some families like to drive at night when the kids are asleep, while others prefer leaving early in the morning when everyone is fresh and energized. Whatever you choose, prepare and pack as much as possible the night before. This will make the last-minute tasks much easier, especially when trying to get everyone out of the door.
When it comes to winter holiday trips, don’t forget to factor the weather into your decisions before you leave. Colder temperatures at night might bring icy roads, and you may want to make your itinerary more flexible and choose the day when you leave based on the road conditions. Take an amazing road trip along the Scottish North Coast, find NC 500 accommodation.
3. Bring Festive In-car Entertainment
You can help everyone in the car get in the holiday mood by packing holiday-themed entertainment. While on a road trip with the kids, distraction is key when it comes to fending off boredom. Consider loading up their iPads with their favorite holiday movies. Find kid-friendly podcasts that everyone will enjoy. Treat them to holiday-themed coloring books if you want them to turn the screen off for a while.
You can also play classic car games and add a holiday twist. If your family loves Christmas, you play to see who can spot the most green and red cars. You can play the game “I Spy” where the items you are looking for match the Christmas theme. It could be anything from an inflatable snow globe in someone’s yard to a snowman with a scarf.
4. Shake up the seating arrangement
If you usually ride with two adults at the front, you can occasionally switch things up and have one adult in the backseat. If one of the kids is old enough to ride shotgun, this could be a perfect treat for them. It also opens a chance for the kids in the back seat to have some quality time with a parent. Splitting the kids up also helps to quiet things down, especially if you have been in the car for a bit too long.
5. Pick special road trip gifts
Gifting is a special part of many winter holidays, and you could make it part of your road trip. There are a few ways to approach this. You could treat your kids to an early gift, like one that could keep them occupied during the drive. This could be a new book, an extra cozy blanket that they could snuggle with in the back seat, or an app on their phone.
Another great gift idea for the trip is searching for stylish and functional beach bags, especially if you plan to stop by any coastal destinations. These can make trips to the beach more enjoyable and organized.
Alternatively, you can create a road trip-specific gift. You could start a road trip tradition based on where you’re visiting. For instance, if you travel to the Midwest every winter, you could pick something unique (say Bug Juice) that your kids will always remember.
6. Plan for detours
A great tip for surviving long road trips in a camper van or car with your kids is breaking them into smaller stretches and giving them a chance to burn off some of the energy along the way. You could try looking at tourist destinations or attractions along the way, or you could simply stop at a park or playground. You could think of it as yet another jungle gym, but your little ones will still love it, especially if they can have impromptu snowball fights or make snow angels. Pack extra clothes if it’s super cold.
7. Plan for emergencies
Anything could happen while you’re on road trips, from minor bruises or cuts to catching the flu to an accident on an icy road. Planning for emergencies doesn’t mean you will avoid them, but it could make it much easier to deal with the consequences. Make sure your car is stocked with basic first aid kits, bring extra blankets if you’re driving in cold weather, and consider bringing kitty litter or sand in case you need more traction on the winter roads.