Wednesday 18 April 2018

Keeping Your Sanity on a Family Road Trip

Have you ever seen the Robin Williams film RV? It encapsulates the sense of family adventure and magical moments to be had in a family road trip - this can be an attractive option for families wanting to explore nearby countries, yet road trips are often punctuated with a little chaos and family arguments, which is why this blog post looks at ways to keep your sanity on a family road trip.

There are some great family holidays to be had in the UK, although many people only feel like they have truly had a break if they've flown overseas from our island off to the sun. With normal British weather it's totally understandable but we're currently having an unseasonably warm April and a heatwave. 25 degrees today and possibly 27 tomorrow. Anyway a flight with children comes with a whole host of other problems, but that's another blog post altogether. Let's enjoy our British sun while it lasts - alas I got sunburned today though.

Nowadays, yes flying can certainly be cheap, speedy, tempting and convenient… but as us parents know too well flying as a family can be a headache and there’s a certain independence that comes with taking a road trip.  The trick is to be prepared; whether that’s by visiting in advance to get your baby hats or to get your car seat.

A long journey can be tiring enough, for adults, but when you throw having to be responsible for the constant entertainment of children in a confined space with very little to do long family journey’s can be fraught with frustration.

Here’s a few tips on how to keep your sanity...


The days of arguing over a huge map are mostly over - as now, at least, there is a common enemy to get mad at; when the SatNav gets it wrong.  However, it is good to plan out a route that allows for some interesting stop-offs along the way. Agreed, driving straight down the motorway for five hours might be the most fuel and time efficient way to travel... but think of all the things you are missing out on along the way. I think stopping off somewhere fun or exciting is beneficial for everyone. Even the driver needs to stretch their legs and get fresh air. Plus the car journey really can be the start of the holiday rather than simply a means to an end.


The trick here is to ensure your kids have plenty of engaging activities that don’t require adult participation - whether that’s watching a film on a mobile device or something more ‘old school’ like a colouring book and some crayons. When Aaron and I went on a long road and boat trip with Granddad to Ireland, he was only 2 years old. I was worried about the journey so we bought a portable DVD player especially. He had that with Kung Fu Panda on it and a large A4 Spiderman Sticker Book and was a pleasure to travel with :-)


It’s important the adults have something to keep them entertained too; often this can be as simple as a great soundtrack for the journey, a good book, or some people like to choose a topic that needs to be discussed strategically. Home renovation is particularly effective at keeping the driver engaged but probably best advised to keep these talks to ‘low level’ stuff that is child friendly and not too stressful. Not really possible to phone up to ask the bank for a home improvements loan whilst driving so this should possibly be limited to budget constraints and dreams of "what if". Releasing equity can be a winner, with lots of my friends having gone down this "route" lately forgive the pun.


There are plenty of pharmaceutical and alternative remedies that help travellers with motion sickness but one of the best tips is to eat little and often throughout the journey with an adequate supply of fresh air.  Ideally, eating outside of the car is best for people that suffer with motion sickness and ensure a decent supply of mints or boiled sweets are available for this appears to satiate the symptoms of motion sickness surprisingly effectively. My Grandma swore my 7up or lemonade for this problem and apparently it can work wonders if flat. She literally wouldn't go on a long car journey without it. That and her packet of mints in her cardigan pocket.


A great game to play with your family, particularly if you have a Spotify account or similar, is to create a playlist before you go on your trip that includes the favourite songs of each person in the car; presuming you have access to the internet, an even better way to go about this is to pass the device around the car in turn so that each person selects a song. The brilliant thing about this idea is if you ever play these songs again, it brings back lovely memories of the holiday providing you did make that car journey stress free.

This post is a collaboration

No comments:

Post a Comment

Drop me a line, and I will visit you right back - as soon as I get chance. Thanks for your comment.