School holidays are currently underway and travelling with kids to a new region can be a somewhat daunting task. Well here’s 5 top tips on how to make your road trip successful and make sure that it is full of laughter and smiles, rather than tantrums and tears.
1. Think purpose and destination / Research
Choose a destination and route to the destination that caters for every family member. There are multiple locations throughout New Zealand that cater for both adults and children, and the very different interests.
Research before you leave home, so you know what activities are within vicinity, where you’re likely to stay and the route to be taken (along with noting potential places to stop for a break). Be sure to go to a destination that has a variety of activities on arrival that will suit the needs of everyone. You’re lucky enough that our Kiwi Holiday Parks are scattered throughout the country and have a variety of amenities and attractions that will keep children and adults alike entertained.
And extend this ‘variety’ to the trip on route. By having stops that stimulate the interest of children and adults (instead of stopping for the sake of stopping), you’ll ensure that everyone will enjoy themselves and gain from each new experience.
2. Stop regularly
Touched on above, make sure that your trip is broken up into segments – children are not designed for long trips.
The journey is just as important as the destination when it comes to travelling with kids, so be sure to schedule stops where the kids can get active. Stopping at parks, playgrounds, bike parks, or a simple bush walk will stimulate little minds and mean that all their energy isn’t focussed on each other when they’re back in the car!
Be sure to also replenish fluids, eating plenty and take a break to rest the eyes. Safety first.
If stopping regularly isn’t possible, a good idea is to travel at night. This means the kids can sleep and are not awake to suffer the extended period of time in the car.
3. Involve the kids
Be sure to include the kids throughout the process – from organising the trip, through to packing, to showing them on a map (even giving directions) the destination.
Children love to take ownership and with their inclusion they are more open to change and dealing with the journey.
Don’t forget to include them also when out on the road. Essential Kiwi games such as I-spy, or car cricket is a great way to pass the time while keeping the kids focussed on something else other than travelling.
4. Pack light, but consider the kid essentials
It’s a bit of false statement – pack light with a family – yeah right! But if you can leave something bulky at home, do so.
Take a duo of clothing items and minimise the need for three jackets, five sweatshirts and six pairs of shorts.
Make sure you pack the essentials – that is the essentials to keep the kids occupied. A deck of cards and colouring-in book for wet weather, and scooters (and helmets) and a ball to bounce and kick round on a fine day. They aren’t significant space fillers and will ensure that the sanity levels can remain at a manageable level.
The less you take, the more there is a requirement for the family to explore, undertake new activities and spend time together. Remember, once you’re at your destination don’t be in a hurry to do anything – simply enjoy the company. This leads on to our last point.
5. Take your time
Don’t set unrealistic targets or expectations on the kids or your travel plans. Simply acknowledge that it may take longer or shorter to get to your destination depending on what happens. Often as travelling parents we have in our mind how long something should take to do and we work towards this time. But the one thing that is consistent with children is the unknown. Simply accept and expect.
Besides, you’re on holiday. Maybe it’s time to slow down and smell the roses, or is that the baby’s diaper that needs changing?
There will always be challenging moments when it comes to traveling with children, but with these simple yet effective 5 top tips, your trip can be manageable. Do you have a hint for keeping the peace with children when travelling? We’d love to hear it.