How good are the school holidays guys?! Slow starts, maybe a sleep-in (not in my house but a girl can dream), no lunchboxes, no homework dramas and maybe a road-trip thrown in for good measure………
The easiest way to kick your school holiday mojo into gear is to take a second to remember just how much you lived for the holidays when you were a kid. Those magical two weeks seemed to stretch out forever with unlimited possibilities. Thankfully (?) for us as parents, holidays don’t last forever, so a little planning can go a long way towards making these holidays one to remember for both parents and kids alike. With a bit of luck, even the Annual Family Roadie will be a total breeze, glorious family memories will be made, photo albums will be filled and the kids won’t fight a bit.
That is the power of positive thinking.
But here’s how you really get it done.
8 Ways to Nail That Family Road Trip
- Create Family Traditions
It could be as simple as stopping at the same dairy for jumbo ice cream scoops or a family in-joke, but traditions are important and tie people together. A running joke on our family roadies is “I only beep for sheep” – not going to go into details here but deserted country roads and sheep in paddocks must be present before this one gets busted out! Dave also has a lovely woollen travelling vest that accompanies us on our tiki-tours, so looking for suitable photo opps is always entertaining and keeps the kids appreciating the scenery as we speed past.
- Travel on KID Time
Remember, the name of the game when confining your entire family to a vehicle for hours on end is not just to arrive, but to arrive with your sanity intact. Putting the groms in the car during peak hyper-time is not going to end well. Schedule departure time for around an hour before naptime or after they’ve had some full-on playtime at home. If you’re determined to get on the road early, pull into a local playground before leaving town and let them charge it for 30 minutes or so before you hit the highway.
- Eliminate Stress
Check (and double check) that everyone, including Mum and Dad, has everything they need within reach. Water, wipes, coffee, tissues, favourite pillows or cuddly toys, phone chargers etc. The last thing you need is to be distracted whilst driving. That goes for your vehicle as well! Always give your car a quick once over, checking water, oil and tyres before you head off. Quality tyres (much like these tips!) can also help reduce the noise of a family road trip. Goodyear’s new EfficientGrip Performance SUV tyre comes with advanced noise dampening tread design – the result? A superior quiet ride. Trust me I’ve driven for an hour on these bad boys and they’re as quiet as a Mum sneaking out of a sleeping child’s room – Stealth! You can check out the fun I had that day at loudenough.goodyear.com.au
- Be a Fun Mum (or Dad)
The boys seriously flipped their lids on our drive from Christchurch to Methven 2 weeks ago when I pulled off the road (rather suddenly!) and into the parking lot of the Cookie Time Cookie factory! Admittedly my kids are a tad biscuit-deprived but never in their wildest dreams did they imagine getting to pick out a kilogram bag of cookies! Keep your eyes peeled, or plan ‘surprise’ stops in advance to break up the boredom of the road.
- Kid Life Revolves Around Food – NEVER FORGET
If ever there’s an occasion to relax the whole ‘no eating in the car’ rule, then a long road trip could be the right time. My kids can literally eat on the hour every hour and hell hath no fury like a hungry Jack boy – so it’s best to play it safe and travel with copious amounts of food, lest you get lost and god forbid there are no golden arches in sight. Is that even possible???? Car food doesn’t always have to be messy. Pre-cut apple slices, yoghurt suckies, dried fruit, filled wraps instead of rolls…….these are all crumb-minimisers and should buy you some time in between mince savouries!
- Share the Navigating
Plot your course using Google maps and hand the phone over to one of your little co-pilots. This helped us immeasurably whilst navigating the Mt Hutt region. Ethan really enjoys this responsibility it and it stops quarrels between Dave and I over map-reading fails!
- Pump up the Jams (or download the shows)
The older your kids get, the less they are going to like hanging out with you or listening to your music. This is FACT. Spread the suffering and take turns picking the driving tunes. Yes, as unfathomable as it seems, my 13 and 4-year-old sons don’t love my indie-rock playlists (weirdos), but they do LOVE music. Everyone’s happy sharing DJ duties. If peace and quiet are in order, don’t leave home without downloading episodes of the kid’s fave shows from Netflix. In all seriousness, that is my number one travel tip and honestly, kids are usually just so pumped to be out and about in the world you will find you only have to resort to screen time when those hard-out meltdowns start threatening.
Don’t forget, a set of headphones for each older kid = instant quiet time!
- Use your Crystal Ball like your Review Mirror
Be proactive and stay alert for potential disturbances in the force. On our last snowboarding trip, our rental station wagon was struggling to squeeze in 3 snowboards (+ 2.3 tonnes of kid snow paraphernalia) so we folded down half of the split back seat for the gear, meaning Nix and Ethan would be sitting in very close proximity. RED ALERT.
Dave took one for the team and we moved Ethan to the front passenger seat for the 30-minute drive time back and forth up the mountain. Peace ensued. If you can wrangle it, be flexible in seating arrangements – keeping kids out of each other’s ‘smack-you-in-the-face’ range is always a bonus.
- Create Family Traditions
Most of all, relax and enjoy the ride! Sometimes it’s easier said than done but roadies are one of those special, weird things that kids remember and hold on to forever – at least that’s how I feel about the trips in my childhood. Relax the itinerary and roll with the many (many!) pit stops.
Drive safe these holidays!
Thanks to Goodyear Tyres for making this post possible!