There are some really good things to remember and look for when traveling with children on the traditional kiwi road trip. This can be applied to dads with babies to school aged children, and these helpful hints can make things less stressful for those long trips away.
Tip 1: Plan where you’re staying in advance:
If you are staying in a hotel or a batch, look at the room layout before you go. Not all places will have sleeping arrangements that work for young children. When our daughter was one, our portacot was gold, and it made sleeping arrangements a breeze. We just had to fit it in the car boot… If you ask, some accommodations can supply a cot to save you lugging yours along for the trip. As your child gets older, you may feel more comfortable with them in a full-sized bed that they can’t roll out of. We fund that the top bunk in places that had them was ideal for this.
Tip 2: Time when you leave to suit the child:
Sometimes this cannot be changed dues to time and work restraints, but if you can manage planning your travel time, it can make the difference between 4 and a half hours from hell and a reasonably pleasant family trip. Leaving at a time when your young child is happy and full (we found this to be first thing in the morning after breakfast) iss a great time to start a trip. We found the long drives after work on a Friday night could be really stressful and tiring, add that on top of a full day at work and it was just rough.
Tip 3: Bring snacks for the ride:
The best way to keep kids happy on a long trip is food. If you’re hoping they will take a nap during the trip, maybe minimise the amount of lollies though. We take crackers, plain biscuits fruit etc. A child eating can be the best peace and quiet you might get during the driving on a long trip.
Tip 4: Know where the bathroom stops are:
This is important when you have toddlers you’re transitioning out of nappies and into underwear, but is also useful with school age children too. If it’s a regular trip you make, take note of public bathrooms, or the good old McDonalds (generally a nicer bathroom). But be prepared for the possible pre-bathroom accidents, which lead into tip 5…
Tip 5: Know where the important stuff is:
This includes, but is not limited to, nappies, wet wipes, food, water, and a change of clothes. Having these accessible during a trip or even when you stop for a break is crucial. There are those times when the nappy bag is already in the boot of the car, and all the trip gear is piled on top of it, and the last thing you want to be doing on a trip, especially if its raining, is unpacking your car half way from Auckland to Tauranga in the rain to get a nappy out.
Tip 6: Plan your stops along the way:
This can make things a lot easier for you, weather permitting, and breaks the trip up a bit for you and your kids. Knowing where the odd playground or safe rest stop is so they can have a run around and something to eat can really limit the stress of a long trip. The trip might take that bit longer, but you will arrive with all your hair (or most of it at least) left on your head.
These are just a few that I have mentioned, but there are plenty more things out there to help with making your trips away with children to be fun exciting and stress free. If you have any good tips for travelling with children feel free to post them up in the forums.