So you’re going on a long journey, the breakdown cover is up to date, the car insurance is sorted and you’ve got plenty of fuel – now all you’ve got to worry about is keeping the kids entertained.
If you’re finding car journeys a nightmare, take a look at our six handy hints for in-car bliss and see if it’ll work for you.
1) Create a timetable and get everyone involved. If you’re planning a long route, get the kids to take a look at the map and remember some key names and points to look out for on the journey. That way they feel more involved and you’ve got some handy helpers to watch out for those important road signs.
2) Play games. A few well-timed car games can make a world of difference on a long journey – even if it’s just adults in the car! ‘I spy’ is an obvious one, but you can also make it educational with number plate games – such as number plate scrabble. Never played number plate scrabble? It’s easy – you make words from the letters on a number plate, and you earn a point per letter – so D410 OGH could spell ‘dog’, which would earn you three points. The person with the most points at the end of the game wins.
3) Become an in-car DJ. This is great fun – and is especially easy if you’ve got an MP3 player in your car. Everybody takes it in turns to be DJ for half an hour, and chooses their own songs and introductions – just like a radio DJ. It’s a good laugh, it stops you arguing about what to listen to and you get to share each other’s music loves without a torrent of complaints.
4) Carry provisions. Lack of food can make anyone grumpy, and in-car air conditioning can make you rather thirsty. To avoid sore throats and grumbling bellies on longer journeys, make sure you carry a few provisions. Ration out a small snack every hour or so to keep spirits up – although watch out for sickly treats, for obvious reasons!.
5) Invest in some in-car entertainment. If you regularly drive long distances with the family, it might be worth investing in an entertainment system. In-car televisions and DVD players have come down significantly in price, and can keep the kids amused for hours. Plus, most in-car systems come with headphones, so you can get a bit of peace and quiet too.
6) Make the most of the small things. Bridges, ferries and car washes can be fantastic places for kids if you know how to encourage a fertile imagination. Try to turn your car journeys into an adventure, and point out as many interesting things along your route as possible. Travelling by car can be a great way to see the country, so make the most of it.
This is a guest post from Money Matters