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The Essential Guide to Long Road Trips with Your Kids

The open road, the pre-planned playlists, a new destination – there’s something so nostalgic and romantic about a road trip.

However, a family road trip in the campervan can range from a series of repeated enquiries as to “Are we there yet?” to trying to gauge just how many more “Don’t hit your brother/sister!” exclamations there will be before someone turns green in a Hulk-esque type manner and almost ejects the little darlings from the car.

The trick to a good road trip? Keep the kids busy! Here are a few tips and tricks to keeping them quiet in the car.

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Reward Tokens – they really do work.

Of course they do have to be backed up with an actual reward and not idle promises of one. The moment you don’t deliver they lose all their power!

Rewards can be in the form of a sweet snacks (I would keep these to a minimum or else you effectively undo any gains you may have made through a haze of a sugar induced frenzy) Also make sure that these are not going to melt in hot little hands, get sticky and stain surfaces. Paper plane making sets, cardboard dressing dolls, twistable pencils with writing and drawing pads, novelty pencils, novelty erasers, clip boards, travel games and glow sticks. You can also save up rewards for use at your destination – water squirters, ice creams, day trips, etc.

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Make It A Game

There are plenty of classic road trip family games that can easily be played by just observing your surroundings and keeping the kids off the screens. I Spy, Car Bingo, The License Plate Game, to name a few.

Once you tire of these, it’s time to get the party really started with family car karaoke! If you’re not so keen on hearing your kids belting out their favourite Disney song then another way is to make a playlist of recognisable songs before you depart and have your kids guess what song it is by just listening to the first few seconds of it.

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Keep Them Comfortable

If you want to have a happy journey, remember comfort. If the kids can get comfortable, then if it’s a long journey the likelihood is that the children will sleep! When they do, a kind of utopian quality will flood the vehicle during which you will spend the whole time wrestling with feelings of jealousy and thinking how angelic they look whilst sleeping, and oh, how you will enjoy the peace.

In order that they sleep they must first be able to get comfy. So think pillows and blankets, get them snuggled and get yourself some peace.

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Play With an Actual Toy

Campervan travel is all about keeping it simple so go old school with some great traditional kids games. Card games, Mad Libs, Etch A Sketch and Bingo are all great options to keep the kids entertained. A lot of board games, like Clue, Trouble and Scrabble all come in travel-size, too, making these classic games easier to take with you. Encourage your toddler to bring along some of her favourite toys—it’ll not only provide entertainment, but comfort as well.

Ergh – Electricals..

The last tip belongs fully in the real world and yes we are going there; electricals. Whether it is DVD players, IPads, Smart phones etc. The reality is that most of our kids are more switched on technically than we are. We’re not advocating several hours stuck in a monosyllabic daze staring at a screen but a choice of pre-loaded films or carefully selected games or pod casts can give you all a little more breathing space and ensure a more enjoyable experience. For a less direct approach to this you can always invest in some age appropriate story CDs. The longer and more adventurous the better!

The journey make be a little tiring at times when the kids aren’t settling but the rewards of the destination are well worth it. Kids in the outdoors, the family under the stars around a fire, a simple and fun holiday filled with precious memories.

Image by @Polinaloves via Twenty20