There's nothing worse than being caught indoors with bored kids on leave and for parents, keeping children out of trouble, (and their hair), usually means getting kids into the car and journeying somewhere exciting to keep them active, happy and worn out!
The Autumn school break is really the last opportunity to get outdoors and seek some fun before the big Winter chill sets in. (If you're down South that is especially so.) A road trip somewhere is definitely something to make the most of while you still can.
Daytrips are the perfect escape for tetchy house-bound children and their frazzled parents. We're big on them as a family at this time of year, especially on weekends. It's quite fun seeking out an exciting destination and jumping in the car for a day of new surrounds and adventure. The best part is, (aside from the change of scenery), day trips, compared to overnight stays, are quite budget friendly - you can spend as much cash or as little as you like, so this option is suitable for every family's financial situation.
Here's some tips for arranging a successful family outing in your car these school holidays:
Decide on your destination:
It sounds silly, but this part can actually be quite difficult; it requires you to think like a tourist.
As a general rule of thumb, think of destinations around 1-1.5 hours drive from your home. This is an ideal travel time to reach some truly glorious spots which are far enough away to be new and exciting and still close enough to home to get back by the end of the day, without too much driver fatigue.
|Warburton in the Yarra Ranges is 72km East of Melbourne's CBD making it a perfect day trip destination.|
For specific ideas, ask around - other local families can give you plenty of suggestions. You can search the web using keywords like 'daytrip' or just hit Google Maps to find a national park, seaside destination, community market or township at a distance that sounds comfortable and is both touristy and fun. Check out your State's tourist board website for a run-down on the best of the best.
If you're really stuck for ideas, just ask your kids! Kids are always on the ball about ideal things to do, having heard many tales from their friends at school. This option's a never-fail.
Pack your own food and drinks:
Taking your own supplies can dramatically reduce the cost of your outing. Kids can cost a fortune when it comes to beverages in particular - all that running about and activity makes them little cash guzzlers and big whiners when the thirst bug hits. If you do only one thing under this heading - choose the drinks option!
Pack some disposable cups and take along a cask of water or juices and know that the kids will be happy for the day with their thirst under control.
Feed the kids before you leave too, so that they're reasonably content and pack some snack foods they appreciate for nibbling on the way. Failing that, decide to buy your lunch when you arrive. A simple visit to a local fish and chip shop is a purse-friendly option for most families no matter where you are.
Prepare and pack your things the night before:
Toss your hats, coats, equipment, maps and other items into a bag and into your car the day before your planned escape. This will cut down the inevitable lag in preparation that happens with kids, no matter how well-organised you are. More time spent on preparation in advance means more time to enjoy the sights during your visit.
Check your car is in order before you depart:
Really, this is the most important point for any trip in your car at any time. Make sure all of your car's lights are working, children's seats are secure and wiper fluids, oils and petrol are topped up before you depart. Don't forget to check and inflate your tyres too.
When was your last vehicle service? Try to schedule one if it is due or passed.
Be sure to have the added security of a service such as RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance. Don't be caught in an unfamiliar place without a superb service such as this to back you up. Think flat tyres or batteries and dashboard warning light malfunctions: We famously called out the RACV to help us three times in one week late last year for these exact same issues across two cars! - heaps more helpful than the alternative!
Finally, choose a perfect day for travel when the kids are all well, energetic, the weather is great and you feel up to the task. If something is not perfect in the mix, it can pull the entire exercise into disarray. In other words, don't force it to make it an exciting day of adventure for everyone.
Do you have any day trip or road trip tips to add?
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