*This post is brought to you in collaboration with A1 Batterypro.
Car travel for families is so much fun and exciting, especially for the kids! Nothing energises everyone more than an outing to somewhere different and trips away make for great family memories too. They're so worthwhile.
There's lots of preparation involved for us parents though, when it comes to something as simple as the idea of a day trip. For many, it's rarely a case of just hopping into the car and leaving. This is especially true if you plan on taking a journey that requires hours in the car. The better prepared you are, the better your journey will be from start to finish. Nothing tires you out and puts a dent in your pocket more, than when you're not prepared for anything and with kids as you know, anything is possible!
We ourselves run through a pretty tight list of things that we're never without when we travel. It helps to have a list, thanks to the constant interruptions, distractions and over-excitement everyone can feel when a day trip is on the cards. Help yourself firstly by making one!
One of our major tips we employ for any trip we have planned, is to not tell our children until the very last minute. This has so many positive benefits. (Especially when you've more than a handful of children like us.)
Too much excitement in the lead-up to a day of adventure can make kids so over-excited that it becomes difficult to get things done on any level. If this is you too, I highly recommend this practice! Do yourself a favour and keep things calm until the last minute and pack your accessories when the kids are out at school or distracted by other pursuits. No questions asked, no cat-out-of-the-bag!
Carrying your own food and drinks, no matter how short your day trip duration, is a must. This will save you so much time and money when you're out. Kids seem to develop massive appetites in the car and you can use your packed nibbles for a stop-over picnic along the way or enjoy it at your destination. Full kids equals happy kids and that means, relaxed and content adults too.
Make sure everyone is dressed appropriately. That means coats for weather changes or bathers and towels for swimming adventures. (It's a good idea to keep a family bag of bathers and towels in your car year-round for swimming opportunities.) For younger kids, a change of clothing is essential when taking any day outing. Don't forget sunscreen year-round and hats to suit the season.
For babies and toddlers, don't forget to take along a well-packed nappy bag. Make sure you've plenty of nappies and clothing changes tucked inside, as well as any snacks, bottles and other essentials for this age group like bibs, blankets and wipes. See this post for helpful tips on how to pack your nappy bag.
Don't forget to pack your technology. This may include taking your iPad for the kids to enjoy while you drive. Charge any portable DVD players and pack a few favourite DVDs if you don't have a permanent set-up like this in your car already. Children's CD's are a must for settling younger kids when the whining starts. Plus, don't forget your phone for emergencies and your camera. Make sure you have plenty of camera batteries in tow. You can purchase these from A1 Batterypro if you are in need.
Other entertainments for the kids are essential too. Allow each child to pack a few favourite things in a small backpack for use in your car or at your destination.
Have you heard of busy bags? These are a great idea for kids of all ages. Make up a few small snap-lock bags of fun bits and pieces to entertain the kids in the car. Lego is a good one to pack in these, as are pencils and pads or other small entertaining items. These will keep the kids quiet and entertained as you drive. Consider keeping a small tub in your boot of these items that are strictly for use in the car so that the kids don't become too bored by them on your subsequent car trips.
Pack a picnic blanket for comfort. Also ensure you keep a collection of picnic essentials in your car at all times. Cups, plates and cutlery are invaluable at any time in your vehicle. Make sure you pack a large cask of fresh water in your car on the day. This will save you loads and prevent kids from choosing sugary drinks at any pit-stops you make.
First aid items are a must-have. Make sure you've plenty of Band-Aids and a bottle of hand sanitiser as well as a tube of antiseptic for the accidents kids will have. See this post for tips on how to pack a first aid kit.
Being prepared at all times for a family day trip is golden and storing as much as you can in your vehicle at all times will make subsequent outings so much faster and more streamlined. It's a bit of planning initially, but with time, the benefits of being organised certainly come into their own.
Do you take frequent day trips?
What do you do to ensure travel with your own children goes smoothly?
Have I missed something? What would you add?
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