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Helpful Tips For Car Travel With Children

The prospect of a long car journey with children is one that often fills parents with dread. How will they deal with an emergency? What kind of options are available to keep children entertained for an extended journey? When planning a long car trip, it is important to think through the importance of careful planning, entertainment options, and making the most of breaks and eating to keep energy levels up. While there is no easy solution to packing the family into the car for hours at a time, the following three tips aim to at least make things easier.

1 - The Importance of Careful Planning

Make sure that you tailor your car journey to particular trips and contexts. If you’re going abroad, check distances and the amount of available stops along a road. Also check what facilities are available at service stations. A detailed itinerary is perhaps the best way of keeping to a schedule, while allowing for flexibility when it comes to dealing with any unexpected accidents or emergencies. Always have a range of contacts ready for the latter, and make sure that you know local laws on medical services and insurance.
In terms of packing, enquire with a travel agent about the cost of shipping or flying luggage to a destination, rather than having to squeeze it into the car. Savings on space will ultimately mean that you and your children have more comfort, and will also allow you to add anything to the car during a journey.

2 - Picking the Right Entertainment Options

Entertainment choices for car journeys have significantly expanded in the past ten years. Although fun travel games like spotting number plates or car colours can still be used, many parents rely on a mix of family friendly CDs and DVDs to keep their children happy for long trips. Players mounted to the back of seats are particularly useful, as are individual headphones, although finding music that everyone enjoys is also a good way of passing the time. Handheld devices like iPads and Nintendo DS sets are also recommended for engrossing children. Investing in a collection of second hand books and picture books represents a similarly good way of spreading out entertainment through the trip.

3 - Making the Most of Rest Stops and Food

One of the most difficult parts of a long car journey is having to make multiple rest stops, especially if you are pushed for time. However, making regular stops can make the whole trip a lot easier. Stops every two to three hours should be used to make toilet breaks, eat properly, and stretch legs. Try to focus on nutritional food and plenty of water to prevent stomach upsets. Invest in bottled water for the car if you’re unsure about local tap water. Similarly, encourage children to use bathrooms even if they say that they don’t want to go. Making a point of regular stops will also give a trip more structure, and gives children something to look forward to if they’re bored during a drive.


Kirsten is a freelance copywriter and car fanatic that frequently blogs about advancements in the motor industry. She is currently working with exploring the latest BMW technology and innovation.

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