Once you have a child travelling becomes a very different experience. Gone is relaxing with a book and even a glass of wine on your way to a week in the sun. Many families decide to avoid air travel where possible and opt for domestic holidays. It can be easier to pack up the car and just drive to the door of your holiday.
It's often a "low" stress and low cost option, especially for bigger families. We're spoilt in the uk and have some lovely places that visit, most of which aren't "that" far away. The Scottish highlands, Yorkshire, the Lake District, Peak District and Cornwall to name just a few. Here are our trips for surviving car journey with babies and young children:
1 - Food and drinks Plan ahead and bring more healthy snacks than for a usual day. We like blueberries, crackers, raspberries, strawberry bite things and Ella's fruit pouches. It's usually easier to bring a packed lunch for babies and toddlers too as service station options for young children aren't always great. If you don't manage this one of the M&S or Waitrose stores in a service station will hopefully have some healthier options. Also bring lots of water in spill proof cups.
2 - Audio cds and music cds Buy or download some children's music cds and audio books of their favourite stories. We love the bookbug cds you get free in Scotland. Charlie and Lola audio book and Raffi CDs are always very popular and not too painful for adult ears. Music and audio CDs seem to really calm down children and develop their listening skills. You'll be amazed at how quickly they'll know all the words (as will you unfortunately!) Raffi all about animals Charlie and lola audiobook
3 - Plan your journey Plan your journey around your child's routines be as far as possible (and of course the traffic too). It may be easier to take a day off and take the journey at a leisurely pace. For example, have breakfast at home then drive as your baby has their morning nap. Stop at 12 for lunch and a chance to stretch your legs then drive for another 2 hours while your child (hopefully) has their afternoon nap. Sadly journeys with children are never as quick as in your pre-child days. There are a few UK service stations which have a soft play areas, as do some pubs and restaurants. Tebay is a fantastic example. It's worth doing a bit of research first and planning your trip around some child friendly stops to let your little ones burn off steam. Tebay services
4 - Toys Stocking up on a couple of new toys can be a great distraction for little people. Something which has no small parts and is not easily breakable, like Yummikeys, is perfect! Sticker books for older children can work a treat but do watch for signs of travel sickness. YummiKeys
5 - Games It can be difficult with babies but singing, round and round the garden, this little piggy, peek-a-boo etc can keep spirits up. For slightly older children I-spy but by colour can provide a great distraction. As can spot the "digger/tractor/sheep" etc.
6 - When all else fails Download the kids iPlayer app and before you leave download a few of your child's favourite programmes to each phone you have and your tablet too. Ensure the batteries are charged up and bring an in car charger just in case. The CBeebies game is great for older toddlers. This option will get hopefully keep everyone happy for that tiring last bit of the drive. Sitting in the back with your baby/toddler can also cheer them up considerably. Do remember to watch out for any signs of your child getting travel sick. Make sure you stop and take in some fresh air if your child looks pale or starts complaining of a stomach ache. There are also various anti travel sickness products available if your child is persistently travel sick which may be worth stocking up on. Good luck and happy holidays!!