The pace of family life can be hectic at the best of times, with work, school and holidays a constant juggling act has to be performed. A great way to bring the family closer together is to plan a touring holiday by car; a holiday that always has something new to experience around the next corner. Long or short, a road trip gives a family time to just be together, and for children it offers limitless opportunities to explore and discover new places and things to do.
Planning the trip
The key to a successful family road trip is careful planning. It may seem to be exciting to see “where the wind takes us”, but the last thing anyone wants is to try to sleep in the car because all the campsites and other accommodation is fully booked! Planning the trip can be done together, so the fun can start right away.
Major roads are useful for faster access to destinations, but smaller roads that are off the beaten track offer chances to see and experience lovely corners of the country that would otherwise remain unvisited. Routes can be planned with a Satnav or by downloading an appropriate phone app, and the internet will throw up a wide range of attractions to visit on the way. Booking your accommodation well in advance ensures there is a comfortable place to sleep every night, taking the pressure off the driver after a long day on the road.
Preparing the vehicle
Before setting out it is essential to ensure the vehicle is in good condition, especially if the trip is a long one. A thorough service is advisable, with checks on oil levels, brakes, lights and tyres. If there is any doubt about the suitability of the vehicle for travelling a long distance, it is worth considering a cheap car hire to banish any worries about breaking down or the extra wear and tear on your own vehicle.
Packing the right stuff
There will be a limited amount of space for luggage on the trip; keeping to the essentials is a good move. Clothing should include waterproofs and sturdy boots or shoes for taking a stroll during those all-important rest breaks, and though snacks and drinks can be picked up along the way it can be cheaper to pack some favourites if there is enough room. A first aid kit is a must, with basics like plasters and ointments for everyday cuts and scrapes, and tablets for upset tummies.
The age-old cry of “are we nearly there?” can be deflected by a good selection of entertainment when on the road. Nowadays mobile phones can provide endless entertainment opportunities for older children, but as these tend to be solitary pastimes it can be great fun devising games that the whole family can play. Word games and I Spy can easily while away some time, and for younger children a series of stories that can be played through the car’s CD system will not only entertain but may help them drift off to sleep.
A good road trip can be educational as well as entertaining, and the opportunity for the family to live and play together for a time, away from the daily grind, is an attractive alternative to holidaying in one place.