Whether you are driving across the UK or touring Europe, there are a number of thing you can do to make travelling by car easier for you and your child. Before you load your luggage into the boot, take a look at our favourite tips for travelling by car with children.
1. If you’re driving to a schedule – to catch a ferry crossing, for instance – allow extra time for regular stops. Most young children struggle to sit still at the best of times, so give them plenty of chances to stretch and get some fresh air. A bit of cuddle time can help everyone feel more relaxed, too.
2. Consider setting off around your child’s usual bedtime. Put them in their PJ’s and make them as cosy as you can with their usual comfort items. If you’re really lucky, they might sleep through the whole thing – but remember: never to drive whilst tired.
3. Lightweight blankets can be great comfort items and can help young children to settle, especially if they smell of home.
4. If your little one still needs bottles, consider buying a bottle warmer that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter socket, such as the Sunshine Kids’ “Warm ’n’ Go” (from around £8.00).
5. Child view mirrors allow you to keep an eye on your child without needing to turn around – a real blessing if you are travelling without the help of another adult.
6. Keep the essentials close at hand – drinks, snacks, wet wipes and spare clothing. You will almost certainly need them.
7. After you’ve programmed your satnav, get a map and plan your chosen route the old-fashioned way. Technological devises have a way of letting us down at the worst possible moment, so make sure you have a back-up. Navigating winding country roads without directions is no fun at all – even less so when you have a screaming baby on board.
8. Portable DVD players are perfect for long car journeys. Take along your child’s favourite films and you should gain an hour or two of relative peace and quiet.
9. Carefully chosen toys can help the hours fly by. Favourite items can be tied to car seats so that you won’t need to keep retrieving them from the floor. For slightly older children, reusable plastic stickers can be arranged on the car window, allowing them to create their own story scenes.
10. Bin bags have a multitude of uses on long car journeys. They are great for collecting rubbish, holding dirty clothes and covering soiled car seats after little accidents or sickness episodes.
11. CDs have the power to make almost any car journey more peaceful. Take along a disc of your little one’s favourite songs, or try something new, such as At the Seaside, a summer themed adventure song and story CD by On the Big Red Bus.
Do you have any other tips? Please share them in the box below.