Hitting the open road with the family in tow is the quintessential Australian vacation. For parents who are new to this type of adventure, however, the miles ahead can prove excruciating if the right items are not packed in advance of pulling out of the driveway.
If a road trip is in the cards for your family, you might want to think beyond packing the suitcases. You will need more than just the right clothes to ensure your children have a good time, and you enjoy some peace, while you are on the road.
Some of the top items to consider packing for the ride ahead include:
A cooler - Fill a cooler with the favorite drinks for your children even some snacks that are better served on ice. This is a great way to cut down on unnecessary stops. Plus, it can help keep the kids happy to have their favorite snacks along for the ride. Think healthy foods if at all possible though. Roadside lunch and dinner stops will likely include a lot of junk. This means even the kids might appreciate fresh fruit, yogurt and pudding snacks during the time in the car.
An activity bag - It is not a bad idea to pack up an activity bag for each child on the trip. Fill the bag with low-cost art supplies, paper, puzzles and other items to occupy their time along the way.
Road trip CDs - Consider making a compilation CD or two of your favorite music and the songs your children like to hear, too. This can save you the headache of fiddling with the radio dial in areas where you are unfamiliar with the stations. This is also a more fair way to ensure that everyone gets to enjoy a few favorite tunes on the trip.
Portable games - Handheld video games, paper games and other small distractions can go a long way in helping the miles fly by. Make sure to pack age-appropriate games and even small toys for each child. Teens can also benefit from this type of distraction.
A portable DVD player - If your vehicle does not have a built-in system, a laptop computer or portable DVD player can really help pass the time for the children. Make sure to pack up a few favorite movies or grab a new one or two for the road.
Books - When quiet time is needed, having a few books along can prove very useful. For younger children, think picture books and other similar distractions. Have older children pick out a title or two to bring along from the local library or school library.
An overnight bag - A small overnight bag that can be stowed in the back seat for each access is a great idea. Fill this with essentials, such as any medications needed by family members, headache medicine, first aid supplies and even toothbrushes.
Patience - It does not matter whether a child is 2 or 17, road trips can prove challenging. Make sure to bring your patience along to help them enjoy themselves more.
When the right things are packed in advance, road trips can be much more bearable. Just think creatively about activities that might best suit the interests of your family.