Windscreen protection isn’t the only thing you need to check to ensure your vehicle is safe, especially for a road trip around Australia. Repairing your tires so they are in good condition, fixing window chips and getting a professional to service your car are all important. This tradition of cruising across the Nullarbor, twisting and turning along the Great Ocean Road and touring around the picturesque East Coast of Tasmania are all high on the road trip bucket list.
However, taking a road trip with kids adds a whole level of drama to the experience. You just know there’s going to be arguments, boredom, constant toilet stops and the all-too-frequent cries of, “are we there yet?”
There’s really no way around it if you want to experience the full range of sights and stunning landscapes Australia has to offer. While it’s tempting to stay home, you won’t get the same experience watching a David Attenborough documentary, or a movie about other people road tripping. Flying in and out of major cities will leave you missing out on some of the best spots in Australia – so buckle up, you just have to do it by car.
With kids in tow, the key to success is in the preparation. Speaking from experience, here are six ways you can make a road trip with your kids an enjoyable adventure.
Plan everything in advance
And I mean everything. The trick to making a family road trip in the car as painless as possible is to plan every little thing meticulously before you hit the road. Note where and when to have food stops, toilet breaks, fuel stops and breaks to prevent the kids from getting restless. Keep it interesting by stopping at landmarks, and factor in fun activities along the way so the family has regular destinations to look forward to.
Ensure you have everything you need close to hand once you get into the car. You’ll need snacks, drinks, spare clothes, a well-stocked first aid kit, tissues and car sickness items handy. You just don’t know when you’ll need them! And, trust me, you will need lots of baby wipes, regardless of the age of your kids.
Ensure your vehicle itself is safe
Going on a road trip is fun. Getting stuck because of a flat tire, broken windscreen or being out of fuel is not fun. Before embarking on any long drive, be sure to do a thorough safety check of your car. Checking that all headlights are working is extremely important. Replacing them or getting windscreen chips repaired before you leave will give you peace of mind and ensure you are taking all precautions to avoid accidents. Something that might add to the comfort of your drive is to add window tinting to your car, especially if you have small children. Depending on the type of tint you get, you can protect your family from UV rays and yourself from the glare whilst driving.
Don’t Drive at Night
Night driving may seem like a good idea at first – you can drive in peace while the kids are snoozing right? Not the best of plans. If the kids are well rested and you can barely focus, you will regret it. Driving while you are tired is one of the worst things to do to yourself, and it’s dangerous for everyone on the road. If you do big chunks of driving at night you’ll miss seeing the scenery as you cruise by – which is the best part of the road tripping experience.
If you’re on the road in rural areas, avoid driving at dusk and dawn when kangaroos and other wildlife are typically on the move.
Games will save your sanity
The best way to keep the kids entertained while you drive is to bring along games for them to play. We all know that an entertained child is (hopefully) a quiet one, leaving you to focus on the road ahead. You know your kids better than anyone, so tailor to them and bring games you know will keep them engaged. You can find travel-sized versions of popular board games which are magnetic or car-safe so you don’t have to worry as much about scattered pieces all over the car.
If you kids are prone to car sickness, try to choose games where they can keep their heads up. Otherwise, just stick to the classics like eye spy or number plate bingo.
Have healthy snacks on hand
Sugar highs can be a nightmare and not what you need when you’re all confined to a vehicle. Pack healthy snacks like sandwiches, fruit and muesli bars for when your kids get peckish between rest stops. Use easy to open containers and pre-cut food it up so it’s easier to eat and not too messy.
Having said that, children will almost certainly spill something, so avoid food and drinks that will leave a stain on their clothes, or worse…on your upholstery! This is definitely where the baby wipes (multi-functional!) come in handy but otherwise, save the messy, sticky colourful foods for when you reach your destination.
Screens are your friends
I have to admit it, a DVD, iPad or electronic device can save the day. You might not want your kids using them for the whole trip (especially if they’re prone to car sickness) but they can be great for helping to pass the time when you’ve exhausted all other options. Employ screen time if you get stuck in any difficult or unexpected traffic, or if the kids have started to bicker over other games or activities. A little quiet time can help reset everyone’s mood.
Just make sure you bring headphones so you don’t have to listen to The Wiggles over and over and over and over (and over) again.
Don’t get stuck in traffic
It’s easier said than done; but try not to make the trip any longer than it needs to be by getting stuck in traffic.
Kids are impatient critters and it’s typically when traffic is at a standstill that someone will need to go to the toilet. Avoid any unnecessary delays at all costs.
Download all the traffic update apps that are available to you and keep an eye on the conditions ahead as you go. If you need to, change your course or rearrange your schedule to avoid any accidents or roadworks that are likely to cause delays.
Stay positive and enjoy the little beings you created
When you’re all trapped in a confined space, your mood can have a profound effect on everyone else. Keep up the deep breathing and positive vibes during testing moments.
If all else fails you can bribe your kids with a bag of lollies on the dash – if at any time they misbehave, throw a lolly out the window. They can enjoy what remains in the bag at the end of the day. (I actually did this once, it works; but the recommendation should be taken lightly).
Road trips are a memorable and exciting experience you can enjoy with your whole family. With a little (or a lot of) preparation and planning, embarking on a driving holiday with your kids can actually be a whole lot of fun.
Novus Auto Glass specialise in windscreen repair technology and strive to provide you with the best possible care for your car. Other services include windscreen repair and replacement as well as glass restoration and polishing. Contact us online or Call 13 22 34. We’re here to help.